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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    Posts
    9

    Wacko Learning on the Jobs Downfall...

    HI There,
    I've worked at 3 other grooming salons / vet grooming and have learned a fair bit over the 3 years. I have noticed though that many salons have a typical customer and a typical set of hair cuts that they provide. That may be due to their client base or just that that's what they personally do best and the clients don't mind/care.
    Unfortunately that means that although I'm pretty competent, If I was asked to do even pet versions of a Yorkie/Poodle/Maltese/Bedlington etc... I haven't done them that often, if at all and am worried I could stuff it up. I'm in the middle of starting my own home based salon and I really want to be able to learn and do these types of cuts better.
    I feel I would be fine to teach myself with the grooming book/s I have but am worried to look unprofessional by saying to clients "Oh I haven't done that cut before! If you allow me to practice I'll take $X off your dogs groom and I'll work with you until your happy with it." It's a nice way to say It I think, but I'm still asking for trust from most likely a first time client.

    What do you do if you dont have a lot of experience with a certain haircut?
    Do you tell them? do you allow extra time and wing it?

    I don't want to look unprofessional and I really want to be able to take the dog so I can learn but also don't want to lie...
    I've thought about doing a few free grooms because I think customers would be more inclined to allow me to practice on their dog but I didn't want to overly advertise my inexperience either!
    Help! :P

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,468

    Default

    Other than the Bedlingtons my first year groomers get Yorkies, Poos and Maltese, so wish you could have. But if you have the basics working on other dogs you should be able to wing it as long as you know what to do. Lots of good streaming sources for this. But don't promise what you cannot do, and I wouldn't advertise my inexperience, yet not promise what i felt I could not do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale/Aventura, Florida
    Posts
    3,140

    Default

    I still get dog breeds in that I haven't done before. I find that as long as the client feels my excitement about having a chance to do a newer breed they are fine with it.
    However, I talk them knowing what the standard is and then see what they want done to modify the look. Have found that people with unusual or not-seen-that-often breeds are flattered when you are excited about their pet. Being able to talk to them about coat, behaviors, etc allays any fears they might have had.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Fort Lauderdale/Aventura, Florida
    Posts
    3,140

    Default

    Oh, and I still check out my Notes books when I get rarer breeds in . Just today I referred to the books when doing the head on an Irish Terrier. I wanted to reconfirmed the correct lines.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    1,498

    Default

    If you have the basic skill set, then you can groom anything! Don't offer discounts, it just cheapens your abilities in the eyes of some clients. Instead, continue to study and learn about breed standards, and attend any educational opportunities you can. Build a reference library, and don't be afraid to use it when you need guidance. I also keep a homemaid set of 4 x 6 reference cards on each of the 189 AKC breeds (if you're overseas and UKC, you could modify since there are over 300 recognized breeds, by eliminating the brush and bath only, or mini trim breeds)in a little file box at my station. On the front of each card, I have glued a tiny picture of the breed in one corner, and have typed the accepted size and colors as per AKC, and one sentence each about the breed origin, personality, and purpose of the breed. On the back, I have abbriviated grooming notes with body style (terrier, sporting, hand scissor, hand strip,etc.), head style, tail style, and specific blades I use for these (if appropriate). This way I always have a portable reference and it is very low key to lay a reference card out if needed. That may be helpful if you groom within view of the clients, and don't want to be seen opening a large instructional book in front of them. You can customize the cards any way you want to, and continue to add your own breed observations or notes. It is a lot of work indeed, what with preprinted books and videos everywhere, but creating them also gave me a lot of breed knowledge. Now I only have to add maybe a few cards a year as new breeds are recognized. It is always a little intimidating branching out on your own, but you will be great! The key is to never stop learning.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Sorry for the delayed response! Thank you so much! What do you think I should say when for example someone comes in with a Yorkie - It's not really an uncommon breed so i think it would be silly for me to say "Oh wow you don't see that every day! i would love to groom him for you!" haha! But If I actually haven't groomed one before not sure if I should mention it??

    123Linda, I would love to have had someone teach me breed clips... The lady I worked closely with - I felt she wasn't super confident and did the same few haircuts on every dog. I do have a book of dog breeds and their clips (all breed grooming book) it's really good and no one can see me grooming I think I could wing most clips but I won't know until I actually try so I'm not sure how to tell my customers without scaring them!

    wild4westies, That's a great idea but I was thinking of using the grooming book and then maybe just writing notes either on the clients card or in the actual book since they wont be able to see me Just really want the opportunity to give new breeds a go without disappointing owners!

    Honey, Thats good to hear! I thought that may be he best way to go about it. Act confident and excited! But again not sure what to say!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    Posts
    9

    Default Update!

    Also! A friend of a friend of mine has 2 toy or mini poodles (cant remember), her dad usually grooms them and apparently does a terrible job haha. I offered to groom them for free, I said because I want to be able to do whatever clip I want and use them for my website. But really I said that just in case I stuff them up :P I wanted to try something different than the usual pet poodle trim I've done before (Shave off body, trim top knot, pom pom feet and tail). It's not often you get free rein to be creative or to practice so does anyone have any tips on what I could do with each of them that would be good to learn but also something different I could use to show case my capabilities?
    OR on a more sensible approach, do you think I should just do the usual pet poodle cut and make sure I'm comfortable doing that on my own in my new salon before getting too creative?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,030

    Default

    I have found, over the years, that what every owner wants is a "cute face and a clean ass".
    If you can do that, you will make the majority of your clients happy!

    Seldom have I found that people that own pet quality dogs, whatever the breed, want it done "like a show dog". Of course it is important to know that a Soft Coated Wheaten has a Fall rather then split eyebrows...just don't be surprised when the owner asks to have the Fall cut back to his forehead so "we can see his eyes".

    Most people want a much shorter version of the breed trim. King Charles with their feet trimmed short, Goldens with their pants trimmed short, poodles that "don't make him look like a poodle" trim. (Dont put him a Show dog trim with all those poofs on him)

    Go to lots of dog shows, or view them on the internet, so you have a basic idea of what each breed should look like. Then when someone calls with a Tibetan Mastiff, at least you know it will be a big hairy dog. People are just pleased that you DO know what their breed is.

    I've found that if someone says "do you know how to groom an XYZ dog", 9 times out of 10 they have a weird trim they wanted placed on their dog.
    I'll say something like "why yes I do know how to groom an XYZ. How do you like YOURS trimmed". (It always seems to be a Shih Tzu). "I want the legs shaved with a 10 blade to the elbows, I want the hair cut short behind the eyes....etc etc"
    I just Smile and say "yes, that's how I groom a XYZ Dog"

    Unless people really seem to know their breed I seldom mention that "I haven't groomed one of those before". Again, 9 times out of 10, you already know how better then the owner does. You have the books, the YouTube, your basic knowledge, and you've got US!

    As far as the poodles go. I would first work on your basic poodle trims, kennel trim, Lamb trim, etc. Post some pictures here and we can help. Also play around with different styles. That's how you learn.

    Go in with confidence and you'll be fine. Good luck!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,774

    Default

    I hear ya, Snobby... I've only watched a certain breed dvd's. Otherwise we are in the land of the mixed breed. Except at my vet's. And I dare not take business from them, since they have their own groomers. But I could sit in that lobby for hours watching all the purebreds come in. Only one time did I regret not giving my card to a lady who seemed to not be able to afford grooming.. .I would have done that dog for free, at 7 at night, it was in deplorable condition. I don't understand the practice's policy. Perhaps all sorts of scenarios.. was the dog new, was the dog sick, was money a factor, had she made an appt later? It bothered me for a couple of weeks.. oh no.. I'm sorry, I just lied.. it still bothers me.

    Well.. I had to do lamb cuts on Yorkies the other day. I did ONE lamb cut in grooming school.. and thankfully it was a Yorkie lolol. I did a 5f on the body and O comb on the legs. No Yorkie ears.. I kind of followed the last trim. And he said.. "Oh it's just how I envisioned!" And I thought, "okay that was one of your fake it til you make it grooms." LOL

    And I have a lady with a Bichon, but she's a flake!!! She's a hairdresser and I did have her cut my hair once. Something in me said.. "Don't trade." So I didn't. And she's busy like I'm busy. I have my calendar on my phone and in a hard book. And she'll text me on a Sat.. do I have anything open today?? Nope. Then she'll say.. "Okay I'll have to check my calendar." And I know her calendar is RIGHT THERE. And I'm sad because she doesn't come in.

    Sometimes.. but it's only for about 5 seconds.. I think about advertising on Craiglist.. groomer needs purebreds. But the nightmare that would entail.. so nevermind lol. I have a hairdresser that I used to go to with Westies.. so I got a DVD and have watched it a few times. I know I could do her dogs. But she's never called me. Bah.
    Debbie
    There's always room for another rose in the garden.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    Location
    Melbourne, Vic, Australia
    Posts
    9

    Default You Guys are the Best!

    Quote Originally Posted by dogma View Post
    I have found, over the years, that what every owner wants is a "cute face and a clean ass".
    If you can do that, you will make the majority of your clients happy!

    Seldom have I found that people that own pet quality dogs, whatever the breed, want it done "like a show dog". Of course it is important to know that a Soft Coated Wheaten has a Fall rather then split eyebrows...just don't be surprised when the owner asks to have the Fall cut back to his forehead so "we can see his eyes".

    Most people want a much shorter version of the breed trim. King Charles with their feet trimmed short, Goldens with their pants trimmed short, poodles that "don't make him look like a poodle" trim. (Dont put him a Show dog trim with all those poofs on him)

    Go to lots of dog shows, or view them on the internet, so you have a basic idea of what each breed should look like. Then when someone calls with a Tibetan Mastiff, at least you know it will be a big hairy dog. People are just pleased that you DO know what their breed is.

    I've found that if someone says "do you know how to groom an XYZ dog", 9 times out of 10 they have a weird trim they wanted placed on their dog.
    I'll say something like "why yes I do know how to groom an XYZ. How do you like YOURS trimmed". (It always seems to be a Shih Tzu). "I want the legs shaved with a 10 blade to the elbows, I want the hair cut short behind the eyes....etc etc"
    I just Smile and say "yes, that's how I groom a XYZ Dog"

    Unless people really seem to know their breed I seldom mention that "I haven't groomed one of those before". Again, 9 times out of 10, you already know how better then the owner does. You have the books, the YouTube, your basic knowledge, and you've got US!

    As far as the poodles go. I would first work on your basic poodle trims, kennel trim, Lamb trim, etc. Post some pictures here and we can help. Also play around with different styles. That's how you learn.

    Go in with confidence and you'll be fine. Good luck!
    I honestly thought everyone would be telling me not to take any dogs I don't know or haven't groomed before but I really wanted to give them a go so thank you everyone for giving me the confidence to stand up to potential clients now and say yes if I think I can do it!

    I think i will try to do a different basic poodle cut on my friends two, it's probably a better idea for my official first two! I'll post my work up here for some corrective criticism

    So, for example I get a phone call:
    Customer: Hi I just wanted to book in my Bedlington Terrier for a groom Wesdnesday.
    (I've never done one before but I have time to do some research and get a grooming chart printed plus the breed is in my grooming book)
    Me: Sure no problem, what kind of groom were you after?
    Customer: I like X clip done.
    (Never done that before)
    Me: beautiful! I can book him/her in at 3pm wednesday.

    So I pretty much should just pretend I've done it before if I think I can do it? BUT! What if I dont think I can do it just yet?

    *Also i just wanted to throw in for good measures... I own a Mini Dachshund who is a really snobby old man haha I myself am not snobby I just thought it would be a funny name :P

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,030

    Default

    I won't lie to people. If they ask me point blank "have you ever groomed a Bedlington before?" I would have to say "No I haven't. However, I'm familiar with the breed. I know they get tassels on their ears, the bottom jaw is shaved, and so is most of the tail. I have seen them at dog shows and grooming contests and I had a friend that had one. Do you like the tassels on your dogs ears? Is his coat tangled? Oh I can't wait to meet him!!!"

    Reassuring the owner that you at least are familiar with the breed and basic trim style goes a long way. Asking if they like a certain aspect of the trim gets you off the subject of "how much you don't know" and gets you back on the subject of Their Dog. Being excited to meet Their Dog always makes people happy.

    If they dont ask me point blank, then I carry on like you did in your above conversation. Like you mentioned, I would have time to pull stuff up on the internet and educate myself further. I sound confident that I will do a good job and I'm excited to meet Their Dog.

    Sometimes I realize that I don't get them "just right". No huge grooming flaws but little stuff like "the ears on my Wheaten don't look right, should they be totally shaved or partially?" That's when I make an extra effort to look at that part of the dog in pictures and dog show and grooming demos.

    Even if you have never groomed the breed before, you will get 98 percent of it right. Those little tweaky things are the small stuff that we professionals notice arent right.
    Again, your going to do fine. Can't wait to see your pictures and hear your tales!

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