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  • Feeling slow

    Hello all. Ive been grooming aprox 1 yr. Ok learning aprox 1 year. I was a veterinary technician for about 10 years and thought learning to groom would be right up my alley. Ive been an apprentace to a fantastic groomer who is great at what she does. My only complaint is that It seems I am very slow at scissoring and she is able to do 8 dogs compaired to my 4 per day. My question is at what point should I be ablet to do quality grooming without taking hours. Thanks

  • #2
    Don't beat yourself up

    and, no one can answer that question for you, sorry! ;-) Right now, you should still be focusing on quality, not quantity. I used to get SOOO frustrated when I was learning about how slow I was- even though that was over 20 years ago, I still remember how it felt!lol There are time-saving tricks you can learn, and maybe your teacher just isn't aware of the things she does that she can show you. In other words, I know alot of what I do is just deeply ingrained habit that I'm not even concious of most of the time, know what I mean?

    Give yourself time, read lists like this one, and start timing yourself on each dog you do. How long does it take you to do each step? Keep a log by your table, and you'll soon see where you're losing time, and you can then focus on those areas. :-)

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    • #3
      Roos Salon had a great answer. But reading your post twice, Cute Kitty, I cant help but wonder if she is actually 'instructing and apprenticing' you or just having you watch while she becomes scissor wizard. She should have you standing beside her with the scissor in your hand and hers. You do one paw scissored slowly and let her interrupt and show you how on the other paw - SLOWLY. If she is just saying 'watch me' or you are getting frustrated when she tries to show you how...it wont work. Has to be a good balance between instructor and student.

      If the salon is that busy where she is doing 8 or more per day it seems she doesn't have too much time to be beside you and help. I would suggest a good seminar with some tricks of the trade from well knowns like Sue Zecco, or Chris Pawlowski, some videos that take you step-by-step. Roos was correct, no one can honestly answer that question, everyone grows at their own speed. I just dont think you are getting proper training and a day seminar or tradeshow is probably what you need.

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      • #4
        I am slow too, very slow and I have not the greatest equipment in the world.

        Someday we will get faster, there are very few trades and skills that you can train for and then be as fast and good as those that have been practicing for many years.

        I try to increase my speed very slowly too, I am currently working on getting my feet done quicker, I watch the clock a bit, and concentrate. We will get there!

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        • #5
          I know how you feel

          Hi CuteKitty,
          I know exactly how you feel. If you read one of my earlier posts "discouraged" you will know that I too am new at this and I too am incredibly slow. I work in a shop with an excellent groomer and she blows through at least twice as many as I do and she also has to come over and do a "once over" on my dogs and usually has to spend about five minutes "fixing" or blending in my dogs for me.

          I have started (and some more experienced groomers might laugh) giving myself deadlines like 15 minutes per leg (including rounding the foot which is still tough) and then do my own "once over" after the dog is finished.

          Good luck and I would love to be a quality groomer like yourself...
          CuttingBetty

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          • #6
            I was like that and still am to a point. The groomer who originally got me interested in learning could groom eight dogs per day strait through with no force dryer. I thought that was normal. I have come to the conclusion over the last fifteen years that she was superwoman and I have kind of gotten over it. Oh yes she did not have a bather and she ate lunch (crazy)! I groom five to six with a bather. It takes me, regardless of trim, a good hour to finish. That is just the way it is for me!! So I feel your pain. Keep in mind you may be trying to emulate super groomer.

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            • #7
              It's good to hear that I'm not alone. I've been grooming 1.5 years, from a petsomething to a private shop with a show owner/handler/groomer. Let me tell you...it was great learning from her, but it's stressful having that high of an expectation sitting over you from the boss (not intentionally) and from her clients, even if some of it is all in my head. I thought I had high expectations, but wow. It hurts and really discourages me when I hear of a groom I did that wasn't up to par, or I nicked an ear or somehow gave it a clipper rash. The owner may or may not mind, but it makes me wonder why I'm even grooming. It doesn't happen often, but it seems like it does.

              I also max out at 4 or 5 per day. Even with the ideas that came from here. I've just got so many distractions and my thoughts run away from me so easily that I never get anywhere it seems. I'm really hoping to boost my time if I get to go mobile...far fewer distractions and everything can be done my way.
              Good luck!

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              • #8
                I think that giving yourself 'deadlines' is a great way to improve. Even if you can't hold true to them, it could help you learn your weak areas. when i'm feeling 'slow', I still do the time check thing.... ok 15 minutes to wash and dry this dog, 10 to do the face and head, or whatever...and i've been a groomer for almost 5 years. i truely believe tho that you always put quality over quanity. its tough, hey - i'm still waiting to be able to do 10 a day LOL. don't beat yourself up.

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                • #9
                  Oh! I did speed up by grooming faces first. I know it takes approx 15 min for me to groom a face. The groomer who helped trained me said that head pieces were the most important part of the groom because that is what the owners look at most. It really did help because otherwise I would run out of time. I still groom faces first if I am on a deadline. I dread deadlines,

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                  • #10
                    Don't get too discouraged. Building up your time takes time. And really you don't want to rush yourself. I find that when I tried to become faster too quickly my quality went way down hill...and then when I had to fix my mistakes it took even longer, lol, so it's kind of a double edged sword. Getting quicker WILL come with time, but you have to remember no longer how long you have been grooming everyone works at their own pace. Their are seasoned groomers on here and they all vary...two groomers that have been grooming for 20 years will not groom at the same pace even. Just give it time, don't give up. It will come. I find that when I concentrate less on my time I get more done.
                    Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones

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                    • #11
                      It all depends on how much scissoring work you do. If you do a lot then you'll be able to get the hang of it and become quicker, if you don't do that much it will take a while before you become comfortable enough to speed things up.

                      A lot of grooming is a trial and error basis. Anyone can tell you that.

                      Also the better your equipment, the faster you can go.
                      Becky

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                      • #12
                        Scullysmom is right. The head piece is the most important part, from the customer's point of view. And it's probably the part that takes the longest. So start there.

                        Other tricks for improving scissoring; go to a fabric store and get a couple of yards of fake fur. Cut a piece and tack it up on a wall and practice scissoring on that. Glue pieces of it around a Pringles can and practice scissoring legs. Get some cheap yarn, roll it into a ball, use a slicker brush to fluff it out and practice scissoring topknots and poodle tails.

                        Buy some cheap stuffed animals (thrift shops are a good place to pick them up cheap) and practice scissoring those.

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                        • #13
                          The head is the most important

                          And I was taught that so long ago too. I always do the head first for three reasons. One: so that as I finish the dog I can make any corrections of the head that shows up after. Two: is that it is common for the dog to freak out over head grooming if they are to freak out, get it over with or know that it won't be done (happened one time with me, nothing like scissors or clippers could get near that little Shih Tzu). Three: is because that is the place I spend more time perfecting, and can make up time on the body if behind.

                          It does get faster, but I've had two people in less than two weeks tell me "you're an Artist". I realise that I really enjoy making the dogs look their best possible and do get carried away sometimes. I may never be fast and think that is alright.
                          Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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