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When they just dont have the "knack"

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  • When they just dont have the "knack"

    I have an awesome assistant/bather. She is the sweetest person! However, she can be very timid. She does great bathing them - they always look wonderful. However, when I try to teach her nail trims,anything beyond bathing, etc. I think she just gets too nervous and will ask me to do it. This has been on her own personal dogs. She would love for me to train her but I just dont think she would pick up grooming easily and I dont have the time to take a lot of time to train someone. Anyone been in this situation? I've been working with her on grooming her small mixed breed - and although she has gotten better at it, it has taken a long time to get her to finally be a bit more comfortable w/the clippers.

    I just love her to death...and don't want to hurt her feelings. Maybe overtime she will get more comfy with things? I dont know. She has such a low self esteem , and is so quiet, I would hate to disappoint her. She has absolutely no money since she has recently divorced and is living back with her parents so grooming school isnt an option, and there are none by us. I have such a desire to help her out but Im in a tough spot here! This girl is amazing, she comes in on her days off just to watch me groom.....I know that she wants to learn but she just needs some self confidence. Anyway, just thought maybe you guys would have some advice. I would hate to hire a groomer this spring like planned, and her to be devastated. Although, I have talked about it in the past so she does know I am planning on it if I get busy enough. (which I hope! lol) I told her maybe If I have another groomer here I would be able to back off a bit & work with her.

    Thanks guys!

  • #2
    What ever you do, praise her. Tell her how you feel. Sometimes confidence and the ability to accept your mistakes and to take constructive criticism is beyond someone. Maybe she is scared to death to make a mistake...I was there before. When you are praised you feel good about yourself. Tell her how much you appreciate her and start by making her feel comfortable with YOU. It will have to go at her own pace after that. Down the line, it may help to just "throw" her in there once in awhile, you know, with easy tasks. Let her feel depended upon...she needs to grow as a person it sounds like! Don't give up on her just yet, but be realistic about your business if you need extra help.


    • #3
      A good bather is worth their weight in gold, so I think you did the right thing by telling her that if you hire another groomer you'll have more time to teach her. You'll want to hang onto her if she's good at bathing.

      Maybe you could have her rough in some (well behaved) shave downs? You didn't say how long you've been teaching her or how many dogs besides her own she has tried to work on, but it just does take a long time for some people to learn, and lots of practice, which she may not be getting?

      Don't forget to reassure her that if professional groomers never nicked nails that there would be no need for KwikStop, and that hair grows back!! I've found that a little light touch like that helps when teaching the overly timid, as they think every mistake is permanent.


      • #4
        I would play it by ear and continue working with her. Maybe one day things will click. I would still continue with your plan to hire another groomer if things pick up but in the meantime you have an awesome assistant.

        Maybe a gentle reminder that sometimes she has to step outside of her comfort zone if she wants to continue to grow and learn to be a groomer. Explain to her that you know it's not easy as we all have been there but that she has to be willing to trust herself to learn more.

        She might just find out that she wants to continue on but as a bather only. Don't give up on her just yet. It sounds like she needs you and you are happy with the assistance she provides.

        Good luck and here's hoping one day things click.


        • #5
          We've had a couple of those very shy, timid workers. I think that my boss is great with them. At a certain point you just have to throw them in there and let them do it. I know that sometimes it is just easier and quicker to do it yourself, but you can't. Let her know that she can do it, and you have faith in her. When she asks for your help, try to talk her through it as opposed to showing her. Of course as you teach her new things, show her physically, but as she tries to do it over and over again, then talk her through it. If you do things for her over and over again, it will take her longer to learn, and she will still be shy about it. I've learned over the years after training many many girls that you can't do it for them, that's not how you learn. I can remember even for myself that my boss always just threw me in there, and made me do it, and as I did it the more my confidence came up!
          Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


          • #6
            i would also ask her if she would be more comfortable with filing the nails instead of clipping them? also ask her if she would like more one on one time with you to show her how to groom...if she says yes then maybe you can schedule a training day for her to learn and have some nice easy,calm dogs for her to learn on? also tell her with clipping nails to just take as much time as she needs...maybe she feels that if she is not as fast as you you wont want to train her anymore? also like someone else said...tell her that everyone nicks a nail now and then...its perfectly alright. maybe she is just afraid of screwing up and making a mistake...tell her everyone makes mistakes. Offer her the chance to learn with you if you do hire another groomer...ask her if she wants to learn. if she does tell her you will work with her but IF needed and she is not ready to take over her own groom dogs you will need to hire another groomer. take baby steps with her...and teach her one thing at a time. tell her once she gets the nails down she can move on to shaving the feet or trimming the feet up nicely. give her a goal to work towards...maybe this way she can be a little bit more motivated?


            • #7
              You mention-timid, quiet, low self esteem-divorce...
              Sounds like she could have been in an abusive relationship. Away from him, with a little bit of time, she will blossom...She just needs some help..if this is the case.
              People like her will grow with even the littlest bit of praise everyday. Its the extreme fear of making a mistake. Maybe have a chat with her.

              Been there..a survivor of 4yrs of hell.


              • #8
                I agree with Rapuzzled. Sometimes you just have to throw them in at the deep end and keep yelling "SWIM".

                If you have a dog you're shaving down anyway, show her how to use the clippers and let her have a go at it. If you're planning on using a 7, give her a 5 and let her have at it. Remind her that it's a shavedown, and if the cut is bad, you can fix it.

                Once she masters shavedowns, let her try setting a pattern on dogs that are going to get shaved down.


                • #9
                  Yes the mighty "Baptism of Fire"---give her a shavedown. They did that at another shop I worked at, and that is how the girl learned. She picked it all up pretty quickly.

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate


                  • #10
                    Shyness really has little to do with having the knack for grooming. If that were so, I'd have never learned to groom. Sometimes like mentioned you just have to throw them out there and let them do it. In my teaching people to groom that are scared, I show them what to do, and walk off, because an accident is sure to happen if you are making her nervous by watching, but just go back and check on her occassionally.

                    Like mentioned before start her on strips, which are hard to mess up. Give her some feet to shave, or pads to shave out. Have her clip some nails on her own, and if they are left too long, go back and show her, again. Doesn 't matter it she just tips them a tiny bit, she is clipping them. After a while she will relax and go with the process. I always feel the if a person can be a really good brusher/bather they will be a good groomer too; all except my husband.


                    • #11
                      Last edited by pamperedpups; 02-25-07, 03:22 PM.