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How 2 deal with clients that absolutely insist on kepping a full coat...

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  • How 2 deal with clients that absolutely insist on kepping a full coat...

    on a 1 1/2 year old Maltese. He is a handfull (very sweet just playful) and has a full thick coat. He is still young and still has a really cottony coat. I gave "mom" a deal at first for bringing him in weekly for x amount of $ way below the usual fee for a maltese. At first it went well, but it didnt last very long b4 the pup started coming in heavily matted. So i upped the $ "mom" wasnt happy of course but I explained to her how long it took me to demat and again explained to her the importance of brushing....her reply>>> she didnt think she needed to brush him since he was coming in every week... after I picked my jaw up off the floor I showed her how to brush him again and I explained to her that if she wanted to keep him in a full coat he had to be brushed daily or more. She evidently has a fenced in yard and when she is at work she lets him have at it "weather permitting" then if hes dirty she bathes him and lets him air dry by running through the house.

    I have several weekly clients that have a discounted price some are weekly bc of skin conditions and other for maintance of full coats. Out of all those clients I have no problems but this one in particular just really gets upset when I say anything but when I spend hours dematting this pup for the price we intially agreed upon I'm losing money but she still acts like shes doing me a favor by coming in. It has gotten to where I dread Thursday when she comes in.

    Last week she came in the day after her appointment to talk with me because I had upset her??? and she wanted to show me the brush she claims that she uses (which was a nice slicker brush) but when she came I was talking to another client that was on her way out. This other client has an adorable 16 y/o toy poodle. This poodle has lost most of her hair due to her age and thyroid problems but she still has a beautiful top knot, thick hair on her back that her mom lets grow a lil long to cover some of the bald areas. At any rate this poodle comes in every few weeks for her "spa" treatment as mom puts it and is an absolute doll. Anyway the malteses mom made the comment to her that she would just go ahead and put her dog down if it looked that bad...I was really upset and immediately went to the defense of the poodle telling her that that poodle was in excellent condition and very well taken care of and just left it at that. I turned back to the poodles mom and apologized for the other lady and told little "FiFi" that I would see her in a few weeks for her next spa day. They left and I was almost livid but sat through another hour (Thank goodness it was at the end of the day) of listening and explaining to her how a dogs hair becomes matted...I couldnt seem to get it across to her that hes a puppy he likes to run and play and that causes tangles which lead to heavy mats when they arent brushed out daily. Well, she finally seemed satisfied with my answers and instructions, she bought another slicker brush that I sell in the shop ever though I told her the one she had was perfectly fine if used daily and she left.

    I probably shouldnt even worry about it because well its Thursday, and she didnt show up for her appointment. Is it wrong to secretly be glad??? I feel bad bc Im relieved she didnt come. When she first came to me the red flags were of course there...problems with past groomer, and of course wanting discounts.

    But how do u guys handle clients like this? Do you give discounted prices to clients that come in weekly or biweekly? I mean it works out well for several of other clients that I have but these guys know how to care for their pets in between grooms. I just feel like Im the bad guy here but I know im not. I guess I should thank my lucky stars and just be done with it! But Im still curious if others have had similar incidences or what others would do!

    Thx u guys!

  • #2
    I would have told her if he keeps coming in matted like that you were going to HAVE to clip him shorter. I tell people I will not hurt their dog and that means if the dog is that matted I will NOT brush him out. Tell the owner to go a week without brushing her hair and then see how it feels to brush it out. Now image that on your whole body. It works for alot of my clients. They get the picture most of the time.


    • #3
      Likely the coat is badly damaged from weekly dematting and running thru the grass and brush; I doubt there is any way to fix it. Ideally he would be shaved down and allowed to grow back with daily brushing and combing, or put in a puppy clip.
      You cannot let a dog run wild, fail to brush and comb daily, and expect a healthy, full coat.
      It seems she has decided to find another enabler.


      • #4
        People want their dogs to look like the photos they see of showdogs in full coat but they cannot fathom the amount of care that goes into those coats. I will sometimes explain that most of those dogs have their coats wrapped in paper and banded, they are line brushed to the skin frequently and kept in oil, their feet do not touch the ground in between shows and the coat is normally shave off after the dog is done showing. Even after an explanation, people just dont get it.

        I would probably talk her into setting the dog up with some sort of modified Cocker trim on the back - maybe a 4 or 3 blade on the back perfectly blended into a long skirt, and completely shell-out the dog from rear to armpits with a 10 blade underneath. Usually people are happy with a trim like this since it gives the illusion of a long flowing coat and you only have about 1/4 of the long hair to deal with.


        • #5
          Yikes, what a headache, and a big mouth to boot!

          What I do not understand is why is she using a brush, even a slicker brush? Her primary tool should be a good quality steel comb. Anytime the dog comes in you pop him up onto the counter/ table and attempt to comb him. If the comb catches anywhere your point is made!

          "Yes, Mrs. Matted Maltese, your baby is once again matted and will require de-matting today. It will be x$ additional charge. You need to realize he has alot of coat and needs to be combed daily. Imagine how your hair would look if it was only cared for once a week. It is so nice that he is able to run and play outside but this does make his coat get tangled much more quickly. Maybe we should talk about trimming the length somewhat to make this more managable for you at home."

          I have found that many times when you put folks on a weekly or bi-wkly appt. to avoid this problem they get upset because the dog still gets matts! They don't "get it". We are the professionals and must help them to understand why this happens. Unfortunately, it can take awhile for some of the clients to actually understand.

          Good luck!



          • #6
            How much you want to make a bet she'll be back???


            • #7
              If they don't follow your rules, don't bend over backwards to accommodate.

              Set your foot down, firmly, stating if you want me to keep brushing out for you, this is gonna be the price. No? Then out come the clippers.


              • #8
                What kind of products are you using on this little guy's coat? Anything to help keep him clean? Anything to help reduce matting?

                I do agree, my choice tool of attack would probably be a steel comb rather than a slicker.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SwissNChow View Post
                  What kind of products are you using on this little guy's coat? Anything to help keep him clean? Anything to help reduce matting?

                  I do agree, my choice tool of attack would probably be a steel comb rather than a slicker.
                  I was wondering the same thing since my cockers can go a full week without seeing a brush and still not be matted. My weekly clients are never matted more than a few tangles...
                  <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


                  • #10
                    "People want their dogs to look like the photos they see of showdogs in full coat but they cannot fathom the amount of care that goes into those coats."

                    This is another thought on this subject...folks also are not aware that the beautiful dogs in full coat in the pix, also NEVER set foot on real ground unless at an outside show. These lovely dogs are kept in ex-pens. That is something that would seem very cruel to most owners, especially one who allows her dog to run in the backyard (something I'd encourage as long as the coat is maintained to allow for this ...).

                    good luck,


                    • #11
                      Usually when I explain exactly what goes into the care of a full coat and how show handlers accomplish this, people change their minds very quickly. Constant dematting, as someone else mentioned, has probably damamged the coat to the point it's just going to keep getting matted and she needs to start over. I have a Bichon client that wanted her dog in a full Bichon clip, but once she found how quickly he looked like a curly grey ragamuffin, she went a bit tighter. I have a Yorkie client that I see every 8 weeks in full coat and there is never even a snag in that coat, so some clients are willing to put the effort in.
                      With someone like this I'd ask them if they only had their hair brushed once a week how snarled do they think it would get? That usually puts it into perspective for those that think they only need brushing at grooming appointments. If I went to my hair stylist weekly, I'd still be brushing my hair daily.
                      What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


                      • #12

                        I give my clients the talk.
                        I tell them my clippers do not go though mats only under them, and though I can
                        lift them off the skin somewhat with good conditioners, I can only do so much.
                        I refuse to brush out mats mor than a few minutes worth.
                        I just know you would not want me to make him miserable with to much demat time.
                        If the dog keeps comeing in mated, he gets one blade shorter every time, till I find a length, that they can keep ahead of.
                        If they just wait till hes a mess anyhow and bring him in then, the price of the groom goes up each and every time.
                        I don't usually crave keeping these kinds of clients anyhow.

                        You can propose an hourly rate for the dog, to make it worth your while if he is a mess,
                        and save them money and the dog some pain if he is in better shape.
                        I do think my dogs get better pretty quick, by charging hourly.
                        People seem to understand it better for some reason.


                        • #13
                          I have a lot of clients that come in either every week or every two weeks. Yes, they get a discount but it is their choice to leave the coat that length. My weekers get a bath conditioner blow dry with comb out and seldomly have mats. If one of my clients wants the dog in a longer style I usually explain the home maintance and sell them the correct brush and a comb. If they come in matted, I change the length of time between grooms, if they come in matted again, i shave them down. I clearly inform all my clients that i will NOT continually demat your dog for them. I charge $X a half hour and I will not demat for longer then a half hour. I did spend from 8:30 to 5:30 on a Silver Std poodle the other day dematting and bathing and rebathing. It was an extreme case and it was easily blowing out with Show Season Detangler and a K111 on high. The dog was given a lot of breaks and was scared of the dryer when I turned it on, but was fine once I started. My elbow hurts today though..whole nother story. OT
                          Sniff the Paw


                          • #14
                            I agree w/ so much of what's been said here. I think I'd go w/ a steel comb too, most Malt breeders/handler recommend a pin brush, but I prefer the comb. I also agree that at this point, the coat may be too damaged to save. When I adopted Bailey he was a total mess; brownish, grey, terribly matted. I was able to dematt him but his coat was still brittle and yellow. I ended up completely shaving his body; he looked like a hairless Chinese Crested. It grew back and I was able to keep him in a long clip for years. (That was w/o ever seeing a pro groomer too.) Of course I combed him at least every other day, bathed him weekly and he has a fairly decent coat, especially for being a rescue. Either this lady wants to put in the work or she doesn't.


                            • #15
                              You are too patient

                              This dog's coat type and his home care indicate that he cannot be kept in full coat. YOU know that he could be, but it is too much for this owner.

                              There is one thing that is possible before doing an all-over cut, and you might "sell" this woman on trying it by telling her that some show people do this with their Maltese and Shih Tzu after their show careers (that is actually where I saw it first). Tell her if this doesn't work then the dog will go shorter, to a "Teddy Bear" trim. (See? Cute name, doesn't sound bad, easier to keep, the length is your choice - could be a snap-on all over, or a #3 or #4 blade on the body with scissored legs. But that's after you try the following option.)

                              So - here you are, having gone on WAY too long trying to keep this dog, and Mama doesn't want to do any maintenance (never mind the correct tools, she is bringing you the dog so that she doesn't have to work on him AND she is bathing him incorrectly!!). Tell her you are going to "layer" his coat so that there is not so much thickness but still good length, it's what some show people do, yadda yadda. Then you take a snap-on over his body, running it off the chest and haunches and sides so that he looks long but his coat is much thinner. If you haven't already, shave the belly inbetween the side fringes.

                              Use some extremely strong conditioner on that long hair - SunSilk from the drug store, or BioGroom Silk, or Isle of Dog HEAVY. Then see how this trim works. If he comes back matted, don't fret or feel bad about trimming the dog down to a #3 Teddy, with short scissored legs. If the owner freaks, say, "Yeah, it's too bad he has such a thick coat - and he likes to play! If he was a show dog, he probably wouldn't be allowed to run around and have so much fun!" No blame, no guilt, no nothing - just practical.

                              I see a short trim in this dog's future, lol. And if she goes somewhere else and they shave him, she will be back, at which point NEVER let him go beyond an easy-to maintain Teddy trim!!

                              Good luck!