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No more big dogs!

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  • No more big dogs!

    I have always considered myself a groomer of small-medium sized dogs. And for the most, with borzois for 20 years, I think of 40-45 pound dogs as a medium size. Well, no more! I have several cockers and mixed breeds that at a correct weight, they should go about 35#, however they are instead 45+ pounds. Yesterday, I had to lift one of those fat-butts in the tub, out of the tub, on the table, off the table, etc. Back hurt a little last night, but then today when I reached up to to put a little dog unto a top-row cage, excrutiating pain!! I staggered into the house (home-based shop) and laid on the floor, more pain. I had my DD bring the phone and I called my chiro. He told me to come right in, his office is only 4 blocks away from me. He adjusted me and said it will take 24-48 hours for swelling to go down, until then I am on muscle relaxers, which are helping a little. He thinks I strained my back yesterday with heavy dog and today moved just right to throw out the back. So tomorrow I am calling all the heavies and firing them! Another groomer, friend of mine has offered to take them on, so I will give her number to them. From now on, no dogs ofer 35# for me. I don't want to chance this ever again.
    Lisa VanVleet, RVT

  • #2
    I can say, quite literally, I feel your pain! Im STILL not grooming, back still hurts like a bitch, and my right leg is 5/8" shorter than the left. Bossman made a joke the other day, said I was listing to starboard! I shot him a look (learned it from my mom, the queen of the "look") but restrained myself admirably otherwise. 'Course, I almost bit my tongue in half, I was biting it so hard.

    IF Im lucky enough to be able to go back to grooming, there will never be anything heavier than 35# for me. Trust me, nothing is worth what Im going through right now. Nothing.

    I hope your back heals quicker than mine seems to be.
    Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
    George Sand (1804 - 1876)


    • #3
      I'm so sorry to hear about both of your back pain is so terrible when your back goes out because it is so debilitating...

      It's good to share these stories too with the 'younger' groomers who I see slinging dogs up into tubs without using their knees and legs to lift, bending down over tables that are not adjusted correctly, etc. I was guilty of all of the above, believe me. But as I age (ahem) I am so much more aware of how important the right equipment at the right height is....hydrolic table adjusted properly, scissors that fit, anti fatigue mats, etc....if we don't take care of our bodies, we are sunk!

      The one thing I don't have is a chiropractor...always been a bit suspicious...but I hear such good things from people about them, maybe it's time for me to search one out!

      Hope both of you heal quickly!


      • #4
        The one thing certain about chiros is they always want you back for another appointment whether you need it or not. That can get into real $$$$.00 over time.

        Years ago I had a lot of back trouble and a doctor gave me some advice that served me well. He told me to throw some blankets and pillows on the floor to get down on the floor if my back started acting up, and stay there. I was told to lay flat on my back and every couple of hours roll to one side, then roll to the other side, then flat on my back again. I was to keep this up until I noticed a real difference on how my back felt.

        The only time I was to get up was for food and bathroom breaks. I was told to take ibuprophen religiously while doing the floor routine.

        It worked. I followed that routine for the next couple of bouts and haven't had a back problem in the twenty years since. And I used to have spells of back trouble all the time.


        • #5
          oh my

          thats awful. everyone I hear of back problems always talk about how the pain started after waking the next day. I have had my share of back strains but nothing major, yet. I am concerned though because like you, I find that I would accept grooming certain breeds, but then the dog turns out to be way over weight. I have a golden I started grooming when he was a puppy, I warned them that if he gets too big, then I wont groom him, well he is now 118#, thats alot of butt to be holding up on my table because he refuses to stand for his rear brush out and scissor. I am planning on dropping him as soon as i have the guts to just call her to do it LOL. His last groom I left there feeling pain and was in pain the rest of the night and for a few days after.


          • #6
            Ow and Ow!

            So sorry for all the back pain - you and others!

            PuppyFluffer and Elizo - have you been to massage? If you find a good masseuse/masseur, they are usually invaluable at recommending a GOOD chiropractor, not just one of the assembly line chiros that don't really pay attention to you. I have had both types. The difference is phenomenal.

            Also acupuncture is worth a try. Again, good massage therapist will be into many alternative practitioners who can do what doctors can't. Good luck, all.


            • #7
              big dogs

              Send them to me please!!!!!!! I too am a home-based groomer. I found an ottoman (which was from Pier 1) that I have trained my doggies to go up to get into the tub which has really helped! I have a Golden Retriever in every grooming day & my back loves that ottoman! p.s. It is about 2 x 2 feet .


              • #8
                Thank you, Thank you Thank you!!!!

                Since I am new to the grooming world I have had issues, like the 2 Golden's who wouldn't stand up who were overweight! The one dog I actually measured around the middle was 47"s around and must have weighed 120 at least! I was told he was a "bit heavy for his breed but very well behaved" I almost keeled over and died when he came in. I felt like saying sorry, but find another groomer! however this was a referral from another client, so I kept my mouth shut. This dog had so much undercoat it took me 3 hours to de-matt and remove enough of the coat to make him presentable, he never did make it into my tub which I am thankful for as I have a regular human tub!
                Now I ask questions, how big is he/he, weight, and I say I will take a look and see if I think I can handle it, I won't commit to grooming the big and hairy dog until I see it first, and then I will tell them yes or no and the price of the groom.
                My last job was hard on my back and since I started grooming things have been good considering what I am working with ( old kitchen table for a grooming table and a regular human tub for the big ones) but I really need to put my foot down! So I will keep doing the medium (under 50 lbs) and the small Under 25 lbs but anything heavier than 50 lbs is a on sight decision, and if people can't handle that, they can take the dog somewhere else!

                It is nice hearing some experienced groomer say "no more big dogs" because I felt like I was going to lose dogs that a better more experienced groomer could handle. However, I am sure by now you all know my dryer situation, and even drying these dogs takes forever, so now I don't feel so bad. I will look at it as a safety measure for myself, and not a failure on my part to say "sorry but there is no way I can safely groom a dog of that size"

                Thanks for posting about your problems, you have made this 45 year old realize that my safety and well being come first! Once I get a hydraulic table and a way to get them in the tub safely, then I will take another look at the situation, but until then, I'm done with the monsters.
                I learn something new everyday on this site, and today it was from the first post I read!

                I hope your back feels better soon!
                Take care and be safe!
                AKA Gluergirl / Little_Critters on e-groomer
                .................................................. .................................................. .................


                • #9
                  hydraulic table

                  I would recommend investing in a hydraulic table with wheels that you can roll the big ones right over to the tub and let them walk right in. I have never picked up a large dog and never will...its just not worth hurting yourself.


                  • #10
                    Im sorry you are having back pain. It sucks. I know. I have been told by Doc that I have to lower my weight limits, but it is so hard. I do have an electric table, and most are table trained pretty well. I do not have to do a lot of lifting at all, but the big guys just ware you out. Even if they are good, and you have all the right equipment it can still be hard some days. I hope you start feeling better soon.


                    • #11
                      Doubledogdare, there are bad chiros and good just like every other profession. I have been to two different ones. Neither of them ever told me I HAD to come back. Basically I call them whenever I have a problem, ache, pain or whatever. If I am feeling fine, I don't see them. Have never pre-booked or even been asked to return again unless I was still in pain. I know there are those "bad" chiros, I had one client that went every Thursday to her chiro. I can't imagine her needing adjusted that often. But I'm not her and he's not my chiro. Even my dog's chiro. tells me just to call if he is having a problem.
                      Lisa VanVleet, RVT


                      • #12
                        I have a forever stainless tub that is a ttrue walkin tub best investment I ever made! The the other one that ois waist high I cna get a lot of lighter dogs into it that are back breakers if I put them in t he big tub. I can feel your paion.I don't have th eoption of a chiro due to a nack injury in a MVA that resulted in a turned vertabrae I was told never to go to a chiro however I second the massage! A frined of mine who has since moved out fo the country used to trade grooms for massage! Very relaxing and makes al the difference!


                        • #13
                          Welcome to the "Sorry I only groom small pets XX# and under, but thank you for your phone call" club. My chiro told me a few years ago that I had to stop lifting and pulling on the big heavies. It was killing me! I only groom 25 lbs and under and LOVE IT!! Trust me, there is no shortage of small dogs to take the place of the big heavy ones and your back will thank you for it at the end of the day.


                          • #14
                            I only do big dogs that are cooperative, I use a pet ladder, if they climb it into the tub and onto the table and don;t act like idiots they can come, otherwise I tell owners I can't risk destroying my back, find another gromer or get the dog trained. To little and (ahem...old)to fight out of control dogs of any size. You have to be careful not to end your career,or health in this biz.
                            ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~


                            • #15
                              I stopped grooming large dogs last year. With the exception of 4, who are all wonderful dogs. (believe it or not, one is a Although one huge reason was my back, it was also my shoulder. There were nights I couldn't even sleep because my shoulder hurt so bad from brushing out those big'n hairies. I finally decided I could either give up the big dogs, or plan on giving up grooming within 5 years because I honestly don't think my body would have tolerated it much longer then that. I don't regret my decision at all. I DO miss the big dogs because I'm partial to them anyway But I'm not in pain anymore.