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Need tips on helping aprentice to gain speed.

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  • Need tips on helping aprentice to gain speed.

    We have a new groomer in the shop, who I am overseeing. She graduated from grooming school last August and worked for couple months but was out of grooming work since than.
    She has very good bathing, fluffing and clipper skills and I am sure she has great potential. When it comes to finishing and shaping she is lost and I end up finishing her dogs for her a lot. I do not expect her to be as fast as seasoned groomers are but I need to help her gain confidence and speed. I made her a "routine" list with aproximate time she should be spending on various parts of the dog but i am not sure what else I can do for her.
    Any advise from people who trained groomers is appreciated.

  • #2
    I can offer no help at all on your problem. But would it be tacky to ask you for a copy of that list? lol. I could sure use something like that.


    • #3
      Originally posted by lexapurple View Post
      I made her a "routine" list with approximate time she should be spending on various parts of the dog but i am not sure what else I can do for her.
      I would get her a timer to go along with the list. It's easy for her to lose track of the time by timing herself by the wall clock. She can't ignore the timer going off.
      I did the timer routine at work when I hired my bather. At first, she went at her own speed until she was familiar with the job and comfortable doing the work. Then, for one week, I timed myself bathing, drying, nails, etc. and gave her the times as goals to meet. This worked really well for her. We still time grooms to keep us aware of the time spent on our grooms and to ensure we are charging appropriately. For example, I will pick an animal and track all the time spent dealing with that pet - from check-in to booking the next app't. to cleaning out the kennel.
      "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go." ~Dr. Seuss


      • #4
        Originally posted by lexapurple View Post
        . When it comes to finishing and shaping she is lost and I end up finishing her dogs for her a lot.
        Any advise from people who trained groomers is appreciated.
        If I were you I would stop finishing her dogs. She knows she has you to fall back on and that may make her a little lax.

        I'm not a 'groomer' per say, I co-own a shop and I do the bathing, flufffing, roughing, scheduling etc. but I don't normally 'finish' dogs. I can, but just not as good or as fast as my co-owner. Between the two of us we can really put out the numbers. Anyhow, one dreadful morning my partner fell and broke her leg as she was walking into our shop (terrible blizzard). The next day I groomed 3 dogs alone, no big deal and I was proud of myself. The day after I had 7 dogs and got them all done but was near tears by the time I finished the last one. Anytime I'm grooming with the two of us I know my partner will finish my dog and it makes me a little slow, boy did I learn speed very quickly in just a couple of days. Thankfully she's back to work (broken leg and all) and I'm back to doing what I do best, bath and fluff.


        • #5
          Idea with times is great! I could use one miself as well


          • #6
            I would

            treat her like a true novice, which it sounds like she is. I'd for now book lots less, say two dogs a day and for sure let her finish entirely. Give some hints, maybe make a cut of hair to show a line. But she won't develop any confidence if you finish for her. It depends on what school etc. but a couple of months is sure still early. IMO if you hurry her up too much there likely would be an accident. Maybe she could be your bather, then do one or two dogs till she gets it.
            Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


            • #7
              If she has no confidence and is lost at sea on scissoring and patterns, a ticking timer would probably end up freaking her out. I have routinely put students into panic mode and crying jags by pointing at the clock and then at their dogs.

              At the schools it is common for an instructor to do one half of the dog and have the student do the other half/side to match it up. That speeds the process up and gives the newbie something to stare at while honing her skills.

              Maybe she needs to do something of that nature again. Do one leg, half the head, one side of the underline, and let her do the other side. Grab her by the forelock and make her watch you doing the bit you are doing and explain exactly what you are doing - why you hold your shears as you do, what angles you employ, how you fluff or back comb, how you check to make certain you did everything correctly. Don't let her stand gazing at the ceiling while you do your thing. She needs to pay attention.

              I know if they dawdle, the easiest thing to do is jump in and finish the dog to get it out the door. But every time you step in and she steps back to let you do her job, she ceases to learn the skills she needs to succeed.


              • #8
                Lexa, have you told her to develop a routine?

                I know that when I was apprenticing, my mom beat it into my brain that I needed to find a routine that worked for me. I still do it.

                1. prep work: pads, sanitary (if needed), nails,

                2. Main body work

                3. Complete head

                4. checking for any strays (making sure to go back and do nails if the dog threw a fit over them)

                5. ear hair ('cause I don't like making the dog angry at the beginning of the groom), bandanna, cologne


                • #9
                  Less stress if -

                  You may ease the stress on both of you if you change to using her as a bather for some days, or parts of days, and allow her to finish a dog a day at first.

                  What I used to do is get new people to do the clipper work, if that was what they could do. This teaches them the lines to do, and is not as time-stressful as scissoring (nor as skilled). And some dogs are shave-offs, so if they can do pretty well the whole dog (I would do the heads at first), they feel a great sense of accomplishment, which also helps their progress.

                  For scissoring, I started with telling them to scissor ONE LEG if I already knew their scissoring skills. Then I would see if they had time to do another, or if I should finish the dog while they did other shave work or whatever.

                  When I got them to scissor TWO or more legs, I would give them this rule: They had to do them as fast as they could comfortably go ONCE OVER, not picking, not perfecting, and then go back if there was time. This rule applied for all 4 legs, too. It was the best one I ever found for getting new people to NOT take an hour to perfect one leg on a small dog, LOLl! It really helped the new ones because they moved more quickly on their scissoring knowing they would get another chance to go over it and it did not need to be "the final result" right away. Within just days, many new groomers could substantially increase their finishing time, and once they saw this, they loved it, and just kept on improving.

                  Of course there is another rule that goes along with the "do it quickly the first time, then go back", and that is: "STEP AWAY FROM THE DOG", hahaha. I would make them back up 2-3 feet and take a look, or put the dog on the floor and look at it and show them the difference from what we see when our faces are 2 inches from our work!! There IS a "good enough" level that they need to realize for themselves by doing these things (with our help), but it simply takes time.

                  Personally, I never expected a newly trained groomer to do even 4 or 5 dogs a day until they had a year or so under their belt. If I got a fast one, great! But most needed less pressure and I structured things so that they did not feel that I was disappointed in them. I think if you can structure differently, you and your newbie will be SO much happier!! And if she has good basic skills, let her flourish under you, just let those skills develop comfortably with her, and you will have the BEST grooming help.


                  • #10
                    I know the idea of having another groomer is to take some of the load off of you but in reality quality work comes from time not speed.She went to school for the basics ,its now your turn to fine tune her skills to your standards. Do not finish her work for her you are defeating the purpose of teaching her ,She will not learn by simply watching you do it for her. Check her work nit pick what you see wrong and let her know what you expect then make her correct the mistakes.If you are paying her commission as most groomers are paid then her lack of speed is only effecting her pay check . Be patient , stay calm with her , but be honest in what you expect it takes time.if possible try to keep her doing the same types of trims such as shih, lhasas , similar mixed breeds(cuts) until she gets it down and comfortable with it then add on other styles and breeds slowly, Nothing can be more overwhelming to a new groomer than being expected to groom 100+ breeds in 100+ ways to do so and not have the time to learn them before being expected to do them fast.


                    • #11
                      You're going to have to back up a bit, and give her fewer dogs to do. Give her shavedowns, only before she actually shaves them completely down have her practice scissoring a leg or doing finish work on the head. It won't matter if she makes mistakes, because she's going to shave it off anyway. So there's less pressure not to make mistakes.

                      I'd also stop doing her finish work, and have her do it herself. If she needs a bit of help, offer suggestions. But the only way she'll ever learn is to do it herself. And again, that means cutting her work load until she figures it out.

                      There are some things she can do on her own to help, too. Buy some faux fur, glue it to PVC pipes for legs, and scissor. Glue some to a larger cylindrical object (waste can?) and scissor curves. Tack fur up on the wall and scissor. Wind yarn into a ball, brush it out on one side, and scissor "top knots."

                      And there does come a day you have to just push them in at the deep end and let 'em swim! It usually isn't something you planned. For example, a few years back I had a student that also lacked confidence. One day I was bitten on the wrist, and ended up in surgery. She had to sink or swim. She swam! And did a bang up job of it, too. I made sure to make a big fuss over her "See, I told you you could do it. You just needed a reason to get busy and do it. So now you know you can. I'm still here if you need help, but from now on I expect you to do great things."

                      And she's doing great things, LOL. She's working completely on her own now, and is quite successful. I'm so proud of her!


                      • #12
                        Quit being her crutch. Give her less dogs and make her finish them all the way. Then look it over and put on a few finishing touches but that's all. Eventually she'll realize in order to make money she'll have to pick up the speed.


                        • #13
                          I like many of the suggestions but let me clarify some things.
                          1. I do not own the shop and I do not get paid much to teach her. I get 10% of her comission to watch over and guide and make sure dogs go home looking decent. I don't think I can change anything about it, I can only hope that if she learns from me and I will have somebody in the shop that I can be comfortable to give my clients to.
                          2. I schedule 2-3 dogs more for miself and when everyone comes in I chose 2-3 dogs that she could groom.


                          • #14
                            If I were you I would stop finishing her dogs. She knows she has you to fall back on and that may make her a little lax.
                            i agree with this...i started to rely on the person who taught me which ended up me not learning/remembering what i am suppose to now you end up with a lost groomer...


                            • #15
                              Laxa, I was once in your position I was expected to "teach" a person who had been grooming 6 years & had no idea how to do a Schnauzer! I wound up doing all her dogs for only $2/dog & she got paid for the commissions. We were way behind schedule I was frustrated & the boss was griping because *I* took so long.

                              After she got Schnauzers down (except for the head, of course--she never learned any heads) she didn't want to do Yorkies or teddy head shave downs so, she did a MAJOR ****** job of it & took way too long to do so because she knew she'd get paid anyhow. Meanwhile the boss was griping me out DAILY because *I* took too long to groom.

                              I finally started giving her only 2-3 dogs daily because I figured it would only hurt her paycheck that way & she could take all day. that lasted about 2 weeks & she started complaining about her paychecks I told her her pay raise was up to her. Of course I got tears & wailing, "I'm TRY-ing!!! Boo hoo Hoo!!!, etc. blah, blah, blah..." I still got daily gripings because *I* was taking so long.

                              The boss was griping CONSTANTLY because I "didn't let her learn" & would not listen to me when I told him she would either stare at the ceiling while I finished her dog, look out the window or "go on break". And of course, *I*was taking too long& *I* was "not allowing her to learn".. She finally quit. Of COURSE *I* was the reason for her quitting & she "just couldn't stand to work with somebody who kept her down, blah, blah, etc".

                              Months later we got an applicant who had worked at another shop with her. Same song, different verse & she twisted off on them, too. I'm sure it wasn't her fault at all. Pffft!!!
                              Last edited by Smart-n-Pretty; 03-30-10, 10:04 AM.
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