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Just a question... re matted pets

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  • Just a question... re matted pets

    Now this post isn't being written to make anyone mad or defensive, but I just wanted to understand something...

    I've noticed this scenario happening in a lot of posts over the last several months..

    pet comes in.. is a matted mess. Groomer may or may not show owners all the mats..but owner doesn't want the dog shaved down. Groomer tries to comb/brush out mats.. they aren't easily removed.. and so groomer shaves dog down, knowing the owner doesn't want that.

    Wouldn't it be easier to try the following?

    A. Make sure the client understands that mats are hard on the pet to be brushed out, and it would be kinder to shave the pet.

    -if the client still insists no shaving then...

    B. Tell the owner it will be XXX$ above the normal grooming charge due to the added detangler products and time spent dematting (the charge could *should* even be double or triple (or get the point) the normal base price since it could take hours..).

    -if the client still insists no shaving then...

    if you have time that day, go ahead and demat.. and if you don't have time, reschedule when you WILL have time.

    Soak that puppy down in a good detangling product, HV out those mats.. whatever it takes, and go home with a pocket full of money to take your SO out to dinner!

    **Disclaimer.. the above scenario is only applicable if the pet isn't one that actually has mats encasing him/her.. with maggots and all that other neglected stuff. If the owner of such a pet insists on dematting, simply refuse the dog (and perhaps call the humane society).

    C. Or.. if the pet isn't matted to the bone but you don't want to spend the time to demat, simply refuse the pet.. it will save a lot of trouble doing the groom, then having the client's mom or dad come back in demanding a refund and talking trash about your salon around town.

    I guess my point is, that why do groomers take the initiative to do something with the pet that the owners don't approve of.. even with well meaning intentions?

  • #2
    Example of a good management issue

    You are right in that a pet should never be shaved without the permission of the owner even if it benefits the pet.

    And look at it this way. It adds to groomer stress and that's the key of management in grooming, wherever and whenever you can alleviate stress, you should be doing that.

    Taking the time to do a thorough pre inspection before accepting a pet is critical, and we've all overlooked doing that at times, and then knowing how to explain the hardships of dematting, or requiring vet clearance in the extreme and the extra time and money is part of MANAGEMENT.

    I take this time to remind everyone, if you want less stress and burnout, be the businessperson that grooms and what you are describing here is good management, it's not the stylist in you, this is a management issue. Most groomers don't realize how they go back and forth each day many times, phasing into management duties like client relations etc. and back to artist, and back to wear a lot of hats.

    This is a million point that goes over a lot of groomers heads that haven't had profesisonal training. Most of the complaints about clients here are certainly real, but it is the artist dealing with the public, and not switching into the fair, hardly emotional, practical, patient manager. It defuses most clients and we got our way 99% of the time, no scenes, no problems, defuse the clients and they will cooperate except the tiniest of percentages...takes training.

    Everyone should write a policy book up on how to handle this situation and all the other situations. You would be amazed how it adds value to selling your business one day.
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    • #3
      Good post Diemonster!

      I for one like to explain and educate my owners. Most of my customers are regular middle class and can't afford the ungodly dematt, and even if they could, I let them know how much dematting hurts. I explain to them that I need for them to help me help their pets. My owners are usually very understanding. If they weren't I'd be out of business.


      • #4
        I think you are right but I think the recent postings with the clients reacting badly are ones that are just plain crazy clients and I wouldn't want them in my shop. I can't even imagine screaming at someone the F word or the B word. I wouldn't have been able to stay as calm as they did. I know I would have flipped and I would have not refunded anything. Most of the people that have argued with me on the phone when making an appointment for a matted dog about shaving it usually seem to understand when they come in and I show them how tight to the skin the dogs usually are, but I have been lucky I guess. I know I am not going to make an apponitment for anyone that would require me dematting a dog for hours no matter what I would charge them. I am not going to do it to myself or the dog/cat! I would be way too stressed and so would the animal.


        • #5
          I completely agree. I don't believe you should ever shave a dog without the owner's consent, even if it is reluctant. I always inspect the dog before the owner leaves so I can inform them if I think the dog will need to be shaved. Either the owner will agree or not...if they don't want the dog shaved then I tell them I cannot groom it until is mat-free. In all but one instance they have agreed to let me shave. In the other instance the owner was adamant about not shaving, so she took the dog home and de-matted it herself and brought it back to be groomed the next day. And she actually got most of the mats out, I was impressed.


          • #6
            Diemonster, I completely agree with you. That is exactly what I do in the shop. Most people don't want to pay the price of dematting so they wind up telling you to shave. But then it is their decision, not yours. We have only 1 current customer that demands the dog be dematted. I give that one to the owner. I personally can not do that to an animal. The dog is charged 4x's the reg price of a yorkie in our shop. It is in full coat. It screams the entire time. I could never do that. Originally the owner of the dog told our shops owner that the vet said it should not be shaved. One day I asked her why she won't have it cut short. I told her the shop owner told me a while back that your vet said it should not be shaved. Then I looked her straight in the eye and said now you and I both know the vet would never say that. Then she said to me, "I just don't like her short. She looks ugly." I told her she should stay 1 day and watch her dog be groomed. She didn't care.


            • #7
              I always get permission before shaving a pet...or before doing anything other than what was discussed. I often get clients who say to do what I want, and are happy also...I am a lucky groomer


              • #8
                A good check in is a must. If its one of those iffy one clear the shave at drop off and surprise them with longer if possible. I see many groomers who just want to make the customer happy so emphasize that brushing out might be possible and the might be shave is a side note. So what the customer "hears" is 'brushout' NOT shave. Then client leaves and groomer grabs a 7 going crazy owner wanting this brushed out. Its all in the comunication.

                For me they get 2 options.
                Let me shave it.
                Take it home and brush it out. Those who accept this option usually call in a day to get a shave. Yes you loose the appt for the day but you can create a lifetime of a compliant understanding customer.


                • #9
                  What I do is explain I will take a closer look and see if maybe it can be brushed out, but it will probably have to be short-short. This lowers their expectations but lets them know I'm putting forth the effort. (even if the first blade I grab is my 7 lol)


                  • #10
                    I always inspect the dog in front of the owner before they leave. I will give them their options. If the dog is slightly matted, and they want to pay for the hourly demat charge, then I will do it. If the dog is so bad it will bleed, or freak out, etc....or, owner doesn't want to pay for demat charge, then I will explain that the dog needs to be shaved. I also have then sign a consent form.
                    On the rare occassion that I miss a mat or two, I will call the owner to get permission to shave the mats out, or cut the dog a little shorter.
                    I couldn't imagine just shaving a dog without the owner's permission, that's just asking for trouble. I will even call them if I need to.
                    Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


                    • #11
                      I always checkout the dog before the owner leaves. The owner should have a clear understanding of what job you will be doing. If a dog is very matted and the owner wants to pay $40 an hour for dematting, the owner has to stay with the dog during the process! lol I always do that, and when they see how stressful it is, and how much their lil baby yaps, they say,"forget it, just shave it and we'll do better next time" always works!


                      • #12
                        I never shave down a pet without the owner's permission, but I've had a few that denied they gave me permission once the deed was done. Even when I had a signed permission slip, and show it to them. They claim they didn't know it was going to be that short...even though the slip says (and I tell them verbally) that a shave down means the dog will have no hair.

                        And I also give them two options: leave the dog and I shave it, or take it elsewhere and have someone who doesn't mind torturing dogs do it. Because I won't. If they want to know what I mean by torturing, I ask them if they'd consider it torture if someone pinched them and pulled their hair for 2-4 hours.


                        • #13
                          I have actually called the owenr and requested premission to shave ears that were matted. Just becuase I never specified ears too. I am very specific, and I explain the options very carefully.

                          Lord help the day that I customer cusses at me!!! Do they not realize that the harder they cuss the higher the price and I call the police??? lol No potty mouth here, I am polite they are polite.


                          • #14
                            I have an "inspection" table in my lobby, if the owner insists on dematting, I supply a brush and tell them if they can brush out a section, I'll give it a shot, it usually takes less than 5 minutes before they agree to shave the dog!


                            • #15
                              If they don't like what I have to offer, I would tell them I had no other option or they were welcome to get a "second opinion" from another groomer, but NO WAY would I just shave the dog down whether they like it or not.

                              My drying table is in the bathing room right next to where I check in clients.

                              I take Fluffy, set him/her on the drying table while the client waits. I turn the dryer on (just my little Metro Commander) and aim it at the dog. If I see mats, I ask the owner to come take a look. I had one of these yesterday, a very old woman who does NOT like dogs having the dog's hair short! She was surprised when I showed her and she asked me "What do we do?" and I said, "It would be inhumane to demat Honey in this condition, we'll have to clip her short." She responded, "Oh, I don't like that, but I don't think we have a choice, do we?" Nope.

                              She rebooked for 3 weeks, LOL. (It had only been 6 weeks since the last groom, she's a very regular customer but this is a new dog for her, a very hairy shih tzu).

                              Anyway, the dryer check is great because you can see ALL the mats, and so can the owner. I don't really like to do the "comb test" because who can get a comb through a dirty tangled (not matted) coat anyway? I get those tangles out with a brush and a dryer, but when I try a comb on a DIRTY coat, it doesn't budge in most cases. That's just my experience.

                              Tammy in Utah
                              Groomers Helper Affiliate