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Policy on Dogs in BAD Shape

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  • Policy on Dogs in BAD Shape

    As a shop that's only been open for 5 months, we're getting a ton of dogs that have been kicked out of other grooming shops, or have not been groomed in ages.

    We find ourselves spending too much time brushing out dogs in terrible shape, trying to save Shih Tzu tails, washing filthy dogs 2-3 times, shaving Wheatons & Sheepdogs down with #10's.

    Right now, everyone has been getting "one free brush-out" & we will spend some time saving its tail or dematting it to avoid having to skin the poor dog. We tell the owner that this is too hard on the dog, it has to come in 6-8 weeks, etc. Some people HAVE listened and started coming regularly. Most have not.

    I note the dog's chart that next time it is not to get any extra time spent on it without extra $$$ - but I am also considering a policy where I will not shave a dog down twice due to neglect. It's too hard on me, the equipment, the dog, and my time.

    Do any of you have a policy like this, or what do you do when a dog comes in matted to the skin? Charge more? Shrug it off and shave it? As a new shop we can't be too obnoxious about kicking people out - but we're losing money on some of these people too!

  • #2
    There are very few dogs that we refuse to do. Dogs with maggots are at the top of the list, and we haven't had one of those in YEARS!

    We charge by the hour, so those extremely matted dogs ARE charged more...so are the ones that are hard to handle, or that just take extra time..such as a longer, fancier trim.

    I don't worry about saving much coat on extremely matted dogs...if it has to come off with a 10, so be it...every inch if need be. Although we will try to use the longest blade possible to get through the coat, we don't sweat it. Thus, there is little wear and tear on us, the dog, or the equipment. It is just a non-issue.

    We will dematt tail and ears if it won't take too long...I'm quick on that, so can normally get a completely felted tail brushed out in 5 minutes or less. No big deal.

    As far as not doing them....our thought is if we don't, who will? We don't over book our day, so we have the time to help these dogs out...we know we are kind and humane to them. Being in this business for 30 years, I know that if we don't shave them, they wont go another 6 months or a year before the owners will get around to calling another groom shop...let's clean up those babies NOW so they can have the next 6 months to live a little easier.

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    • #3
      I do them

      I just charge more. Then I let the owners know what it would cost if the dog were not matted. I also try to get them to rebook. If they don't well then next time they hear from me it will cost them a ton again. I feel bad for the dogs, so unless they are bitters, I do them. No maggots though. Thankfully, I have never had that. I would puke. I would also call the ASPCA.
      If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!

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      • #4
        When it comes to dogs that are extremely matted, where the hair comes off like a felted suit-No Heroics! I take it off with the blade length that will get it off the safest way possible . I can usually save ears and tail, but sometimes that's not even an option. I charge extra because of the extra time, worry, and extra wear & tear on my blades. I won't subject the poor dog to dematting if they're in terrible shape. It's not the dog's fault they arrive at this state; and it's not mine if they need to be short. Oftentimes these same dogs keep returning in same sad shape every time.

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        • #5
          When I first opened I did about the same as you are doing. I would give them a "freebie" brushout. No more of that nonsense for me though!!! It made absolutely no difference in how often these guys were groomed or how well the owners maintained them. Nope, charge for your time you are not a charity ward....lol...

          As far as the shave down issue, that is totally up to you. I will shave a matted dog as often as he needs it. It doesn't bother me as long as they are halfway decently behaved. I just make sure to charge for my time and extra wear and tear on my equipment!
          SheilaB from SC

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          • #6
            I say don't bother with the brush outs at all. Charge a butt load and shave the dog from head to toe. The owner will learn eventually. I've done that a couple times and the dogs actually started coming back in better shape. I would shave EVERYTHING. Head, ears, face, tail etc. Even if it wasn't matted I'd shave it anyways. Because no amount of telling the owner to brush or comb a dog made a difference. When they saw that their little poochy poo was coming home completely bald it woke them up a little. (I worked at a place that was the last chance groomers for dogs, so they didn't have a choice but to come to me.. LOL)
            Becky

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            • #7
              I agree, I won't dematt a dog that's really bad, or even moderately bad. It's not worth it to me if the owner's aren't going to bring them in every 6 wks. I'll give forewarning, and then it's their responsibility to either rebook, or call later for an appt.

              I'll charge extra for the dematting and I don't mind shaving a dog down with a 10 or 7, it's usually easier than a longer trim that I have to scissor finish. I don't like that the dog goes out hairless though, cause that's not going to bring in any business. Hopefully they'll bring them in on time next time.
              Erin
              No Fur, No Paws, No Service.

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              • #8
                Seems that most dogs in horrible shape come back the same way so any hair that I managed to leave long will just be what's the biggest mess the next time around. I charge these folks a whole bunch, since the dog should have been groomed 2 or 3 times since it was done last. Generally, if a dog comes in that cannot go straight to the tub, it messes up my schedule and I charge more.

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                • #9
                  Shave it down. They get the message about brushing or bringing on a regular schedule.
                  I wet shave a lot of matted dogs. Saves time and wear and tear on the blades and me.
                  "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."
                  Diane

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                  • #10
                    As a rule, I don't de-mat a badly neglected dog. It's just not fair to the pet. If the owner wants hair, I will gladly show them the proper way to brush and comb, and try to get them on a maintenance program. Offering to de-mat for free??? No way no how. So not worth it. Since dogs learn by association, you are teaching them that grooming is painful-not good. I've found over the years, that if you de-mat once, owners will expect it again. They haven't learned a thing.
                    Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

                    Groom on!!!

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                    • #11
                      i did the same thing when i first opened,(brushed everything out)..it's good to let people know that you are skilled...however, now when they come in matted, it's a shave and the customer is informed that it just isn't fair to the dog to have to brushed out(tortured) because of basic neglect. i used to give lessons in brushing...well, most (90%) don't bother to brush.....shave the dog, try like he## to get them on a regular schedule (i find about 75% will get on a schedule) if they just won't, then inform them the dog will always be shaved (this is o.k. with some people) this all in the best interest of the dog.

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                      • #12
                        I don't demat severely matted dog, or moderately matted dogs. I'll demat ears and tails, and brush out small mats on legs. But that's it.

                        For the all-over matted dogs, I have two words. Wet shave.

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                        • #13
                          Yikes!

                          It is so sad that dog owners can't come to terms with having their pets coats shaved down after they have neglected it. Maybe if they were asked to stop brushing and washing their hair for a few months and then they went to a salon and asked for it to be brushed out they would get it. Yikes!

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                          • #14
                            They still wouldn't get it. I think the only thing I've said to clients that makes an impression would be "Well, how would you feel if every time you opened your mouth it pulled your pubic hair? Because that's what's happening to your dog. And yes, I'll brush it out. But only if you let me pinch you hard and pull your hair constantly for the next hour, because that's what's going to happen to your dog."

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                            • #15
                              I agree with the others. If the dog is severely matted I would rather do a shave down. I just don't think it's fair to the dog to have to go through all that demat just to have them come back again the in the same condition.

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