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Hello and poodles

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  • Hello and poodles

    I'm the proud owner of 2 standard poodles. (2 and 4 yrs) My first dogs ever and I'm over the moon they are part of our family.

    My goal is to groom at home. I know nothing, but I enjoying learning and being with my dogs. They've been groomed professionally but having 2 standards, plus 2 teenagers (humans) you know how that money thing becomes an issue. They are beautiful dogs and they deserve to look their finest.

    So questions:
    1) What do you wish you could tell clients that would make your life easier?

    2) I'm basically a big love muffin to my dogs, suggestions regarding feeling confident and communicating positive energy to a dog? But also having them take me seriously? Poodles are way smarter than I am.

    3) Any favorite resources you can recommend for owner-wanna-be-groomers?

    4) Groomers work hard and I want to be respectful of your expertise. You are superheros. Is it possible to watch your dog being groomed? Perhaps a mobile groomer or home groomer would not mind? I know dogs (and kids) behave better when mom is out of the room. But I learn best by observation. Is this doable or am I going to offend a groomer by asking. I'll pay extra!

    I've got a zillion questions: equipment and tools; lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! Thoughts, insights, wisdom, common sense appreciated.

    Bonus points if you can solve the ear
    plucking vs trimming debate 😄

    Thank you! 🐩🐩🐩🐩

  • #2
    Welcome to you and your poodles!

    1. Brush! Please line brush otherwise they will mat.
    2. You should be serious but not mean. Make it rewarding but not a game.
    3. I would recommend a book by Shirlee Kalstone called Poodle Clipping and Grooming: The International Reference.
    4. Try talking to a grooming school, or to some home groomers. It never hurts to ask.
    5. I say pluck the ears if there is a lot of hair, otherwise just let it be.

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    • #3
      Buy professional quality tools. Be prepared to spend lots.
      Buy a grooming table. Buy a professional high velocity dryer. It goes without saying to buy good quality clippers, blades, scissors, etc.
      Do searches on this forum board. We talk about that stuff all the time. You’ll get an idea of what to buy.

      I think the best way to learn is to have someone show you how. I have shown, and charged, owners to show them how to groom.
      Unfortunately, it’s a tough time to have groomers take time to teach anyone. We are all working overtime and trying to catch-up with the backlog of being shut down due to the Covid-19 virus.

      Be aware that grooming takes a long time to learn to do well. Often times people think “oh, I’ll just watch my groomer a time or two and I’ll be able to do it myself”. Not so....it has taken us YEARS to get as good as we are. Just learning to brush, bathe, and fluff dry a dog properly will be an eye opener. (And you will need ANOTHER professional dryer to properly fluff dry...on top of your HV Dryer)

      Don’t be surprised by the price of lessons. Remember, these are private lessons. I would charge at least $100 per hour.
      First lesson would just be learning to brush properly.
      Second lesson you would bring dogs in already brushed out (comb goes through like butter) and we would have bathing/drying lesson.
      Third lesson, dogs would come in brushed, bathed and fluff dried. We would learn some clipper work.

      So, 3 lessons, $300, and you haven’t even given them a haircut yet...let alone learn how to scissor.

      The clipping and scissoring comes with the next lessons.

      Luckily, you have two big dogs that will be needing brushing and clipping on a constant basis. Lots of dog to practice on! And hair grows back, so if you make a mistake you wait a bit and try again. Practice makes perfect.
      As I tell my Poodle clients “They are the Barbie dolls of dogs. Just have fun with them. Change their hairstyles. Paint their nails. Clip crazy patterns into their coats. Anything goes. Have fun”

      At home, you have the advantage of working on your dog a few minutes a day. So you can spend 10 minutes one day brushing out ears, tail and topnots. The next day, brush a leg or two, the next day, brush the other legs, etc. By the end of the week your dog is brushed. (Now start on the other one! )

      This makes it nice for you as far as training goes. Up on the table, ears brushed, off the table to play. Up on the table, sit quietly, off the table. Etc etc.
      We can get into training a bit later. I’ll stop for now.

      Good luck, and have fun.

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      • #4
        Hello and welcome to the board.

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        • #5
          I have worked where it was possible for owners to watch grooming but over closed circuit. It can distract both groomer and dog when owners watch. Depends upon the dogs ultimately.

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          • #6
            Great advice so far. With COVID, you probably won't find a groomer willing to teach hands on. Most aren't even letting clients into their salons. Have you thought about taking an online grooming course? There are some that advertise on this board. It may be expensive, but you're probably paying around $100 per dog now-and you have many years left in their lives for grooms. Their are PLENTY of YouTube videos on grooming. Barkleigh has some great ones also. PetsSmarts/PetCo groomers work behind glass, so people can watch. You may want to do some of that.

            I know you just want to learn to groom your own dogs, but there are some awesome groomers who started out in just that way. You may find that grooming is a hidden passion for you!
            Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

            Groom on!!!

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            • #7
              HELLO ask all the questions you want. Now to answer some things, yes observing pet owners can be an issue for the groomer if it distracts a dog. Poodles require fine scissoring and you may find that not all groomers are expert at poos because we don't get enough of them like the old days. Fine scissoring means no distractions, it is tough, so a dog that keeps looking at its owner is a PITA but not you of course. I like the idea of watching on cctv but this rare as can be.

              I love poos and what I love is owners that 2 times a week brush them. They shed in their coat and if that gets it mats fast, especially if you wet the coat like doing a home bath. Learn how to brush and most important comb the shed closer to the skin. Careful, you don't have to press the comb hard down on their skin. You know you are doing a good job with brush and comb and you blow on a spot and the coat separates and you can see the skin. Try it when your pet has just been groomed. That is the way you want to keep it and twice a week is all it should take. If you have a pool remember if you have not combed out that shed in the undercoat. MATS.

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              • #8
                HI! I wish I could groom more Poos. Nice to see you care so much. You can learn a lot around here.

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                • #9
                  Hi ttownjayne, and welcome!
                  Firstly, the Great Ear Debate- talk to your veterinarian and be guided by his/her advice. They see the results of that issue from both sides and will be better able to advise you.
                  I have two minpoos and like you was startled to realize just exactly how smart they are. Thankfully they tend to use that for good rather than evil. If your poos obey basic commands the first time (“Fluffy, sit. And Fluffy sits. Not Fluffy sitsitsitsitsit while Fluffy ignores you until he’s good and ready), then you have their respect. Being their love muffin and being The One In Charge do not have to be mutually exclusive.
                  I groomed my first minpoo myself without the benefit of any professional input. I can tell you unequivocally that professional guidance is the way to go! It’s so much more than picking up a clippers or scissors and cutting off hair. Dogma wasn’t kidding or being discouraging with her list of equipment you will need. Do lots of reading on here, like under tools and equipment and poodle grooming. And yes, there are tons of videos, good, bad, and ugly.
                  Grooming is a lot of rewarding work. Like myself, you may find as you learn that Being a Dog Groomer is What I Want to Be When I Grow Up ( for me at 56). Meanwhile, brushing and combing your poos to the skin( not just on top) , making the Touching Of The Feet And Nails a good thing, and never ever allowing anyone to use their facial hair to tease/torment them will go a long way to making a professional groomer happy with you. That, and respect their opinion regarding how frequently they should see your dogs. Some of the things that will make a professional groom cost more are poorly behaved dogs who throw fits about having certain areas handled, matted dogs, and overgrown dogs. Keeping them well brushed, reasonable to handle, and on a regualr schedule will go a long way to saving a little money while you learn to groom them yourself.

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                  • #10
                    There are many breeds I think owners can learn to groom, but Poos, if you want stunning Poos heck some people make careers around Poos. Truly art.

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                    • #11
                      I love doing Poos but it took the longest to learn for me and it is like I always feel I can do better. Welcome to the board.

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                      • #12
                        I would love to have more poo grooms.

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                        • #13
                          There is ear plucking and there is ear plucking. We pluck ears on healthy looking ears but NOT going down into the ear canal.

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                          • #14
                            I think I scared her off, didn’t I. She hasn’t been back to add questions or comments. I always find it a bit baffling that people take the time to ask professionals a question, and then ghost us. Oh well...I do hope she gives it a shot.

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                            • #15
                              I don’t get it either dogma. Your answer was spot on. I feel like there is a lot of that, introductions, questions, answers, silence. Don’t they understand how nice we are? Lol

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