The time comes for every dog-lover. You start to notice how scraggly your pup’s usually adorable beard has become, or you notice the giant fluff balls at the end of their legs that once were feet…and you realize that it’s time to make an appointment with a professional dog groomer. But how do you go about finding the right person for the job?
There’s no doubt that selecting a groomer for your beloved pet is an important decision—after all, they’re going to be handling your closest bud along with sharp objects and tools! Want to make sure your pup is in good hands while they’re getting their coif beautified? We’ve got a few suggestions on how to make this process a little smoother for all of you.
Make Sure You’re Asking the Right Questions
This isn’t just about asking groomers the right questions (though we’ll cover that too)—it’s also about asking other pet-lovers around you the important questions. Who do they use for grooming their pups, and why? Who have they had problems with? Everyone has an opinion about their groomer, and word-of-mouth really can be the best way to discover some true gems in your area that you might otherwise not know about.
As mentioned earlier, it’s also important to ask potential groomers plenty of questions (don’t be shy now!). “You should never feel like any questions you have are unreasonable,” says says Nichole Heffner, a Rover groomer in Denver. You should feel completely comfortable with every step of the grooming process.
And hopefully your groomer will also ask you some questions, she adds. If they don’t, there’s some essential information you should provide them with upfront. Most importantly, the trim or other grooming services you’re looking for. There’s nothing worse than a miscommunication that leads to one of those terrible “your double-coated dog just got shaved” stories that go viral.
Nichole also says that it’s good to inform your groomer whether your pup has been groomed before, which helps them prepare for their time together. Basically, in this situation, there’s no such thing as sharing too much information.
Are They Qualified to Cut Your Pup’s Coif?
Something else that’s crucial when selecting a groomer—understanding their qualifications. Do they have the proper license to practice in your city? Have they gone through a grooming program and earned special certification?
Some states don’t require licenses to practice, so in that case you can inquire about their experience. Ask them how long they’ve been working with dogs, what their special grooming skills are, or if they have particular expertise, breeds they excel with, etc.
Survey Their Space (& Styling Tools!)
You know how much someone’s living space (house, apartment, bedroom) can say about them, and the same goes for a person’s workspace—it can show you a lot.
Cleanliness and organization are paramount in these grooming facilities, because things like leftover dog fur on the floor, or tools lying around can be dangerous and can indicate a chaotic situation that may stress out your pet.
The same goes for mobile groomers you can hire. Though it’s a slightly different set-up, you can still get a feel for their style and personality by checking out the supplies they bring along for the job.
For in-home groomers, pay attention to how well-organized their set up is when they come to your house. According to Jordi Montes, a Rover groomer in Seattle, you watch how groomers interact with a dog while working. Do they make the effort to provide a substantial enough table for the dog? Do they always have a hand on them (even when their attention is turned)? Or even if they take the time talk to your dog while they’re grooming them, that can be a great sign.
How Does Your Dog Feel About Them?
Though this is listed last, it’s definitely of the most important factor. How comfortable and calm your dog feels around their groomer is essential, considering they have to spend some serious bonding time with them—and trust them with their luscious locks.
“If the groomer is confident, calm and talks to the dog as if it were their own, then you can trust that they know what their doing and therefore the dog can trust the groomer too,” Jordi says. Owners need to learn to trust their dogs—and understand that is someone seems to make your dog extra-anxious, then maybe they just aren’t the right fit.
For more articles about dog grooming, check out one of the links below.