Choosing a Groomer

Choosing A Dog Groomer:

Choosing a groomer is never an easy task. Who will not mistreat your dog when you are not looking? Who actually knows what they are doing with those scissors!! It’s a tough choice for some. Well to tell you the truth YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO WONDER ABOUT THESE THINGS AND TO WORRY for that matter. After all, these would be similar to the concerns you would have with entrusting somebody with your child, correct?
There are many wonderful, experienced and caring groomers out there who actually groom for a living because they love animals and truly love their career. And then there are the ones that smile to your face and look like they are all of those things BUT behind closed doors they are in it for just the money and your dog unfortunately has to suffer for it.

In Michigan, there is no licensing or certificates needed. Anyone who wants to, can open a grooming shop. Scary isn’t it? You have to follow your gut feeling when meeting the grooming shop owner or managers, ask plenty of questions, see pictures of their works, and talk to their clients if you can.

Pets are very unpredictable in behavior. Most good grooming shops will ask you to sign a “Release of Liability” form if you bring in any dog, cat, ferret, or rabbit; or if your dog is pregnant, elderly, or has any history of illness or a bad temperament. This is common practice and should not alarm you, but should reassure you that they are putting your pet’s health and safety first.

Some of the things you should be looking for are:

1.    Recommendation from a friend, family, or a veterinarian. Even though you have a recommendation you should check out the groomer yourself first, because what is wonderful for one person may not be for another. Usually a recommendation is the way most people find a satisfactory groomer, and word of mouth is the best advertisement any groomer can have. Veterinary recommendation really does count for something too, as they hear all about their clients groomers, and see first handed the results of improper pet handling and accidents due to a groomers mistakes or negligence. Because pets behavior can be so unpredictable, any groomer can have an accident, but a groomer who routinely injures pets during the grooming process will not be recommended by the local vets.

2.    Look at their work. Many Groomers have portfolios or some kind of pictures of the work that they do either for reference to a certain hair style for a client or to show what they are capable of doing. You should ask to see if they have one and if you can see it.  See how long the groomer has been working with pets in general and grooming pets specifically.

3.    See their handling techniques. You should go visit a groomer in the salon when they are not expecting you and just browse and see how they run things and how they treat animals. The bathing/drying area & the grooming area should be visible to the public. A good groomer has nothing to hide. If they cannot let you have a good look around, that should set off your internal alarm, and you should seek another groomer ASAP.

4.    Notice your dog’s behavior. Naturally, not every dog will like to be groomed and not all dogs like the idea of going somewhere where they will be groomed. Most dogs show they don’t like it, they will shake and tremble with excitement or even fear as you walk them through the groomers door, but they don’t run backwards, hide, and act like the world is coming to an end when the groomer comes out. They might act like a baby and whine and try to play the “save me” routine and want the owner to hold them but they should settle down and walk though the door with no problem. Don’t misunderstand; I am not saying any sign of hesitation is a sign of something wrong. I am saying pay attention to your dog’s behavior and if you see something that really isn’t right, take note of it.

5.    Notice your dogs behavior when he leaves the groomer.  Most dogs are naturally eager to leave the groomer when you come to pick them up, They usually jump around and dance and are very happy and act like you haven’t seen them in years and most times they excitedly sit near the door and watch you while vibrating in anticipation to see when they are leaving. But most dogs will not tear down the door to get out of the facility and get away from the groomer.  They should have their tails wagging and be friendly towards the groomer after the grooming.

6.    Are you comfortable talking to the groomer or the shop manager? Most people are pretty good at first impressions, and most people will make their minds up to whether or not they feel that the groomer they are speaking to is truly genuine or is just one to smile to your face to appease you for that time. Normally, you will not be able to tie down a groomer to have a 20- 30 minute chat session due to a busy groomers schedule, you must keep in mind that there are other appointments that must be attended to and we are on a time limit. But a good groomer will, however, take a 5 minute break, depending on time allowing, to speak to you about your pet, give advice or just to simply get to know you.

7.    How will this groomer handle your pet in case of a emergency? Clearly you must know that pet grooming is not the safest thing in the world, for both the animal and the groomer. Let’s face it, groomers are handling a lot of equipment that is noisy & scary to your pet, scissors and clippers that are sharp and could potentially be dangerous, and dogs are not like people. They are extremely unpredictable. If you tell “Fido” to stay still he won’t magically say “ok” and not move a muscle. No matter how obedient your pet is at home, their personalities are always different when their owner is away. Accidents DO happen. How your groomer handles the situation is what you should look at. Another emergency situation would be one of health, those are extremely important for your groomer to understand and to know how to handle. However they handle it would be up to you, to feel comfortable with or not. A good groomer will honestly tell you if you dog is difficult to handle, and if there is an incident while grooming, they should honestly tell you what happened and show you the injury instead of not mentioning it and hoping you do not notice. At Posh Paws we have a closed circuit TV for your viewing. We have nothing to hide.


To find “the perfect” groomer for you may take time. Don’t stop trying to look just because you may have run into a not so good one. And please, just because you may have found the “not so good” groomer, don’t talk down and treat all the other groomers you come into contact with like they are horrible too. Just because there are some bad eggs out there, doesn’t mean all groomers are! Also note that while a busy shop may have many groomers, you can request the one you prefer to work on your dogs. A good manager will do their best to make it happen for you.
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