Why do I have to get my dog groomed more often than I get myself groomed?

Two great questions! First lets deal with what's in a scheduled appointment time.  Why do we set up appointment times instead of have everyone show up first thing in the morning and then groom first come first serve type basis?

I have worked for salons that have everyone come in between 7-9am and then begin bathing everyone, then drying, around lunch comes the time for everyone's haircut and finishing and beginning in the early afternoon dogs start going home as they are finished.  I did not like this pattern as dogs were left in the salon for far too long, requiring regular walks (if they were lucky to get them) and if they weren't walked in time it meant rebathing a dog who had soiled their crate, not to mention the noise of 20+ dogs in the salon all at once.  I vowed I would change the way I did business should I ever open my own.  Well, here I am and I have stuck to that promise.  When dogs come in one or two at a time at scheduled appointment times it is much easier on dog and groomer.  I don't have the stress of having to get 20 dogs out NOW and the dogs don't have the stress of 19 other dogs wanting to get out NOW. 

This is why we have dogs come in at particular times throughout the day.  Each dog is begun within 10 minutes of his appointed time and then we can work on them one on one and have them ready to go in a much shorter amount of time.  No excessive time sitting in a crate waiting their turn.  Now there is a downfall to this process...sometimes life gets in the way and dogs come in late for their appointment time.  We are able to allow some flex in our scheduling, but after a certain length of time the window we had available for a dog at a set time has now closed and we must begin the next dog.  Sadly we have had to turn people away because of this and some are upset by it, others understand the process and are happy to work with us.  Sometimes we are able to take the dog if there has been a cancellation, but on the whole, if a pet is more than 20 minutes late for their appointment we will have to reschedule. 

There are times when we set up a pick up time for your pet and we call ahead of time to let you know we are running a little behind schedule.  While we try very hard to not let this happen on a regular basis, unfortunately we are at the whims of our customers and if they are late it tends to throw off the delicate balance so by the latter half of the day we may be late on multiple dogs.  This also leads us into our next question which is why do I have to get my dog groomed more than I get myself groomed?

Imagine you don't brush your hair for a week.  While you're at it, don't shower either.  Of course you have to stop using toilet paper and if you wouldn't mind going out in the yard for a good roll when you have an itch that would be quite helpful.  Can you see what you'd look like, feel like and lets not talk about smell like?!?!  Gross!  Well, that's your dog's life, and that's only one week of it!  Think how they feel after weeks or months of not being groomed.  Granted dogs are much more used to being encapsulated in odors and dirt than we are, but still they do feel much better after ridding themselves of the excess filth.  Not to mention the extra love and attention the post grooming wonderfulness brings! 

So now you can see why regular grooming is important, but it has another effect and that is on how well we are able to groom your pet.  If they don't come in regularly then much of the time that could be spent on giving your pet the perfect finish trim is now spent on dematting.  This also results in damaged hair that will look frayed and dry instead of flowing and moisturized.  Dematted hair also tends to return to its trained state of chaos more quickly than hair that is maintained and knot-free.  Dematting is time consuming and not very pleasant for a pet that is not used to the entire grooming process so it's a vicious cycle:
- you think my pet doesn't like grooming so I won't bring him in too often and save him the stress
- you try to brush at home but he's not a fan and tries to get me to stop or runs away or life just gets too hectic
- when you finally break down and schedule his appointment and bring him into the shop, he shakes and pants. He's scared and stressed.
- he's at the groomers too long, they called to say they needed extra time on him cause he's matted. He's stuck there being brushed out for what seems like forever, or worse, they're shaving him and he's going to be the laughing stock of the furry neighborhood.
- I'm finally able to bring him home and he's exhausted from a taxing day at the groomer. You say to him, "Don't worry, it'll be a long time before I make you go through that process again."
And so the cycle perpetuates until you have a dog that is not happy at all by a process that should make them feel wonderful.

Instead consider this pattern:
- you realize grooming is a part of a healthy life choice for you, your family and your pet so you find a qualified groomer you can trust.
- you schedule an appointment and bring your pet in with minimal departure anxiety and worry.  They pick up on that and the more relaxed you are on the outside (whether you are inside or not), the more relaxed your pet will be.  An attitude of nonchalance is the best way to help your pet cope with the separation anxiety they may be exhibiting. 
- your pet is well maintained so the bath, blowdry, brushing and hairstyling are seamless, quick and surprisingly easy.
- when you come to pick your pet up he is relieved to be back in your arms and is able to remember the next time he comes in that it wasn't so bad, and as the routine becomes more regular they grow accustomed thinking "oh yeah, I remember this part, the nails get trimmed which I'm not excited about, but it's been done so many times before and I was fine. I can get through this."
- you are able to brush your dog at home because he knows it doesn't hurt and you are both able to bond through the at home grooming process instead of fighting and repeated failure.
- the next time you bring him in he is excited to greet the grooming staff because while he knows there is some work to do, the benefits of being groomed far outweigh the not so fun parts.

This way too, we as groomers are better able to serve you.  Unkempt pets and coats require more time than we may have allotted for the particular breed so that throws off our scheduling as well.  One day we will live in a grooming utopia where all appointments are unhindered by life and arrive on time and there is no excessive matting or overgrown coats to deal with.  Until then we appreciate your understanding and cooperation on coming to your appointments on time as best you can and knowing why we may be running behind from time to time.  Happy grooming to us all!