How to get the cut you want at the grooming salon and what to understand when you don’t.


Everybody wants a great hair cut and style on their dog.  Doesn’t matter if your dog is a large breed, toy breed, a mini or a medium sized breed.  Every dog owner to pick up their dog from the salon, and see happy tails, flapping tongues and most of all, a “spanking” hair do.



Sadly though, that teddy bear look on your Doodle or the Lamb look on your Poodle isn’t always what you end up with.  As the owner of my own dog grooming salon for the last 22 years, the faces change, as do the dogs, but the stories tend to be just a slight variation, with a very common theme.  


This is why I do what I do.  I want to help dog owners have a great relationship with their dog groomer and I want pet parents to gain insight and understanding on what  they can do at home to get what they want.


Here’s a situation that happened just today.  These situations are no longer my normal everyday because I rebook 90% of my entire client list on a 4, 6 or 8 week rotation.  Every once and a while, a client will fall of the wagon with their appointments. OR we get a new client and they have never developed a mutual trust and respect with their previous groomer, for whatever reason, and that client hasn’t established a regular routine with a grooming salon.  So we dedicate a lot of our day to communicating with our human clients, so that they feel educated, supported and well looked after.


Ok, so back to today’s situation.  I hadn’t seen this specific client since March of this year.  That’s over 4 months of no brushing, no bathing, lots of growing, lots of eye boogers, lots of hair in between the pads, no nail cutting and one very smelly rear end.


Here’s what we could not ask or offer like we always try to…………………



  • “how long did you want her hair today?”
  • “how much do you want us to take off today?”
  • “did  you want it long like last time?”



We couldn’t ask her those questions or give her those options because we were not able to humanely offer them as choices.  Darn it!, and often clients can get caught up in this “waited too long” pattern.


If the woman had been in to see us in May and then again today (first of August).  THEN we could have given that special amazing hair cut. Maintaining a regular schedule would have helped us give her what she was expecting to have in a hair cut.  


Here’s the catchy part.  The owner did not understand that there was a problem.  Not even the slightest idea that the dog was completely matted.  She did not know that she should come more often. She thought that every 4 months in to see me with zero bathing or brushing and combing at home was fulfilling her dog’s grooming needs.  She also didn’t understand that we couldn’t do anything to fix this. We had to shave all of the hair short and start over. It was one of those………


“we have zero options here but to shave your dog very short.”


These are the times when the relationship between dog owner and dog groomer can quickly crumble and break apart.  Owners often do not understand the importance of……


  1. Regular brushing and combing.
  2. Brushing and coming after every bath.
  3. How long they should go between visits.
  4. The length of coat and style they should consider for their lifestyle and budget.
  5. That #4 above this is even a choice or an option for them.  


These are the most often asked questions with new clients in my salon.  I like to keep the door open for questions and answers with my human clients because when we can approach daily, weekly or monthly challenges that they face at home, ultimately I am able to help them accomplish what they want for their dog.


The answer to any of these 5 main questions is going to vary greatly depending on the breed. The length of the coat on the dog.  The lifestyle of humans with the dog and of course, their estimated budget for dog grooming.


A couch potato Labradoodle that is sporting a medium short length on the body and legs with a “Benji” style head.  Is going to need less maintenance, than the same dog who is out “dock diving” twice a week from spring through till fall.  


One of my Morkie clients is obsessed with washing her dog’s feet and fanny every time the dog comes in from outside.  We put her in a short cute, and easy to maintain style with a sweet tight little round head. Her ears are trimmed short and round to match the face.  Her mom makes her appointments every 3 months and that routine works well for everyone.


If mom for some reason decides that she wants me to leave some length on the dog next visit.  I would be discussing a few things with her.


  1. Would be to be mindful of the daily scrubbing in the kitchen sink.  She would have to be certain that she brushed and combed a lot more.
  2. She would benefit from considering increasing her frequency from 3 month visits to 6 or 8 weeks.


Taking all of these into consideration for your lifestyle and budget will help you get the hair cut you are looking for.  Explain to your groomer what you are hoping to achieve for your dog in a look and style. Follow her advise and if you don’t understand don’t feel too shy or intimidated to ask for clarification.  Groomers love to show their clients as much as they can about how to brush and comb their own dogs at home.



I hope this has helped you understand that you can have the hair cut that you want at the grooming salon.  


If you have anything that would like to write about or if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you.


Make it a beautiful day.


Lots of Love,


At Home Grooming Tips

Do you struggle to maintain your dog's coat at home between grooming visits?

We're here to help!  We'll email you when new grooming tips are posted. 

Success! Fresh Grooming Tips are on their way!