Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Why we love mobile dog grooming...

For anyone who’s ever asked themselves what exactly mobile dog groomers do? Here’s a run-down of a typical day, the good and the bad, and why we love the job that we do.

A typical day would start at about 7am, when the grooming van needs to be plugged in so the water in the tank can start to heat up.  All the stock is checked and you work out how long it will take you to drive to your first customer.  While waiting for the water to heat you can have your breakfast and chill out before you have to leave the house.
The first customer is booked for around 8.30 am and on average you would groom 5 dogs a day.  This gives you about 1-2 hours per groom with enough time to drive in between customers and to take a few short breaks.  Due to time constraints we would only do ‘pet grooming’.  There’s no time to scissor a Bichon Frise from head to toe, or to do a full handstrip. 

Grooming big dogs also takes a lot longer that a normal ‘time slot’ would allow.  For these we book out two appointment slots.  This gives us plenty of time to do a good job on the groom (without rushing) and to have a little break after.  For the really big doggies like Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands etc. we usually take two groomers to split the work load.  It’s tough work, but can also be a lot of fun.  It can get pretty lonely at times when you’re on your own and having someone else with you every now and then to have a laugh with is great. 

When taking bookings we not only have to consider what type of dog it is (long haired/ big dog/ never been groomed etc.), but also how long it will take you to drive from one person to the next, is there traffic at that time of the day, and is there parking available?  It can seem like a lot to consider when you first start out, but pretty soon you get to know the area your covering so well that it becomes second nature.
Being out on the road can be a fantastic job for the right person.  There are so many benefits to working on your own as a mobile dog groomer:
  1. ·     You get to see dogs in their own environment.  How they interact with their owners, how they greet you at the door.  This can really help you to determine the temperament of a dog before you’ve even greeted him/her.
  2. ·         Because you are parked right at the customers home, should any issues arise during the groom, you can pop back in with the dog an discuss problems you are having (does the dog need to be clipped shorter than initially thought, is the dog too stressed to continue etc.)
  3. ·         You can always ask a customer to come into the grooming van with you and show them exactly what issues you are having.  I find that it really helps owners to see how much work goes into grooming their dog.  People are so understanding and really respect the work you are doing.
  4. ·          A lot of nervous dogs do really well in an environment where there are no other dogs present.  It is a complete one-on-one experience for the dog.

Of course there are some downsides as well…no job is perfect!  For example, dogs can become very hyper during grooming if their owners are right outside the van chatting to friends and/or neighbours.  They can hear their mommy and daddy and just want to get out of the van and go back home.  You really need a lot of patience as well because you have to do one groom from start to finish.  If you become frustrated you cannot put the dog away for 10 minutes, have a tea, and then come back to it.  This can be quite difficult when you first start as a groomer.

  

Because you are in such a small space, it can get pretty hairy in the van.  Wearing a face mask is a must when grooming fluffy dogs!  Another good/bad thing (depending on the dog) is people wanting to watch their dog getting groomed.  If the dog is easy going and doesn't mind having an audience, it can be quite fun to have people (especially kids) watching their pet being groomed.  I find it really educating as owners can see exactly what they are paying for, and you can explain to them why you do the things that you do.  On the other hand, if a dog becomes quite hyper by the presence of other people, I always feel very sorry for owners having to tell them to leave as I cannot groom their dog if they are watching.  It’s not that we’re trying to be rude or we have something to hide, it’s just for the health and safety of their dog.

Now, back to the day to day routine.  You would usually have 3 dogs done by about 1.30/2pm and take a break.  After lunch there are two more dogs booked in and your day would finish anywhere from 5-7 pm.  In the evenings you need to fill your water tank back up, clean the inside of the grooming van, and make sure you have enough Diesel in the Van and enough Petrol in your generator for the next day. 

Overall I have to say that mobile grooming can be so much fun.  There is nothing like handing a dog back into its home and having all the kids fuss over their four legged friend and telling you how cute the dog looks.  You are always invited into people’s homes and offered tea and biscuits.  It’s amazing how friendly customers can be.  We’ve been given ice creams during hot summer days, and offered warm coffee in the cold winter months.  You really get to know the area you are living in because you are always driving.  I can’t count how many new places I have been able to take my own dogs to, simply because I was grooming in the area and though “Hmmm, this looks like a lovely place to bring Bella and Penny on a walk.”  For those of us who are nosy…which, lets be honest, is all of us J, it’s very nice to see where people are living, and how they decorate their houses and their gardens.  Having just jumped on the property ladder myself, I know that I’ve gotten some of my best ideas from our customers during my working day.

So to sum up, (and before I ramble on and on), can I just say that I love being a mobile dog groomer and I hope that you will have gotten a little insight into our working life.

Carolyn Zenker (Muttz For Cutz Manager)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

HELP ME...I've got a matted coat!

A lot of cute and fluffy breeds that are so popular at the moment need regular grooming sessions to prevent their coat from becoming matted.  Knots and tangles can form quite easily (just like our own human hair) and since most dogs are not brushed every day (like your human hair would get brushed), these knots can be left for days, weeks, even months!


Matting can be made worse by becoming wet and tightening, and by dirt accumulating in the coat. Small knots are easily brushed out and cause none or minor discomfort to the dog.  Extreme matting can hide serious skin conditions, wounds, and can pull at the dogs skin which makes it painful to walk and run around the place.



Dog's can have roughly the same pain tolerance as a 2 year old child...good luck trying to brush one out from head to toe!  This is why most groomers decide that the most humane option is to clip the matted coat short and 'start again' so to speak. Once the coat is cut short then the whole process of proper brushing and coat maintenance can begin again.  Regular grooming sessions (every 4-6 weeks) are ESSENTIAL in keeping dogs long and fluffy.  Please don't ask your groomer to put your dogs through the pain and stress of de-matting their coat (a lot will refuse to do it anyway if they feel it goes against the welfare of the dog).




Your dog will not only be put through unnecessary discomfort, but they will begin to associate the grooming salon with feeling stressed.  Over time your dog will become less and less manageable to handle...and then what do you do?? No groomer will go near your dog because of the bad experiences he/she has had and the only option may be to have your dog groomed under sedation in a veterinary practice, and who wants that?


Please be kind to your groomer.  They are professionally trained to assess your dogs coat condition and will always give you the best option with your dogs welfare in mind.  Clipping a dog short isn't us being lazy, we only want the best for your dog.  Follow the advice from your groomer, brush your dog regularly at home, and don't put off your grooming appointments.  By working together we will have lots more clean and fluffy dogs!

Carolyn Zenker
Muttz For Cutz

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Ears and Anal Glands

As Professional dog groomers we are trained with the skills to look after dogs coats and styling them to their breed standard (or to make the dog most comfortable).

Most groomers will include nail clipping, ear cleaning, ear plucking and expressing the anal glands to this service.  However, are dog groomers really qualified to perform all of these tasks?

It has been said again and again in the last few months and years that plucking ears may in fact cause a lot of irritation and introduce infections into the dogs ears, instead of preventing them and helping the ear to stay clean.  As well as this, expressing anal glands can in fact cause them to rupture if done incorrectly.

Are these jobs best left for a vet?  Do vets like passing these jobs onto groomers?  What if no one wants to look after these sensitive areas any more because they are afraid to interfere?


As a dog grooming business we will continue to look after dogs ears and bums, but only if these procedures do NOT cause any unnecessary discomfort to the dog.  Hair that plucks out of the ear easily will be removed, ears that are not infected and/or inflamed will be cleaned, and if an owner requests their dogs anal glands to be expressed...well then we will oblige...as long as the dog does not show any signs of pain or discomfort.  We are here to primarily look after your dogs coat and that we will continue to do to the best of our ability.  Should any health concerns arise during your pooches grooming session, we will advise you to seek veterinary help as soon as possible!


I'm sure this is an issue that will be vigorously discussed in times to come, but for now, this is where we stand on it

Carolyn Zenker
Muttz For Cutz

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Penny's Breakfast Joy

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Some education for all of us!

I don't want to go into a big lecture about dogs and children interacting, but it is very sad to hear of accidents happening that could have been prevented.  It is heartbreaking for the whole family!

So here are some helpful tips on how children should and should NOT play with dogs.  And as well as that, some helpful images to recognise fear and anxiety in dogs...some are a lot more subtle than you'd think!






You could print these off and hand them to your kids.  I'm sure they would love to learn the correct way of playing with their furry friend!

Hope this will help and please share your new found knowledge with others!

Carolyn Zenker
Muttz For Cutz

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

On a lighter note...here are some funny dogs














Monday, 3 February 2014

Why dog's nails can bleed after trimming

When you trim as many nails as a dog groomer does, then seeing a little blood during nail clipping is nothing to be too worried about.  It can happen quite regularly and we know how to handle the situation.

However as a dog owner, it can be quite scary when you see your beloved pooch with blood on it's paws.  Dog's have a small blood vessel called 'quick' in their nails.  If you trim the nails a little bit too short then this will start to bleed.

 This is where the nail is trimmed just in front of the quick.  This is what you would aim for when you are clipping nails.
Here the dog's nails are clipped and the quick is exposed.  This will lead to the nail starting to bleed.  In most cases the dog will hardly feel this.  There are special clotting powders that can be applied to the nail which will stop the bleeding very quickly.

So why is it that the quick can become cut during nail clipping???  Well, when you are with a dog with black nails, it is very hard to estimate exactly where the quick ends.  In dogs with clear nails, it is easy to see the quick and to know exactly where to clip.  Due to this reason, black nails are a lot harder to clip that clear nails and they are usually the ones that end up bleeding.

As well as that, the quick can be shorter and longer in certain dogs.  All we can do is estimate where to cut the nail based on experience.  Most of the time dogs with nails that have been allowed to grow for a while and are very long will in turn have a much longer quick (as in, it goes a lot further down into the nail).  Dogs that have quite short nails also tend to have a shorter quick.

So the next time you experience nail bleeding after your dog's nails have been trimmed, don't be alarmed.  If you are clipping your own dogs nails at home, invest in some clotting powder (like Trimmex) which is readily available in shops.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Why should I groom my short haired dog?

Dog Grooming is often associated with long haired dogs that require regular trimming.  But did you know that your short haired dog will also benefit from regular grooming?  Dogs such as Labradors, Boxers, Jack Russell Terriers, and any other breed with a short coat.

Once again we kept a picture diary of a Beagle that was groomed with us and you will be able to see exactly the work that goes into grooming a short haired dog.



Before the groom: The coat looks dull and is shedding

We start by using specially designed brushes to remove excess hair

 
You can see how much dead hair is removed.  This will keep your house cleaner and the dog will feel a lot better as well.  

The nails are trimmed

The ears are cleaned

A warm shampoo and condition in our hydro-therapy bath
...What's a Hydro-Therapy bath you ask:
With this bathing system we are able to add the shampoo and conditioner straight into the water that flows through the shower.  This gives an extra deep clean to the dogs coat rather than working in the shampoo and conditioner manually.  

This is another specially designed brush that can be used to remove excess dead hair.  We like to use it during the bathing process as it works the shampoo and conditioner deep into the coat.
The dogs coat is dried by hand using a high velocity dryer (no cage drying).  This is another step in removing dead hair.  The shedding hairs simply lift out of the coat and blow away.

You can see how glossy and and clean the coat is after the groom

A clean and shiny dog is what you're left with.



Friday, 24 January 2014

So what does your groomer do?

Have you ever wondered what exactly is involved in a 'Full Groom' (the Muttz For Cutz Treatment!).  Well wonder no more.  We kept a little picture diary of one of our customers grooms.  This is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that the owner requested to have clipped short all over.  This will take anything from 1-2.5 hours and it all depends on the dogs behaviour and what kind of haircut you want your dog to receive.

And this is how your groomer looks after your pooch...

Here we have the dog before the groom.



The coat is given a 'rough clip'.  This is to remove all excess hair before the bath.  This cuts down on drying time and also removes any knots and tangles

The remaining coat is given a thorough brushing

We clip the dogs nails

The hair around the pads of the feet is trimmed.  Sometimes little knots can form between the pads of the feet which can gather dirt and make walking uncomfortable

We clean the ears with our special ear solution


The dog is given a bath in our Hydro-Therapy bath
...What's a Hydro-Therapy bath you ask:
With this bathing system we are able to add the shampoo and conditioner straight into the water that flows through the shower.  This gives an extra deep clean to the dogs coat rather than working in the shampoo and conditioner manually.  

The dog is dried by hand on the grooming table.  No cage drying is used by us!

The dog's coat is clipped again.  This will pick up all the stray hairs that were not clipped during the 'rough clip'.  It gives a lovely and smooth finish to the coat.



Last but not least the finishing touches are applied.  The feet, legs, tail, belly, ears, and face are trimmed according to our clients wishes.  This can take quite a lot of time and skill as you want your dog to look tidy but very natural.


 



And there you have it, a lovely clean  and tidy doggie ready to go back home!


Obviously every groom is an individual experience.  This is just an example of one of our lovely clients.

I hope you enjoyed getting an insight into what a 'Full Groom' is all about!

Carolyn Zenker
Muttz For Cutz