Regarding requests again

A dog that is new to our salon came in for a groom. His name was Benny and he wasn’t scheduled with me, but he ended up being my dog. I was grateful for this because I’d like to keep practicing dogs that need patterns. When his owner was telling me about him, he told me that the other salon he normally goes to has to muzzle him for his legs and nails. Benny was shaking with nervousness but didn’t seem to be so fearful as to bite me without warning. At the other salon he isn’t high velocity dried because he freaks out for the dryer so I note all these things, made notes in the computer as well, and went to work after telling his owner I’ll be careful and work cautiously, but that I’d like to get a feel for him before I go straight to muzzling the little guy. Ya know, I explained that it would depend on the vibes I got from Benny.

I worked on him for quite awhile, and I took my time. I gave him reassuring hugs when he’d get skittish about his legs and after a few seconds he would let me continue. He didn’t put up any more of a fuss than most typical dogs do for his nails. He wasn’t excited about his bath either but really, what dog is… The one time he lost his mind for a moment was when I was still bathing him, and another groomer went to dry their dog. He heard the sound of the HV dryer and started dancing crazily. I held him close to me again and hugged firmly around his chest (making sure not to have my face where he could bite just in case) and gave him a minute to adjust to the sound, and then continued bathing him. He obliged. Before the other groomer finished and shut off her dryer, I turned mine on a low setting with the nozzle still on, and very slowly started drying his rump. He did surprisingly well and even let me dry his face as long as the nozzle was removed and the hose held under my arm and pointing at him from a little distance, freeing up both hands to rub his face and ears.

When his owner came to pick up, I apologized for the extra wait, but told him about how the groom went. He said he was very glad to hear that Benny did so well for me, said he looked very nice and that he would for sure be back again. I told him if he would ask for me, I’d be more than happy to groom Benny again next time, and he took one of my business cards.

This positive made up for the big negative I felt the other day when I lost another request dog because it’s a bath dog only… Tank the Great Pyrenees, i might’ve wrote about him. He was an awesome dog with a beautiful coat and very nice owner. I did Tank for his first groom at our salon, too, and it was so nice to hear that a client first experience went so great they don’t feel the need to try a different groomer out. Unfortunately, now that I’m a groomer I’m not allowed to only bath and brush dogs. They have to have a full service or premium groom or else the dog is given to a bather.

Enough pouting and back to the positives. I really hope to hear back from Benny’s owners again in six to eight weeks!


Busy, busy, busy!

It’s been crazy and hectic at work. My feet are so sore that hubby went and bought me a foot bath with massing bubbles, and new insoles for my boots. I feel like I’m wandering around like a zombie, shoving food in my mouth whenever I get the opportunity, and coming home long enough to crash and wake up before the sun does just to do it all over again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m beat and tired as a dog (haha… Get it?) but I love what I’m doing and wouldn’t change it for the world. Today was a much needed day off to put up my feet, and for the most part I did. I had to give Dakota a flea bath and treat the house though, so that was a bit of a chore. I never got around to getting any laundry done, and I’m beginning to believe its breeding when I’m not looking. Elliott and I also went to the store and I got myself a spiffy iPhone and an even spiffier iPad. So outside of lastly doing dishes, I’ve spent the majority of my day trying to figure the two of them out. And yes, with my feet propped up nicely on the footstool.

At work, I am still most definitely learning… Having to juggle more at once and making sure I also make time to get my breaks in. The boss lady doesn’t like when we don’t take those. I’ll get there… Tomorrow is another early morning of rushing to get the kids ready for school and to the sitters, so it’s time for me to hit the hay.

Academy – Day … wait, what?!

Time flies when you’re having fun! Academy is already over! I can’t believe it, really. And I’m really going to miss it. I made some really great friends there at that salon in Monroe. There were a lot of laughs! I learned a lot, and I’m excited to put it to use here at my home salon in Rossford. While I’ll definitely miss the people I’ve left, I’m so happy to be going back to the faces I missed all month long!

I got a phone call yesterday evening from my store manager. They needed a bather, because someone was sick and called off. I love picking up shifts, but I told them this would be overtime, just in case it slipped their mind. They were fine with that, so woot! Overtime! πŸ˜€ Ha ha… It was nice because I came in early enough to get to see some of my co-workers before their shifts ended. They all seemed happy to see me too. Good news is that we’re decently busy, so I shouldn’t have too awful a time getting my 100 dogs done in two months. After that I start earning commission, and I’m excited about that!

I bathed a 4 month old Scottie yesterday. He was so cute and his owners were taking very good care of his coat. Not a single mat or tangle. It was his first time in the salon, and his owners said he was very timid of strangers. That he was! But he did so great for just about everything. He wasn’t a fan of the dryer and he cried out and actually tried to bite me a couple times! So I didn’t get him very dry, but tried to get him used to the idea anyways. When his pet parents came in to pick him up, I told them how impressed I was with Walt (love his name!) and to please consider asking for me when he comes in again. Hopefully I’ll have a new request dog! I really liked Walt. I told them about training and she seemed like she was going to look into it…

Anyhow, I go to work tomorrow and resume holding my “stylist trainee” card. But it was kinda fun to be a bather for a night again. ha ha

Academy – Day 9 and day dreaming ♥

Today was a good day. I had two dogs, a Maltese and a Shihtzu. I was able to do both grooms within the promise time. Promise time is usually three hours. I felt good about both grooms but I’m not crazy about the texture of Maltese hair. I will never own one because of it! But Tinker Bell was a sweet, relaxed girl so that was nice. Baby was SO cute. Yes, one day I want a Shihtzu! A trained, well socialized, Shihtzu on a grooming schedule and kept in a longer coat. Not FULL coat, but a long enough coat to have nicely scissored legs and plume tail, with ears to keep her looking balanced. Yes, she will be a SHE. πŸ™‚

My husband needn’t worry though. This puppy won’t enter my life until years from now. I would like my son to be a little older. He’s three, and although he is very gentle, there are still times I’m reminding him not to be rough with our 7 year old German Shepherd. Dakota is usually pretty tolerant, but I think he sometimes tests her patience. Then of course, there is Dakota’s issue of not being well socialized as a puppy and young adult. (Yes, its my fault. 😦 ) I have a hard time taking her out to the parks and to the pet stores because she goes bonkers when she see’s other dogs. Its more embarrassing then anything. I would like to get her into a personal training class, and then after that into a group class. But I’m still nervous because she had nipped our old Great Dane a few times when she got irritated with his enthusiasm, and a couple times left a puncture wound. We had a kitten for awhile but that didn’t last long. Dakota gave him a warning bite when he came to investigate her food bowl as she ate. She hadn’t ever in her whole life shown any sort of food aggression so this really threw me for a loop. She got the kitten good, and he was real close to losing his eye. Thankfully the bite was off a bit just enough that he was able to make a full recovery. That was scary. ……So yes, Dakota will continue to be our one and only!

Back to grooming related things…

I have to say I love the two other trainee’s and the group of people who work in the salon along with our teacher. We all are a great bunch. No day is ever boring, and there are lots of laughs to keep us from ever getting too overwhelmed. That said, though, I really miss my “family” at my home store salon.


Academy – Day 5

Today was amazing. Let me say it again. AMAZING!!

Let me give you a small bit of history here: At my “home salon” there is a groomer (the one who will continue training me further/supervise me after I finish Academy) has a request dog. His name is Louie. He’s a gorgeous black Standard Poodle. I’ve never been a Poodle person. Ever. Until I saw what Nicki could do with him. She makes his coat look like velvet. Beautiful, irresistible to touch, black crushed velvet. He’s a bit of a stinker for grooming. He’s not horrible, but he would just prefer it to be over with than stand still and let her finish. But he’s so gosh darn loveable you can’t hold it against him!

The other day I had a Poodle mix down in the book, and even though I knew it was a mix, I was crossing my fingers I’d get to do shave a Poodle face. It’s hard, its a bit of challenge, I’ve read about people from the grooming forum I frequent that absolutely HATE doing Poodle faces. I knew it would be hard, but because I’ve watched Nicki work on Louie a few different times now, and asked questions about what she was doing as she did it… Well I was up to the challenge! Unfortunately, that Poodle mix came in looking exactly like a Yorkie. LOL Nope, I didn’t shave its face!

Today there were two Standard Poodles coming in. Same pet parents. One male, one female. I was assigned the female, Heidi. She was a 5 blade on her body and styled in a Town and Country cut. I could still see the pattern on her, so I was easily able to follow the lines, so that helped. I scissored her legs neat, and Jeannie showed us how to do Poodle feet. This is something I’ve been nervous about from day one. (Day one of being a bather, not Academy. πŸ˜‰ ) There’s just something terrifying to me andΒ  something that sort of gives me the heebie jeebies about possibly cutting the webbing between the toes. Like a paper cut between your fingers, but worse. Uuuugh, it just sends shivers up and down my spine! (I have a weird phobia of people touching my feet, or messing with my toes, so I think it comes into play with Poodle feet somehow? lol) So Jeannie does one foot. David did the other front foot. Steph did one of the back feet. I did the other back. It took me a few minutes but I feel like I’m finished, and call Jeannie over to evaluate it. She stops in her tracks once she see’s the foot I did. “Wow.” She leaned in and said it looks really nice and I did the best one. Well I felt awesome. Not that I am trying to compete. I love the two other trainee’s I’m learning alongside. They’re both great workers/bathers/groomers in training, and did very good jobs from what my inexperienced eye could tell. But for being so afraid of it for so long, to jokingly be called the Poodle foot queen… LOL It was one of the highlights of my day. She showed us how to do a Poodle face, on one side of Heidi’s. I finished up the rest of it. I wasn’t scared, even though I thought maybe I would be once it actually came down to doing it. I really felt like I had a good hold on what I was suppose to be doing. It wasn’t perfect, though. For instance, I sort of botched the line from the ear the eye because I was nit picking and went too far up, but she looked really, really good when I done. We were able to fix that slightly off line and blend it so it didn’t look off. It took me four hours, but I was really proud of my work on her for only being on Day 5 of training.

David finished Hanna (sp?… the male Poodle) and I finished Heidi. Jeannie was so impressed with both of us and both of the dogs that she took our pictures with them. I really hope I can get a copy before Academy is over, or before we get busy with other things and completely forget about it. Just in case I don’t though, I did snap a picture of her myself even though its too close and hard to make out.

Standard Poodle - Town and Country


Academy – Day 2

This morning a little mix breed (that to me looked like a Maltese/Shih tzu cross) came in and she was very nervous. I brought her back to her kennel, and then was asked to bathe her and do all the “prep work” on her so that our instructor could demonstrate some different things on her. We were shown the differences you have between a cut with a plastic guard comb vs a stainless steel one. At first I admitted I couldn’t tell much of a difference. I noticed it after it being pointed out, but I imagine I’ll get a better eye as I go.

I got to practice using the guard comb on this nervous little pup, and although she wasn’t perfect for me she did very well. I was really the only other one to touch her, even though I offered the opportunity to practice to one of the other two trainee’s. I had already said “me, me” when we were asked who would like to do the bath, etc… When asked who wanted to try, there was a slight pause. I don’t want to be a dog hog (ha) but at the same time if they aren’t going to speak up I won’t just sit there and come across like I don’t -want- to! So I pipe up and said I would like to try it. I immediately felt like maybe she wants me to shut my trap for a second and not jump on every opportunity like its a trampoline… πŸ™‚ …so I said, well nevermind, one of you two can go ahead. Our teacher then says, “No, you can. You did everything else, she’s your dog right now, might as well!” Then she told me that this particular girl must like me because usually she is the only one who can work on her without a huge fit from the dog. I didn’t do anything but the guard comb contouring over the body, legs, neck and chest. I didn’t play a very big role in it, but I still felt nice about the comment, and about making friends with this particular pooch. It didn’t feel right when my instructor gave me the tip she was given for her, as she did all the scissoring, but she insisted.

I got another chance to practice today on a Springer Spaniel mix. She looked like a young puppy but she was actually 9 years old! She was so happy to meet me when I greeted her and checked her in. Her owner was very relaxed and said to do whatever I wished for her, and how she needed a some light scissoring all over just to neaten up her lines. It was cute. I suggested doing the Top Dog package with the nail grinding, explained what all the included, spit out a few sentences as to why its worth it, and then “Phobe” sat back on her haunches and gave out a few very excited, to the point barks at me. Her pet parent laughed aloud, and said, “Why not?! Give her the works!” Seemed to me that it was more so Phobe’s decision! Ha ha!! She wasn’t in bad shape. She had a few pin mats, and one spot on her hind leg where she managed to pick up like 20 or so burrs in a single area no longer than half a hot dog. Took some time getting those out, but I really enjoyed getting to practice with my scissors, and not have to be making huge chomps with them just yet. Phobe’s owner came to pick her up later on, tipped me $10, and said thanks for the great job on her. She knew I was just learning, fresh meat, whatever you prefer to call it, so it was a nice gesture to give me such a generous tip.

I did learn one thing for certain today. I need to order some thumb guards STAT. (They are nifty rubber rings you slip into the finger or thumb holes of your scissors to prevent your finger from sliding into them.) The holes on mine are HUGE, literally, the size for a giant. My fingers rape those holes something bad, and its very annoying holding a comb in one hand, or having one hand on the dog, and trying to shake and shimmy the scissors back down to the right place, without nearly dropping them. And drop scissors = a heart attack. One trip downwards, one jump from your station, one measly fall, and they can be deemed worthless. Or you’ll have to have them repaired. They’re pretty fragile.

Anywho- I got good comments in my training book for both dogs I helped/did today. I also watched the other two groomers with their dogs. One was a Schnauzer/Poodle? mix, who was as adorable as all get out, even if he was a bit of a butt-head for his bath and dry. The other was a Yorkie, who was so small and well behaved. A little shy, but very good. Learned how to tip ears. I was shown this before by Kory at my home salon, but after she showed me she about smacked herself because that particular yorkie had ears that flopped, so it didn’t really need it. They still looked good!

Oh right, I did one other dog. A 6 month old Shepherd mix came in for a nail trim. She was -adorable!- Her name was Bella and it was her first time in the salon, ever having her nails trimmed… She was so little, and her owner said the vet thinks she is mixed with Beagle, perhaps. She just looked like a mini GSD with floppy ears. Aww. She was a little nervous, and wiggled for me quite a bit. But after some loving, coaxing and a couple tries, plus a bunch of treats I gave her for when she was standing still, letting me do the trim and file, and you bet we got it finished! I felt redeemed for having had a hard time yesterday with Beau. And for earlier today when Phobe wouldn’t stand still for her nail trim. Bella’s momma was very happy, you could see it on her face. And instead of looking scared and in the biggest hurry to get away from me, Bella kept giving me those adorable, “Where ja put it Gimme more” face, in hopes I had another treat for her.

The instructor also labelled me the over-achiever of the group. HA HA! Hey I’ll take that as a compliment! Its okay, I told her, in a crazy round about way, that she was a crazy old lady with city attack goats. LOL … Guess ya had to be there. πŸ˜‰

Academy – Day 1

I’m just sitting down after a long(er than the norm) work day. I drive up to Michigan for training, which is nice because its not very far away. The day was exciting and the salon manager is great. She has a real passion for grooming, and I know I can learn a lot from her. She also made me feel pretty nice. I began to introduce myself to her and the other trainee, and before I could spit out much about whats inspired me to be a groomer she interrupted and looked at the store manager, nodded her head and told him, “She’s going to be a salon manager. For sure. I just know it.” Well, how’s that for a first impression, eh? LOL

Oh don’t worry, it definitely didn’t get to my head. I took on a bath dog that came in with out an appointment because he had gone and rolled in something putrid… He was typical during check in. Kind of bouncy and excited… He did alright for his bath, didn’t tolerate much from the dryer and then really didn’t want me touching his feet. I was only able to do his back nails, but I just wasn’t ready to give in yet. I wondered if maybe I was feeling more nervous then I was willing to believe, and knowing it can influence the way the dog feels and behaves, I gave him a break, loved on him, and then tried again. No luck. Put him on the floor, but it didn’t make any difference to him where he was at! He wasn’t going to let me do it. The salon manager gave me the okay to not do them, and inform the pet parent that he wasn’t in the mood today to have them done. How its okay, sometimes this happens. Now, I KNOW that, but darn it, I didn’t want to be the one who couldn’t finish the job on the first day there! Especially considering the amount of difficult dogs I -am- able to complete with a little patience at my home store. I gave it one more go, slowly, but the poor guy just wasn’t feeling it. I ended up not being able to finish his front nails. I felt a little like the misfit of the group, the one that failed. lol I know this isn’t how it was perceived in reality, but hey, sometimes you just can’t shake that feeling! πŸ˜‰ I got a difficult dog, maybe, but I got a good evaluation, and that is what counted. The rest I’ll shake off like water on a ducks back and tomorrow is a new day and a new dog and a new experience. POSITIVE OUTCOMES ONLY! πŸ˜€ hee hee

The owners came to pick him up a little while later, and I gave them their update, and they promptly handed me a five dollar tip. They thanked me a few different times. Perhaps they know he is a bit high strung? Hm. He was a good dog otherwise. Its not as though he was trying to nip at me.

Well that’s all folks – dinner just rang the doorbell!