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Look After Yourself

Essential oils
Customer Care
Customer Understanding
Dogs in the Phillipines
Look After Yourself
Grooming for a Living
A Great Success
Northern Groomers Story
Scissoring Technique
Which Clippers?
Handy Hints


By Fiona Keith, Dunragit Grooming, Stranraer

Tightness at the back of the neck heralds the start of a tension headache. The constant drone or whine of blasters and hair dryers is pierced by the persistently shrilling telephone. Then there is Mrs Everfaithful’s nasty little Sheltie that you squeezed in to an already tight schedule, because you didn’t like to say NO. She had forgotten that her husband was coming back from abroad and she really needed to get the dog groomed right away! Hamish, the Westie hates his back legs being done and his owner is returning in 10 minutes. And it looks like it’s going to be a chip supper for tea tonight because, you need to get the wages sorted out as it is the end of the month. There is no way that you are going to be ready in time to go to your evening class that starts at seven o’clock!

Is it any wonder that groomers are burned out and feel like selling up? Yet, stress is often of our own making and can largely be avoided. The prime cause is trying to do too many dogs in a day. Take in fewer dogs and charge more for a

better quality service. The constantly ringing telephone can, at times, be connected to an answer machine and you can return the customer’s call at a more convenient time.

Also, take time out to have your lunch and recharge your batteries. You will be in a much better mood to tackle what the afternoon brings.

Try to have your salon well designed and running efficiently. A place for everything and everything returned to its place. Benches, tables and bath at comfortable heights for yourself will stop back strain. A blaster and cabinet drier are well worth every penny to a busy groomer. The types of equipment can help your day run more smoothly.

To defuse the stress of grooming nasty dogs, ask owners to muzzle their dog before coming into the salon. Why should you get bitten? A gentleman customer of mine, with a foul tempered Yorkie that could not be readily muzzled, was sent home with his dog and a muzzle. He was told that if he could muzzle his dog, we would groom it! Three days later he arrived back totally unannounced, smiling triumphantly, with the "offending little article" under his arm securely muzzled. Both of his hands were covered in plasters! We took pity on the man and arranged with our Vet that they would put the muzzle on for his next groom. Proper training on how to handle difficult dogs from the minute they come in the door can boost confidence in both dog and groomer for future grooming. Do not take the risk of being bitten unnecessarily. A bad bite can stop you working for a week or more. Have you got "loss of earnings insurance"? What about your tetanus vaccination? You will need a booster if you have not had one in 10 years.

Another stressful thing is suffering the din of incessantly barking dogs. These can "do your head in" and start up other dogs in the salon. If all else fails, try a water pistol!!

Look after your physical health as well as your mental health. Protect your hands and use a barrier cream or gloves on your hands when using certain shampoos or cleaning agents.


Use a mask when drying dogs if your premises are lacking ventilation, or get a proper extractor system. This reduces breathing in the dander from dogs’ skin that causes allergic reactions or sets off asthmatic attacks. Do not use organophosphates in insecticidal products, these can poison yourself and the dog.

After all these dos and don’ts, I suggest you take yourself along to the gym or swimming pool, or go for a long walk or take in a session of yoga after a busy day’s grooming. Don’t think I’m barking mad! There is nothing like a bit of exercise to keep you trim and help you shrug off the cares of the day.


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Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of Northern Groomers.

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Copyright 2000 Northern Groomers
Last modified: January 13, 2001