Trusting a stranger to groom your dog can be scary. After all, accidents can happen, and occasionally those accidents result in tragedy. On the other hand, grooming your dog yourself can be difficult, so there comes a time when it’s necessary to trust somebody else with your pup’s life.
How can you find the best dog grooming facility and specific dog groomer for your pup? Even a great groomer might not be right for your dog, and even a classy salon may not be the best environment.
Here are a few tips to help you research various dog grooming facilities to find the best place and person for your fur child.
Asking for recommendations is better than picking a place at random. Ask your friends and family where they get their dogs groomed. If you see a beautiful dog out and about, ask the owner where they take their dog for grooming. Don’t forget to check online reviews, too.
It’s also a good idea to call or visit multiple grooming facilities to get an idea of what to expect in your area. Pricing, experience level, and the quality of the facilities may vary quite a bit from location to location. It’s easier to recognize a good grooming salon after you’ve seen one that’s less than desirable.
Talk To The Groomer
Nothing beats talking to groomers directly. You can find out a lot about how they may treat your dog and what quality of grooming you can expect from them just by talking to them. Here are a few things you should discuss with any potential groomer:
Do you have any certifications? There are no national licensing or certification laws for dog groomers. Some states have licensing requirements, but those are often just for the facility and don’t cover any grooming skill.
There are organizations that offer optional groomer certification such as the National Dog Groomers Association. Groomers must pass written and practical exams to prove their knowledge and skill, often on their own time and at their own expense. You can be sure a groomer who puts in the effort to pursue certification is dedicated to their craft.
How much experience do you have? Everybody is a new dog groomer at some point, but lack of experience can lead to a higher likelihood of mistakes. Dog grooming also tends to have a high turnover rate.
Try to find a dog groomer with at least three to five years of experience. That’s somebody who has groomed just about every breed of dog and handled most types of problems.
How do you handle old/scared/aggressive/difficult dogs? Some groomers are great with average dogs, but it takes a special level of skill to deal with some types of dogs. If a groomer hesitates too much when answering this question, they may not be as comfortable with these types of dogs. If your dog has special issues, you want somebody who can confidently explain what things they do to make grooming go smoothly for all dogs.
What does the price include? Some salons include things like nail grinding, tooth-brushing, or bows or bandanas as part of the base price, while others charge separately for things they consider “extra services.” Be sure you know what is included and what surprise charges you might wind up with (such as an extra brushing fee for a matted dog or a difficult dog fee for one who tries to bite).
How are appointments scheduled? Each grooming facility handles scheduling differently.
Some salons schedule only one dog at a time for a groomer, which allows the groomer to focus on just that dog and finish the grooming within an hour or two. Many dogs will thrive with this schedule, but some dogs are afraid of the dryer and may be stressed out by the speed of the grooming.
Some grooming facilities do block scheduling, where each groomer has several dogs come in at the same time. The groomer will wash and partially dry each dog, letting them spend time drying in a kennel while working on other dogs. Dogs typically spend 3-5 hours at the salon. This type of scheduling works well for dogs who are terrified of the dryer but isn’t a good fit for dogs who hate being in a kennel or are sensitive to being around a lot of other barking dogs.
Other groomers do cattle call scheduling, where every dog for the whole day comes in at once, like during a one-hour period in the morning. Dogs are groomed one at a time and may be there the entire day. This type of schedule is convenient for people who want to drop off their dog before work and pick them up afterward.
What types of dryers do you use? High-velocity dryers are great for blasting undercoat out of double-coated dogs, but they may be scary and unnecessary for small dogs without much hair. Fluff dryers are good for small dogs with fine hair but will take forever on dogs with thick double coats. Kennel dryers are gentle on nervous dogs but should never be heated.
Will my dog spend any time in a kennel? This is important to know if you have a dog who is afraid of or dislikes spending time in a kennel, especially since there may be dozens of other dogs barking in nearby kennels.
Check Out The Facility
Does the grooming salon or mobile grooming van look and smell clean? Is there hair from more than one dog under each table? Is it loud with the sound of many dryers blowing and dogs barking? Does it look like the facility is well-maintained?
If the salon allows you to take a tour of the entire facility, take advantage of the opportunity, but keep in mind that some places forbid this for safety reasons.
Trust Your Gut
Even if everything seems to be OK, you may get a gut feeling that a facility or groomer might not be the right fit for your dog. A groomer is going to be using sharp scissors and clippers on your fur child, so you want to be comfortable with the person you trust with their grooming.
Stick With One Groomer
Once you find a groomer who does a great job with your dog, you should continue to schedule appointments with that groomer. This is for several reasons.
For starters, dogs love routine. Each groomer has their own routine, so seeing the same groomer every time allows your dog to learn what to expect and when, which helps them relax during the grooming process.
Another reason to stay with one groomer is that they can notice changes in your dog that you may miss. A dog groomer will have their hands on every inch of your dog. That makes it easy to spot any changes that have sprung up in your dog between appointments, whether it’s a new lump or bump or a behavioral change that could indicate pain or a health problem.
Last, finding the best groomer for your dog can be a bit of a trial. Once you find that groomer, why repeat that process the next time your dog gets groomed? Even if you stay at the same grooming salon, your dog won’t necessarily “click” with every groomer there.
Contact Lucky Dawg Pet Service Today To Find Out If We’re The Best Dog Grooming Option For Your Pup!
With both a full-service salon and a fleet of mobile grooming vans, we can accommodate most pups. Our groomers all have lots of experience, and we’re members of the National Dog Groomers Association. 99% of the time, we can finish grooming your dog in 2 hours or less.
Call our salon at 310-784-0775. Call our mobile grooming at 310-784-0566. Or contact us here! We’re happy to answer all of your questions and give you a tour of our facilities.