Show them you care
February is a month full of love. For you it might mean celebrating the love you have for your partner on Valentine’s Day, appreciating your girl gang on Galentine’s Day, or showing your four-legged best friends or clients how much they mean to you every day! As Valentine’s Day approaches, we want to remind you that you can show clients extra TLC and help build your relationship with them by providing grooming advice, helping them select retail products and tools, and sharing tips with them to prepare their furbabies for grooming appointments. This support will ensure both owners and dogs feel the love.
Grooming has so many benefits for dogs, as it not only ensures the dog is clean, and comfortable, but for pet owners, grooming at home is a great way for them to spend time with their dog and deepen their bond.
If you are dealing with a client who has just adopted a puppy into their family, here are some tips to share with them.
Grooming is important at all stages of a dog’s life. Your client should aim to introduce their pup to grooming at a young age so that they get used to the concept, the sensation on their skin, the smells and the noises. Once their pup has had its second injection, they can start visiting the groomers with them (around 10-12 weeks is a good time).
It’s worth considering offering a puppy package. This can be a series of shorter visits where you can help the dog get accustomed to you and to your salon environment. During these appointments you should try and get the pup used to bathing, drying, and brushing, as well as grooming around the face (such as ears and eyes), grooming around the feet and nail trimming, and grooming in sensitive areas such as the groin.
There are some preparations the pet owner can make at home to ensure their pup is confident for these first visits to you. Here are our tips:
Brushing – Regularly brushing their dog’s coat, even a short coat, will help stimulate the hair follicles to promote growth, distribute natural oils, and on longer and double coated breeds it will help remove dead hair and minimise matting and tangles. A slicker brush is a great investment, and ourbrushes are great for double coated breeds as the pins get right through the thick coat.
Touch their Pup’s Paws – This could be stroking their paws, playing at shaking hands, or using a brush on their paws. This will help them feel more confident having their paws handled which will allow groomers to trim hair around the paw and in between the pads, alongside trimming your dog’s nails.
Handle their ears – For a puppy, having their head groomed is an unfamiliar experience, but pet owners can help them gain trust in human’s touching their faces ready for grooming. Firstly, suggest they massage and play with their ears when they are stroking them. This will not only show the dog affection but will also help them associate that feeling with being comforted. It’s not only ears that need attention but also their eyes and the fur on their face. Using an eye wipe or an eye wash on a cotton pad will gently cleanse the eye, but will also help the dog get used to having hands close to their face. Additionally, using a mixture of a soft brush or comb on their faces to remove tangles, dirt, and debris is a great idea.
Oral Hygiene - It’s important to introduce a toothbrush and toothpaste into a dog’s routine early to help them become accustomed to the sensation of having their teeth cleaned, and dental hygiene must be maintained throughout their life. Encourage your client to start slowly by getting them used to having a hand near their mouth, then let them test the toothpaste before introducing a toothbrush. Once they are comfortable with both toothbrush and toothpaste the pet owner can start to think about brushing, but advise them to take it slowly. If the dog is spooked it can put them back to square one. If the dog is confident having its teeth cleaned at home, this allows you to be able to offer a deep clean when they visit for their grooming appointment.
Be Patient and Give Praise – Encourage your client to expose their dog to these different preparations slowly and keep any grooming activities quick to help maintain the puppy’s confidence. They might find they rebel, but support them, and encourage them to persist slowly to ensure the pet gets used to the process. This also translates to the salon for their first grooming or their puppy visits. Praise and patience will go a long way in ensuring the dog feels comfortable with you, and the owner feeling comfortable leaving their precious pup with you.
Now let us talk about adult dogs. With encouragement and support your clients will establish a good grooming routine, with at-home maintenance and regular visits to your salon. Make sure you advise them how often they need to visit you based on their dog’s breed and coat type and share any add-on or seasonal services that they could benefit from. Ensure they realise the importance of their at-home maintenance to keep the dog comfortable and avoid any severe shave downs.
Having some items in your salon to retail to your customers can get them on the right track.
If your client has an older dog, who hasn’t been groomed for a while because of the Covid restrictions, or a rescue dog who is more nervous, they may have concerns about how the dog will feel when they next attend the groomers. Some may be anxious and exhibit challenging behaviours, when being groomed but there are some steps they can take to help make their dog feel confident as their appointment approaches.
Encourage them to slowly reintroduce some key items you will use during grooming such as
- Nail clippers
- Hair dryer
- Spray Bottle
They can help their dog by getting them re-accustomed to touch in a safe setting. Pet owners should start by brushing them all over and running their hands up and down their legs. Make sure they know you handle their ears, mouth and face and touch their paws and nails so that when they visit your salon and you come to brush, clip or scissor these areas they feel comfortable. It can also be useful to get them used to having their tails gently held.
Senior dogs have some specific grooming needs so make sure you encourage them to keep regular grooming appointments. You are in the best position to spot changes the pet owners might miss, such as a thinning coat, skin irritations, or unusual lumps, that can be signs of underlying health issues. These things may need to be referred to a vet, but they are also worth noting on your client’s profile card so you remember each visit.
Regular grooming will keep senior dogs comfortable and keep them feeling good and walking tall.
Here are some tips for your clients to show their O.A.P. they care while grooming at home
- Senior dogs will be less agile and may have mobility issues so make sure they are standing securely or lying down before any grooming activities begin.
- If the owner is brushing their Old Age Pooch at home remind them that their skin will be less elastic, so they must make sure brush strokes are slower and more gentle. Select a softer brush for them and make sure they check that it is in good condition with no damaged pins which could scratch the dog or damage the coat.
- Keeping nails well-trimmed is important as long nails are bad for a dog’s posture and can lead to more serious long-term problems with joints and back pain. Senior dogs will need nails trimmed regularly, so ensure your clients are happy doing this at home in between appointments.
- Older dogs may not be able to keep their sanitary area as clean as they used to, so make sure owners keep an eye on this area or suggest that you can trim the hair to help keep them more comfortable.