What to ask your Groomer?

Do you struggle to communicate what haircut you’d like for your fur baby?

We get it! Not everyone knows the different grooming styles and techniques. So how do you communicate your grooming goals? Keep reading to see our solutions.

One of the things we love most about dog grooming is that there are no rules. You are only restricted by your imagination, your dogs’ comfort and the skill level of your groomer. Just like human hairdressers, dog groomers all have individual flair and different skill sets, so researching your local groomers and viewing photos of their work is definitely the first step.

Photos, photos, photos! Make Google, Pinterest and social media your best friend. Scroll through photos and screenshot any grooms you like the look of. As they say, photos speak a thousand words, so showing your groomer photos of what you like makes our job a lot easier.

When researching grooming styles, keep in mind that every dog is individual. Every dog has a different coat texture, different body & face shape and different personality, so what works on one dog, may not necessarily work on another. Coat colour, dogs age, and any health issues can also impact the groom.

Groom length should remain practical for your dog’s lifestyle and climate. A longer haircut requires more maintenance, whereas a shorter style is easier to maintain for those who are time poor. Another thing to consider is the cost of grooming. As a general rule, higher maintenance styles will need to be professionally groomed every 4-6 weeks with daily maintenance at home, whereas a basic shave off can often go 8-10 weeks between haircuts with minimal at-home maintenance.

Let your groomer know if your dog has any behavioural concerns or medical issues, as this may impact the products used, the time set aside to provide their grooming service, or impact the style of the groom.

Heard some grooming terms but not sure what they mean? Let us explain some of the more commonly used terms.

Teddy bear trim: This is something that is very much up to interpretation to every single individual. Generally, it refers to a round, donut shaped muzzle (nose hair). However, asking for a “Teddy Bear Trim” won’t convey to your groomer the length or overall style that you are wanting. Nor does it indicate any other intricates like length or shape of ears and tail. Make sure to have a few pictures similar to your own dogs’ breed & colour of styles you like.

Teddy bear dog hair cut

Puppy cut: This is a pure breed Poodle haircut, used in the show ring. This is a beautiful breed trim but does take a lot of maintenance.

Poodle cut: There are over 30 recognised poodle breed trims. Generally, when asking for a poodle cut, this is referring to a clean-shaven face and feet. This is where we shave all of the hair on your dog’s muzzle, cheeks, paw pads and top of feet right down to the skin. Ears can be shaved, rounded, square, long or short; depending on your personal preference.

N.B. Please note, dogs who don’t get a close shave super regularly (show dogs have these areas shaved weekly) can sometimes get a itchy after. This is just like shaver rash that humans can get too, which is localised irriation to the skin. This can sometimes look like a rash or small cuts/scratches to the skin. Your groomer will take care to minimise irriation, but it isn’t always avoidable. Many groomers recommend keeping some nappy rash cream on hand should your dogs skin get a little irritated, or you can get medicated cream from your preferred vet. Make sure to let your groomer know if this happens, so they can make modifications to your future grooming styles, to prevent future irritation.

Poodle pet trim

Breed trim: Recognised pure breed dogs have breed standards that need to be met when in the show ring. Many of these styles also have slightly modified styles to suit pet dogs. However, just because you own a pure breed, doesn’t mean it must be groomed in that style. As we said above, your only limited by your imagination.

Deshed: This is a brush out service, specifically designed to remove dead undercoat and loose hair from your dog. It is more commonly used to describe a service designed for double coated breeds such as Siberian Husky, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Spitz, Pomeranian, however many short-hair breeds also benefit from a deshed. Pretty much any dog who sheds hair around the house (or on your cloths!) can benefit from a bath and brush out.

Hand Strip: This is a specialised grooming technique which removes dead hair from the hair follicle by hand. Not every groomer is trained in this technique, so make sure to enquire before booking in. Hand stripping is the traditional way to groom many terrier and gundog breeds, such as Schnauzer, Cocker Spaniel, Airedale, Scottish Terrier, Irish Setter, Springer Spaniel. As this is a specialised technique, expect to pay a higher price for this service. Generally, dogs who are hand stripped need to visit their groomer every 2-6 weeks.

Westie dog groom

Hand scissor: Whilst most groomers have an amazing array of grooming tools to be able to achieve your desired style, some styles do require your Groomer to scissor trim only. This is especially seen in poodle show trims and some other breed specific trims seen in the show ring. Scissoring is a highly skilled technique, which takes longer than a clipped style. So make sure to discuss with your groomer before booking so they can allocate adequate time to complete your groom. Due to the time and skill required, hand scissored grooms will cost more than a clipped haircut.

Still unsure what to ask for?

That is totally ok. Dog groomers are professionals, who work with dogs day in and day out. If your not sure what kind of grooming may suit your dog, just ask your groomer for recommendations. Perhaps even trial a few different styles until you find something you love. At the end of the day, your groomer is still human, and it may take a couple of visits to really drill down on the exact style that works best for you and your pooch. Communication is key to a successful relationship with your groomer, so make sure to ask lots of questions, and discuss your requirements.


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