Coquitlam dog groomer Miriam talks about her dogs, her 'puppy', and stories of life as a dog groomer.
This was my second time grooming Ben. He is a challenge for me. His Mom said she doesn't like getting him groomed because he always looks kinda funny after.
It is my personal challenge to make all dogs that come to me look cute and have their owners be happy with their styling. I want Ben to look as cute as possible. I think what I did is good, but when I was in the middle of grooming him, just as I was starting his head I was really liking the way he looked with a full topknot and cheeks, and short muzzle. I kept trimming though, because he doesn't come in that often and I didn't want to make a style that would end up in matting that would need to be shaved next time.
He was actually rather matted this time, but by wet clipping him with a 13mm I was able to spend minimal time on the matting and finish him with a 1/2" metal clip-on.
I should have called his mom when I had the thought of leaving his head long though, because when I suggested it to her for next time she said yes, she would like that and always likes when his head grows out and looks longer. Lesson learned, but now I can't wait for his hair to grow so I can try his new style :D
This is Smudge's first visit to my spaw. Last place he went they told Mom he was matted and he came home completely shaved :( She has been doing a good job keeping him mat free, and even with all that length he wasn't matted. Absolutely adorable little Havanese boy, I just love his black spots and the 'smudges' over his eye and muzzle :D
Still discovering what this conditioner can do, and oh my goodness it is AMAZING!! Look at this before and after!
I have the ready mix added to the concentrate shampoo and then I dilute the shampoo as per usual. So far I have also been spraying the ready mix on the mats after bath and towel dry. Then I use my HV force dryer, and about mid way through I also give the tough mats a light brushing as I use the dryer. By the time I am finishing forcing, the mats are almost all gone! Wowza, I'm in love.
There are still a few mats left when finished drying, but they take just a quick brushing and combing and voila! The mats don't start disappearing until closer to being dry, I was skeptical at first as I was drying and the mats were still the same, but when they are wet they don't come out, it isn't until the last stages of drying that they start to break up.
Such a handsome boy!
One of my favorite little pretty girls.
And another one of my favorite little cutie pies <3
He has taken to wearing the dog's collars while I am working, and one poor client had to wait while I searched the whole spaw looking for her leash! I did find it in not too much time.... closed in the cupboard underneath the bathroom sink! Ha ha, maybe I'll start calling him little Monkey instead of Puppy, or simply Dennis :)
(PS, he likes to eat the dog cookies, but don't be alarmed, they are meat free and all natural apple, cheese and peanut butter flavours)
I've been looking for a dematting/shedding conditioner/spray that will work miracles for me. It needs to be natural, non toxic, doesn't weigh the coat down, and doesn't make it take extra time to dry. So, latest test out, Secret Weapon. I ordered this little bottle all the way from Australia after I had heard good things about it. So happy to have got it today, as my dog was matted. Very matted. Actually felted in places. I have the tail mat still, I'm thinking of making a finger puppet out of it.
I gave the dog everything with this product. Sprayed before-hand, shampooed with it mixed it, sprayed again after bath and before drying, and then sprayed as well while brushing. I have to say, I am pretty impressed. Here is this boy's before, and some close ups of the condition of the matting.
I wanted to see what this Secret Weapon could do. Would it let me save any length under these felted mats? Would it break up the felted mats enough for me to brush them out? Well, I think no matter what product I used, this coat was just too far gone. I tried, but I ended up having to shave the felted areas.
I was hoping I would be able to brush out the body, but alas, it was not happening. The blades couldn't even enter the coat to get underneath it, it was really bad. So I started on the head with a 7f where the worst of the felting was, and moved to a 5f on the body. He has an absolutely amazing coat type, and the 5f looked really plush and smooth on him. I am hoping I can use him next year if I decide to compete.
His cheeks were each a big balled mat, so I had to create a short face style for him. His ears weren't saveable either, so I used a 5f on them and scissored the edges.
His tail was the worst. It was just one long felted mat, base to tip. It was rather uncomfortable for him, and I could not break up the felting to brush it. It was too painful. I can't remember the last time I had to shave a tail, I always save them, but this again, just wasn't happening. It ended up looking not too bad though, I kinda like it with his short style!
I used a 5 from the base, but by the time I got half way down the tail I had to switch to my 30 blade just to get under there. The last part of the matting came off and I can put it over my finger like a puppet!
So, I finished just as Mom was pulling up, and he was SO excited I couldn't get a good after picture of him. He was like, play play play, mom mom mom, I so don't care about posing for photos, play play play! lol :D
I gave him asymmetrical bangs like boys have, styled up in the front. Just something fun :) The tail works with the short head style, what do you think?
Well if you hadn't noticed, I have the absolute blessing to be using a very good camera lately. I have shown these two a couple times before I believe, but it's fun to continue as their Asian Fusion styling comes along. We are growing Misha's legs out into full flares, and I just love her little bob.
With Song-yu we are growing her boots out into flares as well. It's coming along! Her back legs are a little shorter because she had been chewing the hair off, but it's growing fine now. These two belong to a local breeder, if you are interested in when they will have future litters, you can leave me a message in the comments :)
I have had Zivah on here before the last time I groomed her. Her mom is the fantastic photographer Rachel Barkman Photography, and this is a photo she took of Zivah after she came home from her spaw day with me.
I was looking forward to grooming Zivah again, specifically because the last time I groomed her I saw her photo on her mom's Facebook page, and noticed that when I trimmed around the top of her ears they ended up a little pointier than I had intended. The breed standard says:
Ears--Strong and thick, erect, triangular and slightly rounded at the tips; should not be large or pointed, nor should they be small and "bear-eared."
Here is a picture of a former best in show Samoyed from Sydney Royal 1994 photo courtesy www.aldonzasamoyeds.com . Looking up best in show pictures for breed standards is a good way to learn to understand the CKC and AKC breed profile. You can see the ears on this beautiful dog fit the description above. And now, so do Zivah's ;P
It's funny, sometimes when you are working on a dog, it takes standing back, looking at the dog in a mirror, or seeing the dog in a photograph to really see what needs fixing or finishing. It is a great way to get perspective. I always stand back when I finish a dog to see the overall look, put them on the floor and let them walk around, shake etc., and then I will see something that needs more work. Dog grooming is an art, it takes focus, skill, attention, and a little bit of talent.
I am not very fast at grooming, but I like to watch the top groomers at seminars and study photos of their work. It is great to have the opportunity to watch these amazing groomers in action, because seeing these masters create their masterpieces in the short time frame they do is just awe inspiring.
Since I started this blog and have been taking photos of my finished work, I have really appreciated the value of the photos showing me anything I need to fix, to achieve the really best finish. I still find it kind of funny how I will immediately be able to see what needs doing in a photo (thank goodness for digital cameras) that I had a hard time seeing on the dog sitting right in front of me.
Sigh, I am happy in this work of the pursuit of excellence in the art of dog grooming.