I always get just as upset as the pet parent who thought they were doing their absolute best to prevent their dog from getting matted. I get upset especially when it’s a puppy and their first puppy at that. The “puppy look” is something that they will only get once because when the adult coat comes to, everything changes. Coat texture, color, and brushing will usually become a little more difficult. That is why groomers love seeing puppies ASAP! Train the puppy and the pet parent!
This of course doesn’t just apply to puppies. Decided that you’re sick of getting a shave down over and over again? Find yourself going in circles with your groomer? Are you the groomer tired of explaining why the dog has to get shaved again and again? Well, let’s get to the good stuff.
A pup I groomed today, 8 months or so, is a perfect example of why it is so important for a groomer to ask “The 4 Questions,” and why it is important for the groomer to guide these parents to success! The pup, we’ll call her Daisy, was groomed 7 weeks ago, which is recommended but that is for another discussion. Dad is brushing 3 times a week but was never given a proper brushing lesson so, I offered him one for free. I asked him to please bring his tools upon pick up. He brought a pin and bristle brush… I told him to please throw these items in the GARBAGE!
Start with showing Pet Parents a Detangling Spray
The pin and bristle brush was the culprit for sure. The first product I showed him in our brushing lesson was a detangling and conditioning spray. A little goes a long way with the Ice on Ice by Chris Christensen Spray. I prefer this specific product not only because it locks in moisture, but it has UV sunscreens! Dogs need protection too. But why do we need conditioning spray while brushing? Because it will make brushing out tangles almost effortless. It also prevents damage and breakage in the coat.
Then Show Them the Proper Brushes
Second, I showed him how to brush his dog with non-other than my trusty Chris Christensen Big G Slicker Brush. I use this brush every single day in the salon. I groom at least 6 dogs in a day, and it lasts me well over a year.
Imagine how long it will last for 1 parent with 1 dog who brushes a handful of times a week. The wire gauge allows the pins to be flexible enough to brush tangles with ease, long enough to get down to the skin, and made ergonomically correct with you and the dog in mind. It is worth every single penny.
Don't Forget to Mention Brush Burn
Before we go any further. Pet parents, please be aware of brush burn. This goes for any brushing tool. Brush burn is irritation to the skin caused by repeated friction over a certain area of skin. Please keep in mind the amount of pressure applied and how many times an area has been brushed over. Check your dog’s skin frequently!
Finish with a Greyhound Comb
Third, I showed him how to check for tangles and ONLY check for tangles with a basic greyhound comb. Tugging on knots with a greyhound comb is a big no-no, it’s not only damaging to the coat but traumatizing for the dog. After using the detangling spray and brushing always always always check your work with a greyhound comb. If the comb won’t go through the coat because of a tangle, go back in with the slicker brush and repeat as necessary. I prefer to use the wider side of my comb first then double-check with my fine-tooth side. Once a mat starts to form it can become quite difficult to reverse. So, check your work!
Last But Not Least: Make the Experience Positive
Lastly, TREATS. Reward your dog and create a positive experience by providing their favorite treat before and after their brushing session. Brushing and grooming is a lifetime occurrence for the majority of pets. Start as soon as you can!
Once you’ve created a routine it should be a breeze. Brush your dog at the same time you brush your hair in the morning. Brush your dog after they’ve been playing outside to get the foliage out as well. Brush after it rains or a swim. Brush your dog according to your and their lifestyle! Longer coats require more brushing. Dogs who like to get messy may require more brushing. Dogs with thicker coat types require more brushing. Dogs who shed also require brushing. How would you like it if you went weeks without brushing your hair?!
Written and pictures taken by Magdalena Quitongan.
Hello! My name is Magdalena. I am a dog groomer of 8 years and counting. I started as soon as I could at the age of 18, jobless with little experience in the real world. I accidentally found my passion simply by volunteering at a cat shelter located inside a PetSmart where I was later hired as a bather… That’s where it all started. I always knew I wanted to work with animals, I thought maybe a veterinarian, but college was not for me. It’s like the universe heard me.Dog grooming is more than just a bath and a haircut. It is about creating a healthy relationship and environment for the dog, pet parent, and dog groomer alike. It’s me putting myself in the dog’s AND pet parent’s shoes. What haircut is going to accommodate their lifestyle? Within reason of course. How can I help the parent better this dog’s perspective on life? How can I make our lives easier? There are endless reasons why I love what I do. There are endless rewards. Smiles on customers’ faces after puppy’s first haircut. Relief in the dog’s face from removing intense matting. Attitude changes after a traumatizing experience. It’s endless. While my passion is grooming, I also quickly realize that what I love to do in my spare time goes hand in hand with my work. When I’m not spending time with my friends and family (because human relationships are just as important as my relationship with dogs), what I really love is taking care of my body. Strength training, yoga, staying active, and eating clean! It just makes living life so much easier when my body is well taken care of.
I intend on living a healthy full life. I plan on sharing my knowledge with as many groomers and I can, which I’ve attempted to do with my podcast and YouTube channel. I want to one day be able to help groomers in need who can’t afford equipment and products that will make their life 10x easier. I want to give back to the grooming world because I am so grateful for what I’ve found! Follow Magdalena on Instagram @magdalenagrooms.