My name is Candice Kurtz. I entered the grooming industry, after a failed attempt to become a Vet Tech. I have always known that I wanted to work in pet industry. I was told by the Dean of students to apply for a kennel help job to gain more experience with pets. I was sent to a nearby grooming salon where I worked in kennels and bathed dogs. I instantly fell in love with bathing and grooming. I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do. I asked to apprentice and learn to groom and quit Vet Tech school. I was offered a grooming job at the same salon I learned in. I groomed there for 15 years before starting my own salon, KandiKutz Salon and Spa located in Fort Wayne Indiana in June 2021.
I’d been grooming three years before I came across my first Doodle, it was being called a “Boxerdoodle.” I passed judgement until we met. She had a Boxer’s face and body structure with long, wired hair and was loving. Next thing I knew, it was the Goldendoodle and then the Labradoodle. They quickly started to take over the schedule, and I was starting to become burnt out by doing so many. I knew I had to figure out just how to deal with their behavior and different coat textures. I could’ve become angry at the breeders, or pet parents for not researching and training their pets, but I decided to embrace them. They were rapidly increasing and mixing more breeds with poodles. I can understand why they are so trendy; they are sweet, fluffy, smart, and loving; all things we look for in any breed. At that point, I had to decide. I could despise them and work in a career where I would be miserable, or I could take a more positive approach and work with their owners as a team. Doodles are my main source of income. On average my business grooms at least two to three per day. Many salons in my area have started to turn them away or charge a much higher price for grooming them because they’re so difficult. I accept Doodles with open arms and the word has spread. Learning about different products and techniques has made it a lot easier for me to groom them effectively.
How I Make Grooming Doodles Easier:
I started out by trying different products on different coat types and I realized that products I use on each coat type matter significantly. Some of my favorite hacks that makes being a doodle groomer easy are:
· I like to use iGroom products for the coats that have a tighter curl. Also, keep in mind that a good deep conditioning makes those coats much easier to brush-out. I will typically use iGroom’s All in One or iGroom’s Charcoal Keratin Shampoo and Conditioner for those tighter curly coats.
· I‘m a firm believer that blowing out curly coats works a lot better than cage/kennel drying them. On the wire coats a good clarifying shampoo such as Hydra Xtreme works best followed by Hydra Moist Conditioner. I am a firm believer that the air pressure from a good velocity dryer will straighten and loosen the coat further, and aid in doing most of the dematting for you. Kennel drying just allows the coats curls to tighten after the bathing process and the finished look will not look as great.
· Also, using a good dematting/detangling spray goes a long way. Adding that moisture to the dog while brushing and combing just helps our tools and our hands.
· Lastly, yes, doodles are a lot of work, but using the right products, as well as, implementing a good grooming schedule can significantly lighten the load. I am firm with my doodle clients that they must maintain a 4-to-8-week grooming schedule depending on coat length, type, and texture.
How We Can Stop the "Hate":
We must make a collective effort in this industry to educate our Doodle owners! Many are first time doodle or dog owners they simply don’t know better. In my salon, I only shave or save one time. I encourage pre-booking the next appointment prior to leaving. I am always willing to have them feel any matting at check in and show proper combing and brushing techniques. If I still experience problems, I will take pictures and videos. However, I’ve learned patience and positivity ultimately goes along way. Our clients and their pets can feel and sense frustration, and negativity, which makes them less receptive to receiving any criticisms we may offer. It also makes their dogs more anxious and rambunctious as they sense negativity against them. Maintaining a calm positive attitude and exercising being understanding of mistakes, can make our businesses more profitable and deserving of positive reviews. We must always maintain professionalism whether we agree or disagree with breeding practices. Our jobs as Groomers in a grooming setting, is to safely provide pet cuts and educate our clients on proper maintenance techniques. We get away from our purpose when we involve breeding politics and bashing into the grooming atmosphere. Remember we started this journey to become Dog Groomers with a love for all pets!
Let's Stop the HATE.