- We must be able to scissor well
- We must have patience
- We must have good customer service skills
- We must be dog trainers
- We must have time management skills
AND we must be MIND READERS!
The first client has a field bred English Cocker that we did last 9 months ago. We see a lot of them around here and they have very little hair, so going that long is ok. To be honest this dog could get by without ever getting a haircut as long as he got his ears brushed and his nails done.
Her instructions left me scratching my head: "I want a military haircut but not short. I don;t care if I have to bring him back in a few months instead of a year, I just want him to have that military style cut you used to do on my other dog. You know right?" Me: "Ummmmm I will figure it out!"
It as EXACTLY what she wanted! I am not sure exactly HOW I got it right with her instructions but I managed.
THEN there was the Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix. The last time we did her we used a Wahl SS C comb. legs and body the same length. The owner complained saying it wasn't the same length because the legs were "uneven" due to the shape of the leg not the length of hair. He legs are so oddly shaped its nearly impossible to scissor her legs. Especially when mom is adamant that the hair be the same length all over.
Her dad brought her in today, complaining about the last haircut and apologizing for complaining. Asked several times if he was complaining too much. Seriously.
Today's instructions were as follows: "Leave her eyelashes. DO NOT TOUCH her ears or her tail. Same length allover, but not super short" Me "How short?" "You know, short but not TOO short. Also, see this black on her tail?I want it the same length as her body, but don't touch her tail. AND I want to see her toenails but don't shave her feet".
Fast forward 2 hours when her Mom walks in 2 hours early because "I was just in the neighborhood". She was on my table and her mom flips saying "I want her SHORT!" I had to explain that I just started grooming her and that her husband said something entirely different than what she is asking for. We then went over who was picking up, who was paying and what SHE wanted done. She said SHORT but was holding her fingers an inch and a half apart. Sigh....
I ended up doing a Wahl SS comb C in reverse. Mom tipped so I guess I did ok.
We constantly hear clients say "Short but not short", "Puppy cut", "Summer cut", "Make them cute". We have to be able to figure out how to make the client happy with very few instructions sometimes.
And we do. Somehow. We do.
Once you have groomed for a while this almost becomes second nature to you and you can figure out what a client means based on what they say and their body language. It can be tricky for new groomers, but once your "doggy senses" develop you will understand your clients language as well as the dog's.
Until you get good at this, simply ask a lot of questions. "how much off?" "How long do you want the dog LEFT" and keep a ruler and comb with you when you are checking in dogs. I use a clear quilters ruler from Joann's. It helps dramatically with those who say they want two inches of hair and do not have two inches of hair.