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Here is the short version of the first grooming experience for our Yorkie, Sunny, after we adopted her:
- Drop Sunny off at groomer in the morning (lovely location, friendly attendant.)
- Wait several hours.
- Pick Sunny up – minus most of her hair. (“Is this for sure our dog?” ran through our minds, more than once.)
- Bring Sunny home.
- Call the vet after a few hours of anxiously observing our lethargic dog. “Has Sunny had a stroke? What’s the matter with Sunny?” (All the while, “Is this really even Sunny?” is still running through our minds.)
The next morning she was herself again. Sighs of relief.
We learned a few things from that experience, including, consider your dog’s personality when choosing a groomer, and don’t be vague about how much hair you would like trimmed!
Given Sunny’s anxiety, we then decided to try one of the mobile pet vans. The van came to our house. It was much less stressful, but much more expensive.
Then one day, in the drug store, of all places, we came upon a young couple with a Yorkie. The dog was adorable, and I asked where they had her groomed. “Oh, we groom her ourselves.”
“You groom her yourselves?!” I was astounded (although I’m not sure why, really. Dog grooming is time consuming, and there is an initial learning curve, but it isn’t rocket science. Especially when you only have one breed to learn.)
“Yes,” the woman replied, “we bought a grooming kit. It’s not difficult.”
I was immediately on my way to the nearest discount store to buy dog grooming clippers, pet scissors (or thinning shears), and nail clippers, and for less than the cost of one visit from the mobile pet groomer, I had brand spanking new supplies to beautify Sunny. This set is similar to one I use for Sunny. (I especially like that this one has everything in one — clippers, scissors, nail clippers, comb.)
I learned the actual grooming process by watching the groomer and asking questions while she trimmed Sunny. I also watched videos on YouTube like this excellent one:
My Grooming Process
(Please note: I am NOT a professional groomer. I offer these tips as an amateur guide only. My process may differ from a professional’s. Please proceed gently, with caution and care.)
- First, I bathe Sunny. Sunny has sensitive skin, so I’m careful about the products I use. I’ve been really happy with this shampoo from Burt’s Bees. I’m careful to avoid getting soap in her eyes. It’s also a good idea to put a cotton ball in each ear.
- I personally use a blow dryer to dry Sunny’s hair, but each dog is different, and I realize some dogs may not respond well to a blow dryer.
- Next, I use the dog grooming clippers to trim the length. Sunny’s “fur” is actually more like human hair, and I don’t trim her extremely short these days, especially in the winter. Yorkies have a single layer coat of hair, (which is why Sunny wears a sweater outside when it’s chilly and a coat in the winter! It’s not just a fashion statement…) The directions that came with the clipper were straightforward and simple.
- I then carefully use the scissors to trim around her tail and around the face and eyes. Be particularly careful here! I use a pet scissors with a rounded tip when I trim Sunny’s face and sensitive areas and a thinning shears for the rest. The thinning shears give a more natural look (and hide your mistakes better!)
- Finally, I trim just the tips of the nails. I’m careful to avoid cutting the quick.
With practice and caution, I became a very successful groomer substitute.
Now, it’s not perfect, mind you. But, frankly, I think she looks almost as good as when she was professionally groomed.
You can do this!
Have you ever groomed your own dog?