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Discussion Starter #1
I was really fortunate with my last poodle. I got a recommendation on a groomer who had her own shop. Groomed all the dogs personally. She was also very involved with AKC, dog shows, and obedience. From what I have read on here, that describes a lot of you! :D

Any suggestions for finding the right groomer or perhaps how to notice who to stay away from?

I do have a recommendation who is affiliated with the local PCA chapter. I have a feeling he will take good care, priced appropriately, but he is far away. With traffic around here, it could take me hours just to make the round trip. I do know that I want her to be groomed by the same person each time, so they can get to know her.
 

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I would ask friends and family where they get their dogs groomed. Even better ask random people on the street who have breeds of dog that require frequent grooming. I get a lot of clients that. People will come in and say things like " I saw the cutest little dog walking down the street at my sister's house and just had to stop and ask who grooms them". Always nice to hear.

If you cannot ask around go through the phone book and call around. Inquire about prices and ask if they will allow you to come and see their set up. Keep in mind that you may not be allowed to tour the place while other dog's are being groomed and thats ok. Thats a safety thing really and an insurance thing so don't hold it against a groomer if they are unable to let you back into their kennel area.

You can also use the phone book to get addresses and in your travels you may drive by a particular shop. See if it;s in a place that would be convient to you. If it is, stop in and ask them a few questions... or as the sign on our front window says "come in and sniff around". We do give tours of the facility at any time but do not allow customers to actualy step into the grooming/kennel area. Though with the open floor plan of our place they can see everything.

I would say that a good place shouldn't smell like dogs, ever, and should be bright and clean.

A good groomer will take the time to speak with you if he/she can, she may have to arrange a time that works with her schedual - I for one do not always have the time to stop everything and talk to a perspective client but I will stay late or come in early to do so when I can. You should be able to get clear and easy to understand answer to any and all questions you have. I don't know that I would judge a groomer's merit based on what big organizations (akc, spca, and the like) but it doesn't hurt if they work closely with such groups.

In the case of a shop that employs more than one groomer remember that it is your right as a client to request that one single groomer work on your dog every time it comes in. So don't scrap a shop just because you aren't certain who will groom your dog. Ask who will groom him and ask that that groomer be the one each and every time if that is your wish.

Most importantly go with your gut feeling, those are usualy right. If you get a bad feeling, well there is your answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you WonderPup. You give genuine advice that is going to help me make a confident choice. It's nice to know how shops work and how insurance restrictions can keep me from taking a full tour. I really want her to be groomed by the same person, so I appreciate you addressing that specifically. I also appreciate you setting me straight on the AKC/PCA thing. I didn't know if it made a big difference or not. It's not like I want a super complicated cut. LOL... Don't all the customers say that? I figure she will be in a lamb cut most of the time.

I wish you were here! I would love to have a groomer like you. :star:
 

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I hear " I don't want a poodle cut" ALL the time ROFL... ummm ok but you want clean face, clean feet, and a puff on the tail.. isn't that a poodle cut?? :p

The way I view the whole affiliation thing is that there are a ton of people affiliated with those types of organizations. It is reasonably safe to assume that some are good and some ... well not so much. Even with people who work closely with rescues can be dishonest and sorry but from my experience they don't know as much as they would have you believe. Take the "other owner" of the shop here, he knows just enough to think he's the expert on everything... basicly he knows just enough to be dangerous lol.

That being said, it wouldn't hurt to have a groomer who knew their way around a dog show, even better if they have shown themselves. Those groomers tend to be more aware of the correct trims for various breeds which comes in handy. Not that you're asking for a show clip but they tend to know techniques that escape other groomers or be better at scissoring. Thats something that is definitly a benifit to you as a poodle owner, even with a simple style.

Some groomers keep photos of some of their more commons trims (I do) and you can sometimes ask to see them. I use mine for those 'special' clients who can't seem to tell me what they want their dog to look like. I can flip to the picture and point to a shihtzu or something and say "like that?" and they can nod and feel like they got their point across. LoL

Also don't be afraid to ask if a groomer actualy attended a grooming school. There are a ton of groomers out there that never set foot into any formal training of any type. They got 'on the job' or "in shop" training from a groomer who may or may not have been fantastic at their job. Groomers that have been to a school have a more standardized education if that makes sense. Their knowledge is also often times more up to date on the current styles that groomers who never had the benifit of school. In my area VERY few groomers have had any formal training. I see a lot of scotti's who are cliped like schanuzers, terriers who've had the bridge of their noses shaved (a super BIG HUGE no no in terrier grooming), and poodles who have clean toes as opposed to clean feet. I get a lot of phone calls from people asking if I know how to groom a *insert common breed here* things like shih tzu's, terriers, and poodles. It drives me crazy sometimes. One of these days I'm going to be in a bad mood or PMS'ing and slip up and just ask the person if they think I am dumb or something... Not terribly polite Haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
WonderPup, do groomers tend to specialize in one type of breed? For instance, let's say I go into a shop that has multiple groomers and I ask, "Who would be available to groom my toy poodle?" What are the chances that they would all raise their hands, or the person with the least experience gets a chance with the new client? I've never been good at picking my own hairstylist either. :blushing:

I would feel a little embarrassed if I interviewed one groomer and elected to hire another in the same shop. I guess I would feel bad for the one I didn't pick and wouldn't want their to be bad feelings between employees. Am I being overly concerned? I know that depends on the professionalism of the people involved. Just curious if you have any suggestions to make the process of elimination easier.

You have been very helpful.
 

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Well I'd look at the shop as a whole rather than each groomer by themselves. No groomers don't tend to specialize in one breed though many groomers, myself included, have their favorite breeds that they tend to be better at than others.

In your position I would find a shop I like and then work my way through the groomers by letting them groom your baby. Then pick one you like. I understand and agree that it is nice and in alot of cases helpful to have one groomer all the time, and likely you will after a trip or two to the salon. However, if you don't trust every single person who works there you shouldn't leave your baby in my opinion. What would happen if your groomer was sick one day and had to go home without finishing your dog, or had a family emergancy and had to leave, or say they are finished for the day and leave before you get there to pick her up? Think about who's care she will be in then and decide how well you like the shop. :)

Now is a good time to start visiting/calling around to places. Sometimes you get a better idea of who that groomer really is when you come in without a dog and they realize you don't even have your dog yet lol. They may try and blow you off as a waste of time, that'll be a big clue to you that they aren't the right person for the job.
 

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BFF - I sent you a pm :)
I'd love to get the name of the recommended groomer you have!

I agree with you as well... we need WonderPup in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!
:first:
 

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Also don't be afraid to ask if a groomer actualy attended a grooming school. There are a ton of groomers out there that never set foot into any formal training of any type. They got 'on the job' or "in shop" training from a groomer who may or may not have been fantastic at their job. Groomers that have been to a school have a more standardized education if that makes sense. Their knowledge is also often times more up to date on the current styles that groomers who never had the benifit of school. In my area VERY few groomers have had any formal training. I see a lot of scotti's who are cliped like schanuzers, terriers who've had the bridge of their noses shaved (a super BIG HUGE no no in terrier grooming), and poodles who have clean toes as opposed to clean feet. I get a lot of phone calls from people asking if I know how to groom a *insert common breed here* things like shih tzu's, terriers, and poodles. It drives me crazy sometimes. One of these days I'm going to be in a bad mood or PMS'ing and slip up and just ask the person if they think I am dumb or something... Not terribly polite Haha.[/QUOTE]

I have to diagree with this statement. I never went to school. I have been grooming for over 20 years now. I was self taught and I learned from a top knotch groomer. I read all the books and watched all the grooming videos. I went to dog shows and attended groomer seminars.
I entered grooming competitions and won first and second place.
I got certified and went through alot of testing and I am now a certified master groomer.
That was a long time ago though. I have hired groomers that just came from shcool and did nto even know how to wash a dog properley and did not know all the breeds. They did not know all the different blades sizes and did not know how to scissor. So I taught them.
I guess it depends on the school though.
So don't pass on the groomers who did not go to school.
The best thing to do is go there near the end of the day and see the finished dogs. But if they go home at different times then that would not work.
In my shop I am the only one who does the styling and I have an assistant, so that way you always get the same groomer and the same style.
Good luck with finding your groomer.
 

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I have to agree with poodlelover about grooming schools not being the best way to judge a groomer. I take my guys to two different poodle groomers (one home in S.F. and one in L.A. when I visit my mom). Neither one ever attended a grooming school, both are master groomers, both groomed show poodles for competion and one still competes in grooming competions to this day. She also breeds and shows her dogs.

I would say that if a groomer owns a poodle, you are probably safe going there. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ahhhh....I knew I would get lots of ideas from everyone. Thank you! I'll keep you updated on my search.

It's funny. When I attended the Dog Show in DFW today, I got to see the referral I was given from the Lone Star Poodle Club. I didn't introduce myself. I just observed. WAAAAY too hyper of a personality for me. I know that doesn't make/break a groomer. However, I could tell that if I wanted something specific, he would have done it his way anyway. That wouldn't set well with me.

I had already decided it would be too much of a drive anyway, especially during rush hour when dogs are likely to be finished up.
 

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A lot will depend on the area you live in. Here the self taught groomer and those who were trained in shop are crap. There's no sugar coating it, and it's a shame.

It is important to note poodlelover that school is ment to be a start in most cases, and teaches the basics. It's then up to the groomer and whomever takes them on to continue their education and gain experience.

I would never ever consider a groomer who had not been to school unless they were a master groomer and like you had 15 plus years experience. It would be a case where I would watch carefuly though. Not to be offensive but ideas in grooming change frequently and a lot of the "veteran groomers", (and I don't mean you personaly) I've met haven't bothered to update their info. I worked with one for a while and it was the worst experience. I wouldn't put a lot of stock in how long somebody had been in the business. You can come across a crappy groomer with 20 years experience just as easily as you can come across a good one. With all the available oppertunities there are today concerning going to school I feel that unlike 20 years ago it is a poor choice indeed not to make that investment and put forth the effort.
 
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