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Discussion Starter #1
Of course the best way would be a friends recommendation, but since I do not know any other dog owners in my area how would you recommend that I find a good groomer? (I am not looking for fancy cut. I am looking for a gentle, caring hand.)

What questions should I ask?

This is what I am thinking about asking. If you are a groomer, would these questions be unreasonable or offensive?

Years of experience? Continous?
How did you learn to groom?
Do you use cage dryers or hand dryer?
Do you take set appointment times or is it a morning drop off for all dogs?
If it is a morning drop off, how can I set my dog up to be first out?
If not is a vet's office, what vet do you use, how far away is the vet? Who will transport the dog? ( I am thinking if it is a one man shop will they be more reluctant to take my dog in? If they say they will call someone, then will my dog have to wait too long? )
How did you learn canine first aid? ( Might be a better question than do you know canine first aid?) Canine CPR?
Favorite breed to groom, least favorite?

Would it do any good to ask questions like "How do you handle a dog that is stressed"? Passes out? Vomits?

I am not sure references would help, even the worst groomer probably has a few happy customers.

I am thinking that I could ask to watch to see if they are harsh with the brush outs, but then again they may just be softer while I am there.

Opinions? I want to make the best decision I can.

Thank you.
 

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If you do not have friends with dogs that need groomed than your next best bet would be to call your vet's office and ask for suggestions. They can usually recommend a good groomer in your area. I work for a vet and there are two grooming shops that we refer clients to. I actually started taking my "Squeak" to my present groomer because of our clients. Every time a beautifully groomed dog came in I would ask where they had their dog groomed. It was always by this one local groomer. She does such a great job that soon I was asking clients if they had their dog groomed by ***'* Bath House and they always reply "Yes, how did you know!" (By the way their dogs are always good for the vet thanks to a great groomer teaching them to stand for grooming.)
 

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We found our groomer, granted he only needs a bath & brush, through word of mouth. They're great. First I listened to the experience of the one that recommended them and then when I took him in I didn't really have to ask any quesitons because they were telling me all kinds of things about their business. One thing I did like was that they had me wait to leave until my dog was comfortable with them. They wouldn't even take him in the back until they knew he was comfortable. The first time he opened the door to the back my dog was reluctant to go in so he came back out in the lobby with him for a little bit and then they went in the back. Also that day I was running late to pick him up and it was a slow day for them so while they were waiting for me to pick him up they played with him, which I thought was nice. The next time I took him in my dog seemed happy to be there and went happily into the back even though he's not particularly fond of being washed. I take that as a good sign.

Now, I do think that if I had a dog that needed more than a bath and brush that I would have asked more questions like the ones you're thinking about asking, but the most important thing to me was that my dog liked them and he was clean and dry when I picked him up.

I agree with ACM to ask your vet's office for suggestions. I've never done it, but I'd assume they'd know some good groomers.
 

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Wow, 3 threads about looking for a groomer.

I personally would not be offended by any of these questions. I think my gentle handling would most certainly meet your standards. However, if I wasn't aware of your past situation (which I am from this board) I would be hestitant to take on this client. (Liability? Looking for a free groom? Seperation anxiety? Extremely difficult person/pet to relate with?) Explain why you have all these concerns.

I also think that a either a groomer in a vet clinic or a mobile would be right for your situation. I think probably a mobile...that way you are there....I don't know exactly how the mobiles work but I think you might be able to peek in at the grooming?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks groovy groomer that is an excellent point to be sure to let the groomer know WHY I am asking so many questions. I sure wish some you you guys were in my area!
 

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Any good groomer would not be offended by any of those questions.

However length of time grooming, isn't necessarily relevant. I know a groomer that has been grooming for 14 years. She can't hand scissor and she can't do terriers. Also she is really rough with dogs. I work with a groomer who has 2 years under her belt and is an excellent groomer. Yeah, she's still learning some things, but she's awesome.

PLEASE PLEASE ask how they would handle an aggressive or "sick" animal. Sick meaning has epilepsy or addisons or something along those lines where dogs can get stressed easily.

Don't be afraid to ask any groomer any question. The more open you are, the more open they will be. If they cut you off or refuse to answer questions, than that's your que to take your dog somewhere else.

My ex has an Akita-Lab mix. He's a big boy. I was 7 months pregnant and he needed a bath bad. So I went to visit a few shops. I would have done him myself, but he's a little wild in the tub. The first shop, just looked hideous. It was run down and one of the tubs was hanging halfway off the wall. The groomers were nice though. But there was also hair all over the floor. So I went to another shop. The ladies there were really nice and working well with the dogs. The shop was nicely kept as well. So I asked them if I could bring him in before hand just to meet the groomer who would be doing him because he has a tendency to be skiddish. They were fine with that. The next day I brought him in. Well the groomer came out front and she wasn't very personable. She went to give "Rambo" a treat, then I watched as she punched him in the nose. Oh boy did I ever flip out. They tried to give me some BS line about training. Guess what.. I'm not stupid. I've been grooming and training for 10 years. They were shocked when I told them that.

Guess what.. They are no longer in business. :)
 

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yep, the groomer balled her hand up into a fist and punched him in the nose. Right in front of me.. My second thought after thinking oh my god my dog.. was is she really that stupid.
 
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