Chloe the Welsh Terrier received a bad grooming when she went out of town visiting family. Her owners were horrified and brought her in to see if I could "fix it." Normally when Chloe is groomed I use a #3 comb with a Clipper Vac to set her pattern. This leaves a nice, natural look to her back coat. I also card out dead coat to help preserve proper terrier texture as much as possible. I scissor her legs, and do her "close" work on her face with a #7f blade. The groomer who gave her the trim pictured here appears to have used a #10 blade on her back coat, and a #15 or closer on her face. They left the coat full and bushy on the thighs, (a look that was popular in the 1950's,) an awkward "skirt," and cut a very odd chunk out of her undercarriage at the tuck up. Her feet were trimmed more tightly than her legs, giving her that unbalanced"pencil legged" look, and rather than a traditional looking face, she received what can best be described as a donut mustache.
Her owners were near tears at the end result. Here is where the diplomacy mentioned in the title of this blog comes in. Being human, and riddled with all the flaws that humans are riddled with, I could have easily joined in with Chloe's owners as they bashed the groomer that did this work. Instead I said, "It's hair, the truly renewable resource! It will grow back." I also told them that the person that groomed Chloe might have just been learning, and I made a joke that I probably had done some pretty un-attractive clips when I was starting out, too. I then did some blending work to help make Chloe look a bit more like herself while her hair grew, and sent her owners out feeling that things would all be ok in a few weeks. And of course, they were!
The "bad groom" was done many miles from where Chloe lives, but most stylists come up against similar situations with groomers right in their area. It can be tempting to say unpleasant things about your competition, but I urge you to resist that temptation! When faced with the opportunity to build up or tear down fellow groomers, take the high road. Our industry is on the cusp of achieving new levels of professionalism. Each of us can help to keep our industry as a whole growing by supporting each other, rather than trying to tear each other down.