Tips to identify and schedule challenging pets.
You have a new client on the books. It's a Lhasa/Maltese mix - or in the new world of designer dogs, it's a "Lhatese." The client arrives precisely 15 minutes late. She's dressed to the nines and everything matches... even the dog.
The dog's name?
You guessed it - Precious.
You know you're in trouble.
If you're a one groomer salon, you can keep the personalities of all your canine clients in your head. You know any dog named Precious is far from... precious.
But what if you start expanding your salon? What if you bring on a new bather? Maybe you have an assistant handling your appointments? Or maybe you have an inexperienced groomer joining your team?
Wouldn't it be helpful to know the personality rating of the dogs scheduled for the day?
Here's a rating system that I've been using for years in my salons. It's been extremely helpful in many ways:
• It allows us to clearly evaluate the personalities of our canine clients.
• it opens up communication with our customers.
• it allows us to assign more challenging pets to the appropriate groomer.
• the groomer clearly knows s/he will need to be on high alert with certain pets.
This is how I rate dogs. Simply put, we rate them one through five. It's worked exceptionally well for years.
Our bathers, groomers, stylists, and students know what to expect from the pet. Even our clients know our rating system. It allows us to have an open conversation with them about their pet's attitude towards grooming. Many customers are even anxious to see the paperwork to see if there dog has progressed to a more positive level.
ONE - THE PERFECT ANGEL
This is the dog you love to see. It's 100% cooperative with the entire grooming process.
TWO - THE DANCER
This dog is not aggressive but it does not hold still. You're constantly working on a moving target.
THREE - EASILY IRRITATED
This dog will bite if you do something that it does not care for: trimming toenails, cleaning ears, dematting, high velocity drying. This dog might need to be muzzled for things they dislike. They generally respond well to an experienced pet professional.
FOUR - ANGRY
This is a dog that does not like the grooming process. You cannot trust them. Typically they can be done safely if handled by an experienced professional. That person needs to be confident when dealing with an aggressive dog. They need to be authoritative and respectful of the pet while balancing firm but gentle handling techniques. Most dogs that fall in this category require muzzling.
FIVE - UNSAFE
This is a dog whose eyes glow red or green, is extremely dangerous for most pet professionals to deal iwth safely. There is no question that give the opportunity, they will bite and/or attack. The dog or the groomer is at a very high risk of being injured. Personally, this is a dog I would fire. I woul refer to a facility that could provide a mild sedative under veterinary supervision in order to take the edge off the grooming process.
By using this rating system, we have a clear way to rate the personalities of all the pets that come through our grooming doors. Using the system also means I can communicate with my team, my teams can communicate with each other, and we can openly communicate with our customers.
This time-tested system has worked fabulously for my team. I hope it will work well for your team, too. Now, next time "Precious" comes striding through your door, you'll know what to do!
What do you do to help identify Precious in YOUR salon? Do you prefer not to have a system like this? Jump on our Facebook page and share with your Melissa Verplank grooming family.
Happy trimming, Melissa