It's a Dirty Job, But Somebody Has to do it. Is it You?

From time to time I believe that all groomers have come to dread grooming that one certain dog.

You know... the one that shows up once a year and is a solid pelt, or the one that is always matted and hates to be brushed, and then there is always the one that has to be muzzled through the entire grooming process, including the bath. We all have had that special client. What I have learned over the years is that it is okay to say “no”.


Early in my career I had a client with an older Maltese who had Addison’s disease. Due to the illness he had a very fine thin coat. The owner loved him in full coat with a banded top knot. I groomed this dog every 5 weeks until he passed away. He was a sweet boy and was very easy to groom. He was never matted and very easy to maintain. After he passed away the client decided to get another Maltese. They brought home this adorable puppy.

The first thing she said to me was that she wanted him to grow in full coat just like her older dog, who was very thinly coated mind you. We all know what Maltese puppies look like and I’m sure you can imagine how soft and cottony the coat was. I put the puppy on a 5 week schedule to start. After a couple visits the puppy was starting to growl and bite at the brush. My question to the owner was “Are you brushing him in between appointments?” Her reply was “Yes and he absolutely hates it! My husband and I just laugh at him because he is so darn cute!” Well there you go, now we have a little puppy that the owner created a behavior that will be difficult to break. I tried to educate her regarding the brushing. Every time I went to their home to groom the dog he was very matted. The behavior was getting worse which made the task that much harder. I tried various products and techniques to help reduce the matting but to no prevail. Keep in mind that this was several years ago when dematting solutions like my “Matts Happen!” was not available.

I suddenly started to suffer from tennis elbow. I assumed it was just par for the course of grooming dogs. It became so bad that I had to get a cortisone shot to relieve the pain.Over the course of several months I realized that every time my tennis elbow flared up it was right after I dematted this Maltese puppy. Once I came to this conclusion, I spoke with the client and asked her if we could cut him down until he goes through a coat change, from puppy to adult coat. She flat out refused to cut him down. I changed his grooming schedule to every 3 weeks to help eliminate the matting. Three weeks still was not doing the trick so I changed his schedule to every 2 weeks. The client was not happy about the schedule but at that point that was the only way I could continue to groom her dog. This continued for several months. Now I have an angry puppy that hates to be groomed and the constant pain of tennis elbow in my right arm.

I suddenly started to suffer from tennis elbow. I assumed it was just par for the course of grooming dogs. It became so bad that I had to get a cortisone shot to relieve the pain.
I remember every time I saw this dog in my appointment book I would just cringe. One day I had enough and told her that I could no longer groom him if she didn’t cut him down. Even every two weeks was not helping the matting situation. It wasn’t fair to the puppy or to myself. She was very angry and decided to go elsewhere. I remember letting out a huge sigh of relief. Once I stopped grooming this puppy I never had one more flare up of tennis elbow again.

The moral of the story is, if you do not enjoy grooming a certain dog, let it go. This client taught me many lessons early in my career. The most important one was to always do what is best for the dog. I would never dematt to that extent again. Dematting a coat on a regular basis damages and stresses the coat which creates more matting. I wish I realized that at the time.

Groom the dogs that you enjoy grooming. Just because a dog is a problem for you doesn’t mean that it will be a problem for someone else. Dogs react differently with different people. Enjoy your job, take care of your body and always do what is best for the pet.

It's Way to Cold Outside - Stay Warm in Your Mobile

There is no reason to be cold inside! We all know how important it is to keep our vans toasty.
There is nothing worse than frozen pipes and water heaters not to mention cold gloppy shampoo that makes dogs just cringe. Over the many years of being a mobile groomer I have gone through multiple electric fan operated ceramic heaters each winter.

Since my hot water heater is run by propane I prefer not to use my furnace to reduce my propane usage. Due to the fact that the generator is in use all day I have found the most cost efficient way to stay warm would be to use an electric heater. However, the ceramic heaters as well as electric fan operated heaters have a heating element and fan which pull the dog hair into the heating element. This significantly reduces the lifespan of these units, not to mention the foul smell of burning dog hair.


The low profile model sits very nicely underneath my grooming table. This radiator is thermostatically controlled. There are no moving parts to get clogged up with dog hair. Once the oil in the radiator warms, it produces the most even radiant heat very similar to baseboard hot water heat in your home. If you are using a stand dryer or a dryer of similar amps you may want to turn the radiator off. The oil will continue to stay warm even in the off position for quite a while. After I finish drying the dogs I turn it right back on. I always found that even when using ceramic heaters my feet always seemed to be cold during the day. With the oil filled radiator I am never cold.

I also use the same heater when I plug the truck in at night. One radiator in the grooming area is all I ever need. I open my towel hatch (Wag n’Tails model van) which allows warm air to reach the back of the van. The average winter temperature here in NJ can range from the single digits to the teens.

There are two models that I have seen, the regular radiator and the low profile radiator. I prefer the low profile radiator which I find more suitable for the mobile environment due to the fact that it is less likely to shift between stops. I purchased mine at Home Depot for about $59. I have seen them at Bed, Bath & Beyond for slightly more.

The ice and snow can be a challenge during the winter season. Staying warm and keeping your truck warm can be as simple as the right heater.

In and Out with Style, Mile After Mile


The more convenient we become to the pet owner the more often they will have their dogs groomed. I can remember many of my clients that started their dogs on a six, eight, even ten week grooming schedule.

After just a few appointments they came to realize just how convenient this service truly is and then gradually moved to a four to five week schedule. The fact that they did not have to be home was even more appealing. Now we have them on great schedules, let’s modify their trims to fit their individual lifestyles. Many of my client’s dogs are cute little lap dogs that very rarely touch the grass.

Then we have the majority which are very busy outdoors. There are many breeds that love to be in the water during the summer months. Many people love to bring their dogs to the beach and even camping. You have to take all these things into consideration when putting trims on their dogs. In these situations I will tighten my trims for the summer.

Leaving hair in the wrong places will only contribute to matting. You can put style in your trims by leaving hair in the right places. I prefer to maintain stylized trims rather than spend endless hours dematting and setting lines all over again at each visit. Maintenance is the key word here. Maintaining a good trim is my goal.

Adding style to your work is easier said than done. It takes an artistic eye. Groomers are very artistic people in nature. Although it does take time, experience and practice to develop that artistry. It is very important for groomers to visit dog shows to see how these breeds should look as well as how the breeds are being stylized. Just as our hairstyles are always changing, so are the breeds. Our objective as mobile groomers should be to custom tailor our trims to bring out the best qualities in our pets as well as keeping our trims practical and manageable for the pet owner.


The first thing I recommend is to modify the trim. It may take a few visits to find the right trim for their dog. If you are still having problems with matting and the client is happy with the trim, at that point I would recommend changing their schedule by one week or possibly even two weeks.

You may also want to take a hard look at the products you are using. Products will make a big difference in how your trims hold up. If you are using a shampoo that is deep cleansing at every visit and you are not using some form of conditioning the coat may become dry and begin to mat. There are many leave-in conditioners that work great on areas that are prone to matting, i.e. tails, ears, and beards to name a few.

Your bathing, drying and coat preparation can either make or break your trims. Everything from bathing systems, dryers, clippers, blades, brushes and scissors all play a major role in your efficiency. Investing in good equipment is vital in the grooming industry. When your grooming appointments become lengthy, you will become inconvenient to that client.

Taking all these things into consideration is quite a task, but just remember it’s all about style... mile after mile!

"Food" For Thought

As many of you may know I have developed a pulmonary condition over the course of my grooming career. Some refer to it as “groomers lung” while the diagnosis for my condition  is bronchiectasis. I have suffered for many years with this condition of a chronic cough that never lets up. It is physically and mentally draining and incapacitating  in so many ways. Daily use of inhalers, nebulizers as well as frequent courses of antibiotics is the norm.  I honestly felt that this disease was going to be the death of me. While traveling and presenting seminars I would withdraw from using inhalers to suppress the cough just so I could get through the day. Not the smartest thing to do as suppressing the cough could lead to lung infections. However, it was the only way I could get through a presentation without coughing constantly.

While on Facebook one day an ad came up about “juicing”. I started to do a little research and the one thing that caught my eye was a list of vegetable and greens that could improve lung function. So I thought it was worth a shot. At this point I would do anything to help this condition. So on November 1st, 2016 I went out and bought a juicer and a book “Reboot with Joe”. I posted many of my juices on Facebook, which I’m sure many of you have seen. I was really enjoying it and playing around with different ingredients.  In January I started to lose some weight. I started to have more energy and felt overall in better health.

February rolled around and I noticed that I wasn’t coughing half as much. It was hard to believe. Once in a while I would have a period of time that was better than others so I assumed it would start up again any day. Here we are into March and I am not coughing at all! Could this be the new norm? I don’t know and only time will tell. However, I still take my inhaler in the morning just in case. If anyone is taking inhalers you know that it opens up your airways. For me this meant that within an hour I would be coughing up all kinds of mucus. Now, when I take my inhaler I don’t cough at all.

I only have a juice in the morning. It always consists of some sort of combination of apples, blueberries, melon, carrots, sweet potatoes , lemon, spinach, kale, beets, celery and cucumber.  I keep the fruit to a minimum as it is high is sugar. I have also changed my diet dramatically. I cut out all sugar, carbs, breads, meat, processed foods and dairy. Although, I do treat myself now and again but I try to stick to it 90% of the time. I don't consider myself a vegetarian or a vegan, just eating healthier.  Is it difficult? No, not when I am seeing the results. It is worth it to me!

New studies reveal that lung tissue can be regenerated by increasing vitamin A levels and adding beta-carotene and leafy greens to your diet.  I have been juicing 6 carrots every day since I started along with spinach and kale at least every other day. This is crazy!

I am almost afraid to publish this in fear of jinxing myself. However, all I know is that I feel like a new person.  I forgot what it was like to not have a cough. I will continue to juice every morning as I feel that it is helping my condition and I feel fantastic!

I highly recommend watching the documentary "Forks Over Knives" on Netflix. It really made me think twice about my eating habits.

Cheers to a healthier lifestyle!



After countless private messages and comments of concern on my recent Facebook post, I decided to share my story in hopes that I can spread awareness of the occupational health hazards that can affect groomers.

After grooming for about one year I decided to become a mobile groomer. Within the first year of being mobile I developed a persistent cough. After many visits to the doctor and countless runs of antibiotics the cough would never completely clear up.

After several years, I had allergy testing done thinking the worst… could I be allergic to dogs? I have had dogs my entire life but it was possible that I could have developed allergies. Test results came in…. no allergies.  I was put on two different inhalers, an albuterol and a steroid, to try to clear the cough. As a busy mother of three, work and my busy competition schedule, I put my health on the back burner thinking it’s just a cough… it will eventually go away.

Well it didn’t go away and what I didn’t realize was the fact that my bronchial tubes were becoming damaged from this chronic cough.

After six years of coughing, bouts of bronchitis and even an episode of pneumonia, I woke up in the middle of the night coughing up blood. I was never so scared in my life. I drove myself to the emergency room. I was immediately given breathing treatments. A pulmonary specialist was on call that evening. After hearing my history he ordered a bronchoscopy. This is a procedure where a scope is sent down your bronchial tubes to see what is going on.

I was soon diagnosed with a pulmonary disease called bronchiectasis. Bronchiectasis is a condition where the bronchial tubes become enlarged resulting from any medical condition that creates the production of mucus. Frequent episodes of Bronchitis, pneumonia and chronic coughs can contribute to this disease. Once the bronchial tubes become enlarged they can form pockets that hold the mucus making it difficult to expel. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Lung infections become a common occurrence. There is no cure for this disease and it is not reversible. This disease can be managed by inhalers and nebulizers which help to expel the mucus. Antibiotics are prescribed when the infections arise.  Pneumonia and flu vaccines are important for me to have. Any common cold can quickly turn into pneumonia for me due to the weakness in my lungs. The bleeding that occurred was from coughing so much and it is common in bronchiectasis patients.

So the question is… can grooming dogs and cats cause pulmonary issues? Absolutely! Coughing occurs when something irritates and stimulates your airways. If you find that you have had a persistent cough for more than eight weeks, it is time to get to the doctor and clear it up.

I remember days when I would come home after grooming a double coated breed and just could not stop coughing. The dander, hair and fine clipped hair that is in the air is constantly being inhaled into your lungs. Think of all those yeasty dogs and dogs with flaky dandruff…. all those particles are being blown in the air by the high velocity dryers. In my mobile van I could really see the quality of the air as the sun shines through.  The particles just saturate the air that we breathe.

My pulmonary physician discussed with me how my occupation was aggravating this condition and could be causing the frequent flare ups of infection. He recommended that I either take precautions or just stop grooming completely. I began to really take notice of how I was grooming. I started to brush the double coated breeds in the tub when they were wet and soapy to eliminate the undercoat blowing around in the grooming van. I developed a system that I felt was working really well. Not only was this method proven to be beneficial to me but it also became extremely proficient in removing undercoat and keeping it at bay for 5-6 weeks between appointments. It made a huge difference in the amount of hair that was in the air in my small confined area of the grooming van. This system is shown in its entirety in my video “Deshedding: Theory & Technique”.  A large amount of work is done it the tub….the end result: less hair and faster drying time. With Spring upon us, we will all see the double coated breeds shedding profusely. This is the time to change your procedure and save your lungs.

Protect your lungs… wear a mask. You don’t want to have to live with a pulmonary condition for the rest of your life. I will always have a cough. I will always have to use inhalers and nebulizers to help keep the mucus down to a minimum.  Some weeks are good where I have very little mucus and it is somewhat clear. Other weeks I suffer with a huge amount of mucus that is on its way to becoming an infection and that’s when antibiotics have to come into play. It scares me to think of taking antibiotics so frequently but I have no choice.  I know talking about mucus is gross but the struggle is real.

There are so many options for masks. The surgical masks are comfortable but do not give you complete protection. They do not hug your face, instead they leave gaps where hair and dander can still be inhaled.




There are masks available at Home Depot or Lowes that are made for different jobs. 3M offers masks for sanding and fiberglass jobs.  These masks are capable of preventing the finest dust from passing through the mask.


The girls at my nail salon gave me the masks that they use. They are very comfortable. They add a gauze pad inside the mask for more protection.  ( Thanks Oliver for being my model!)



Finding the right mask is something that will be a personal choice based on comfort.

Ear and eye protection are also important. Many groomers suffer from hearing loss because of noisy high velocity dryers. It’s time to think about your health. You could be one of the lucky ones and never have a problem but sometimes it just isn’t worth the gamble. 

Thank you for listening. If I could do it all over again I would have worn a mask and put my health first.  I can only hope that my story has made you realize that it can happen to you too.

Take care,


The In's and Out's of Mobile Grooming

When I started my mobile grooming business 18 years ago I really knew nothing about the business. It was all based on trial and error. I soon figured out what was working and what was not. My business took off very quickly and I became so busy within just three months that I had to turn away new business. After four years in business I moved to another state and was able to start over and make changes that would help my business run smoothly as well as become more profitable. I improved my scheduling and routing, I changed my price structure and really improved my business overall.

After just two years in business I again had to relocate. Believe it or not I still found room for improvement and again was able to start over and implement more changes.

Not everyone has that opportunity. It is very hard to make changes to your price structure, routing and schedule procedures, etc. once you become established without losing good customers. I learned so much over the years. I also realized that people are the same no matter where they live, west coast, mid west or east coast. They all love their pets and want what's best for them. There are so many important topics to talk about when it comes to mobile grooming. I want to share with you a few topics that I feel are very important to know.


The most common fear that groomers have when wanting to go mobile is not getting the client base that will pay the higher rates for mobile grooming.  I feel their pain as I, myself, was there at one time in my life.  I can understand completely, but in a second breath, it makes me laugh because I know that three to six months from now those same groomers will be telling me that they are so busy and can no longer take on new clients! 

Mobile groomers fill their client base very quickly.  It is so important to keep track of how many clients you are taking on.  When working 5 days per week while grooming 6 dogs per day you will only need approximately 120 clients if they are on a 4-week schedule.

When working 5 days per week, grooming 6 dogs per day that are on a 6-week schedule, means you can take on approximately 180 clients.

Taking on too many clients can create scheduling issues and unhappy clients.  If someone wants to book an appointment in four weeks and you find that you have no openings, you may have taken on to many clients.  Scheduling clients for three appointments at a time will allow for you to see what the availability is for adding new clients.  My clients are only aware of their next appointment even though I have them tentatively scheduled for three appointments.  Having one appointment at a time in your book makes it difficult to tell if you have openings for new clients. 

Keep yourself in a comfortable place where you will continue to enjoy your business and not feel overwhelmed.

Your goal should be to get everyone on standing appointments.  This is why it is important to give appointments out at every visit.  When your clients have an appointment for their scheduled week, you will always be able to switch them around during that week if they find they have a conflict that arises.  Accounting for everyone on the week they are due is crucial to keeping happy clients.    

Most mobile groomers are booked solid within six months of starting up their business.  It happens very quickly.  This doesn’t mean that this will be your clientele forever.  Clients may come and go.  You may even let people go who are just not working out for you.  It will take up to a year or two to really get the clientele that will most likely stay with you for a long time.  After several years of starting your business you may want to condense your route and really fine tune your clientele. You may have chronic offenders of being a "no-show".   If your phone is ringing and you are turning away clients you may want to start letting go the clients that are a problem and start taking on new clients.

 It is very common that most people that start out in mobile grooming travel too far.  Remember, we don't get paid for driving.  Once you become in demand you may want to redefine your route to where the majority of your clients are located.  It's hard to let good clients go that you have taken on several years ago.  Although if it is costing you money to drive outside of your area then you have to make a business decision and let them go.  I have had people offer to meet me within my route just to keep my services.  This is why it is so important to define your route before you start your business because it can be very difficult to let good clients go that you now have a great relationship with.

The benefit of mobile grooming is that you can be very selective as to what breeds you take on.  If you only need 110 to 180 clients, then why not make them the breeds you enjoy grooming?  Some groomers only want to groom small dogs, where other groomers love to groom large breeds.  If you prefer not to groom Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, Old English Sheepdogs, Keeshonds, Malamutes, and similar breeds, then don’t do them.  The large breeds can be hard to maneuver.  They can be difficult to get into the bath tub, especially by yourself.   Everyone has their own specialty.  This is your business.  Why not make this what you want it to be and enjoy every day of grooming.

Climate Control

 Summer Months

The summer months can be challenging to keep things running smoothly.  There are several things that I would like to share with you to help get you through the heat of the summer.

Keeping windshield sun screens in the front cab of your vehicle will help keep the heat down inside your truck.  If you have a pass-through door from your cab to your grooming area, your a/c will always be compromised by the cab heating up.  Always crack the windows in the cab area so the heat can dissipate.

If you have a generator that is mounted in a box, you may want to open the box door during hot summer days to let fresh air into the generator to prevent overheating.  Just don’t forget to close it before you leave your appointment.

Many vehicles have a passage door from the cab to the grooming area.  It is next to impossible for dog hair not to get into the cab area.  When using the air conditioning in the cab area, never turn it on the re-circulate setting.  This feature allows the cool air in the cab to be re-circulated throughout the vehicle.  This will draw dog hair through your a/c system, which can cause damage over time.

Grey tanks can develop a sour odor if they are not deodorized, especially during the hot summer months.  You can use bleach to deodorize the grey tank.  After emptying the tank, add a couple of gallons of fresh water and a cup of bleach, and let it sit for about 30 minutes, then drain.  Taking a quick drive around the block will swoosh the water around.  Vinegar is another form of deodorizer that you can use that is noncorrosive.  I have also heard that some groomers use bromine, which is the same chemical that is used in hot tubs.

Vehicles that have the HV dryer located in the back may tend to blow at a higher temperature during the summer.  The back of these vehicles will heat up due to the high temperature outside.  In most vehicles the a/c has no way of reaching that area.  The HV dryer is pulling hot air from the van and re-circulating it through the motor.  It heats up very quickly and can become very uncomfortable for the dog.  Opening the back door to the vehicle while working to allow fresh air in will keep the HV dryer running at the proper temperature.

Winter Months

During the winter months when temperatures drop below 35 degrees, you must plug your shore line into your home in order to run space heaters when you are not working.  This will prevent the plumbing in the vehicle from freezing.  Over the years I have used a ceramic heater in the back of the van where the plumbing is located and also in the grooming area to regulate the proper temperature.  I found that I was replacing ceramic heaters at least twice throughout the winter.  This is because ceramic heaters run with a fan and heating coil.  The fan pulls in dog hair, so these heaters quickly burn out.  I started using an oil-filled heater many years ago.   Because these heaters are filled with oil, there are no fans or electric coils to burn out.  This type of heater will keep your van nice and warm throughout the night.  Oil-filled space heaters run on a thermostat which you can set to whatever temperature you choose.  I will use this heater during the day when it is extremely cold out while I am grooming. It does pull a lot of amps, so you must remember to turn it off when using dryers.  This heater projects a nice natural, even heat that really warms you to the bone.  They are available in a low-profile model which I prefer, as it stays put behind my grooming table without having to secure it in place.

You should always keep hot water heaters on during freezing temperatures.  This will prevent them from freezing, which can cause extensive damage. 

Weather can be a challenge for mobile groomers.  Being prepared and taking precautions will help make things run smoothly and will prevent down time.

Finding the Right Trim and Schedule

The first thing I like to do when starting with a new client is look at the trim the dog is in.  Is it flattering to the dog?  If it is a pure breed dog, was it groomed correctly per the breed standard?  Is there something that I can do to make the dog look cuter?  I will talk to the client about the dog and make suggestions that I feel would benefit the dog.

When you prepare a dog properly, the trim will last longer for the client.  When dogs come back in 4 to 6 weeks and you wash and dry them, they should look just like they did at the last appointment, just longer.  That is when you know you have done a good job.  If their coat looks very uneven, then you know you need to work on your preparation and scissor work.

Look at the dog’s schedule.  Is this a good grooming schedule for this breed?  Is it a good schedule for the trim that you are doing? Cocker Spaniels, for example, are one breed that can be difficult to maintain unless you have them in nice short cute trims and they are on a 4- to 5-week grooming schedule.

If the client likes the trim and the dog is coming back matted, then you have to change the schedule and recommend the dog be on a 5-week schedule instead of a 6-week schedule (or whatever schedule you have; just bump it up a week).  If the client does not want to change the dog’s schedule, then the trim should be modified.  Tell the client that you will tighten the trim to make it last a bit longer so you won’t have any problems with matting.  You can also spot condition.  If you see that the dog is matting behind the ears or tail, you can condition those areas heavily.

Make sure you are not leaving too much hair in the wrong places, especially behind the ears of Bichons, for an example.

Look at the lifestyle of the client.  Many breeds love to be in the water during the warm-weather months.  Many people love to bring their dogs to the beach and even camping.  You have to take all these things into consideration when putting trims on their dogs.  In these situations I will tighten my trims for the warm-weather season.  Leaving hair in the wrong places will only contribute to matting.  You can add style to your trims by leaving hair in the right places and taking hair off in the right places.

I like to have summer trims, winter trims and vacation trims.  I will change the trim a bit based on what is going on.  During the winter months if we are getting a lot of snow and the dog’s legs and feet are coming back matted I will tighten the trim up a little.  If I know the clients are going out of town and the dog will be boarded, I will tighten the trim.  If I am going away and I know the dog will have to wait a week longer than normal, I will tighten the trim.  During the holiday rush I will tighten everyone just a bit in October/November so I am sure I will be able to get in and out of my stops quickly during the hectic month of December.  All of these things go unnoticed by the clients.  They never realize that I have done anything different.  They trust me 100% and let me do whatever I feel fit.  That’s the great thing about this business, which you will see.

The bottom line is if the owner doesn’t want to change the pet's grooming schedule to eliminate matting, then you must modify the trim.  If the owner likes the trim just the way it is, you should recommend a more frequent schedule.  You must do this to prevent you from de-matting at every visit. Maintenance is the key here; maintaining a good trim is my goal. 

Adding style to your work is easier said than done.  It takes an artistic eye.  It also takes time, experience and practice to develop that artistry.  It is very important for groomers to visit dog shows to see how these breeds should look as well as how the breeds are being stylized in the show ring.  Just as our hairstyles are always changing, so are the breeds’ styles. 
The show ring is where all the new trends are happening.  Dog shows are fun to watch and you will most likely see breeds that you have never seen in person before.  It is a great learning experience. Bookoftheyear

My new book, "Dog Grooming Simplified" includes full color photography of actual dogs. It is a great reference manual that is available at

The most important thing that I have learned in the contest ring is to be methodical when I groom.  Always start in the same place and end in the same place on every dog.  If you tend to jump around, you will lose time.  When you have a system when you groom you will become faster and the dogs will know what to expect every time.


Everything from bathing systems, dryers, clippers, blades, brushes and scissors all play a major role in your efficiency. Investing in good equipment is vital in grooming.  Bathing systems will save you time, shampoo and water and are worth every penny.

Keep your equipment sharp and in good repair.  If you are fighting with faulty clippers, dull blades and dull scissors, you are wasting valuable time.  Be sure you always have backup equipment in case you need it.  I always carry at least three or four of each blade with me.  I have several clippers, several combs and a huge variety of brushes.  I have many shears as well.  If you ever drop your shears by mistake, they may become nicked, so you will need a backup.

Quality shears will improve your grooming time.  Shears can be expensive; however, they are one tool that will make or break your finished product.  Shears are something that you really need to invest in.  If you ever use a good quality shear, you will see the difference immediately in your work.  Inexpensive shears will not do your work any justice.  Your work is only as good as the equipment that you are using, so save your money and invest in good equipment.

JMUR-Book-CoverWe sell our business as being convenient for our customers.  When your grooming appointments become lengthy, you will lose money and your service becomes inconvenient.  Having the right equipment will help you to be efficient.

For more information on Mobile Grooming please visit

Everything you need to know about Mobile Grooming  is available in my book "Mobile Pet Grooming" and Mobile Grooming DVDs.

Good luck and drive safe!



To Clip or Not To Clip.....That is the Question!

As groomers we tend to think that when a dog enters our salon for a haircut we immediately pull out our clipper. However, there are many breeds and mixed breeds that have a flat natural back coat that needs nothing other than a little carding and thinning shear work to polish the appearance.

Breeds like the Irish Setter, Longhaired Dachshund, Cocker Spaniels, Brittany Spaniels, Sussex Spaniel, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Field Spaniel, Boykin Spaniel , for example, have this type of coat.

Ckc-ndgaaWhen these breeds are clipped the coat can change texture and become very thick and wooly. If this is the case, clipping may be the only option.  If clipping has previously been done, removing undercoat in conjunction with clipping will help the blades glide through the coat with ease.

Surprisingly there are dogs that have been clipped in the past and yet their coat will still remain flat and natural. In this case clipping the coat is not necessary.  To shorten the length of the back coat on these breeds, backcombing and tipping the ends of the coat with thinning shears can be done for a natural appearance. When using these techniques on these breeds it not only saves time by unnecessary clipping it also saves time from blending the clipped lines into the longer furnishings. Carding and thinning shear techniques will give a beautiful seamless appearance.

Acs-ndgaaWhen puppies come into the salon for the first time their coat type should be evaluated. If the back coat appears flat and natural….don't clip it! They are your clean slate to begin these techniques on.

Carding techniques are very important  for dogs that have a double coat like many Sporting breeds. Undercoat is defined as the short, soft, dense hair that supports the outer coat or guard hair. The term “carding” describes the technique of removing undercoat from the follicles with the use of a stripping knife. Keeping undercoat at bay by using carding techniques is beneficial to the skin and the appearance of the coat.

This technique will promote healthy skin and coat by clearing the follicles of excessive undercoat. Undercoat is soft and dull in color and can prevent the skin from breathing if it becomes excessive. Once the excess undercoat is removed, the coat will shine and the skin will be able to breathe and will be healthier.

When using a stripping knife it is important to hold the skin taut with one hand while combing through the coat with the other. If the skin is not held taut it will move with every stroke, which can be uncomfortable for the pet. When the skin moves the tool will not be productive. The stripping knife should be held almost flat to the skin.

Carding - Copy

When dogs are not carded, blades will often leave track marks in the coat. It is common to want to shave them with very short blades to ensure a smoother finish. However, the undercoat is what causes the blade to leave track marks, almost like the look of corduroy. Carding techniques will eliminate the corduroy issue so a longer blade can then be used which will result in a more natural appearance.

Carding techniques take very little time and will be beneficial in the end for the groomer and the pet. Maintaining a flat natural back coat with the use of carding and thinning shear techniques not only saves time, but will give a beautiful, shiny and natural appearance to these breeds.

On The Road With Jodi and Danelle

Last year at Groom and Kennel Expo Danelle German and I had dinner together.  We laughed about the fact that I don't groom cats and she doesn't groom dogs and how fun it would be to do something together.  Since I'm a mobile groomer, Danelle and I thought it would be fun to go on the road together for a day of mobile groomining.

Cat grooming is foreign to me.  I have never been a cat person.  I like cats and absolutely love my cat but I just felt that you really need to feel comfortable handling cats in order to groom them.  So I choose not to!   Danelle, on the other hand is a "cat person".  She is definitely more comfortable handling cats than dogs.  In fact, when we were on the road I was trying to pry a leash out of a golden retrievers mouth in the van and  she was a little nervous that I would get bit.  She didn't realize how common it is for Goldens to love to carry things in their mouth.  It's amazing how differ our comfort levels are.

Danelle came to New Jersey and I scheduled a day with three of my regular client dogs.  Since I don't groom cats I had to "round up" some cats.  I asked a local mobile groomer, Patty Mitchell, to help me out.  She lined us up three of her client cats to groom that day.  We spent an entire day grooming cats and dogs together.  I was able to drill her with questions that I had about cat grooming that I'm sure she felt were elementary.  In return, she questioned me about dog grooming in the same respect.  This day on the road was a learning experience for both of us. 

The day was going pretty smoothly and I was feeling more comfortable with the cats.  She made it look so easy.  At one point she asked if I could help her scruff a cat while she stepped away to turn on the dryer. I was thinking to myself "do you really trust my scruff?"  One fast move and I'm sure that cat would have been dancing on the ceiling!  So I said "You scruff, I'll turn on the dryer!". 

By the end of our day on the road Danelle was feeling pretty confident that she could help me with the Golden Retriever.  I had her scissor the feet and she did pretty good for the first time!  Although I remember when she was working on the long haired cat I asked her if she was going to scissor the feet nice and pretty and she said "NO!  You never want to scissor toe tufts!"  OK so why does she want to scissor my Golden's toe tufts?  That's not fair!  We had so much fun doing this DVD together and I'm sure you will all enjoy it as well.  Danelle's camera girl even snuck in a blooper section which I'm sure will make you all chuckle (at our expense)!

We discussed so many important topics throughout the day including, routing, scheduing, pre-booking, the importance of regular grooming, handling techniques, client relations, educating clients and so much more.

This full day on the road with Danelle and I is available in a two dvd set.  

On the Road DVD part 1


The Most Comprehensive Mobile Grooming Book is here!

"Mobile Pet Grooming" the book is now available!


I am happy to announce the arrival of my first book "Mobile Pet Grooming", "The most comprehensive guide to starting and maintaining a successful business".

This book covers all aspects of starting and maintaining a mobile grooming business.  Over the past 15 years I have started and successfully operated three mobile grooming businesses in three totally different areas of the country - the south, the mid-west and now the northeast.  After just a few months of starting up each business, I was unable to take on new clients and have had long waiting lists, allowing me to pick and choose my clients.

Making the right decisions when starting a new business is vital.  Maintaining your business properly is just as important.  Grooming tips and techniques will be discussed that will help you be a more efficient groomer.  I will share with you experiences that I have had with clients and with my van that have taught me valuable lessons.  For all you cat fanciers out there you will surely enjoy the chapter written by Danelle German, "Grooming Cats in a Mobile Unit". 

The book retails at $59.95 plus $4.50 shipping/handling.  Orders can be placed via email for $49.95 plus $4.50 shipping/handling until January 1st!