Are You Ready for the Holiday Rush?

10 Tips to Help You Stay Calm Over a Bustling Holiday Season

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I know it seems like we are barely out of summer, but busy salons are already thinking about the holiday rush. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. New Years.  Are you?

This is the prefect time to bolster your year-end earnings while providing a warm, caring experience for your clients and their pets.

The holidays can be magical, busy, fiscally rewarding and wonderful. But they can be stressful, demanding and exhausting too.

Let’s not forget the most important part of the holidays. To spend time with your family and friends. Sure, we want to be there for our customers, but not at the expense of your loved ones and close friends.

Here are the few of ideas to help maintain your sanity as you head into this festive time of year.

  1. Block out time for yourself. Long before the holidays arrive, block out times for yourself. Block out time for family events. Holiday parties. Holiday shopping. Made sure you have enough YOU time scheduled so you be at the top of your game for both your customers and your family.
  2. Maintain a healthy diet. Seriously – we cannot survive on cookies alone! (Although I have tried) After a long day standing at a grooming table – who wants to spend time cooking? Long before the holidays hit, prepare healthy dinners and freeze them in individual portions. For breakfast and lunches, make sure you have plenty of healthy items to just grab-n-go. Today, with Pinterest and other social media outlets – there are plenty of ideas of how to put this together. And when all else fails, have the phone numbers of your favorite restaurants saved on your phone for takeout.
  3. Stockpile your supplies. As you go into the holiday season, make sure you are well stocked with your dispensable supplies. Shampoo. Conditioner. Specialty shampoos. Paper towel. Laundry soap. Cotton balls. Quick stop. Cool lube. Be proactive with your ordering activities to ensure you have everything you need and won’t run out.
  4. Maintenance of your mobile unit or salon. The last thing any of us need is a hiccup with our shops or mobiles during our peak season. You want all your equipment in top condition and working flawlessly. Make sure everything is serviced prior to the onslaught of the holiday season. Double check your tools. Make sure they are in good working order and sharp. Blades and shears, have them serviced and sharpened well in advance. If any of your hand tools are worn out, tired or broken – treat yourself and replace them!
  5. Premade bows & bandannas. Bows and bandannas add creativity and sparkle to the finished grooming job. It’s like icing on the cake. During the holiday season, your most festive bows and bandannas can be premade and precut. Glitter bows. Sparkle bows. Pom-pom bows. Tulle bows. Beaded bows. Ribbon insert bows. If you don’t enjoy making your own special bows, stock up on premade bows and bandannas. There are lots of choices!
  6. Focus. Focus. When grooming, use every speed trick in the book. Prepping. Bathing. Drying. Trimming. Make sure you can always see a clock while working. Pay attention to minutes – not hours. Set mental time goals on every single step of the grooming process and push to stick to them.
  7. Make lists. Once it’s on paper you can get it out of your mind. Lists allow you to remember the finer details and stay on track. Plus, there’s great gratification in crossing things off a list. When it comes to holidays, have master lists for everything. Shopping lists. Cleaning lists. Gift giving list. To do lists. Decorating lists. If it is something you think about each year – consider creating a master list for the task. Have a file on your computer or digital device just for organizational templates. Store all your master lists one spot so you can find them easily later.
  8. Take care of your best customers first. Start pre-booking your most regular customers in September. Start with your weekly and biweekly customers. Once they have their appointments locked in for each holiday, then move to the three and four-week clients. Finish off pre-booking with your five and six-week clients. Typically, by that point, you’ll have very few openings left in your prime holiday schedule for last minute requests or new clients.
  9. Pre-booking appointments. Traditionally, January and February in the northern climates can be slow for most groomers. Actively pre-booking future appointments is important during the holiday rush. By taking advantage of the high grooming traffic during this time period, you can stay busy in January and February 2020. Strategically pre-booking appointments can increase your income without adding a single new client.
  10. Take the week off between Christmas and New Year’s. If you are primarily a grooming related business, reserve the week to recoup. To rest. To allow yourself some ‘me’ time. Most of your valuable clients have already been groomed. If you need to work, take that time to address special projects needing to be done within the business. Deep clean. Paint. Replace worn and tired equipment. By the time January 2 rolls around, you will be refreshed and ready to begin a new year.

BONUS TIP:  Salon Owners and Managers, this one’s for you!  Remember to take care of your team!  Everyone is working hard and a simple thank you and sincere recognition can go a long way!  This is the time of the year when the strength of the team will be tested.  Do you have the team trained to their fullest potential?  Do you have enough team members?  Get together and strategize.  If team members, new or existing, need training….now is the time to polish those skills!  Consider a Distance Learning option at or a subscription at!  A little skill tweaking goes a long way!

With a little forethought and planning, you can remain calm, cool and collected. You will be able in control of your schedule during the busiest time of the year without losing your sanity.  



Paragon’s Distance Learning Program ( is a web-based grooming instruction solution. It’s perfect for individuals looking to make Grooming their future. It is also an ideal resource for Salon Owners and Managers who find it hard to locate groomers. It’s designed for those who don’t have the time - or desire - to teach.



The Importance of Canine Anatomy to Groomers


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If you are a professional groomer, we believe this is the most important lesson you can learn. Combined with effective pet handling, understanding canine anatomy is the FOUNDATION of all good grooming.

If you don’t know how the pet is put together – or in some cases – SHOULD be put together, you simply won’t provide the best grooming you can. You will not earn the trust and cooperation of pets entrusted to you if you go pulling their legs in directions they are not meant to go or if you are moving a pet in an un-natural way. So, whether you are a long-time groomer, a newbie, or a bather working with a team of pet stylists – understanding canine anatomy is critical to your success and the pet’s comfort.

All dogs, regardless of breed, possess identical bone and muscle structure. Fundamentally, all dogs – from Great Danes to Yorkies – are the same. The domestic dog is the end result of generations of carefully controlled breeding practices. Man has domesticated dogs to assist us in many daily functions and to provide companionship.

Many breeds still behave in a manner according to the jobs they were once bred to do, such as herding, hunting or tracking. As times changed, the breeds remained but it was no longer necessary for them to perform these tasks. Other breeds have developed a proficiency in other activities that allow them to continue to assist man.

For every purebred dog, there is a written standard developed by parent breed organizations that outlines what the “ideal” dog of that breed should be. The key to maintaining a dog in a condition to proficiently perform its original role is to know the standard.

Being able to decipher the official breed standard can be challenging at first. Speaking the “language” is a key component to understanding how to work professionally with dogs.

“As I was developing my skills, I struggled with understanding the written breed standards found in the AKC Complete Dog Book. It was like Greek to me! I bet you can relate. However, with focus and intentional study, I did learn it – and so can you!” – Melissa Verplank

In order to safely handle a dog during grooming or to style the dog to accentuate its best features, you need to understand basic anatomy and individual breed standards.

  • What are the key components making up a structurally sound and balanced animal - purebred or mixed breed?
  • How do you measure or select reference points?
  • How do you apply those points in the trimming process?
  • How can you handle or manipulate the dog to create a harmonious relationship?

For dogs with definite trim styles, you can accentuate proper structure while minimizing conformational faults. To the untrained eye, accentuating or detracting from the conformation of the pet will be subtle. However, it will make a large difference in the overall quality of the haircut.

Are you familiar with the dog’s natural movement limitations?

If you are, you can make grooming much more comfortable for the pet. When the pet is comfortable, it is much more willing to cooperate. If you don’t understand the mechanics of a pet and try to move it beyond its physical limitations, you will eventually cause or contribute to an injury. Understanding key pressure points as well as using proper holding techniques allows both the pet and the stylist the greatest degree of safety through the entire grooming process.

When it comes to running a successful grooming business, being able to duplicate grooming techniques is a key to reliable services. It’s much like using a cookie cutter when baking cookies. You get a consistent look every time.

How do you do that?

Using physical landmarks on the pet. Then combining those reference points with a variety of grooming tools to give you consistent results.


Front Assembly

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This area makes up the shoulder and front legs. It consists of bones, muscles, and tendons. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently the dog will move. The shoulder blade is held in place by muscles and tendons that allow for good forward and back movement but is limited from side to side. Some dogs are more limber than others. When lifting a foot or leg, never extend it beyond the point of mild resistance when the dog is relaxed.

Rear Assembly

Bones, muscles, and tendons make up the hips and rear legs. The angles of the bones, combined with their length, dictate how efficiently the dog will move. The pelvic and femur bones are held in place by a ball and socket that form the hip joint. The ball and socket offers a greater degree of rotation through the hip joint than in the front assembly. However, older dogs or dogs with joint discomfort will not be as flexible as a pet that is pain free. When lifting a foot or leg, never extend it beyond the point of mild resistance when the dog is relaxed.


Outline of a Dog


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The overall length of a dog is measured from the point of shoulder to the point of rump and from withers to ground. The distance between the withers and the top of the elbow and the distance between the elbow and the ground will dictate the overall balance and proportion of a dog. Most breed standards refer to the body proportion as being square or rectangular.

Measuring the Head

Skull types come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The overall length refers to the points from the occiput to the tip of the nose. The stop area is frequently used as a key measuring point of the relationship between the length of topskull and the muzzle.


Pattern Setting

All patterns are set in relationship to bones and muscles on the dog.


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There are a few key areas about the neck, chest, shoulders, ribs, and thighs that allow stylists to set body patterns on the dog that are well-balanced and symmetrical. On the head, the key pattern-setting points are the stop area, eye socket rims, ears, cheeks, the back corners of the mouth, and the occiput.

Whether you are working on a show dog or a family pet, where you set the pattern will make a huge impact on your finished groom. On dogs with haircuts, pattern placement is critical to create a stylish haircut that accentuates the dog’s features in a positive light.

When trimming typical family dogs, it’s common to use pet grooming techniques. Clippers. Blades. Guard combs. Scissors. And thinning shears. When a knowledgeable groomer/stylist combines a wide variety of these tools it’s easy to get consist results every time. On every dog.

Balance, style, and flair all are seen at their best when a trim is founded on a sound basic knowledge of overall canine anatomy. Like anything else, the more knowledge one has on a topic, the easier it is to apply. With time, correct application will become second nature.

Illustrations in this article can also be found in Notes from the Grooming Table.

To learn more on this important topic, log in to and you can preview this video FREE by visiting, video, Canine Anatomy!

PetEdge Promo code for a FREE first month’s subscription for new members is:  PetEdge1month

Hurry, time is limited on this free month offer….offer expires in 60 days!


Paragon’s Distance Learning Program ( is a web-based grooming instruction solution. It’s perfect for individuals looking to make Grooming their future. It is also an ideal resource for Salon Owners and Managers who find it hard to locate groomers. It’s designed for those who don’t have the time - or desire - to teach.