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October 2010

The Pet Portuguese Water Dog Trim

This is Guinness, a 2 and a half year old male Portuguese water Dog.  He is a cinnamon roan in color- a soft coated deep red with many white coarse guard hairs. When he arrived at my salon, I was very excited to get a Portie in as I have had none in the nearly 4 years I have had my current salon, so this was a treat.

Upon check in, I talked with the owner and checked his coat over well and it was decided that I had some de-matting to do and his owner wanted him kept a manageable length. She brought along a Portie calendar, and from that chose a photo of a dog in a pet trim with the breed typical styling. So,, we were off!

Guinness before.

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Here you can see that I had much coat to work with!  Guinness was about 4 to 6 inches long all over, and there were spots that had been cut free of matts, so I had to try to cover and blend those places in also. Nails first, then pads (so that I can see the shape and size of his feet and to be sure his feet have no foreign objects in the pads), then sani work , then off to the tub.

This is Guinness after the bath.

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I used a texturizing shampoo and ShowSeason's Results Rinse on him.

He is a little roamy, but still has his puppy chub also. This breed has soft and "jiggly" skin due the the layer of fat beneath the skin to help insulate them per their breed's design to be a swimmer in all weather. I also noted that he is a little let down in hock and holds extra weight in his chest.  I will think of all of this when I am clipping him to try to cover these issues up.

First I trimmed up his rear and inner thighs with a #5 to remove the tight matting and knots hidden there. His tuck up and groin were tightly webbed and so was his tummy and chest.  So this is where the creativity had to start. I also clipped in his throat latch and chest to the point of chest with the same #5. This gave me a view of the actual length of the dog I had to work with and to help use to create a more "square" build on him for style.

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Clipping out his bib and throat latch with a #5 to remove matts.

And doing the same with his rear.

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*With all dogs, I do find that I prefer to clipper in the rear and front of the dog first, and then look at their overall length of frame so that I can see what I need to do to bring the eye to the center of the dog and maintain balance.*

I also tunnelled or hollowed out his tummy and underarms to remove matts. This basically forms a wide "Y" from the groin to just up behind the bottom of the dog's sternum. I also leave a little length of chest hair to cover up this shorter area and keep it out of view unless the dog is on its back.

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The chest

The tummy

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~This trim is what I have also termed a "Cool Clip", and I do it on many large and double coated breeds during the summer heat.  From the groin and inner thighs to the stomach & underarms, all the hair is clipped tight with a #7 or #10 as needed. With this shorter coat, the dog can lay its stomach and groin against the cool floor and help to cool itself.  Also, it helps to easily remove the tummy areas that often get tightly packed with dead undercoat and are too tender to brush out.

After trimming the matted areas out that could be hidden, I next addressed the webbed and tangled areas that the HV dryer and coat dressing sprays did not remove during drying.  For these areas, I chose a Chris Chris teaser comb (a personal favorite), a Les Poochs slicker and some DeTangle spray from ShowSeason.  The areas that needed the most addressing were his shoulders and hips and feet. Often, with many dogs, these areas matt up as they are pressure points when the dog lays just as much as the friction areas of the coat. 

After completely removing the tangles from the coat, I began clippering his body length.

Guinness outline

I chose an A comb (Wahl SS) over a #10 blade and clippered the areas highlighted here.  The rest of his work would be done with scissors and thinners to blend and texturize the coat.

It is always important whenever able to groom a dog so that the style looks natural. As if it grew that way. Using your thinners as an integral part of your grooms and as a final step to your finished work will produce wonderful results. 

Once the clipper work was done, I moved on to scissoring. 

I began by blending the hips into the rear legs,

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(notice that Guinness had short hair on his hocks and coat breakage across the front of his pasterns.  Because of that, he looks too let down in the hock and this also makes his feet look big.  Whenever you can, maintain a pet's hock and pastern hair and use it to create a balanced an well angled leg- this will give your finished grooms a balanced foundation and a sturdy "pedestal" for their body)

then on down the spring of rib to blend the underline into the ribs, while trying to pare off extra length across the ribs to help remove weight from the barrel.  Then on to blending the shoulder and elbow,

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 and finally the chest and neck.

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Once the transitional pattern lines were blended into the longer scissored areas, I moved on to setting the feet bevels.  Trimming up at a 30 degree angle from the table to create a nice round foot and to try to compact the foot a little. This breed has large feet and well cushioned pads per their breed trait, and Guinness was even larger footed, so I brought everything up that I could without exposing the nails.

Next I set in the tail, creating the shorter length tail base with a #5 down the length of tail to just above the point of hock on the dog.  I then softened the transitional lines with thinners and shaped the tail plume as well.

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Then I lifted the tail up and over the back to see that there was no lump of hair in front of the tail to take away from the topline being straight. I then lightly scissored the topline to get it as level as possible.

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Note that I had to unfortunately scissor tight his tuckup to remove matting. Anytime you can keep a tuckup full and scissored in, the balance and flow of the dog's outline will be much more flattering. So take care of that tuckup hair!

I saved Guinness' head for last.  Most times I do this so that I can take my time to create a flattering head and expressive face. However, if you are crunched on time, you may want to do the head first in case your owners show up early. It is always tought to trim a face on a moving dog.

This breed's pet style defines a soft and curly headpiece, a round topskull and muzzle. The crown of the head should not be too high so that the head is slighty wider than taller. Note that the very top of Guinness' head is slightly level. 

You want the ears well blended and delineated from the side of the cheek. Meaning that the ears should work to create the roundness of the head and make up for the length of muzzle on the dog.  Think of a Bichon puppy head,,,similar to that appearance. Thinners all around the edge of the ear will create a natural texture and lay.

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The backskull should blend well into the arch of neck and have no defined changed in length, creating a nice slope and gentle arch to the neck. Again, think of the barrel of this dog, you need to offset that size with the neck & headpiece to be sure that the dog is proportionate from front to back and top to bottom. 

The dog's face should show the eyes well, so comb forward the awning or visor and thinner that well back from the eyes.  Pulling your thinners back and away from the eyes as you do this will help train the hair to fall naturally away from the eyes and help create texture & lift to the crown of the dog.  Be sure to neaten up the muzzle and flew as these dogs can have a wet mouth. 

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Try to avoid clippering the entire length of the bridge of the nose to keep a soft and natural look to the face.  If the eyes are excessively runny, I use a #15 at the inner corner of the eye and then heavy thinner to get it to look natural and to help the owner have shorter hair to keep clean under the eyes. 

Here you can see Guinness in his finished clip.  You can use this style clip on many other breeds, especially on your Doodles as their coat and frame structure can be quite similar. 

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*With your Portie trims, it is important to remember when you are finished grooming, always re-dampen the body coat and squeeze it with your hands to help create and return the natural wave & curl of the coat in its natural state. With breeds of this coat type, maintaining the texture of the coat will also create depth to the coat and keep the style true to its breed standard.

For Guinness I re-wet the coat of his barrel and neck with purified water and Ice on Ice.  When he was picked up, the curls had returned to the body coat and the soft and fluffy look was still present on his legs and head.

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Can you see on this side view where the previous groomer had scissored the dog's coat instead of clippering it?  You can see the color and texture difference between the two areas as the scissored areas are darker than the clippered ones where the length is longer.  I scissored in nearly the same places except that I took the rump down tighter as well.

This entire groom, thanks to my topical products, my HV dryer, and minimal scissoring, only took 2.5 hours! 

Happy grooming!



Boosting the Revenue of your Salon (Without Grooming More Pets)


 *Don't let anything stand in your way!!*


Years ago I faced a decision.  I needed to either scale back on my volume of daily grooming, or I had to hang up my clippers all together.  Faced with that final decision, I felt hanging on to my love of grooming at all costs was put into a more realistic light.  I needed to really change the face of my business and dedicate my skills to not just the grooming that I loved, but dedicate myself to re-facing my business or I would have to give up all of it, and I wasn’t willing to do that.  With that decision, I sat down and wrote out a new business plan. A new plan with new goals, and a new time frame. Only, there was a twist; the time frame actually had to be shorter than my previous business plan in order to keep moving forward.  In essence, because I could only groom dogs of a certain size and had to get back on track from an extended absence, I actually had more to do, in less time. With that hurdle and a determination to figure out a way over it, I decided that the best thing for my business and my frame of mind was to re-face my current business.  I started by giving my salon a facelift.  I made many changes to the design of the salon and added some new equipment and marketed the salon aggressively in all of the local media that I could.  I also got out and pounded the pavement and met with and talked with many people in all the neighboring towns in effort to get my salon name as well as my personal figure out there.  Once my phone started ringing with a frenzy of new clients and new earning opportunities, I knew the light at the end of the tunnel was fast approaching.  This gave even more steam to how quickly I could move ahead in my plan and that gave me renewed belief in the possibility of earning more from my current business without having to relocate or hire additional staff in order to make more revenue.  So, from my business plan and what I saw as best for my business and my own fulfillment in my work, here are some of the additional services that I have implemented into my salon and spa and that have all have been tremendously well received.  For those things that I cannot cover myself, I have a network of area sources to refer clients to.


Boutique or specialty retail items- if you don’t want the extra work of adding full line retail, or want to but lack the space, consider specialty retail. Be it at home grooming supplies (one of the most lucrative sections you can have in a salon), gourmet and healthy treats, nutritional and vitamin/mineral supplements, flea & tick care, quality collars & leashes, breed specific gifts, or seasonal supplies & gifts; give it a try.  If you are strong in recommending the products you decide to carry, and you are carrying things that you know many owners could use or will need, then offering these things seems obvious.

Expanding Your Business- Do you have a knack for baking? Do you have an eye with the camera?  Do you organize one heck of a party?  Then why not appease your inner need and show your strengths and utilize them to grow your business?  Add pet photography, or gourmet treats, or host play dates or pet birthday parties as a service at your salon.  You can add to your business and offer more revenue sources all under the same roof. 

Branding Your Business- I took my passion for supportive care and encompassing grooming and created my own line of skin & coat care products for dogs, Canine Spa Therapies.  These are products that address skin & coat care issues that I saw so commonly in my own salon, and they offer all natural topicals for overall better health and enjoyment of a pet during a grooming session.  So, I saw a need for something to address the care I couldn’t give, and I created tools to help bridge that gap.  In that way, I offered care that no other salon in my area was offering.  There is no better way to specialize in a service than to offer supplies and products that carry your own name and business credo behind them. No one will be able to get them anywhere else. And with creative and dedicated marketing, the products you believe in will be what your clients reach for when they care for their pet.  Sell what you use and use what you sell.  It does take time and money to brand your business, so do not enter into it lightly. Do your research and get the education you need to do it the right way.

Skin & coat care- think of all the problematic health issues we see every day. At many times, our grooming provides pet owners with a complete superficial exam more so than an average wellness check at a vet visit. Not that Vets aren’t thorough, but we cover every inch of that dog or cat’s skin and coat and we see things like teeth, ears, eyes, glands, and nails.  Sometimes we notice blood in urine, or worms and parasites, or lameness. Not to mention all of the issues we see like suspect warts, lumps and bumps and sores. All of these things could be referred to a Vet, and some of them that Vet could in turn refer to us for supportive care.  We should never diagnose or treat, but we can alert every owner and offer guidance to get the pet help. We should never overstep our scope of care or practice with regard to legal repercussion, but we have a duty to be sure that our clients’ needs and well being are addressed if at all possible. We also could have thorough education for ourselves to help give relief to the pet.  We are offering professional services and there is no better way to raise your level or professionalism than to educate yourself.  We should never be afraid to not speak up when we see something.  We should speak carefully when we do alert clients, but if we let it fall through the cracks, no one gives a voice to the pet who cannot speak up for themselves.  Also, some owners may decline to follow through with care, but at least we can offer relief to the pet at its visit and have them leave feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Massage Therapy, Aromatherapy and Hydrotherapy- once you get your formal certification and education under your belt, the possibilities are endless. I once was the travelling canine sports medicine therapist for a German Shepherd Schutzhund team, and I got to travel all over, including overseas, by caring for their animals.  Not only can you add this to your existing business, if you ever cannot groom or want to change your career focus, this field is a wonderful one. It is very rewarding and genuinely gratifying work, and yes, a lucrative one as well. 

Breed fun days- book all dogs of the same breed and have a meet & greet for the owners and a play day for the dogs. Offer seasonal treats and promo gifts that spotlight the breed.  Offer add on services in the salon that are easy to do and can be offered at a discount or special price to promote the day’s events for owners.

Day Spa stays & Weekend Spa ReTreats- If you have the staff, or the time to do it yourself, and the space, look at adding day care and integrate that with client grooming visits.  Many clients enjoy knowing their pet is at the spa getting pampered and in safe hands while they are at work or running errands.  Look at offering your grooming clientele whose dogs you are familiar with that extended stay option when they are leaving on vacation.  Not only will you have them in for grooming while they are gone, so their pet is not put on the waiting list- they won’t come in late for grooming and a matted mess from not being kept up, but you’ll also have added revenue from having them stay with you.  No one will vacation more happily than when they know their pet is doing the same thing.  Much can be done for “boarding” pets, without having to have a complete boarding facility.  Be sure to have all of your bases covered for the best of care while they stay, be sure that your own pets are safe, and everyone is current on vaccines and interacts well with each other, and you’ll likely find through word of mouth that this service grows quickly.  

Host a Grand Re-Opening- reinvent your business in the light that you want it to proceed in and then host a special day and advertise it actively.   Whether it is a new coat of paint, a new set of services, or a total revamp and build out, be excited about it!  Focus your energy into moving forward on a new path and in a new frame of mind, and you’ll see yourself & your business rewarded. 


Remember that your business will grow in the avenues that you pursue. You can do it most of all by just your frame of mind.  Deciding to turn your business around or to start new from the ground up takes great resolve and dedication, and if your outlook doesn’t match your business plan, neither can succeed. 

~To learn more about the full line of Canine Spa Therapies skin & coat care products, visit

The Beauty Is In The DeTails


Please note that some this article was previously published in Groomer To Groomer magazine, but to begin a new chapter of articles relating to all things pet spa, I am re-introducing it to set the foundation for a series of subsequent articles.

View this article at:


A bit more than 3 years ago I opened the fifth salon I have owned- this one being the third one from within my home.  With my family and my dogs to care for as well as the extra space available to utilize, it seemed perfect sense to save on the overhead and be available for my family as much as possible while operating my business.

One of the biggest needs I had to meet was the needs of my clients to be sure my salon was easily found, and easily accessable--which could create a problem!  I am tucked away in the woods, a mile off a majoy highway, but still, advertising would need to be effective and the driveway to my home needed seasonal upkeep for sure!

My home in the summer


My home in the winter P1010510
Great Business Insurance--and plowing and shovelling a MUST!


When I began to sit down and draw up my plans for this new salon, I took a lot of things into consideration.  I went to the town municipal offices and library and looked into the area’s demographic facts. I looked at new businesses in the works for opening in this area, at average household incomes, at property values and taxes, I looked at the amount of enrollment in the local schools, and of course I looked at the licensed dog reports and spoke in depth with our local vet about their patients.  I did not want to open up what I wanted to be a specialized pet spa & boutique in an area that wouldn’t have enough interest in this special level of pet care to support my business endeavor.  Luckily Mazomanie is quite a growing area and takes great pride in being voted one of the “Top 10 Coolest Small Towns in America”, with a great art and gallery district downtown and many special nooks for antiquers and those in search of local color.  So a pet spa has been well received, and indeed, word of mouth has been my greatest advertisement.    

Personally, I have owned both retail and home based salons, and to me, home based is the way to go in this market.  However, I firmly believe that if you work from your home, you have to really give your all to your salon front and to your clients, to make it as professional and specialized as possible.  When offering grooming from your home, many people tend to not take a business as seriously as when they come in to a retail space for the same services. So I wanted my clients to step into a salon that had all the amenities, and one that was attractive to the senses as well as that demanded respect from my clients for how well their pets are cared for.  I knew that I wanted an uncluttered, open and welcoming spa, with a homey feeling and one that hid away all of my grooming equipment as much as possible from clients’ view.  As much as I store my tools away in my workstation, I wanted my dryers and kennels and other equipment to not dominate the space and affect its feng shui.  I really wanted a salon that did not look like a typical salon, and I felt that not only did I need this for my own sense of accomplishment, but that if I did this, my clients would take notice, and indeed they have.  I have gone from a handful of clients that made the move with me and still drive from as much as 2 hours away, to over 700 clients within the nearly 4 years I have been open. 

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My entryway alcove- a bubbling fountain and soft lighting accent a feature article for my salon for my clients to read.


I chose an open floor plan to best utilize the space I had (only a little over 300 sq. feet!), and for the safety of pet clients with regard to seeing them at all times.  I also chose a room in my home that had some of the best natural light because I think it beautifies any space and is emotionally calming to work in an area with as much sunshine as possible.  In fact the natural light and beautiful view out of the seating area windows makes it hard to keep my eyes on my work sometimes!  I recently put in a small pond in the courtyard where my clients enter, and with the sound of bubbling water and the flowers coming into bloom I now have a host of wild birds and butterflies to watch and for my clients who stay and visit to enjoy. 


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Inside my salon, it is all about the experience my clients and their pets get with each visit.  I took a good look at how I felt in the past while working at my table under fluorescent lights with the drone of the HV dryer in my ears and the nervous barking of dogs in the holding kennels, and I knew I had to follow my heart and create a salon for pets that offered them a peaceful setting for their grooming.  A salon  with added services that offered encompassing grooming on a holistic level that respected each animal’s need for grooming to be a positive and rewarding event as part of their lives. I wanted no muzzles, no loud noise, no anxiety and no fear for my pet clients.  I wanted to cater the fearful, geriatric and aggressive pets that had been turned away from other salons.  And the great thing about owning your own business is that you can take what you yearn for in your heart, and work hard enough to make it happen in your career.  So, I did it.  I decided that I would give my would-be clients a salon like nothing they had ever seen. 

Well, here is the space I had to work with!



Aside from the obvious relaxing music being played at all times, softening candles burning and using aromatherapy and flower essence therapy to set the atmosphere for my space, I also took the time to study feng shui and color therapy, and looked at this when designing the space.  I knew I would be offering canine massage and other modalities of therapy to my clients in addition to my grooming, so this spa had to be appealing to my pet owners for them to see that I take my efforts seriously.

I chose wall colors that were energizing in the morning light and calming in the afternoon light- alternating colors on each wall to catch the sun at certain times of the day and to cast a glow in the room that would be bright yellow and green in the morning hours and golden orange and deep red in the afternoon and early evening.  I also chose these colors for my fixtures and furnishings to signify strong presence with a warm and inviting feeling. 

Photo from last year

Apf 2009 & salon 023

Photo from this year

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Obviously substantial light is one of the most important elements of any salon, but the RIGHT type of lighting is important also.  Poor lighting quality can cause headaches, fatigue and even depression!  Over my table I hung positional lighting lamps with active UVB bulbs for a warm and yet intense light to make my table the focal point of the salon.  These bulbs can be turned up or down and on their highest setting, they do create a bit of ambient warmth to keep the chill away from older dogs and puppies while they are HV dried.  I wanted my table to not look mechanical or “sterile”, so I applied a layer of vibrant yellow Poly-Coat to the work surface. Not only does this provide a beautiful “pallet” for my dogs to be groomed from, but it also has a great texture that helps the dogs from slipping and one that I can scissor smoothly across. I also hung a large mirror on the wall next to my table to allow me a place to look at my finished dog for critiquing and to add the softness to a room that a nicely framed mirror gives.  About a hundred times a day I look in that mirror! And last but not least, I spent out the money for WONDERFUl gel anti fatigue mats for either side of my table and in front of my tub.  These mats not only save my feet, but they are great at saving dropped clippers & scissors!

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DeTable march

For the floor I chose recycled textured wood grain cork tiles.  I wanted to use as much recycled and refurbished material as I could when designing and furnishing the salon because in line with this being a spa and thus being environmentally conscious, I also wanted to feel good knowing that I was doing something non detrimental to the environment and working in surroundings that gave off positive energy. The cork helps keep the floor toasty warm in the Wisconsin winter months and cool in the summer months. It also is easy for elderly dogs to keep traction on and to avoid slipping by the pets and myself if there is hair on the floor. I have also found that it too, is extremely forgiving of my dropped scissors!  

Soon after opening I decided to install a central vacuuming system to cut down on both noise and dust particles.  Now all I have to do is flip the switch and I can barely hear the hum of the vacuum and I am not breathing in particulate matter every time I clean up. 

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I also took the time to design a sound dampening containment system for my high velocity dryer in my drying area. The noise from the machine is deafening as any long term stylist will tell you, and I did not want the calm tranquility of my spa to be broken by the high pitched whine of a dryer motor, but I wanted the power of a double motor dryer to speed drying time and didn’t have the money to purchase an entire new drying system.  This dryer I have is now contained in a separate area of my overhead duct work that also holds the hose for the vacuum system.  All tucked discreetly away from the client’s eye and to not deter from the overall open appearance of the salon.

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Notice the hose is coiled away, the wall switch for the dryer is at the end of the table, and the dryer is in the adjoining closet/storage room next to the vacuum.  All hidden & out of sight.

Since I wanted the salon to be visitor friendly, I added an open seating area across from my table, (complete with a digital photo frame to serve as my styling portfolio). Some groomers may think this is nuts, but I do use discretion when allowing owners to stay.  Not many owners do, but for those who want to watch their pet being groomed, are there to learn massage techniques or for personal grooming lessons (yes, I do teach some owners how to groom their own dogs!), this gives them a comfortable space and makes them feel welcome. I also recently added a small coffee and soda/water bar to have on hand for when I know a client or group of clients, association members, or dog show friends will be staying for a session and this has been well received!


My view from the table and the client seating area


The pond outside and the feeders attract much wildlife!




 In my bathing room I installed an antique porcelain tub that I found at a market and installed the tile walls and slate flooring as well.  I wanted a functional tub that was also inviting and not your typical stainless. I had fell in love with a European designed acrylic pet tub showcased at a pet trade show, but simply could not afford it, so I am still saving up for that renovation someday!  I almost always burn a scented candle or two in the bathing room, I also use aromatherapy essential oils in most baths and I have a large power head to use for hydrotherapy aquassage and skin treatment sessions.  I hand mix my shampoos for my skin & coat care clients and the other regular shampoos are mixed via a shampoo system hidden underneath my sink cabinet.   Again, everything is tucked away from my client’s view. (What looks to be glass in the bath and salon photos is actually all acrylic for safety!)



Storage space under the vanity sink


The black pump is what I use to create a circulating bath for my massage clients as well as to supply skin & coat care services that require warm soaking and exfoliation.

A client pet recieves a skin & coat care hydrossage & circulating bath.


Followed by a moisture wrap treatment


While I was short on space for my kenneling area, I knew that I did not intend to groom more than 5 or 6 dogs on any given day, so I did not need many kennels.  I purchased the sturdiest stackable open kennels I could afford and instead of keeping them a dreary black, I painted them with brightly colored hues of non toxic crib paint to cheer up the holding area that is in plain view of my clients. I also added brightly colored rolled beds to help lessen the stigma that some pet owners relate to kennels. 


If you have any nice photos, awards, certificates or continued education plaques, be sure to post those on your wall for your clients to see. I also have a set of canine pyisiology charts that I often refer to with clients for both grooming and massage.

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Last year I decided that I wanted to offer some specialized boutique type items and a few basic grooming tools to have for clients who often asked me about how to groom their pets at home. I feel that if a groomer is looking at adding ANYTHING for retail- grooming tools are the first thing they should keep on hand. Of course we do not want to give our trade secrets away, but we also want to give owners the tools to make our jobs easier and to help make the pet’s lifelong grooming less stressful for both them and the owner. 

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With respect to grooming being a significant part of any pet’s life and to offering grooming as what I feel personally to be “holistic”, I also began carrying certain nutritional supplements that I personally chose for my own dogs and to carry dog food samples of both kibble and freeze dried, organic and whole foods.  I also have knit a very close respect for my local vet and out small town pet supply store to not only help other local businesses, but to also form am network of care and supply providers for my area’s pets and their owners. I believe that what I like to call “encompassing” pet grooming is steeped in a stylist educating themselves not only in their art of grooming, but of how their grooming touches every other aspect of a pet’s life. 

We need to provide the best and most knowledgeable care we can for our grooming clients and for the care we cannot give, we should be a source of direction for clients. I feel this keeps your clients close and coming to you with their needs for not only grooming, but for your trusted professional opinion.

A pet recieves a massage and bonding session


 On average I work 4, 8 or 9 hour days each week.  I groom anywhere from 4 to 6 dogs each day.  By offering not only truly specialized quality grooms a cut above the average, but also extra services and spa treatments as well as day care and supportive dental care and referrals, I can groom fewer dogs and make higher revenues. All the while doing good things for the clients in my care by addressing skin & coat, health and behavioral care. The idea is to work smarter not harder. But to also work passionately with your clients for the best experience that they can recieve. This creates a niche for both you & your business.

I should mention that in some demographic areas, a website can be of tremendous value to a business! Be sure to include all of the services that you have to offer, and whatever photos of your work and/or your salon that you are willing to share to entice new clients. 

A link for pet parents to visit my site:

I also make revenues from training grooming interns thru a hands-on certification program, teaching canine massage therapy classes, doing design coordination with stylists redesigning their salon and their service menus, and doing training sessions for stylists who are beginning their competition grooming career.  

School 007

Summer Grooming Class Grads

I also breed and show Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and am active in my local kennel club.  All of this variety keeps me fresh and feeling challenged, and the added revenues help me remember that I can still have a career in this industry even after I am physically not able to groom full time any longer.  It gives me peace of mind and fills my need to help others as well!

Most of all,,being active and continuing to learn has rewarded my with not just career rewards, but rewards of the best kind--inner happiness and friendships across the states with so many wonderful people!

2010 Chicago PG & WAPPS dinner

AAGS booth working

Discussing skin & coat care with fellow pet professionals at my Canine Spa Therapies center at the ShowSeason booth.  Canine Spa Therapies are an entire line of skin & coat care products that I personally designed and formulated. These beneficial products rely on simple and whole ingredients from natural sources, and they allow today's groomers & stylists to address and help care for the pet client skin & coat issues commonly seen in our salon.  You can view this entire line of products on my website at:

and you can order directly through ShowSeason at this link:

With Christein and Michelle

Some of my bestest friends and peers!


~Within my salon, in addition to my regular grooming and bathing services I also offer these special services to set me apart from the rest:

Only all natural or organic grooming products

My own line of canine spa therapy products for skin & coat care (sold only to the professional pet trade)

Spa treatment product services (pawdicures, sugar scrubs, Dead Sea salt soaks, moisture wraps, hot oil treatments, mud wraps, color revitalizing, etc.)

Locally made pet boutique products, supplements and treats

Full hand scissored trims

Hand stripping

Show grooming and handling services & breeder referrals

Nutrition counseling

Basic behavior training counseling & referrals

 One on one basic pet owner grooming classes

“Breed Meets” days (I schedule many dogs of the same breed and have both specialized grooming that day as well as a class for basic grooming techniques, and a meet & greet for fellow dog owners to see others dogs of the same breed that they own)

All day spa stays

“Stay & Play” days

Skin & coat care & counseling

Light Dental care

All natural flea & tick care

Canine massage therapy (deep tissue, active sports recovery, pathway, light touch, craniosacral, and Swedish), aromatherapy, hydrotherapy, acupressure, energy therapy & Reiki, and T-Touch (teaching sessions available as well)

Boutique type gifts and retail grooming care products available nowhere else.


I also took the leap to answer my genuine need to network with other groomers and launched this state’s only formal pet stylist association.  I started this Assoc. because I wanted to be part of something larger than myself and my single business- for all groomers interested. I wanted to be part of a positive and friendly group of professionals, with networking at its foremost goal.  I wanted certification and educational opportunities closer to my state for all groomers not able to take off work or from their families or to pay out many fees and travel expenses to still have the chance to become certified and to attend grooming competitions and educational forums if they so chose. I wanted member benefits that were important, like our group's health care plan and independent business and legal counseling, leasing programs for affordable and quality grooming equipment so every stylist can afford to work safely and with less physical stress, and in line with this, I also started our career placement program so that good stylists could find good jobs with reputable salons to provide for them more financial stability and joy in their work.  I wanted to lead by example and to show others that helping one another and networking and continuing our individual educations are the only things to make our industry flourish, our careers to be taken more seriously, and for us to stay fresh and felling motivated in our daily work. So, with time and getting the word out about what we have to offer and what I am working to get for all members, out roster has grown incredibly.  We now have nearly 400 members and over half of them are from other states including Ohio, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Florida, Maine, and many others. Even British Columbia, Hawaii, Australia, Alaska & two from Japan!  Of course, I have met all of these wonderful people by offering my hand in friendship. I love the company of other groomers!

Learn more about our wonderful organization at:

Book Cover0001

I also have now finished a book on competition grooming for our industry and I made the ballot this last year as a nominee for the coveted Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award in three categories!  I am so proud!  So it has been a VERY full year and I have loved every minute of it! 

To add, you can order this book directly from me, or visit the Groomer's Mall site as well!

Spa soak

I really feel that my grooming career has come full circle.  But I could never have done it without the love and support of my family and especially my Husband. He has seen to it that I had the opportunity to open my own salon and to pursue my dreams of doing all that I can within my field of work.  And being a working Mother of 3 is a lot easier when I can work in my salon and hear my kids playing happily upstairs!

Coincidentally, I wanted to add that I also have grooming students from time to time and every one of them comment that this is the most relaxed they have ever been while learning and they hope to have this environment to work in someday.  It makes me feel very good to share this possibility with other groomers because grooming is historically a very stressful career.  But it doesn’t have to be- with specializing in your certain services, you can create a niche for yourself that allows you great reward not only financially, but also emotionally. 

Many days I go through a full day of grooming and it just doesn’t seem like much work at all. This industry has grown in leaps & bounds for the quality of our tools and the equipment is so much more physically respectful of our labor, it is senseless to not utilize new products available to help us work smarter instead of harder.

 Please visit my most recent article featured in Groomer To groomer magazine at:

And be sure to keep an eye out for the introduction of my very own line of professional pet grooming shears available in the winter season of 2010!!