Dog Groomer vs Hair Stylist

a matted shave down. Brushed out enough to save the mohawk!

Recently, I’ve been looking into finding myself a stylist for my hair.  Since I’ve moved, I’ve had no where to take this mop of mine.  Luckily, I wear it long and I let it air dry pretty much every time I get out of the shower.  Pin straight hair is pretty easy to work with.  But I am due for a cut and I was thinking about dying it back to blonde, since trying to keep my hair as a brunette is pretty impossible in the summer.  The natural red is even start to seep through the past winter dye.  Luckily, I have a co-worker who’s girlfriend is a hair dresser.  Roughly $70 for a good cut and color.

$70, my goodness.  My first reaction was, that’s like grooming a Standard Poodle, but the Poodle is getting so much more out of this.  Most of my clients complain about Standard poodle pricing.  Now I just want to shout, why are you complaining?!?  I just spent $70 on my own hair!  So, this made me think.  I should lay it out the differences between my job and a Hair stylist’s job.

While it may seem so closely related, I can guarantee you it’s much different.  First off, my hair is pin straight (wet or dry) and definitely not as thick as any dog’s coat.  The 2 hours I spend on a dog is work and the 2 hours the stylist will spend on my hair, foiling it and washing it is work, but I could bet you while my hair sets in the new color, she is enjoying a break from standing.  The scrubbing too!  I lay peacefully in my chair while she scrubs my hair down with suds and the warm water gracefully washes it out.  I’m not moving, not bothering anyone.  Just sitting silently in heaven while I’m pampered.  The dogs however have a different senario.  Most dogs are shaking out the water, throwing it on me.  Are trying to escape the tub, there’s no chair to relax in.  Most of the time, they won’t go in their voluntarily, so I have to pick up and place them into the tub.  Some of those are 100 pounds of pure fight.  Occasionally I get some easy going pups that enjoy their pampering. Those are a sight for sore eyes though.

We watch out to make sure nails don't get to long and to make sure pads are healthy. Especially in the city, with hot and cold cement!

Then we go to the blow drying.  My blow dryer is much stronger than the hair dressers, throwing water off in all directions.  Pretty much all dogs hate this (even though those same dogs probably love sticking their head out the window at 60 mph on their way to the salon), and fight me.  But if I am to get them puffy, fluffy, and cute, a blown out coat is what I need.  I wish I could have one hand on blow dryer and one hand with a brush like my hair dresser has the luxury of having.

When all the wrestling of bath and blow drying are over, time to pull out the shears.  The average hair dresser shear is 4″-5″ (maybe 5.5″) long.  I work with 8.5″ – 12″ shears with a dog that dances in circles.  The longer they are the harder they are to manage, but Fluffy’s mom would like straight lines down those legs rather than choppy cuts what a shorter shear would give off.  You also probably are not biting your stylist while she is snipping hair here and there, unlike the so called ‘well behaved’ Fluffy.

Of course after we complete the cutting of the hair, we don’t stop there.  The nails need to be trimmed.  All four paws, and you can bet that they are wiggling everywhere.  How much do you pay for a mani and a pedi?  Add that to your grooming costs.  Does your hair stylist pull out ear hair, shave around your rear and work with your anal glands?  Does your hair stylist brush your teeth for you too?  Probably not.

The other thing that bothers me is, I brush my hair every morning, and sometimes after being out in a windy day, I’ll brush it again.  Dogs don’t have the luxury of brushing their own hair, and I’m sorry, but mats do not form over night.  You’re not fooling anyone.  I know before I got to my hair dresser, I’ll even take a shower.  I don’t show up to my hair dresser after swimming, or rolling around on a  beach, or rolling in something dead, or even after encountering a skunk.  I am properly groomed, to be groomed.  So all of a sudden, I feel like I’m way undercharging for these animals.

My favorite part is when the client shows up 30-40 minutes late and tells me that Fluffy just HAS to get in.  I show up 15 minutes before my appointment with my hair dresser, just so we have enough check in time.  Knowing that my hair (the hair that I have been grooming for over 20 years) takes time and that quality comes from an un-rushed hair stylist.  Why would you want to rush me with 8.5″ super sharp shears with a dog that is wiggly.  And when you tell me that Fluffy is super well behaved… I have to question you when you follow that he just won’t let you do his nails at home and that’s why they are so long.  Don’t forget the poop, pee and vomit we are so willing to pick up!

Not only am I grooming your dog, but when you bring in to me, my hands are all over him.  There have been plenty of times when I have pointed out a bump, lump, mole, bruise, cut that mom or dad didn’t know about.  I’ve had one pet parent come back and tell me that they had it checked and it was cancer.  Luckily, we caught it before it spread or became to serious.  So next time, when a groomer tell you their price, lets think of all the services they do for you.

Would I change my job?  Absolutely not!  While some clients may walk out without a thank you, just seeing the end results is enough.  And after it’s all said and done, the pup is always tail waggin’ happy to be finished and offers you sloppy kisses.  I might deal with dogs that smell of skunk or dogs full of sand from a great day at the beach.  And those anal glands don’t smell very good either, but at the end of the day, it’s very rewarding.  Even if some clients are more work than the dog!  And yes, groomers do except tips.  It is a service (just as I tip my hair stylist). :P

Wish all my poodles would lay there and enjoy pampering!

To say the least, I will be blonde again, and while Aladdin and I enjoy the beach afterwards (since we’ll be on the north side anyways), I’ll be watching all those groom dogs get dirty and will be ready to help them make appointments to make them pretty again! ^_^  I will also be practicing some coat coloring of my own.  Aladdin might have a new washable logo on for the day.  While I’m not a Sox fan, his dad is and I need some blow pen practice.  So I’m stenciling out a Sox logo and we’re going to give it a try once my dyes come in! :)  Pictures will definitely follow!

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