Choosing A Dog Groomer

Not every one uses a dog groomer, many Cocker owners learn to groom their own pets, but if you don't have the time (or the inclination) you might like to use a professional groomer. Read on for some essential tips on finding and choosing a reputable Cocker Spaniel groomer.

Professional Dog Groomer Or DIY?

If you intend to show your Cocker Spaniel, it may be advisable to use a professional groomer who experienced in the Cocker Spaniel breed and who's familiar with the grooming standard required for showing.

Golden cocker spaniel looking good after grooming session

If you know what you're looking for, it's fairly simple to choose a professional groomer.

However, if you've never owned a dog before, or you're an experienced pet owner but you've never used a groomer before, you may be a little uncertain about where to begin!

The ideal way is to get a referral from friends or a fellow dog walker, or contact your local veterinary practice to see if they can recommend a reliable professional dog groomer.

Once you've got a recommendation, contact them and make an appointment to visit their premises without your Cocker to allow you the opportunity to have a look around, ask a few questions, and to get to know them a little.

Experienced Dog Groomer?

Not all dog groomers are suitably experienced in grooming Cocker Spaniels, so it's important to find out as much as possible about them if you're going to entrust your pet to them.

There are a few basic questions you should ask when you first make contact and I recommend you at least ask the following:

  • Find out how many years they've been grooming, and what specific experience they have with the Cocker Spaniel breed.

  • Ask what's included in the standard grooming package, (for example, are the dog's nails cut) and ask how much it costs.

  • Ask how your Spaniel will be dried, for example, will he be air-dried or will he be put into a crate to dry off? If they're dried in another room, ask how often they're checked to prevent overheating whilst being blow-dried.

  • Ask about about hand stripping. I strongly advise hand stripping your Spaniel so that he retains his beautifully, glossy top coat - please note, you should hand strip your pet if you intend to show him.

  • Ask what other services they offer and their prices.

  • Do they keep complete pet records, ie including grooming, vaccinations, emergency contact details etc?

  • Does the groomer make you feel uneasy, or do you feel comfortable speaking to them? Did they make a good impression?

It's very important that you communicate clearly with your groomer. If you aren't very clear about what it is that you want, you may be disappointed with the results.

If you're not sure what you want, ask what your options are, and be sure you understand what they intend to do - that way, there won't be any disappointments.

Visit The Groomer's Premises

When you find someone that you like the sound of, you can then make arrangements to visit. When you arrive, look around the premises and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the salon look and smell clean?

  • Is it well-lit?

  • Does the groomer seem organized?

  • If possible, watch while they work - do they handle the pets gently and with care?

  • Are their qualifications and other certificates displayed on the wall? If so, have a look at them; when and why were they awarded?

  • The groomer may also display photographs of pets that they have groomed previously. Have a good look at the coat; is it shining and smooth; does it look professionally groomed?

You might also like to bear the following points in mind:

  • If you have groomed your pet since he was a puppy, he should be fairly familiar and at ease with the grooming process. If he's not, ask how the groomer would approach the problem.

  • If he's not too comfortable with strangers, ask how the groomer would handle the situation to make sure your pet stays calm, and doesn't become too stressed.

  • You may need to stay with your Cocker Spaniel on his first visit, until he feels comfortable with the groomer.

Using a dog groomer for the first time can be a very stressful experience for you (and your pooch), so it's important to ensure you do the research.

Following the above advice will help you to find a professional dog groomer to whom you can confidently entrust your pet, and leave you happy in the knowledge that he'll be comfortable and safe.

Unfortunately, no matter how much research you do, you can't always guarantee that you will be happy with the end result - a bit like trying a new hairdresser.

If you're not happy with the dog groomer you've chosen, simply chalk it up to experience and move on and try somewhere else.

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