"Don't make him look like a poodle!"

There are a lot of things that we hear at a grooming shop that we laugh off. Once you’ve been working with dogs for a little while, you hear the same things over and over again. Most of them don’t get to me, except “don’t make him look like a poodle” or “the last groomer made him look like a poodle.” I want to take a few minutes to go into detail about why this is one of the worst things you can say to your groomer.

  1. When you say you don’t want your dog to look like something, you have an idea in your head of what that something is. The truth is, what you see, and what I see are two completely different things. I had a customer once tell me that I made his Schnauzer look like a Poodle. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what I could have possibly done to make a Schnauzer look like a Poodle.

    Imagine if I walked into my salon and asked my hairdresser not to make me look like Jennifer Aniston. The poor woman would need to figure out what exactly I didn’t want! Did I not want the length she has, the color, the “Rachel” look from her days on Friends? When I think of breed standard haircuts, especially on a Poodle, we think of them as form fitting for the specific breed. Each haircut is designed to accentuate certain parts of the breed needed for working. So don’t be surprised when you tell me not to make your dog look like a Poodle, I will ask you about a dozen questions trying to figure out what you actually mean.

  2. Asking me not to make your dog look like something is making an assumption that I will do a haircut that you are not requesting. You are assuming that after our in depth conversation about what haircut you do want for your dog, I’m going to ignore everything and give your dog a shaved face, big head and kidney patches. My job is to give your dog the haircut you want, even if it isn’t something I would prefer to do. I am here to please you and give you back a clean and healthy pet. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want, tell me what you do want.

  3. We hear this phrase the most when it comes to dogs mixed with Poodle. A phrase repeated quite often in the early days of designer breeds was “Don’t Poodle my Doodle!” When it comes to Doodles, or any poodle mix, if they have that curly coat, they are going to look like a Poodle when I am done. The most common haircut I do on Doodles is a 3/4” body with a 1” round head, which is technically, wait for it, a Poodle cut! That cute round face that you love on your Doodle? That’s what we call a Teddy Bear face. We’re attempting for a round, donut shaped muzzle and a round head with ears up to the customers preference.

  4. Poodles are the most versatile dogs in the grooming industry. I can make a poodle look like anything. I can make them look like Bedlington Terriers. I could give them a Schnauzer cut. I can make them look like Doodles! Poodles have a coat designed to be cut and styled in many different ways, there are even entire books dedicated to just Poodle cuts!

My overall message here, is just to talk to your groomer. Tell him or her what you want your dog to look like. Use as descriptive of words as you possibly can. If you can say that you want half off, or 1” left on the body with a slightly longer, round head and long ears, I will know EXACTLY what to do!

And for reference, the picture at the top of this article is what I think of when I think of a Poodle. This is Sebastian, one of my favorite dogs on the entire planet, hanging out with my daughter Grace. So be warned, if you ever ask me to make your dog look LIKE a Poodle, they’re getting a colored mohawk. :)

Winter Haircuts

Well, I think we’ve officially entered fall. It was a balmy 50 degrees out when I woke up this morning, which means it’s sweater weather!  Many of our clients like to do something different in winter as opposed to summer for their pup’s haircut, so I thought I would give a run down of what to do with your pet for winter grooming.

First, let’s talk about the summer versus winter cut. Most of our clients like a haircut that is a little bit longer in the winter to keep their pet warmer. While I am happy to oblige, the truth is, you should be doing the haircut you prefer. For most people, the difference of their summer and winter cut is one to two lengths difference. What we’re talking about then, is the difference of, at most, a half an inch. Half an inch of hair is not enough to really keep your pet warmer in the winter. I personally shave my dog down year round. I prefer that cut on him, and since he only goes outside to relieve himself in the winter, he really doesn’t need an extra half inch of hair.

Second, some clients prefer not to cut their dog’s hair at all during the cold weather. While this is a great option for your dog, it doesn’t mean that your dog needs to skip seeing the groomer all winter. We recommend still coming in on your regular schedule to get your dog a mini groom. It’s everything we would normally do on your pup, without taking any length off the body. It allows us to fully brush out your dog and make sure there are no tangles along with keeping their nails short. We can clean up over the eyes and round up their feet, so they still look fresh and clean from the groomer, and keep their long hair. What we are trying to avoid is the dreaded shave down. Dog after dog will start coming back in, most haven’t seen us in 3-4 months. And let me make this clear, we do not want to shave your dog. We HATE shaving down dogs in matted conditions. It’s hard on your dog, on us and on our grooming equipment.

The bottom line is, talk to your groomer about what is best for you and your pup. We are here for you!