Questions about grooming and doggie psychology?

Hi, Here is the newest blog site to one of the best grooming facilities and grooming schools in the country.

I am the owner, DuAnn Chambers, and also the primary grooming instructor for the Pet Grooming Academy. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. I moved to northern Idaho (Priest River area) in 1994 and did not feel that I could support myself in this rural area with a psychology degree. So, I went back to school and received my grooming diploma in 1997 and have been grooming ever since.

I am childfree by choice and I live with my husband (whom I adore) and my 3 dogs, Mini Schnauzer, Annie-12, Monte-std pdle - 3, and Marli- Rott. cross-6.

My 4-legged dogs come to work with me and it’s a wonderful way to spend my days and make a living. I get to use both of my degrees every day in the grooming shop and I work with talented and fun dog-loving people. I now own 2 shops, and employ 6-8 groomers and bathers.

I start one student at a time, and have graduated dozens of students that have gone on to become hugely successful groomers and business owners. I love being a groomer! And I love being a teacher!

I have started this blog so that I can assist groomers with grooming questions, and dog-owners with dog psychology questions. In my 11 years of owning 2 shops and grooming thousands of dogs, I have come to notice a LOT of really cool things that co-exist for dog and owner.

Please help me to start my blog by sending me your questions regarding your dogs. Thanks a bunch for visiting my site, and I hope to be a service to you!

DuAnn Chambers

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thyroid issues are very common to see in the grooming room

Today we groomed a 10 year old Golden Retriever that was a bit overweight.  He hadn't been into our grooming shop for nearly 2 years, but his owner has been doing owner grooming at home.

We noticed that Riley had a lot of dandruff that was not explainable.  Even after the bath, parts of his skin felt greasy and had dandruff simultaneous.  We rewashed the greasy areas right down the spine and recombed this part.  During the combout, Riley continued to have lots of hair loss and dandruff. 

Because of his age, his weight, the hair loss, the dandruff and the grease, I suspected that Riley was suffering from a thyroid issue.  I did ask his owner if there was a change in his weight and if the hair loss was normal for him.  His owner confirmed that the recent hair loss was new, and so was the weight gain.

I advised the owner to have a blood test done on Riley.   

For those groomers that are interested in steering a customer to the vet for valid reasons:  Hair, skin and weight issues (that are new) that happen simultaneously are typically a thyroid problem.

DuAnn Lustig-Chambers
The Happy Pooch Tribune
Professional Tips to Pamper Your Pooch

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lifting dogs is not as easy as you think, know the liabilities

Today we had a customer that came in do wash her own dog in the self-service bathing station.  Her dog was 100 plus pounds.  There are stairs that go to the tub for the dog to walk themselves in, but the dog also must WANT to go in.  Today, even though Mistee has been there several times for full and self-service grooming, she decided to tease her owner and sit on the steps for 15 minutes while her human tried coercing, pulling, asking and begging her to go up the stairs.  Mistee just smiled and sat.

The owner is highly intelligent, and looked capapble enough physically, but she could not convince her dog to budge. The owner asked for help lifting the dog into the tub.

This seems like a perfectly normal and acceptable question to ask, and the average person would not hesitate to help someone lift their 100 plus pound dog into the tub.  However, dogs are dogs.  You cannot predict what they will do and who and what they will react to.

Dogs are so unpredictable with the tubs and with their owners, that we had to put a policy in place about NOT helping owners with the lifting.  Our groomers can help each other lift a dog because we understand what many subtle triggers are that the dog communicates to us with eyes, ears, tail set, a posture, that the owner will have no idea how to interpret.  If the owner is not aware of the lifting methods we have set in place for safety and procedure, it is entirely possible - and has happened more than once - that they drop their dog mid-lift for whatever reason.  This leaves the other lifter at risk for personal injury from the dog and from the lifting.

It seems impossible that owners would drop their own dogs while someone is helping, but guess who the owner blames if an injury happens to any of the humans or dogs?  That's right, the groomer.

How well does it work when husbands and wives move furniture together?  Speaking from personal experience, NOT very well!  We all have a different idea of how things should go and be done, but rarely is it verbalized.  Its the same way with dog owners.  Add with an overprotective owner and an unpredictable dog, and you have a recipe for a very bad day.

So, groomers, limit your liability with your customers, do not help them directly.  There is no need to be ungracious, if help is needed lifting a dog you don't know, ask a fellow professional to help you do it.  The injuries and bad feelings you will be avoiding by following this unusual practice will save you lots of heartache. 

DuAnn Lustig-Chambers
The Happy Pooch Tribune
Professional Tips to Pamper Your Pooch

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grooming the Scottie

Today Leslie G came into school special to groom a Scottish Terrier, Walley.  He is a gorgeous brindle.  It was like wrastling a horse to get those nails clipped.  Phew!, But, it WAS worth the effort.  When Walley was done, he was transformed into a beautiful specimen, and his brindle back just glowed.

Scotties are also very smelly dogs in general.  It seems to me that they have the strongest body odor of any dog that we groom.  They stink like doggie dog within 6 hours of a good scrubbing.  Why is that?  I do not know.  I just know it IS so.

Keep a muzzle on hand, scrub and bathe them twice, and hope that you have a buddy to help you on the nails!
Great job Leslie!

DuAnn Lustig-Chambers
Pooch Parlor Tribune
Professional Tips to Pamper Your Pooch

Friday, October 15, 2010

bladder or kidney infections in the grooming room

Today we groomed a beautiful, and well-mannered Great Pyrenees cross.  She is normally extremely patient for her grooming.  We noticed while shaving her sanitary area that her vulva was surrounded by a brown,  gooey area that was not easy to shave.  Shaving this area clearly irritated her.  This dog, Bandit, also had a vulva that was recessed inside a pocket of flesh and was not open to the air.

The combination of a recessed vulva and gummy brown substance around the vulva, |AND an annoyed dog made me wonder if she had an infection somewhere around there: either a bladder, or kidney infection.  I asked her owner about her pee habits, and her owner confirmed that indeed, Bandit was urinating more frequently than normal and not in the normal areas.

All of these signs together are highly indicative of a bladder or kidney infection.  Groomers take note as these symptoms are seen very often in the grooming room and the soon you can detect an issue, the better for the dog, for the owner, and for you.

The owner did take Bandit to the vet immediately and was prescribed antiobiotics.  He did not take a urine sample to confirm, but if she does have a bladder infection, the meds will quickly help her feel better.

Mention these small details to the owner either verbally or on in a report card for the dog.  You would be surprised how often, your details are more than just small, they are real medical issues.

DuAnn Lustig-Chambers

Pooch Parlor Tribune
Professional Tips to Pamper Your Pooch

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why do dogs pee in the same spot?

One of my customers asked me today, "Why do dogs always pee in the same spot?"  She has a female cocker spaniel named Bella and my little mini schnauzer, Greta, peed in the same generic stretch of grass after their groom.

Well, I think, where dogs pee, is a lot like humans wearing the most trendy clothes.  Who is to say that dogs don't pee in groups because its trendy?  It makes sense to me.  Dogs don't shake hands, they sniff butts.  They pee in the same spot like groups where bellbottom pants!

Thats one reason why dogs pee in the same spot:)

DuAnn Lustig-Chambers
Pooch Parlor Tribune
Professional Tips to Pamper Your Pooch