There’s no denying that there is a major disconnect between groomers and Doodle/Poodle-mix owners, and an increasing tension between these parties. But who is to blame? And why is it that seemingly neither party actually wants to communicate with the other side?
That’s where Doodle Doods comes in. And as the founder of this site I feel a calling to try and help bridge the gap between Doodle owners and groomers, to help us to understand each other, and to bring us all to a point where we can stop the blame game.
So, as a follow up to our article Doodle Owners Reveal How They Feel About Groomers, I thought I’d poke around and see what professional groomers had to say about the strained groomer/owner relationship, particularly when it comes to Doodle/Poodle-mix clientele.
This article, in turn, is meant to help groomers feel “seen” and validated, which hopefully is another step toward a resolution. I hope anyone who reads this can be humble and learn what they need from it.
It’s only fair – let’s get into it!
Article reviewed by Carissa Gilbreath, Professional Pet Stylist of 11 years.
Table of Contents
- Groomers’ Biggest Points of Frustration About Doodle Owners
- My Advice: Spend a Day in a Groomer’s Shoes
Groomers’ Biggest Points of Frustration About Doodle Owners
When professional groomers were polled online about what they felt were the biggest disconnects between themselves and Doodle owners, the most common responses were as follows.
Doodle Owners Haven’t Done Their Research
Groomers feel that Doodle owners are either not doing their research, or are being misled by breeders about the amount of maintenance Doodle coats require.
I can’t confirm nor deny the latter, but based on a previous reader survey, at least 60% of Doodle owners were NOT informed by their breeder about Doodle grooming and coat care requirements.
This is another huge problem that I won’t get into now.
Regardless, groomers feel that it is the responsibility of all pet owners to do their due diligence in researching pet care requirements before bringing home their dogs.
Doodle Owners Are Resistant to Groomer Education
Groomers feel that Doodle owners disproportionately (compared to the typical dog owner) seem to be more resistant to groomer education, and almost seem to have this attitude that professional groomers don’t know what they’re talking about.
For example, many groomers say that they’ve had owners raise their eyebrow at the insistence that their dog needs more brushing at home.
I said it before and I’ll say it again: I believe many people overestimate their brushing efforts when in fact they either aren’t doing it enough or doing it correctly.
(Psst! Here’s how to do it correctly.)
Doodle Owners Say The Price is Too High
Groomers feel that Doodle owners do not want to pay the price set by groomers for the amount of work that goes into their dog. Doodle owners generally seem to believe that the price is too high, which can be a hard pill to swallow for a groomer when they know the dog itself cost $1500-3500.
I think that’s fair. I mean, we’re willing to pay that much for a dog, $73 for a dog brush, but not a standard amount for professional grooming services (plus tip for a job well done)?
The price may be high, but that’s the nature of Doodle ownership.
It’s like the saying goes: “save water, drink wine” – if you can’t fork over the money to have it done, do it yourself!
“Don’t Poodle My Doodle”
Groomers feel that the term “Don’t Poodle My Doodle” is like nails on a chalkboard.
For many groomers, it’s hard to suppress a chuckle when we hear that Doodle owners don’t want their dog, which was descended from a Poodle on some level, to resemble its ancestor in any way.A groomer
Additionally, the idea of what a Poodle looks like varies from person to person. Groomers generally picture the whole shaven face, rounded topknot, etc. when they think of what a Poodle looks like:
Owners, on the other hand, seem to have a much looser interpretation and can become upset about a muzzle that is “too round” or a topknot that is slightly separated from the top of the ears.
Basically, the term means almost nothing to groomers and doesn’t actually indicate what you want done.
What Doodle Owners Need To Do Instead
It’s really important to go in to your appointment with either a specific idea of what you want, or a laidback attitude about what is done by the groomer.
A good groomer will not mind reference photos, but a printout with step by step grooming instructions can be insulting.
Make sure that the reference photo you bring is attainable for your specific pet, since they can have varied coat types (for example, it’s really hard to get a donut mustache on a wavy coated muzzle).
In addition, be prepared to answer the following questions at check-in:
- What kind of length do you want left on the body? Do you want the legs left a little fuller, or one length all over?
- Are you looking for a rounded face or do you want more of a tight or square face?
- What would you like done with the ears and tail?
- Are there any special requests? (This is the time to ask to leave the eyelashes!)
Then at checkout, don’t be afraid to politely mention if there is something off about the finished product. Most groomers will fix it on the spot if it can be fixed, or make a note of it for next time if it isn’t immediately fixable.
My Advice: Spend a Day in a Groomer’s Shoes
…All those people complaining about their groomers: have they tried to groom their own dog? If they did, they would know how hard it is for a groomer to groom a dog’s hair. I was in the salon business for 32 years and when a little kid comes in with her hair 3 inches matted to the neck skin, you practically have to shave it off. I exactly know that’s how it must be with a dog groomer. People need to communicate better with their groomer, some people…just don’t get it. I feel bad for groomers that have to deal with people like that.JoAnn, a Doodle Doods reader
You know, I remain relatively neutral in all of this, but I generally agree with JoAnn’s statement above. I have been grooming Chloe myself for the past 6 years (not out of frustration toward groomers, by the way) and I’ll just say…that sh*t is hard.
Chloe is not unruly, but she does sometimes put up a small fight, particularly when it comes to her legs, paws, and nails. Grooming is not exactly what I would call a pleasant experience for either of us.
Additionally, I now know first hand just how difficult it is to work around tangles and matting. (Hint: you can’t work “around” them – you either brush them out or it’s a shave down.) There have been times when I try to keep Chloe long but her coat is just too far gone. Knowing from personal experience how time consuming it is to remove just a single mat (via brushing), and considering how uncomfortable Chloe feels during that process, helps me understand why groomers opt to shave.
Also, my back and hands strain easily. That’s why I break grooming up into multiple days. I have the utmost respect for the people who do this as a job, working on multiple dogs with unknown/questionable temperaments, varying sizes, and varying coat types, for multiple hours every day. I don’t know how they do it!
My take? Doodle owners should try grooming their dog. Spend a single day in a groomer’s shoes. You’ll experience it for yourself and then either appreciate your groomer more, or realize that you can do it yourself and choose to remove this specific cause of stress from your life! Win-win!
To round it all out, here’s what a fellow Doodle Doods reader/groomer had to say:
I just wanted to share my thoughts as I took offense to some of the negative comments about Groomers. Not all groomers are alike!!!
I would think most groomers go into the business because of their love for animals. The reality is grooming is tough work! Your back can hurt after grooming. I find it rewarding but tiring and I am just starting out part time. My recommendation would be to find a groomer that does it for the love of it and not as a full-time job where they have another client booked in an hour and a half!…It does seem that professional groomers are overwhelmed.
…This past weekend I did my first matted dog and it is a lot of work and time consuming. It took me 3 and a half hours to groom a small Morkie. It does take a lot of time, because if you don’t remove the mats you cannot get the clipper comb through.
Even though I worked on this dog for 3 and a half hours with mats, she gave me kisses throughout the process and even rolled over on her back for belly rubs on the grooming table LOL…I love the Bernedoodles that I take care of. They are my best clients! So well behaved 🙂
Owners need to know to use slicker brushes to remove dead hair. Otherwise I think just brushing everyday with another type of brush might not work. I was not aware of slicker brushes until I started studying grooming 🙂Kerry, a groomer in Reading, MA and Doodle Doods reader
Again, I remain neutral and I am seeing that these two things are true at the same time:
- It is true that more and more Doodle owners are becoming fed up with groomers – and not for no good reason
- And it is true that more and more groomers are becoming fed up with Doodle owners – also not for no good reason
How can we work together to stop this cycle? Add your constructive perspective in the comments – Doodle owners and groomers alike are invited to join in on this conversation.