PART 1: PET GROOMING TERMINOLOGY
It is essential to learn and understand common terms used in the professional dog grooming industry. Nearly every industry has its own jargon, technical terminology that has a meaning within that industry. Learning these early will help you understand the remaining lessons. One way to start remembering these terms is to look them up and see how they are used in a sentence and start using them in sentences yourself. Pet grooming terminology can be broken down into three sections: equipment and tools, grooming techniques, and anatomy. Anatomy terms will be covered in the next lesson.
When you complete this lesson, you will be able to
- Understand and use pet grooming equipment and tool terminology
- Understand and use grooming technique terminology
Scissors are quite possibly the most important tool a dog groomer has. Most range in size from six inches up to ten inches. Pricing for scissors runs from about $25 for an inexpensive, beginner shear, to between $100-$200 for a solid, everyday working shear, to $400 and up for a show grooming, finishing type shear. Beginner groomers should start with entry-level shears as high-end shears will not improve their scissoring skills until they’ve become adept at scissoring. There are a few different types of shears available. Straight scissors: these are also known as “straights.” They are used to cut straight planes; heavier straight shears are used for bulk coat removal. Curved scissors: these are also known as “curves.” They come in a variety of curve intensities. Curves are used to scissor curved areas of a dog such as a round face, feet, or topknots. Thinning shears: these are also known as “thinners.” They usually have one straight blade and one-toothed blade, although some double-sided thinners are available. The hair that is caught in the top of the teeth is cut, while what falls in between the teeth is not, leaving a more natural finish. These thinners come in a variety of tooth sizes. A “46 tooth thinner,” means just that, the thinner has 46 teeth. The higher number of teeth, the more aggressive the thinning shear will be. Thinning shears with a higher number of teeth are used to blend, while those with fewer teeth are used to remove less hair. Blender or Chunker shears: These are similar to thinning shears but have much coarser teeth. They remove more coat than thinners and are often used to add texture and volume to a coat.
Clippers are essential the dog groomers’ job. These clippers have blades that attach and allow groomers to easily cut hair much quicker than if it is scissored. There are plenty of companies that manufacturer clippers and it’s best to look at their warranties and customer service record, as well as asking fellow groomers, to determine which clipper will suit you best. Corded Clippers: Corded clippers usually cost between $150 and $300 dollars, with a handful of brands that are more expensive. In the pet grooming industry almost all blades, by any manufacturer, will fit on all clippers, no matter what the brand. (This does not include the 5in1 blades made for cordless clippers.) Cordless Clippers: There are cordless clippers that use rechargeable batteries. The cordless clipper can be a helpful tool as you can move around easier with them. There are two types of cordless clippers. One type takes the same blades as the corded clippers. There are also small cordless clippers that take what is called a 5in1 blade. This blade is a single blade that can be adjusted between the blade length sizes of 9, 10, 15, 30, and 40. Examples include the Wahl Brauvara and Wahl Arco. These are useful to groomers because they are lightweight and quiet. Most small cordless clippers cost between $200 – $300
Blades come in a variety of sizes. The higher the number, the shorter they will cut. Blades will become HOT after one has used them for quite a few minutes. It is important to keep checking your blades for heat, and if they become too warm when you’re working trade them out for another fresh, cool, blade.
Snap-on combs can save a groomer a great deal of time by replacing the amount of time you spend scissoring. Snap on combs are made for corded and cordless clippers as well as for clippers that use the 5in1 blade. Wahl and Oster both make color coded snap on combs, with the lengths stamped on each comp, and other manufactures make single colored comb sets with the length stamped on each comb.
There are a variety of brush types and sizes available to groomers. The most commonly used in a pet grooming salon is the slicker brush. Slicker brushes come flat or curved and have bent wire teeth that are firm or soft. The slicker is known as an all-purpose brush. One caveat with the slicker, be careful not to brush a dog too hard as slickers can scratch a dog’s skin. The pin brush is also used in grooming. As the name suggests, there are pins set in the pad of the brush. These have filed or sometimes rubber-tipped ends on the pins. The pin brush is used to minimize damaging hair while brushing it. They are used for breeds with long, flowing coats such as Afghan Hounds or English Springer Spaniels. Rubber brushes are great to use on short hair dogs. They grab dead coat and build shine. Boar bristle brushes are also great for increasing shine in a coat or for using while drying a dog to get its hair to lie flat.
Combs are one of the most essential tools a groomer owns. Combs allow groomers to get to the base of the hair next to the skin of the dog, ensuring that all tangles have been removed from a coat. Combs are also used to lift hair to be scissored. Greyhound combs are combs with two sizes of comb spacing, wider on one half, and closer on the other. Wide-tooth combs are used for finishing work.
There are two types of nail clippers, scissor-style, and guillotine style. The scissor-style is more functional and works on a larger variety of nails. The guillotine style must be kept sharp, or it will tend to crush a nail. Scissor style nail trimmers come in a variety of sizes, and it’s most handy for a groomer to have a small and a large set as some small dog nails can grow in a curve around the toe pad, and a smaller, scissor-style nail trimmer, is the safest way to trim a nail in that situation.
Nail grinders, or Dremel tools, are a good way to take sharp edges off the nails after trimming them. A groomer must be careful while using these tools not to catch hair in them. It is NOT advised to use a corded Dremel tool because if hair gets stuck in a corded Dremel tool it may not stop spinning and could cause injury to a dog. A battery-operated Dremel tool is more likely to stop turning if hair becomes stuck in them. The sanding drum that comes with these tools may be used, or a specialty, diamond coated Dremel tip made specifically for dog groomers, that will last forever, can be found on the market.
A hemostat is an inexpensive yet useful tool to have on hand. They can be used for a variety of purposes such as removing ticks or making homemade bows.
CARDING KNIVES AND STRIPPING KNIVES
Carding knives remove undercoat while stripping knives are used to pull outercoat. Stripping knives come in a variety of sizes and styles. They are often labeled coarse or fine. This determines the amount of coat that will slip through when being pulled and left attached to a dog.
Pumice stones are used to pull coat and can be used to rub over the dog to remove loose outer coat.
Rakes have teeth designed to remove the dead coat. These can be very useful to remove excess coat when a dog is wet in the tub.
Undercoat rakes come with a variety of tooth widths available for different coat types and breeds of dogs. The undercoat rake also works great on wet dogs to remove excess coat. They can be used carefully to split up matted areas in a dog’s coat.
A high-velocity dryer is also known as an HV dryer. These dryers put out a large amount of air. They come with a condenser cone to provide for more air pressure. Groomers must be aware of a dog’s eyes and ears when using an HV dryer.
A Stand dryer is used to finish drying dogs, often incorporating brushing to get the coat very straight and fluffed out. They may or may not have a heating element.
KENNEL DRYER OR CAGE DRYER
The kennel dryer is one that attaches to the front of a crate to dry a dog. They can be helpful for drying dogs who don’t want to be dried or just don’t like their heads being dried. They do not assist with removing loose coat and one must be very careful to monitor dogs who are being kennel dried 100% of the time. It is safest to use the no-heat setting on a kennel or cage dryer.
CLIPPER VACUUM SYSTEM
These are known as clipper vacs within the grooming industry. These machines attach to a clipper via a hose and provide suction to lift the hair up as it is clipped. The hair is then sucked into the vacuum. The clipper vac can be a time saver and provide for a cleaner work environment as it’s removing the cut hair as it is cut.
CAGE BANK OR KENNEL BANK
A set of cages to safely contain dogs.
There are a variety of bathing systems to be found in the grooming industry. A recirculatory system is used by putting an amount of water in the tub with shampoo. The soapy water is then pulled into a recirculatory and then distributed via a hose with a sprayer on to the dog. There are also tank-style systems where groomers pre-mix shampoo and water according to a manufacturer’s directions. Then this mixture is directly applied to a dog via a hose and sprayer. Another washing system attaches tubes, with dilution tips, directly to gallons of shampoo. It is connected directly to water and mixes water and shampoo to the proper dilution and is sprayed via a hose onto a dog.
HYDRAULIC GROOMING TABLE
Hydraulic grooming tables raise and lower using a hydraulic system (one that uses hydraulic fluid rather than electricity.)
ELECTRIC GROOMING TABLE
Electric tables raise and lower using an electric drive and foot pedal.
STANDARD GROOMING TABLE
Standard tables may or may not be adjustable. They are one size or have legs that can be adjusted up or down.
A grooming arm attaches to a grooming table and provides a place for a dog to be attached so it doesn’t fall or jump off the table.
A grooming loop goes around a dog’s neck and attaches to a grooming arm or a secure latch within a grooming tub. These are used to keep a dog in place.
Muzzles go onto a dog’s muzzle area to prevent them from biting. There are cloth muzzles, basket muzzles, quick muzzles, half ball muzzles and neck collar muzzles. It is safest not to assume that a muzzle will 100% prevent dog from biting.
A grooming smock is a uniform of sorts that helps keep hair off the groomer. They are also used while bathing dogs to help keep groomers dry, and they dry quickly.
Angulation is the measurement of angles on a dog, front angulation and rear angulation are examples.
By blending groomers avoid creating a definite line by combining short areas to long areas removing a few hairs at a time, often achieved by using thinning shears.
Hair that has progressed through the dormant stage and is ready to come off. A groomer removes a blown coat by brushing or hand stripping.
There is a breed standard for each breed of dog. One can find these in the American Kennel Club book or website. It is a description of a dog that would be considered 100% perfect in type, structure, gait, coat, and temperament.
Removal of dead undercoat by using a carding knife.
Shaving the face, muzzle, and cheeks very close to the skin. A clean face is commonly seen on Poodles.
Shaving all the hair on the foot. This is commonly seen on Poodles.
Removing or breaking apart matted fur or hair.
Long hair on the back of the front or rear leg, behind the ears, or on the underline of a dog. Furnishings are also known as feathering.
The jacket refers to the dog’s coat on its body area: the chest, back, ribs, and hips.
The only true puppy cut style is the show puppy cut seen on Poodles. This said many pet owners consider the puppy cut to be one length all over the dog.
When a dog is lacking a proper spring of ribs they appear slab-sided (flat-sided.)
Removing coat by pulling, plucking, or using a stripping knife or stone to shape the coat. Generally, this technique is used on terriers or sporting breeds.
Coagulant powder used to stop nails from bleeding when they are trimmed too short.
This is when the dog’s toes point to the side, instead of forward. It is commonly seen in Shih-Tzus.
PART 2: ESSENTIAL ANIMAL ANATOMY FOR THE GROOMING PROFESSIONAL
When you understand canine anatomy your grooming skills will benefit. Customers will notice their dog looks better when you groom it. They may not be able to put their finger on why, but most of the time, this is because a groomer has created a style based on how a dog is structured underneath the hair. We will look at canine anatomy as it pertains to the grooming professional and show you how when you are aware of the anatomy of a dog you will produce a superior groom.
When you complete this lesson y you’ll be able to
- Understand basic canine anatomy
- Label the canine anatomy on a diagram
- Understand and use basic canine anatomy terminology
These two diagrams illustrate the main terms used when discussing dog grooming. All dogs have the same structure, although length and mass of bone differ. It is important to understand and remember these terms as these parts are often referred do when explaining pattern placement for many haircuts.
Measuring the body: When measuring a dog’s length, you are measuring the space from the breastbone to the point of rump. When measuring the height, you measure from the ground to the top of the withers. As you read breed standards, you will notice many will call a breed square, longer than tall, or taller than long.
Measuring the head: When measuring a dog head, one generally is measuring from the tip of the nose to the occiput, from the stop area between the dog’s eyes to the end of the muzzle, and from the stop to the occiput.
With this knowledge, you can measure a pet dog you are grooming and know if they are correct, or if you can leave or remove hair to help create a look that makes them look as they are supposed to by breed standard.
Just like human structure, all dogs, of all breeds, shapes and sizes, have the same identical muscle and bone structure. They may look different, be different sizes, have different jobs and coat types, but under it all, they have the same skeleton and muscles.
You’ve looked at the definition of the breed standard: It is a description of a dog that would be considered 100% perfect in type, structure, gait, coat, and temperament. The anatomy of a dog is an important part of the breed standard.
The breed standard for every breed of dog accepted into the American Kennel Club (AKC,) is listed in “The Complete Dog Book,” which is updated and published every few years.
BREAK DOWN OF A BREED STANDARD: WHILE NOT ALL PARTS OF A BREED STANDARD ARE RELATED TO ANATOMY, A MAJORITY OF THEM ARE RELATED TO ANATOMY. HERE WE WILL BREAK DOWN ONE BREED STANDARD TO HELP YOU BE ABLE TO ANALYZE OTHERS. THE BREED OF CHOICE IS THE BASSET HOUND.
Now read the analysis of the AKC Breed Standard for the Basset Hound
A dog’s bite is how its teeth come together
SCISSOR BITE: The incisor teeth in the upper jaw are in contact with but slightly overlap the teeth in the bottom jaw.
LEVEL BITE: The upper and lower incisor teeth meet exactly.
OVERSHOT BITE: The top jaw is physically longer than the lower jaw.
UNDERSHOT BITE: The lower jaw is physically longer than the top jaw.
When the hock of a dog bends inward they are said to be cow hocked.
The crest begins at the nape of the neck, the base of the skull, and stops at the withers.
A fold of loose skin hanging from the neck or throat.
PRICKED: ears that are upright, examples include the Corgi and Husky.
DROPPED: ears that hang down, examples are the Bloodhound or a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen.
BUTTON: ears that have a fold in them, for example, Shetland Sheepdogs or Airedale Terriers.
CROPPED: ears that are surgically altered, often seen on Doberman Pinchers.
LOW SET: ears that begin, or are set, below the level of the eye. An example would be the Bloodhound seen above.
HIGH SET: ears that begin, or are set, higher than eye level. An example would be the Airedale seen above.
The aspect of appearance or temperament that is considered detrimental to the breed type that can be directly observed.
This is the term for an area of a dog’s lips. It is not the entire lip, but the flew is the part of a dog’s lip that hangs. Dogs that are known for slobbering often have flews that hang open or loose. There are breeds more prone to this issue, one example is Saint Bernard. There is generally no way to know in advance if a puppy that is a breed with hanging flews will be prone to drooling or not.
The forehead of a dog goes from the stop (the area between the eyes,) and the back point of the skull.
The forequarters refer to the front assembly of the dog.
FRONT AND REAR ANGULATION
This refers to the ay bones are slanted and meet at the joints Front angulation includes the shoulder and upper arm. Rear angulation includes the pelvis, upper and lower leg.
The gait is a dog’s quality of movement.
The third eyelid in a dog also called the nictitating membrane. This keeps the eye moist and protected. When this third eyelid protrudes out it is called a “Cherry Eye.”
The hindquarters refer to the rear assembly of the dog
The hock is the lower portion of the rear leg.
The muzzle is made up of the upper and lower jaws.
The Nape is the part of the neck where it joins the bottom of the skull toward the back of the head.
The occiput is the bone bump at the back of the skull. It is also affectionately called the “smart bump.”
The definition of pigment is “the natural coloring matter of animal or plant tissue.” When it comes to dogs’ pigment often refers to the coloring of the eye rims and nose and an area lacking dark pigment is not desirable.
The pin bone is the pointy bone in the hip area, usually a few inches under the tail.
SNIPY OR SNIPINESS
A weak, pointed muzzle lacking in substance. A muzzle that is too pointed for a breed type.
The stifle is another word for the knee.
The stop is the area at the top of the muzzle between the eyes.
The throat of a dog is the area beneath the jaws
The topline is the line formed by the withers, back loin, and croup. The line from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
The tuck up is the raised area set behind the last rib. On some breeds, this is scissored into the underline of the dog.
The withers are at the top of the shoulders, they are the highest point along a well-bred dog’s back.
Dogs, depending on their anatomy, can’t move certain ways comfortably. For example, the majority of English Bulldogs or French Bulldogs can’t swim. It is important for groomers to understand this as it will make the process of grooming easier for the groomer and the dog being groomed. If you attempt to move a dog beyond its physical limitations, it will struggle and make it difficult to groom.
PART 3: ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, HANDLING, AND RESTRAINT (Include Margi Sirois as authoring as well, parts have been taken from the Veterinary Assistant Animal Behavior Lesson.)
When you are working with dogs, some of which do not want to be groomed, it is important to be able to read their behavior cues and know how to get the job done even if you must use special handling skills or restraint. It is also critical that groomers understand how dogs’ senses differ from humans and how this affects their behavior.
Groomers must understand animal behavior to safely handle dogs and to keep themselves, coworkers, and the dogs in their care from harm. Animal behavior is a complex topic. Both normal and abnormal behaviors will be encountered. How dogs perceive the actions of the humans around them can differ considerably between animals. These differences in reactions can affect how dogs respond to handling and restraint. Knowing how to identify, prevent, and correct different types of behaviors in animals will benefit you greatly as a pet groomer.
When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to
- Recognize critical animal behavior cues and be able to determine how to best handle the dog and what form of restraint to use.
- Understand the difference between dog senses and human senses
- Understand skills that will aid you to keep yourself safe while working as a pet stylist.
- Describe normal and common abnormal behaviors exhibited by dogs
- Describe procedures used to prevent behavior problems in dogs.
- Explain methods used to restrain dogs
- Describe the relationship between predator and prey
- Understand how to approach a dog
Ethology is the science that involves the study of animal behavior. Regardless of the species, animal behaviors can be either instinctive (ones the animal exhibits from the time it’s born,) or learned, (ones that develop after birth and throughout life.) Learned behaviors are conditioned responses that may result from classical conditioning or from operant conditioning. Classical conditioning refers to behaviors that result from the association of a stimulus that occurs at approximately the same time or in roughly the same area. Operant conditioning refers to the behaviors that result from the association of activity (the operant,) with a punishment or reward. Operant conditioning can be sued to reinforce the desired behavior or to punish a undesirable one.
FAST FACT! “Things that are experienced together will be linked together in memory.” (James McConnell, “Understanding Human Behavior.”)
A predator is an organism that eats another organism. The prey is the organism consumed by the predator. Examples of predators and their prey include lions and zebras, bears and fish, and foxes and rabbits. Domestic animals, such as dogs, are instinctually predators in that they eat meat and are descendants of meat-eating species that hunt for their food, such as wolves. The behaviors of hunting and chasing are still present in the canine mind. Livestock species, such as cattle and horses, are considered prey animals. These animals don’t hunt other animals for food and are species that are themselves food for other animals. The behaviors of prey animals are mostly survival instincts that keep them alive when they’re hunted.
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT
Positive reinforcement refers to any immediate pleasant occurrence that follows a behavior. For example, when a dog receives a treat or immediate praise after it sits on command, that behavior is reinforced with a pleasant experience. To be effective, the positive reward must be delivered within 0.5 seconds of the behavior.
Negative reinforcement refers to any immediate unpleasant occurrence used to create the desired behavior. An example of negative reinforcement is the use of an electric fence to help a dog learn the boundaries that it may navigate. Negative reinforcement differs from punishment in that punishment is used to remove or decrease a behavior. For example, using a shock collar to reduce barking behavior is a form of positive punishment. Positive punishment involves adding an undesirable occurrence to decrease a behavior. Negative punishment involves removing a desirable occurrence to decrease a behavior. Withholding affection when a dog jumps up to greet you is an example of negative punishment. It’s more difficult to use punishment to influence a dog’s behavior, and it may cause the dog to become fearful or aggressive. The use of punishment as a training tool is generally not recommended – although some trainers may use a combination of positive reinforcement and negative punishment. In the grooming profession, it is best to reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior.
When using positive reinforcement be sure to use it when the dog is doing what you want it to do. If the dog is being wiggly, and it finally sits still, it is then that you praise the dog. Saying “good dog” when you want the dog to be good, but it is not behaving, does not help, but confuses the dog.
Any behavior that an animal may exhibit is derived from a specific stimulus or an action that provokes a response. The stimulus may come from the external environment or may have a physiologic (normal body function) trigger. For example, when an animal is fearful, several complex interactions between cells and chemicals in the body result in what’s commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight response. The animal will either run away from the stimulus that caused the fear or stand and fight.
IMPRINTING AND SOCIALIZATION PERIOD
Many of the behaviors that an animal learns are developed very early in life during the imprinting and socialization period. The conditions that animals are exposed to during this time generally affect how they’ll interact with others of their species as well as with humans. In puppies, the critical imprinting and socialization period is from age three to twelve weeks. It’s especially important during this time that the puppy be allowed to experience positive interactions with a variety of different people and animals in different environments. This positive experience will help to prevent many behavior problems, which are commonly present in animals that are poorly socialized.
FIGURE CRITICAL DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES IN DOGS (WILLIAM CAMPBELL “BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN DOGS.”)
|Age (weeks)||Period||Associated Problems|
|3-14||Socialization||If socialization is later than 14 weeks, or for some dogs between 12-14 weeks, shyness, or aggressiveness may occur|
|6-8||Optimum Socialization||If socialized earlier, shyness often develops, along with over-dependence on the owner, which may lead to overprotectiveness|
|8-10||Fear Imprint||Traumatic, fear-producing experiences may imprint causing a defensive reaction in some circumstances|
|12-14||Puberty Onset||Sexual mounting often occurs, males display erections|
|18-40||Protective-Aggressive||Barking at strangers, territorial, and social protective tendencies, leg lifting may begin in males|
|36-56||Functional||May become more serious about protective aggressive behaviors. A general persistent of problem behaviors. Corrections become more difficult|
|104-208||Achievement||Protective-aggressive behaviors can become more pronounced and purposeful. Problem behavior seems self-rewarding. Rehabilitation much more difficult|
PREVENTING BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
Techniques that focus on the prevention of behavior problems include proper socialization of animals. In addition, it’s important to recognize that sometimes animal behaviors are perceived by their owners as problematic when these behaviors are normal for the species or breed. For example, it’s common for breeds of dogs that were bred as hunting dogs, such as retrievers, to be very energetic and active. Some owners might find such a high level of activity to be problematic – especially if the dog is being kept in an area in which he can’t run freely. The result may be that the animal becomes bored or destructive.
DESTRUCTIVE AND AGGRESSIVE BEHAVIORS
Destructive behaviors often develop as a result of boredom or when an animal doesn’t have an appropriate outlet for its instinctive behaviors. Some normal dog behaviors are seen as problem behaviors by their owners. Examples include chewing, digging, and barking. Many of these problems can be reduced or eliminated by providing the dog with appropriate toys to chew.
Dog owners commonly report problems with aggressive behaviors. Some aggressive behaviors, such as pain-induced aggression, is normal. Other behaviors have more complex causes and might require a referral to a behavior specialist for diagnosis and treatment. Common aggressive behaviors and their causes are summarized in
APPROACHING A DOG
The safest way to approach a dog is from the side, this is far less threatening to them than if you approach them from the front and lean over them. Use the dog’s name and don’t hold strong eye contact. Let the dog come to you, smell you, and get comfortable with the situation. If the dog appears scared or timid, you may want to kneel down to reduce the dog’s perception of your size. Once the dog relaxes it can be petted. If you are taking a dog to be groomed or bathed, at this point you’d put a slip lead over the dog’s head and proceed. Never put your face in a dog’s face, it is a very dominant maneuver and you could easily be bitten.
CANINE BODY LANGUAGE
The posture and movements of a dog indicate specific personality types. It’s important to understand the meaning of certain postures to help minimize the likelihood of being bitten or frightening the dog. For example, a dog that’s wagging its tail and has its head slightly cocked to the side is likely to be friendly. But, a dog with its ears flat back against its head is showing signs of fear.
Care must be taken when approaching a fearful dog as fear often leads to aggression. An aggressive dog usually stares straight ahead with its head below the shoulders and lips drawn back. The dog may be growling. A dog in this posture with these behaviors is LIKELY TO BITE. Another sign a dog’s body can give indicating it is fearful is when their eyes are very open, with a lot of the white showing, see figure 8. Compare this look to the relaxed in figure 9.
It’s important to note that the behaviors an animal exhibit when in the grooming salon may differ from how it behaves in the home environment. When a dog is showing signs of fear or aggression, it may require being groomed while under sedation and this would occur at a veterinarians’ office. Never back an aggressive dog into a corner; it’s likely to bite in this situation.
COMMON DOG BODY LANGUAGE
With the play bow posture, the dog has its front legs on the ground, its butt up in the air with its tail wagging. The dog is inviting whoever else is involved to play.
Pawing is when a dog sticks a front payout at you. This is a friendly and submissive expression.
While dogs pant to cool their bodies, they also pant to show friendliness or nervousness. You will want to look at the rest of the dog’s expressions to determine what form of panting is being expressed.
Dogs are expressing fear and submission when they tuck their tail.
Tail wagging expresses friendliness, when a tail is wagged in a low position it indicates submission.
Hackles are the hair down the center of the dog’s back. When a dog makes this hair stand up it indicates anger. If a dog raises its hackles but tucks its tail and pins its ears back he is sending mixed messages and can be very dangerous, so approach with caution.
A submissive grin is when a dog raises its lips and shows its teeth. It is different from a snarl but can easily be mistaken for a snarl. Submissive grins can be friendly where the dog is also excited and wagging, or they can be fearful where the dog is showing a submissive grin but tucking its tail and pinning its ears down.
While yawning in dogs can indicate they are tired, it can also be a signal of fear or stress.
LIP LICKING/TONGUE FLICKING
Lip licking or tongue flicking indicates stress and nervousness.
Most people realize that dogs have stronger senses than humans, when we look at the degree of differences it’s stunning. It’s safest to approach a dog from the side because they have better peripheral (side) vision than they do binocular (front) vision. Compared to humans, dogs have 70% better peripheral vision, but 20% narrower binocular vision. A dog’s caption of movement is approximately 10-16% greater than that of humans; this means that dog groomers need to remember that rapid movements can frighten a dog. It is understood that dogs can hear more frequencies than humans, this is why dogs can hear dog whistles while humans can’t. They can also hear 4.5 times louder and at a greater distance than people. This can make a noisy salon environment a difficult place for a dog to spend a lot of time.
EQUIPMENT USED FOR RESTRAINING
A variety of mechanical devices are available to help restrain dogs.
- Restrictive Collars
- Groomer’s Helper ™ grooming arm device
- Ball Muzzles
- Heavy Gloves
When using a muzzle, it’s important to use the correct size of muzzle for the dog you need to restrain. Muzzles are made for brachycephalic dogs such as a Pug or Shih Tzu. When muzzling a brachycephalic dog, it is critical to make sure the muzzle goes up and over the eye area. These dog breeds have buggy eyes that protrude out of the eye socket. Muzzles must fit up and over the eye to keep the muzzle from scratching the eye.
If no muzzle is available, one can be made from a slip leash or a piece of gauze.
- Tie a loop into a length of fabric (gauze, leash.)
- Slip the loop over the nose and tighten the loop so it’s snug around the dog’s muzzle.
- Bring the ends under the jaw and cross them.
- Bring the ends of the gauze back behind the dog’s ears and tie in a bow. It’s important to use a bow in case you need to undo the muzzle quickly.
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Using a ball muzzle or restrictive collar can be less a less restrictive way to prevent small dogs from biting. It’s also a safer way to muzzle senior pets so they can breathe easier than they can with a traditional muzzle. The ball muzzle is carefully slipped over the head, and then both sides are snugged together using Velcro. A restrictive collar, or e-collar, is slipped over or around the dog’s head.
REMOVING A DOG FROM A CAGE OR CARRIER
Here are some tips and techniques for removing a dog from a cage or carrier:
- Always be sure the door to the room is closed securely before attempting to remove a dog from a cage or carrier.
- A large dog can usually be led from a low cage by slipping a leash around the dog’s neck and coaxing it from the cage.
- Use the door of the cage to block your body from the animal when handling dogs that are likely to become aggressive.
- Small dogs in cages at eye level or higher can usually be lifted from the cage by placing your hand under its chest and gently grasping the loose skin on the back of the neck. This gives you control of the dog’s head, so it can’t turn and bite you.
- Some dogs are reluctant to come out of their carriers. It’s helpful to simply open the door of the carrier as you speak to the client. Some dogs will simply come out of the carrier once they don’t feel threatened or fearful. If necessary, you can take the carrier apart to get the dog out.
- When lifting a dog, it’s important to be aware of where their head is in relation to your face. A groomer needs to keep their face out of the area a dog can reach to bite.
It is important for the safety of the dog groomer and the dog being groomed to remember you do not have to groom every dog. If you are not comfortable grooming a dog that shows too much aggression, refer it to a veterinarian for grooming.
PART 4: GROOMING TOOL CARE, SANITATION AND SAFETY. GROOMER SAFETY.
A critical part of a dog groomer’s job is to know which tool is best for each task and how to maintain these tools. Grooming tools can be expensive, and they should be treated as an investment. Proper sanitation is important to prevent the spread of disease. Groomers do not want to cause diseases to spread between dogs, or between dogs and people. Groomers must know how to groom safely and take steps to prevent wear and tear on their bodies.
When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to
- Recognize a variety of grooming tools
- Understand how to keep tools clean
- Define zoonotic diseases and give examples of them
- Understand what good posture is in dog grooming
- Be able to demonstrate grooming stretching exercise
- Explain ways groomers can protect their bodies.
For all tools it’s recommended to have a UV Sanitizer available to sanitize them once you’ve cleaned them.
Clippers have blade drives that need to be changed about every four to six weeks depending on how many dogs a groomer is clipping per week.
FIGURE – VIDEO CHANGING BLADE DRIVE AND CORD
The other common issue clippers have is the cord can short out. These are easy to change.
Blades need to be cleaned daily or more often if you need to clip a dirty dog or one with a skin condition. To clean blades you should slide the cutter to one side and use a tooth brush to remove debris. Then slide the cutter back in place. You will need a blade cleaner such as Andis blade cleaner, H-42, or Whitman’s Red Dip. There needs to be enough in a bowl or cup to be able to submerge the working part of the blade. Turn the clipper on and put just the blade into the cleaner. Let it run for a few seconds. Turn off the clipper and remove the blade. Wipe and dry it off with a towel, sliding the cutter back and forth to get around it. You also can blow the blade off with a high-velocity dryer. Next, you apply a light coat of blade oil to all areas where two parts move against each other, slide the cutter to the side and apply to the cutter ridge and the blade, then slide the cutter back and forth to distribute the oil. Remember – it takes only a very small amount of oil to properly oil a blade.
SIDEBAR FOR MANY ARTICLES ON BLADE AND CLIPPER MAINTENANCE VISIT NORTHERN TAILS SHARPENING’S WEBSITE. (LISTED WITH PERMISSION FROM NORTHERN TAILS SHARPENING.)
A NOTE ABOUT COOL-LUBE PRODUCTS
It is important NOT to use any cool-lube products on your clipper blades. These are toxic, and cause build-up of sticky residue on clipper blades. It is best to keep a marble or porcelain tile at your grooming station. When a blade gets hot remove it from the clipper and set it face down on the tile to cool it. If you regularly clean and oil your blades, and change your blade drive as needed, your blades will be less likely to heat up.
Scissors will occasionally need to be professionally sharpened. The higher quality the scissor the harder the steel, and the less sharpening it will need. If you avoid using scissors on dirty, unwashed dogs, the sharpened edge will last longer. It is important to clean scissors and the tension screw daily. To clean shears, you can dip a cloth into your blade cleaner and wipe them off. Then put a small drop of oil between the two blades where the tension screw is and open and close the shear. Wipe any hair that is moved out of the area onto the blade with your cloth.
When you open your shear and let go of one side it should stop with about a one-inch opening at the top of the shear. If it stops more than that open the tension is too tight and if the shear closes all the way the tension is too loose.
FIGURE 3 VIDEO SCISSOR TENSION
Scissor tension can be adjusted by turning the tension screw. On some scissors this is a screw you turn with a screw driver, others have a dial adjustment, and others have a different type of screw that requires a special adjusting tool. Shears that need the special adjusting tool generally come with the tool.
Brushes need to be kept clean. You do not want to submerge them into water as it will get into and behind the brush pad and over time will cause the brush pad to deteriorate. It’s best to mist the slicker and pin brushes with a general cleaner and wipe them with a cloth. The boar bristle brushes can be carefully washed with water and soap but try to only get water onto the bristles.
GUARD COMB AND COMB CARE
One way to easily clean most guard comb attachments and combs is to put them in the top rack of a dishwasher. You can also clean them by hand with soap, water, and a toothbrush. It is important to make sure they are totally dry to avoid corrosion.
STRIPPING KNIFE AND CARDING KNIFE CARE
You should avoid getting stripping and carding knives totally wet so as not to damage their handle. They can be sprayed with a general cleaner and wiped off.
Zoonotic diseases are those that can be transmitted from animals to humans. There are hundreds of zoonotic diseases. For groomers, our concern is limited to diseases that can be transmitted from dogs to humans. We will look at the most common zoonotic diseases of dogs.
Cleanliness is the best defense against zoonotic disease. This is why groomers need to be adamant about keeping their tools and grooming areas clean. People who have a compromised immune system are at greater risk for contracting a zoonotic disease.
Campylobactor is found worldwide. In humans the main symptom is diarrhea. It is often contracted by dogs in animal shelters.
Leptospirosis is found worldwide in domestic and wild animals, especially rodents. It is contracted by contact with an infected animal’s urine. Symptoms include fever and jaundice.
Lyme disease is found in North America, Europe, and Australia. Humans contract Lyme disease by being bitten by an infected tick. The concern for dog groomers is that dogs can bring ticks into the salon and those ticks may bite groomers. Symptoms include flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, headache, fever, stiff joints, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, and dizziness.
Rabies is found worldwide except for Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia, Japan, China, Ireland, and England. Rabies virus is carried by bats and carnivores. There are two forms. One shows symptoms which are paralytic where a person has paralysis of the throat and jaw that quickly spreads to the rest of the body. The other form is known as the furious form where the person would show aggressive behavior. With both forms, death is caused by a progressive paralysis.
Ringworm isn’t a worm at all, but it is a fungus that is found worldwide. It is seen in dogs most commonly as a circular bald spot that may look red. It is contagious to humans from dogs. People who contract ringworm also get circular lesions that tend to be itchy and flakey.
Roundworms are found worldwide. Humans contract roundworms by being in contact with contaminated soil, or exposure to dog feces. Symptoms of roundworm in humans include eye, lung, heart, and neurological signs.
SARCOPTIC MANGE (CANINE SCABIES)
Sarcoptic mange is found worldwide. It is a mite that burrows into the skin to lay eggs. Sarcoptic mites are carried by dogs and are transmitted easily by direct contact with a dog that is infested with the mites. The main symptom is a red, itchy rash. Sarcoptic mites do not burrow into human skin. People generally get a lesion that will last two to three weeks.
Staph, both staphylococcus albus, and staphylococcus aureus are found worldwide. Staph can be transmitted via contact. Symptoms include tissue decay and abscesses that do not heal.
Tetanus is found worldwide. It is contracted in a few ways, animal bites or wounds by dirty objects are the most common. It is more common with deep wounds. Symptoms include stiffness that becomes more pronounced.
PREVENTING TRANSMISSION OF ZOONOTIC DISEASES
Cleanliness is the best defense against zoonotic diseases. Many salons outside of a veterinary clinic will not allow dogs who appear to have a contagious issue to stay and be groomed. Most will require a veterinarian release to groom the pet. If you work for a veterinarian and are required to groom dogs with diseases or infections it is important to wear gloves, change your smock after grooming the questionable dog, wash all exposed equipment including your tools, table, and tub, and wash your hands, arms, and any part of your body you touched while working on the dog (for example, your face if you scratched your nose.) You must be sure to keep the dog away from other dogs and thoroughly clean and disinfect the area they were contained.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
One key thing to note, cleaning and disinfecting are different. Disinfectants are not made to act as cleaners, and cleaners do not disinfect. To properly clean you must clean, and then disinfect.
Groomers have numerous cleaning agents available to them. Any general cleaner is fine. Some groomers prefer more natural cleaners such as lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, and water.
For disinfecting, it is crucial to remember most disinfectants must sit for 10-20 minutes, wet, on the item you are disinfecting. Types of disinfectants include Parvasol, Chlorhexidine, Nolvasan, and 256 Disinfectant. For a quick disinfectant, you can use hydrogen peroxide. Spray it on an area and allow it to sit for five minutes. For peroxide, it takes one minute to kill bacteria and viruses and five minutes to kill the fungus. You apply disinfectant AFTER cleaning.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO PROPERLY M IX CLEANERS AND DISINFECTANTS, ESPECIALLY WHEN WORKIN WITH ANIMALS. READ THE DIRECTIONS AND MIeX PROPERLY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE DISINFECTANT 256 DISINFECTANT IS CALLED THIS BECAUSE ONE GALLON WILL MAKE 256 GALLONS OF DISINFECTANT. FIGURE FOR SIDEBAR 256 DISINFECTANT.
GROOMER HEALTH AND SAFETY
Groomers are exposed to an assortment of hazards such as small particles of hair, noise, dog waste, and physical wear and tear on our bodies. It is important to take steps to protect oneself.
Eye protection is necessary when blow drying a dog with a lot of loose coat, or a dog that has a skin problem.
Loud noise goes with the territory in a grooming salon. From barking dogs to clippers and high-velocity dryers, groomers are exposed to dangerous levels of noise. For example, a high-velocity dryer with a Condenser cone noise level measures above one hundred decibels. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration,) guidelines state that an employee should not be exposed to noise over 100 decibels for longer than fifteen minutes in an eight-hour workday. There are many options available when it comes to protecting your hearing. The cheapest are regular earplugs. One can also find noise-reducing earmuffs. There are also noise-canceling headphones and earbuds. No matter which you choose, be sure to be diligent about wearing hearing protection.
Groomers are exposed to many respiratory dangers. These include fine hair and skin particles, saliva particles, chemicals, and more. This makes it crucial that groomers wear masks. There are disposable masks, washable masks such as the Breathe Healthy mask, and longer-term use disposable masks such as the Vog Mask.
FASTS FACT: WHEN GROOMING A SMELLY DOG YOU CAN PUT A DAB OF ESSENTIAL OIL, SUCH AS LAVENDER, ON YOUR MASK TO HELP COVER UP THE STENCH.
FIGURE 8 MASK
Grooming is a physically demanding job. Many groomers develop back and hand problems after working for many years. These problems can be avoided or slowed. If possible, use electric or hydraulic grooming tables and grooming tubs. These will lower down to nearly the floor and can be raised up, keeping groomers from having to lift large dogs. There are tools available to help groomers move and secure dogs. Rather than struggle with a dog that continues to sit down while being worked on, use a belly strap that goes under the dog’s belly and attaches to the grooming arm. If you must lift a large or obese dog, ask for help.
Doing daily stretches before starting to work also helps prevent injuries. Just as someone running stretches before a race, it is important for groomers to stretch prior to working. Pay attention to your posture as you are grooming and avoid letting your shoulders roll forward as you work. Allowing the shoulders to roll forward can put stress on your lower back as well as the median nerves that run from the neck to the hands. The stress on the median nerves is thought to promote carpal tunnel syndrome.
FIGURE VIDEO HAND STRETCH EXERCISE
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