How to Become Your Groomer's Favorite Guest
Updated: May 16
Your visit to a grooming salon should be an enjoyable experience for you, your pet, and your stylist. We want to share some tips on grooming salon etiquette to ensure your pet's spa day goes off without a hitch that your stylist may not explain.
Arrive on Time
I cannot stress enough how important it is to arrive on time for your appointment – maybe even aim to arrive 10 minutes early. Be sure to account for traffic, school drop offs, and coffee breaks. Even being 5-10 minutes late will create a domino effect and cause your stylist to run behind for the rest of their appointments. IF you are running late, please call and notify the salon ahead of time. Perhaps even more importantly, don’t say you’ll be there in 5 minutes and arrive 20 minutes late with a steaming cup of coffee and a dog that hasn’t been on a potty break. All jokes aside, please arrive on time!
Cancelations and No Shows
You’ve rebooked your appointment or called weeks in advance to reserve a time but something has come up and you need to cancel. Don’t feel bad – life happens – but if you must cancel an appointment please be courteous and give us 48 hours notice. Chronic last minute cancelations leave your stylist with little time to fill a slot which results in a stylist not making money. Imagine showing up to work and your boss tells you that she will not be paying you for 2 hours of work that day. In most cases, when stylists are not working on a pet they are not getting paid.
No shows are not acceptable. Period. Many salons have a no show policy in place and may require you to pay in advance for all or part of your next service. Please avoid a “no call no show” at all costs.
Please make sure you make the time to take your dog to the bathroom before their service. There is little more frustrating than getting a dog squeaky clean and completely dry before placing them in a kennel or on a grooming table only to have them drop a load and step in it. This is especially true on rainy days. Not all salons have a safe area to walk pets to allow them to relieve themselves. This can cause your pet to stay longer in the salon and could increase the cost of their service. At Oak City Pets everybody gets one pass and a rebath, after that there is a surcharge for each time they need to be re-bathed and dried.
If you’re new to a salon, have a new pet, or if it’s been awhile since the last grooming service please be up front about your budget with your stylist. If the price is out of your range then speak with your stylist about a service that will fit within your budget. And please don’t ever haggle with them or tell them another salon is less expensive. There are many factors that go into the price of grooming, if you’d like to read more on the costs of grooming services, please check out this link.
Grooming services can take anywhere from 2-4 hours, possibly more if you’ve got an extra large breed or a pet that requires a lot of work. Your stylist will generally give you a time frame of when to expect them to be ready and offer to contact you when they’re ready for pickup. If that time comes and goes then by all means call the salon and check in on the progress of your pet. Please don’t call after 30 minutes to ask if a pet is done. The time it takes us to stop working, put a dog away in a kennel, and get to the phone can add so much time onto a service. Many dogs are excited and take a minute to calm down each time they’re removed from the grooming table. These small interruptions can add to a dog’s anxiety – grooming should be a predictable event for pets. Each time they’re removed from the table they can become confused or wary of the grooming process because the routine of “bath, dry, brush, cut” is interrupted. I groom a lovely Shih Tzu that has come a long way from his days of trying to bite me for everything. Through consistent grooming sessions of following the same routine my dear Chicharito knows exactly what to expect and has learned to trust me – when I’ve had to break the routine in the past he reverts back to his old ways and gets very nervous. Now I never, EVER interrupt his service and I get kisses at the end of his groom. Sometimes he even decides to grace me with his presence in my lap.
Rebooking can be SO difficult – trust me, I’m terrible at anticipating my schedule when it comes time to get my hair cut and colored. I also quickly realized that the amazing stylists at Blo in Raleigh book up faster than I can snatch up a cute kitten to add to my brood. (Seriously, check them out. They’re THE BEST in the area). Rebooking an appointment ensures the time that works best for you and at the very least saves a spot in the future. It’s so much easier to switch around a rebooked appointment than it is to hope for the best and try to squeeze in last minute. You could wind up with a rushed service at an unfamiliar salon.
Grooming is a creative process. If you’re unhappy with your services please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know. We’d always rather rectify a situation than never see a guest again. Our interpretation of a teddy bear head could be completely different from what you envisioned. If you bring it to our attention I can almost guarantee you that our feelings won’t be hurt however awkward it may feel.
It’s also important to be honest with us about your pet’s past behavior, medical conditions, and grooming maintenance. One bad bite can ruin a stylist’s career in a matter of seconds. As a part of my routine check in process I always ask new guests if their pet has any aversion to grooming. There have been so many instances that a guest has told me their dog is fine only to realize their dog turns into Cujo when the owner leaves. There is nothing more frustrating than relaying this message to a guest that then says “Oh yeah, he did that at the last groomer too but I didn’t want to tell you in case you kicked us out.” I’m not joking, this happens a lot and it’s not okay. I can nearly always work with an aggressive pet when I’m notified beforehand but absolutely refuse to work with aggressive pets after a guest lies about their behavior. It’s extremely dangerous for the stylist and pet. I groom a sweet Doodle Mix that used to be a Cujo. His owner told me of his misdeeds at previous groomers so I was prepared and knew to look for certain triggers. During his first visit I hit a trigger point for him and he went off the rails trying to bite aggressively. He was sent home that day since he had been triggered but returned a few days later to try again, this time I knew what could set him off. Over several visits he grew comfortable enough with me to allow a full groom service with no biting. Honesty is always the best policy.
We hope this post has provided you with some useful etiquette tips for the next time you visit the grooming salon. You've now got some insider information that your stylist may not readily share with you. Happy groomings!