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What to Tell Your Dog Groomer the First Time

To get the best results, here’s what to tell your dog groomer the first time you bring your dog or puppy in for a trim.

Is your dog’s coat looking a little rough? Maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment with the groomer. If this is your dog’s first time—or first time with a new groomer—it may feel a little daunting. Much like trying out a new human hair stylist, it can feel like there’s a lot riding on this appointment!

Thankfully the solution is simple: focus on clear, honest, 2-way, communication. You’ll need to make your wishes known to the groomer, of course, as well as help him or her get familiar with your dog’s quirks and personality. Ideally, you want to take some time to get acquainted, and start to build a rapport. We’ve found this step (it’s 15 minutes, at least, for our team), will serve all of you really well over time!

At the same time, it’s also important that you invite your dog grooming pro to share their expertise—and that you take those recommendations to heart.

Here are some specific things you can do to make your grooming experience a success.


1. How does your dog behave with strangers and/or other dogs?

Knowing the personality and/or behavioral habits your dog is likely to exhibit during their grooming session will help your groomer anticipate and avoid potentially troublesome situations. It will also help ensure your dog enjoys his or her visit more!

  • If your pup has favorite treats or toys, consider bringing them along.
  • Wondering where the groomer plans to keep your dog during any blocks of time when they’re not actually mid-grooming? Some will crate waiting pups, which not everyone likes. We like to settle our guests in a studio room where they can lounge and enjoy some quiet, comfy, rest. Whatever your preference, this is the time to ask and/or share your desires.
2. How do you want your pup to look when they leave the groomer?

Your vision for grooming is one of the most important details a groomer needs to know. Are you looking for a traditional, breed-specific cut? A close shave? Close on the face and ears, and long everywhere else?

  • When talking length, you’ll want to be very specific: so, how close is close— ½” or 1½”? When you say long, do you mean streaming along the ground, or something else? How close to the classic trim for your breed do you want to go? If your dog has been groomed before, a photo is a helpful resource, too.
  • Invite your groomer to offer their expertise, too. Sometimes people unwittingly apply human comfort standards to dogs (e.g., short hair in summer/long in winter, or trim close at the ears), but that isn’t always the right solution for our pets!
  • What else do you want your groomer to help with? Ask about their packages, and have an idea of what would be helpful to you. Maybe you hate trimming your dog’s nails, or cleaning their ears.

And if there are any areas where your dog doesn’t like being touched, or if your dog has diabetes, eye or ear trouble or other ailments, your dog will have a better experience if your groomer is prepped in advance.

3. What sort of time and patience can you dedicate to home grooming routines?

What you’re willing and able to do at home, how often, and how often you’re able to invest in professional grooming—are all essential details for guiding the groomer in creating a manageable look for your dog.

Did you know that dogs’ coats are not all the same? Traditional trim styles are generally created in response to the breed’s hair type, as well as the activities they’re bred to do. That’s why grooming needs can vary so much depending on the breed. Maintenance for many long-haired breeds is a hobby all by itself!

4. Are there any allergies (theirs or yours) or medical conditions to note?

If either of you are sensitive to certain scents or products, or if you prefer all-natural products, definitely alert your groomer before they get started.


We dog lovers know that a dog is our best friend… but it’s also true that a groomer can be (one of) your pup’s best friends!  Dog grooming affects far more than aesthetics—good grooming can keep their skin healthier by helping avoid uncomfortable hot spots, prevent sores, infections and infestations. Dogs with a severe level of matting can even end up with circulation or bowel movement issues that necessitate surgery.

If there are any questions about these or other grooming-related puzzles, please leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from our readers and help out where we can!

We’ve aimed to give you our top tips for what you should tell your dog groomer when booking or arriving for your first visit so he or she can take great care of them. Your furry companion deserves only the best care and attention whether they’re getting their coats sudsed-up, de-matted, or perfectly coiffed.

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