As we head into Summer and our appointment book is packed full, we’re receiving a number of phone calls from people desperate to find a new groomer. Sometimes we can squeeze you in because of a cancellation, but unfortunately we do have more calls than appointments available!

Looking for a new groomer can be daunting and difficult. Whether you’re unhappy with your dog’s last haircut, you’ve moved away from or your groomer has retired, here’s a quick guide to ensure you find the best groomer for your needs.

Determine your dog’s grooming needs
Does your dog need a scissor trim, or just a bath and nail clip? Do you want them in a particular breed style, a teddy bear look or short all over? If you know what sort of haircut you would like, you can call and ask if a groomer is experienced in, and willing to do this clip. Not only does this mean you’re less likely to have a haircut you weren’t expecting, it also means that a groomer is able to let you know beforehand if they can do what you are asking for. Its important to keep in mind that not all groomers do all trims/breeds – some groomers specialise in certain trims, some don’t do big dogs and some do short cuts only, no matter what the breed! Every now and then we also come across a request for something we haven’t done before, so advanced notice lets us prepare to give it a go!

Just like going to the hairdresser, you may not get exactly what you are looking for the first time around. However, if you like the service you have been provided and your dog is happy, we recommend you work with your groomer to get your dog’s clip exactly how you like it by making adjustments over the next few grooms. We don’t mind if you ask for things like “a little more off the chin”, “less off the tail” or “rounder in the face” because it means you’ve given us (the groomer) a chance to get it right. At Posh Paws Dog Grooming & Spa, we strive to provide cute, practical trims, but we are also aware that what we think is cute may not be to your liking, so just let us know.

Think about the type of service you would like
Just like groomers, not all salons are the same! In Perth, we have a number of options from no-frills low-cost grooming, home salons, retail store salons, vet salons and premium options. Some salons only have one dog at a time, and some operate on a group drop-off/pick-up schedule. We also have some groomers that come to you to pick up your dog, some groom in you house/laundry and at Posh Paws Dog Grooming & Spa, we bring our fully appointed, premium salon trailer to your home.

When choosing what sort of service you would like, keep in mind not only your schedule, but also your dog’s needs. It may suit you to leave your dog at a salon all day whilst you are at work, but what if it stresses them out? Would your dog prefer to stay at home, or visit a salon that is quieter? Some groomers allocate 45 minutes per clip, some allow extra time for each client, and others may charge extra for longer appointments. Keep in mind that the type of service you choose will often be reflected in the price of the groom, not only because of overhead costs but because groomers that attend your home and/or groom one dog at a time typically see fewer clients per day than those that have several dogs in the salon at once.

Ensure the groomer you choose fits your budget and schedule
With all the different types of salons, its not surprising to find a range of prices and opening hours. Most groomers in Perth work Tuesday to Saturday, but there are many that work Monday to Friday and some on weekends only. Larger salons with several groomers may operate all week long. Once you find that special groomer that your dog loves, make sure you take note of their shifts/working hours so you can plan appropriately. Whilst some salons have flexibility/availability at short notice, many of our colleagues are booked several weeks in advance, especially during the warmer months.

Every groomer also charges differently depending on their overheads, service, business model and experience. When getting quotes for grooming, keep in mind the differences in quality, services and how often your dog will need to be groomed. At Posh Paws Dog Grooming & Spa, we find that performing an extra shampoo, a conditioning treatment, cleaning ears and trimming nails as standard is preferred by our clients over adding extra charges for these additional services. It also keeps our four-legged clients smelling better for longer, which means many can go between grooming appointments without needing an additional bath.

Remember, all groomers do things a little differently
For some, grooming is a family trade, some groom part-time/on weekends whilst working other jobs, for others it may be a hobby that earns some extra money, or a full-time vocation. No matter what style of haircut or salon your groomer prefers, they are dog-lovers that will hopefully do their best to accomodate your needs and requests. At Posh Paws Dog Grooming & Spa, we often say to pick your groomer with as much scrutiny as you would hire a Nanny, after all, you are entrusting your fur-baby to them!

There are many aspects of grooming, and it takes time to learn and become experienced in each one. Some groomers specialise in aggressive dogs, some are good with puppies, some have a background in vet-nursing, whilst others are prize-winning competitors. We specialise in low-stress handling, which means in addition to learning to groom, we have spent just as much time learning about the scientific basis of dog behaviour, and how to best modify your service to ensure your dog has the best grooming experience possible.

If you’re looking for a new groomer in Perth, a great place to start is the Dog Groomer’s Association of Western Australia website or facebook page. Posh Paws Dog Grooming & Spa has been a member for several years and supports the Association’s commitment to providing education and oversight to the industry. A growing number of groomers are now signing up and networking through the Association, which means if we can’t squeeze you in, we can hopefully refer you to another groomer in the area.