How NOT to Groom a Dog!

Martina has been at it again! Here she tells us a real life event with Banana, her Labradoodle.

I’ve always admired Martin and his family’s services, but living far away I’m unable to use them as regularly as I’d like. I do however blame them completely for my latest escapade that has almost seen me in deep water and made my dog the laughing stock of the village.

I’ll start from the beginning. Belinda makes dog grooming look so easy, so I thought I’d give it a go.

I bought some clippers and got to work on banana, my labradoodle that’s the size of a horse.

He’s a labradoodle that moults and he moults a lot. He’s golden but can turn a red carpet white in seconds even with daily brushing.

From Mr Tumble…

Anyhow we settled in the living room, with something good on the TV and a fire in the grate just in case Banana’s haircut made him feel the cold. Banana already looked quite unique as when painting with my toddler the day before, we decided to give him multi-coloured polka dots knowing the hair would be cut soon after.

So I began, with the scene resembling the demon barber of Saville, fluff and hair flying everywhere, suddenly the floor was covered. In just a few short strokes, those layers of hairs through moulting had turned into think piled rugs that were impossible to remove.

The pet dander from hair close to his skin began to make us all itch, while some hairs were actually spikey, not at all what I’d expect. We dished out the varying strengths of Piriton and became committed to finishing the job but as I looked at the sight before me I wanted to weep.

To the Sex Pistols

I’d stopped as he had a Mohican from his head to his tail, yet this Mohican was dotted with pink, blue, purple and green blobs. The skin with little hair was patchy and bald in places. I thought I had a steady hand but obviously not.

Just at this point, the doorbell rang. Living rurally this is a rare occurrence on a Sunday. Without thinking I ran to answer it, with banana following behind.

Who should greet me but the RSPCA collecting money for mistreated dogs across the county? I will never forget their face as they were pounced on by a very friendly multi-coloured labradoodle that looked as though he’s caught a skin disease at the circus.

They didn’t say much about banana but it didn’t stop my heart beating wildly. I have a feeling he may be on their at risk register from now on!

Finishing the job I realised just how incompetent I really was, I should stick to my writing, as hairdressing for dogs is not my forte. I fed banana sausages and steak in a bid to apologise as I truly believed I had damaged his self-esteem.

The children, after seeing the results, raided their wardrobes for a T-shirt, so banana has been promoting One Direction for the past couple of weeks. Today he sits in my office catching the rays as the sun spills through the bay window, his hair has grown back and I can’t help thinking he’s due for another trim…

Quick Fix Solutions for Nasty Freeloaders

 

Our friend, Martina Mercer, has had quite the week with Banana. We asked her to share what’s she’s learned so you can save money on huge vet’s bills.

In her own words:

It’s rare that Banana becomes ill. Apart from his injections he’s only visited the vets a handful of times. Once for getting a stick stuck in his jaw, another for castration and another for a nasty gash he got when scaling a barbed wire fence to catch a pheasant.

He’s had many sticks stuck in his jaw since the first, but instead of paying a vet £200 to put him to sleep to remove it, I now simply sit on him and use the flat end of a spoon to tease it out. With a forest in the garden it’s impossible to clear the area of branches.

This week though he seemed under the weather, at first I thought he was simply adapting to his new haircut but then he had an accident indoors. This is so unlike him as he has been known to cross his legs for an extortionate amount of time on the rare occasions we’ve slept in.

The Blood Sucking Fiend

At first we thought Banana had eaten something he shouldn’t, he’s forever following our toddler around in case she drops a biscuit, but then I spotted a grey lump directly on his eye lid. It was a tick.

In the summer holidays we’ve been on longer walks through the moors, which is where we think he picked it up. Now this is where Google becomes frightening, as I’ve dealt with ticks before but when Googling to see the best course of action it threw up lots of incredible, scary facts.

It claimed that ticks can cause death in both pets and humans. They are known for causing upset stomachs and are very dangerous to have around.

How to Remove a Tick

I decided I must follow the advice for removal, and quickly. The children had read the same facts and were now treating Banana as if he was radioactive. Pulling on gloves I took a bottle of brandy, some antiseptic cream and tweezers I didn’t need into the conservatory with me.

We adopted the usual position where I sit on his back. Please don’t be alarmed, Banana weighs 8 stone and is very sturdy. Then I followed these instructions:

Take the tick in the tweezers and start to pull very gently – This was difficult, of course Banana wanted to fight this, it was on such a sensitive part.

  • Pull gently for 30 seconds (it felt like a lifetime)
  • As the tick gives, pull it out with the tweezers and deposit it in alcohol to kill it (we won’t be drinking that brandy!)
  • Add antiseptic cream or lotion to the site.

It was all relatively easy apart from the struggle and all of the legs and the mouth came out. The worries surrounding DIY tick removal include:

  • Risk of infection
  • Squeezing too hard so the infected blood goes back into the pet
  • Leaving the legs or mouth behind. You will likely need a trip to the vet to remove the bits you didn’t get out in one go.

Now that I knew the tick was dead I got quite a good look. They’re fascinating parasites really.

Vets recommend keeping it in a clear bag so if the pet becomes ill they know which tick caused the infection. Lucky for us Banana’s illness cleared up straight away. Special tick removing tweezers are available and make the job much easier, I was lucky and managed the job with our ordinary bathroom tweezers.

If you are worried about removing ticks, either Belinda & Co. at Groomability or your vet should be able to do it for a small fee. In my research I found that they hate lavender oil, and so now when we walk in the moors I dab some on Banana’s collar and coat!

What type of dog are you?

What Type of Dog Are You?

There’s a new personality test on the market that is used to develop the emotional intelligence of children and adults in schools. Basically you’re given a pack of cards with phrases on such as “I like to have the last word, “I love to socialise” and so on. You pick out the ones that you identify with the most then when the cards are turned over a type of dog is revealed. Sometimes you can be a cross breed, however the cards usually lean towards one. It helps people to understand themselves and the way they communicate while if played in a group the whole group can gain a deeper understanding.

See if you can relate to the personality traits of the different dogs! We’ve done the test – see what we are below.

The Hound

The Hound is super creative, often jumping from one project to another while occasionally showing signs of pure genius. They are sociable and bubbly and always have new ideas. Patience is not a strong point however!

The Pointer

The pointer is well organised, likes everything to be planned and loves maths as the answers are always correct. They don’t like to deviate from a plan but are the perfect “Phone a Friend” if you ever find yourself on Who Want to be a Millionaire.

The Guard Dog

The guard dog can be described as an adrenalin junkie but is often seen in the form of a competitive dad. Although you like to bring a little danger into everyday life you also excel in a crisis which is just as well!

The Terrier

Just as you’d expect the terrier is a very busy bee always dashing here and there, very rarely slowing down. Terriers seem to have endless amounts of energy yet you may become frustrated when you try to get them to stop and smell the roses.

The Coachdog

A coachdog is a person that puts everyone else first. They love looking after people and making you feel better. They despise conflict so can often walk away when they really should stick up for themselves. Some people can take advantage and treat them as a doormat because of this.

The Mastiff

The Mastiff is a born entertainer, they love the limelight and aren’t too keen on sharing it. They will make you laugh with their ready wit and are a lot of fun to be around, as long as you don’t mind being the wind beneath their wings.

The Retriever

Fiercely loyal the retriever hates change. They adore explaining the finer details of a story which makes them excellent teachers however they usually find an era they like and stick with it. They don’t understand the need to change fashions four times a year, they are simply genuine as they go with what they like, and not what they think they should.

The Sheepdog

The sheepdog loves order and despises chaos. Their house is probably always tidy and they look impeccably well groomed no matter what time of the day it is. They also adore routine and will stick to it fastidiously. The sheepdog cannot abide being late!

So, our results – Martin believes that he is a ‘PointerGuardTerrierSheepHound’ dog, and Belinda seems to be a ‘PointerCoach’ dog.

Which type of dog are you?

What’s Your Pooch’s Personality?

Our pets may not be able to talk but this doesn’t stop them having a personality that’s often so human it’s amazing. In our line of work we meet so many dogs yet we can confidently say that no two are exactly the same.

We love discovering the personality of your pooch and getting to know your pet so they feel safe and happy in our company. Just for fun we’ve divided the personalities we’ve met into a few categories, see if your pet fits into one or let us know if they have traits that are completely unique.

The Cowardly Lion

We’ve met quite a few cowardly lions in our time and our clients always joke that they’d be no good against intruders as they’d simply hide behind the legs of their owners. However, we’ve seen that when pushed, cowardly lions are fiercely loyal and will discover their bravery if they believe their owner is in danger. Suspicious and curious, once the cowardly lion has accepted you as a friend you’ll receive plenty of affection.

The Frank Spencer

There’s no denying that some pooches really are as daft as a brush, in a lovable way. Labradoodles seem to share this trait as we’ve seen them walk head first into closed patio doors (assuming the door is open), be outsmarted by a toddler and repeat actions such as sucking a lemon even though they know the outcome isn’t pleasant. These pooches do make us laugh and are always a joy to be around. Having said that, we also groom ‘Widget’, a Golden Doodle who is a assistance dog and therefore one of the dog worlds ‘Top Dogs’!

The Jessica Rabbit

The Jessica Rabbit is the pooch that knows she’s attractive and simply saunters allowing all that view her to appreciate her beauty in slow motion. Usually a trait associated with the smaller dogs such as a Chihuahua or Bichon frise, the Jessica Rabbit will expect attention as standard and lots of it! Roxy – This is YOU!

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk is usually a small to medium sized dog with a huge personality as they believe they’re as big as a house when protecting their family from newcomers. We see this in terriers that will easily take on the biggest breeds believing their bark more than makes up for their lack of size! Our most obvious candidate for this is Tom, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from Foxton, who rules the roost at home where he is the smallest out of the five dogs that live there.

The Zebedee

The Zebedee is the pooch who never stops, if he were a human he’d probably be labelled with ADHD. He’s forever energetic, quite bouncy, loves to greet people by jumping up and gets into a lot of mischief. The owners that embrace this spirited personality are rewarded with a dog that’s fiercely loyal. Ziggy – Take a bow!

The Laidback Luke

Some dogs really are too cool for school. They’ll take change in their stride and happily accommodate strangers as long as their nap in the sunlight isn’t interrupted. Aloof and laid back, these pooches don’t give out affection to just anyone, you have to show you’re worthy!

The Big Softy

The majority of the dogs we meet fall under this category, they’re simply big softies who love a good stroke and cuddle from the moment of introduction. Some simply can’t get enough petting and will happily let us tickle behind their ears for hours. Bodhi, Martins favourite Great Dane, is the classic big (they don’t come much bigger) softy!

Do you recognise your pet’s personality here or is yours a different breed altogether? Let us know.

New Home Boarding Service for dogs launches

Groomability Pet Services were pleased to be recently granted our South Cambridgeshire District Council ‘Animal Boarding Licence’.

 

Our Boarding Service is available for up to four dogs, from the same owner only, at any one time. It is already being well subscribed by customers from the Dog Grooming side of the business, who already know of our love for dogs. Our clients will be living in our home as part of the family, with all the ‘comings-and-goings’ that entails. With free range of our fully secured garden, as well as plenty of walks in the local countryside, it is well suited to care for your pets whilst you travel away for weekend breaks, or longer holidays.

 

We recently had a veterinary inspection of our boarding facilities, together with an inspection by the District Environmental Health Officer, who wrote later “Both the vet and I were very pleased with the high standards in evidence during our joint visit.”

 

The service was made possible by the sad death of ‘Gunner’, our retired German Shepherd Police Dog, at the age of 12 years. This service was not even considered whilst he still ruled the house, but now our clients are able to be new Kings (or Queens) of the house, with no other dogs to disturb them.

 

Early bookings are recommended as this service is already proving to be exceptionally popular.

Plan ahead for Fireworks Night

Remember how frightened or distressed your pets were last fireworks night? It’s almost that time again, so this year plan ahead and be prepared!

There are many approaches to try, and now is the ideal time to start preparing your pet for the noisiest time of the year.

Firstly have you checked with your vet that there isn’t a medical reason behind their behaviour? You could consider a pet behavioural expert. But here are a couple of DIY approaches you can try as long as you allow some weeks for them to be effective.

Desensitisation – There are many internet downloads or CD/DVDs for purchase which have recordings of fireworks or loud noises. Acclimatise your pet to the noise over as long a period as possible, starting at the lowest volume, increasing gradually. Ideally play the soundtrack every day, whist doing your normal routine, whilst your pet is eating, sleeping or just watching Tv with you.  Dogsandfireworks.com has a video you can try out on-line.

Calming smells – D.A.P. (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) is a synthetic substance, claimed to help keep pets calm by mimicking the pheromone given off by bitches for their puppies. A plug-in diffuser is used 24/7 for at least two weeks before and a week after the worst of the noise – start by mid-October at the latest. Herbal versions are also available using calming herbs, dispensed by a similar diffuser, or as tablet and liquid versions.

On the day, before the noise starts take your pet for a long walk to really tire them out. Then ensuring windows are closed and curtains drawn, create a safe, cosy area, and let them ‘crash out’. Don’t reinforce any fearful behaviour by giving your pet extra attention, thus rewarding it, carry on as normally as possible.

Pets are very astute; they recognise and feed off our feelings. So as much as possible maintain a calm and positive attitude. Don’t get frustrated or angry at the people setting off the fireworks, no matter how much you want to throttle them! Your pet will pick up on this, it will feed their anxiety, and potentially make matters worse.

Groomability at the Steeple Morden Harvest Fair

This Saturday, September 17th 2011, sees the Steeple Morden Harvest Fair take place.

Groomability will be there judging the ‘Scruffs Dog Show’, a ‘just-for-fun’ show for the local dogs and owners to show off at.

Classes include Waggiest Tail, Childs best friend (dogs with a child owner under 12), Golden Oldie (Dogs over 8 years of age), Smiliest Face, and The Dog with the Best Party Trick. Later there will be a Musical SIT contest, and finally The Rolo Cup, which will be awarded to ‘The Dog The Judge Would Most Like To Take Home!’ – but obviously we won’t!!

So, please come down and enter for some of the classes, cost is 20p per class, all entrants can then enter ‘The Rolo Cup’ free of charge.

There is lots of other attractions going on to ensure it will be a great fun event for all the family. We hope to see you there.

Thank you…

To our web wizard, not only for our new look site, but also for being able to train a complete techno-muppet like me to be able to post in the ‘Groomability Blog’.

So, a very big “Thank you” goes to Adam of Cambridge Web Solutions for his help and guidance. We highly recommend him should you be in the market for a website of your own.

Welcome

Hello, and welcome to the updated ‘Groomability’ website.

Since opening for business in April 2010 Groomability has gone from strength to strength. We currently undertake the number of grooming sessions that we expected at the ‘Year 3’ stage of the business!

Being so popular means that, despite our best efforts, we struggle to keep our booking times below 3-4 weeks. Also we are constrained by the fact that being mobile we can only do so many dogs (Usually 3) in a day! And even dog groomers deserve days off. Obviously Belinda’s arthritis restricts us further, but the wonders of modern medicine are playing their part also.

We do try to slot in the quicker ‘pamper’ sessions for those of our canine friends with short coats where-ever possible, but travelling time does impact on how-often we can do this. And we will NEVER compromise dog welfare, or our quality of work, just so we can fit more dogs in each day.

So if the waiting time for an appointment is too long, please accept our apologies, and we hope you understand. If you just have to have your dog groomed straight away, please do so elsewhere but consider us for your next grooming and maybe book that one now!

If you are new to Groomability we look forward to meeting you and your dog. If you have already experienced ‘The Groomability Effect’, then we hope to meet you again soon.

Martin – August 2011.

Lexi the very nervous German Shepherd

Lexi is a very nervous German Shepherd. She needed some severe matts removing from her rear end but just wouldn’t let her owner near them. Belinda managed to gain her trust and she was able to get Lexi much more comfortable without the matts. After a wash and dry she was looking, and feeling, very smart.