The gap between dog groomers and labradoodle owners

09-11-2021

I've said it before: we live in a new world, where new rules apply.

At least as far as the grooming profession is concerned.

I often get criticized by fellow groomers who don't understand why I don't shave Doodles, but I have strong arguments for that, which I have mentioned regularly and which are also mentioned in my E-Book. I do not believe that Doodles benefit from shaving. Not any dog, but especially not the Doodles who are used to wearing a nice, thick, protective coat over their vulnerable skin. If you take that coat away, you literally expose the skin to all kinds of outside dangers.
No other breed is as sensitive as a Doodle, so no other skin is as susceptible to irritations, allergies and external influences.

With that, I end my argument against shaving.

Labradoodle owners and a new market

With the arrival of the Labradoodle, the market has changed. Many dog groomers don't want to do that, but target groups determine the market, so it's either stick to your principles (and lose customers) OR jump on that fast moving train and get carried away into the unknown.

There is a huge gap between Doodle owners and many regular dog groomers. These people don't seem to understand each other and communicate completely at cross purposes. And there is something to be said for each person's opinion.

The dog grooming world used to be very predictable: it was common knowledge that each breed needed coat care and how many times a year the obligatory visit to the groomer was needed to keep the coat healthy, free of tangles and at a practical, beautiful length. You had plucking dogs that came 2 or 3 times a year, effilating dogs that came every 2 or 3 months, the outwooling dogs that came 1 or 2 times a year and the cutting dogs that were trimmed every 2 months.

But suddenly there was the Doodle, with the most sensitive coat that groomers had ever seen and IF these dogs came to the groomer, it was often much too late and the coat was mostly or totally moulted, which required the utmost skill and energy from the dog groomers.

Most practicing groomers do several dogs in one day to make a living so when a matted Doodle comes into the groomer's, there is no time or inclination to make the coat completely tangle free. A dog like that upsets the whole agenda. And some groomers find it genuinely sad to leave such a Doodle on the table for hours (besides the fact that they often have no desire, time or energy to spend more than 2/3 hours caring for the coat). Shaving is then the popular course of action, because it's quick and easy and the hair grows back on its own. Right??? A bit of a shock for the owner, but he or she will get over it and the dog will feel much better.

Many groomers thought and still think like that. They see no harm in shaving under tangles and do not realize that in this way they damage the immune system of the skin on a micro level, with all its consequences. They also don't understand that Doodles are very sensitive and therefore may react differently to shaving than other dogs. Some Doodles actually suffer a trauma (or the owner, or both) and this is something that most regular groomers don't realize, simply because they don't know the Doodle through and through.

Not enough time

Lack of time is often the issue in these situations, but what also plays a role is that many certified dog groomers have no or too little grooming experience with Doodles. In fact, before Doodles appeared on the scene, there were only a few cutting breeds and the most well-known were the poodles. During the trimming exam, a trainee trimmer must show that he has mastered all three trimming techniques: effilating on a effilating dog, plucking on a plucking dog and clipping on a clipping dog.

The clipping technique is the most difficult of the three, and a groomer who has not been able to do clipping dogs at her internship address (because few of those kinds of dogs come in) will fail on that part. Consequently, the demand for poodles used to be enormous, because if you learned how to cut a poodle (which is an art not every (aspiring) groomer masters), then you passed the exam and could call yourself a full-fledged dog groomer. Other cutting dogs were simply not enough to go around.

From Doodle to poodle

This is why many Doodles are still cut as poodles: the trimmer's cutting goes on autopilot and before he knows it there is a poodle on the table.

Doodles are completely new to most groomers and of a totally different order. Some recognize this and train themselves in the "Doodle look" before they get a Doodle on the table with a beautiful result as a result. Others try their hand at the Doodle in question, which results in a mix of styles: a sort of Doodle experiment. After all, they have to practice at something, right????

The gap

The groomers don't understand why the Doodle owners don't bring their dogs earlier, brush them so badly that they become matted or have them acclimatized through a puppy trim. The Doodle owners do not understand why the groomers don’t listen to them when they indicate that their Doodle may be trimmed "especially not too short".... and a gap is born.

Now you can keep kicking at anything and anyone who you think is doing it "wrong", you can also listen to what the other person has to say and learn from it. I started giving my Doodle trimming workshops 10 years ago out of frustration, because I realized that the Doodle owners I had as customers probably didn't know any better and because I wanted to do everything I could to help them give their Doodle the best.

Once I made the change from complaining, whining and blaming to offering constructive solutions and thinking from the solution instead of the problem, suddenly a market arose and I had a business. It was as simple as that, I just had to step out of my pride and hurt ego and the (Doodle) world was open to me. And the enthusiastic reactions I received gave me so much positive energy and strength that I felt I could take on the whole world.

I wish this for all dog groomers in the Netherlands.

DoodleVital groomers

But in order to bridge the gap that existed 10 years ago, which has diminished somewhat due to the popularity of the Doodle and the development of groomers, but which unfortunately is still too large to provide every owner with the right Doodle groomer for THEIR dog, I am going to train my own Doodle groomers.

Doodle owners who have attended a workshop with me and were so enthusiastic about it that they also wanted to learn the trade. Who, like me, have a passion for the dogs and my business and who have the same level of perfectionism, skill, insight and ability and radiate love for the craft.

And not just any Doodle groomers who know how to turn every Doodle, Waterdog or Poodle cross into a fluffy puppy again, but special DoodleVital groomers. Who, in addition to optimal coat care, can take a holistic view of your entire Doodle. They know that Doodles are sensitive, so they can adjust their working methods and approach to what your Doodle says he needs. Who understands that a grooming session can be exciting not only for the Doodle in question, but also for the owners. They are open about what they do and together with the owners determine the perfect look, but they also teach the owners how they can easily keep their dog tangle-free. AND healthy, because DoodleVital groomers also know that Doodles are susceptible to disease. They will give your Doodle a DoodleVital check-up once a year, guide you through vaccinations and operations (so that your dog suffers less from the chemical drugs, anaesthetics and other substances he gets), give you advice on natural antibiotics, fleas and ticks, recognize certain symptoms and help you prevent worse, help your wounds and other ailments to heal naturally, advise the right food and refer you to the right person if necessary.

How nice it is to always have someone around who you can leave your Doodle with peace of mind, because you know you will get him back in his best condition AND with whom you can work together to give your Doodle a healthy, happy, tangle-free and LONG life.

Doodle owners who are DoodleVitaal groomers

This creates a new market, a market of Doodle owners who are Doodle groomers themselves and therefore know exactly what their customers feel and fear. Who know from experience how to treat a Doodle and how to reassure an owner and make him coat trained (new word, made up on the spot