The Kennels

If you love dogs, then you will love this page!  Samantha from Haynet not only works in social media marketing but is also training to be a qualified dog groomer. This page is dedicated to the love of all things canine, especially from the dog grooming world.


Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer – Episode Five

Well as I sit here after eating my own body weight in Terry’s Chocolate Oranges washed down with various flavoured gins, it is the sudden realisation that I have only had time to write until now. Yes, it’s Christmas and the end of the year is looming… The last six months have been incredibly busy which I am very thankful for. Having opened the salon in April, the support from clients has been nothing but amazing. There are definitely plenty of dogs out there but I am stunned how many paws have come through my door in the last nine months. So as I sit here with ten days off ahead of me, writing this post has made me realise what a year it has been. It’s not been easy and there have been many challenges. But the positives and triumphs have outweighed any of them during my first nine months in the dog grooming business, despite Covid not leaving like an unwelcome guest. Training in a new career as I have mentioned in previous episodes has been a welcome change in my life. My fifty year old brain needed a test and training to be a dog groomer certainly put it through its paces! Speed also was something I struggled with. Faffing about I excelled at but having customers through the door paying for a service and wanting their dogs back before the sun went down was something I had to work on… Thankfully I had the fantastic team at the South Coast Dog Grooming Academy for full support who were on hand with advice and positivity that actually “I can do this”! With their professional advice and virtual hand on my shoulder, I cracked on grooming dogs and slowly upping my pace. So with timings improving, I really enjoyed meeting new dogs and their owners. With many now coming back every month, six to eight weeks or every few months, I have become very fond of the dogs and chatting with the owners. I have learnt so much running my own business in every way. A huge part of the business is the relationship between you, the dog and their owners. I feel to be transparent and honest about the grooming process and how the dogs take to it as a good thing. If a dog is finding being dried for example so stressful, then I talk with the owner and we work out a solution and perhaps they will go home a little damp. I have learnt that a groom has to be adapted to the dog, their behaviour or anxiousness and the condition of the coat with a job that needs to be done in order to keep them healthy. Every dog that comes through the salon door is different so that makes every day different. And that is what I love about being a dog groomer! The challenge has been trying to find a harmonious balance with this work. I am only doing this part time as I also work as a social media marketer. Trying to run these two businesses together has been hard. As for running a house, cooking dinner and having a social life is something that’s thrown in for last measure. By niching the dog grooming business to just working dogs, terriers and their crossbreeds has given me lever to keep numbers within my part time hours. However, I have found that some of these niched dogs are not easy. Spaniels all have an exit strategy the minute they enter the groomers, terriers will tell you what THEY want to do and grooming is not often in the equation. Working dogs are too busy to be groomed but most can be persuaded with some peanut butter on a licky mat or some biscuits hidden to hunt them out giving them something to do. The crossbreeds tend to be the easier of my customers but all these dogs sometimes just do not feel the grooming vibe on some days. And this is where I have learnt so much in knowing their behaviour and how to make the groom for them as easy I can. Another challenge is what to wear without feeling like I’m wearing the latest teddy coat look for real! With the colder months too I have resorted back to jeans and a hoody but finding mounds of Cockapoo hair that are stuck in the hood or on my bedroom floor is all part of the job it seems. Keeping equipment in working order is another test. Don’t even start me on scissors that I’ve dropped on the floor (or the dog has kicked off the table in revenge for being groomed) or broken teeth in a clipper blade. I think this is the part that owners do not realise are the rising costs that us groomers face. Electric and water costs have rocketed and I’m washing towels on a par with a Chinese Laundry! So my next task before I reopen in January will see me armed with a Domestos bottle in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. The salon has taken a bashing in the last few months and it is starting to show. I want it to look sharp again when I reopen in January and I’m very excited about the year ahead and I will not let Covid dampen my spirits. With an introduction of teeth cleaning too, I am hoping it will be a busy year. I am also working at the Academy helping new dog groomers with their business in the form of branding and how to market themselves through social media. I absolutely love helping them and I think it’s brilliant that the course is so detailed arming them with all they will need to make a successful dog grooming business. Before I sign off this episode, I would like to give a shout out to some of the help I have received this year by helping me in the salon. Susan, Claire and Mia have really been supportive when I have needed it with dogs due to size or temperament and they have made the job so much easier this year. So a big THANK YOU to them. I wish you all a very Happy New Year and let’s look positively at 2022 that it will be a year that we can live life with a hint of normality. And a year for me that I continue to put scruffy terriers, dishevelled working dogs and curly wild doodles all back into shape…. hopefully within a decent time! Sam xx Follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram CATCH UP with previous episodes Please visit for training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy

Why Use Instagram Stories For Your Dog Grooming Business?

Instagram Stories are not to be ignored should you be a small business and are looking to increase sales or a client base. Whereas your Instagram profile showcases your work and highlights what you have to offer, stories are more fleeting and fun. Instagram Stories are only 15 seconds long and disappear 24 hours after they are posted. However, you can save your best stories in the highlights which show on your profile page for followers to see. So why should you use stories particularly if you are a dog groomer and just setting out? Sam Hobden discusses why stories are beneficial to your small business and gives a step by step guide in how to post your first story in this latest episode of the Haynet Podcast. So grab yourself a cuppa and plug yourself in: For more podcasts on all topics relating to rural business, then please visit the Haynet Podcast Library

Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer – Episode Four

Starring South Coast Dog Grooming Academy It seems SO long since I have last put a virtual pen to paper about my time training to be a dog groomer. Thanks to Covid-19 and its insistence in rampaging through Christmas, training stopped again in January as the UK entered the third lockdown… Like the rest of the nation, I was generally peeved about being at home in isolation again not being able to see my friends and family. However, I had to consider myself lucky that my family were not directly affected and totally understood that this lockdown was needed when you saw how bad the hospitals were having to deal with the rising cases. So my little gripes were swiftly put into perspective. I decided with this winter lockdown to actually get things done particularly with my dog grooming business. On the list was sort a website, decide where to advertise, design artwork, finish the dog grooming room and generally get prepared for opening fully in April. This took many enjoyable hours as I love the buzz of setting up a business and lockdown gave me the luxury of time to sink my teeth into this list of jobs. The Academy were brilliant in supporting us also through this enforced downtime and I know they were worried about our particular group who have done nothing but stop and start our training since last summer. We were given homework each week and this was great in keeping our dog grooming brains ticking over. I had forgotten what it was like to physically study and so had my little brain… However, there were small signs of intelligent life in my grey matter and it was good to keep it tested! With the Covid figures gradually getting better each week and Boris giving us his freedom forecast, thankfully we had a date to look forward to in restarting training. So in mid March tooled up, I headed down with joy and glee to the Academy to start the end of my training. I had so many mixed feelings about going back. My inner critic was in overdrive as I hadn’t practised on hardly any dogs through lockdown and also sad that my training now was coming to an end. But I was also really excited about being a qualified dog groomer and starting my own business! It was fantastic to see my fab fellow trainees and the South Coast Dog Grooming Academy team. I had missed them. We just got straight back to it with a variety of dogs sorting out their wild lockdown locks. (I was just envious that they had the luxury of being pampered… my hair was starting to resemble the tortoiseshell cat look…) Being hands on with the dogs was brilliant and a confidence booster for us all. We actually can groom dogs! The next few weeks were a mix of different breeds and temperaments as the SCDGA team prepared us to qualify and let us fly away from the Academy with all the skills to run our dog grooming business. I had a days hand stripping tuition with the lovely Nellie, a gorgeous wired haired Vizsla. I was prepared to find hand stripping physically tiresome but was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this type of groom. It is a much longer process and hard on your hands but I think for me it was the slower control in how you can make the dog look – if that makes sense? A wrong blade on a clipper can be disastrous but a few stray hairs in the wrong place hand stripping is not noticeable. It also gives a very natural but clean finish and I love that look particularly on working dogs. So this is something I am very happy to offer at Country Barn Dog Grooming. My dog grooming salon was finally finished at the end of March after lots of gentle persuasion (ok nagging) in getting Mr H to sort the final touches. Wallpapering with my bargain tartan paper was a challenge as I was told on several occasions from Mr H that it was like wallpapering toilet roll… Thankfully I am pretty good at turning my hand to dealing with ripped lines in wallpaper but the decorating profession is one that I will give a miss. With the salon good to go, this meant it was time to open. My last day was looming at the Academy and to say this was all feeling pretty daunting was an understatement. We had been taught and tested on everything we needed to groom dogs and start our businesses. With our end assessment, it was good to hear from Sarah about our positives, how we dealt with the challenges and the weaker aspects that I need to work on. But to hear at the end that I had qualified was a proud moment which I have no qualms about saying. I haven’t challenged myself in many many years and this has been such a brilliant experience. I can honestly say that if I can retrain at the grand old age of fifty, anybody can. So if you are reading this and thinking of making some changes in your life especially through your work, then just make that call or send the email and do it. Life is short and if you are having thoughts about you need to be doing something different, then your inner feeling is telling you something. So harness those thoughts and go for it! I cannot thank the South Coast Dog Grooming Academy enough and I will miss my fellow trainees. We are planning a reunion and in further news, I am actually heading back to the Academy…. but to find out why you will have to wait until the next episode of Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer and to see how the weeks have been since opening my dog grooming salon too. Until then – happy dog grooming! by Samantha Hobden Follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram and on Facebook CATCH UP with Episode One , Two and Three Please visit for training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy

Who will let the dogs out? One in ten pandemic puppy owners worry about being able to care for their dog after lockdown

One in ten (10 per cent) owners who bought a dog during the ‘pandemic puppy boom’ are now worried about whether they can care for them when restrictions end and life returns to normal, according to new data released by The Kennel Club. More than a fifth (22 per cent) said that they are particularly worried about behavioural problems resulting from lack of training and socialisation, and almost one in three (31 per cent) admitted they hadn’t made a plan for their pet for when they return to normal life and work. While almost two thirds (63 per cent) of new dog owners said that they believe lockdown is the perfect time to get a dog, both new and seasoned dog owners continue to face various challenges as Covid-19 restrictions remain stringent. The statistics, collected by the UK’s biggest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare show: A quarter (25 per cent) of new owners are worried about the range of problematic behaviours their dog might have adopted during lockdown, such as shyness, aggression and separation anxiety Nearly a fifth (18 per cent) worry that their dog won’t fit their lifestyle once they return to work Over a quarter (27 per cent) are concerned about getting their dog used to ‘normal life’ once lockdown ends More than one in three (37 per cent) admit they didn’t research any puppy classes or training schools in their area beforebuying their dog, and are now worried how their dog will cope with the outside world and meeting other dogs and humans Worryingly, it also seems some new owners may have made short-sighted decisions and didn’t realise the commitment that comes with getting a puppy, which could exacerbate behavioural issues and have a further negative impact for these dogs in the future. Over a third (38 per cent) of pandemic puppy buyers said their main motivation for getting their dog was because they were spending more time at home and one in five (20 per cent) admit they hadn’t fully considered the long-term commitment or responsibility that comes with having a dog. Following this troubling research, and to help guide new dog owners through the development stages of their puppy’s life and address these concerns, The Kennel Club has developed a range of online resources offering training, health and behavioural advice as part of its Be Puppywise campaign. The campaign also provides tips on responsible puppy buying and advice on how to care for your puppy in its first few weeks at home to help owners to provide the best foundation for their puppy to become a happy, healthy, well-socialised dog. Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club said: “Training and socialisation are an essential part of a dog’s life from their puppyhood all the way through to their older years. Training doesn’t only ensure that a dog, owner as well as other dogs and humans are safe, it also strengthens the bond between dog and owner significantly. “We would urge any owners who are worried about their dog’s behaviour, health or socialisation to make use of all of our Be Puppywise resources, including contacting a dog trainer or behaviourist if you’re struggling, to ensure you and your four-legged friend are ready to return to normal life together once restrictions are lifted. Dog ownership is a lifelong commitment and it’s your responsibility to give them the best foundation for a happy, healthy and confident life. “Training and socialisation might be more difficult at the moment – we’re certainly concerned about issues like separation anxiety and shyness and aggression with other dogs or people – but it’s crucial you take the time and effort to overcome these challenges and Be Puppywise, for the sake of the nation’s dogs, for your new best friend and to help reap the benefits of having a four-legged companion.” The Kennel Club is concerned about the impact of the lockdown restrictions not only on dog behaviour, but also on their physical health, with the significantly changed daily routines of both humans and dogs. The data showed that almost one in five (17 per cent) dog owners are worried about their dog’s weight due to overfeeding them during lockdown, and the combination of more frequent treats and limited exercise may leave thousands of dogs around the UK at risk of obesity this year, adding to the list of problems dogs and owners are facing. As part of The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme and to help new owners, expert trainers are running virtual puppy foundation classes during lockdown, and worried owners can find weight management advice, further training resources and educational videos via The Kennel Club’s Be Puppywise campaign page. Article via The Kennel Club Image credit: Pixabay

5 Ways To Promote Your Dog Grooming Business Through Social Media

Many use social media every day to promote their dog grooming business but some perhaps shy away from shouting out about what they do… If you are looking to increase your customer base, social media is a vital tool in raising your profile and promoting your brand and services to potential new clients. Don’t fall into the trap by sharing daily just every single groom you do through your social media profile. People will start to scroll on by. Mixing your social media posts with a variety of content will give a reason for your audience to stop and engage. Here are five tips to help you utilise social media more effectively with your business: WHO ARE YOU? Use social media to introduce yourself and show your face to your customers. Your relationship with your clients is a big part of your business. If they like what they see and hear and your social media posts have been of value to them, they are more likely to pick up the phone to book their dog in with you. Tell your story about how you started dog grooming and why. Be honest and transparent about your business showing the good times and sometimes the challenges in a diplomatic way. Customers warm to openness and will buy into the service you are providing. Showing your face and personality through social media is key in the promotion of your dog grooming brand. WHERE ARE YOU? Chat about where you are based and why you are there? Is it your home town or do you live in a county that you love? Introduce your salon (perhaps with a video tour) but also talk about what you love about the area. Show where you take your dogs for a walk or what you do in your spare time. If you have dogs, why not make them the stars of your business! DOCUMENT Show behind the scenes in running your dog grooming business. Most owners really do not have a clue how much it takes to keep your business running effectively. Why not film yourself opening the salon in a time-lapse video washing and drying towels, disinfecting your tools, cleaning your clippers, dealing with all the hair. If you have a new piece of equipment show your customers, if you have a new dog in the salon – introduce them and talk about their breed. Show them the dog hair in your tea when you are trying desperately to eat and drink during the working day. It again just shows the other side of your business which many owners do not see. Definitely post your work but mix it in with other content. Show the best of your grooms and ones that have given you a challenge too. Why not once a week have a star dog and explain why you have chosen them. If there are dogs that have a special story to them, tell it through your social media if your customer is happy for you to share. SHARE TIPS With many of us closed or working fewer hours during this latest lockdown, share some grooming tips with your customers. This not only keeps your business on their News Feed but helps them keep hopefully their dogs in good order. Share tips through a blog or a video and make sure you tell them you are there for them to help and offer advice during this very strange and challenging time. INVOLVE YOUR CUSTOMERS This is a great way to make your customers feel involved and valued by sharing their news through social media. If they post something funny about one of their dogs – share it! If they are going through a tough time with their dog for example perhaps it is poorly – then share and show your concern wishing them a speedy recovery. Reposting customer’s content that is linked to your business will make them feel special and valued. Engaging with your social media audience will increase loyalty to you. With social media algorithms, the more your customers stop and engage with your posts – the more your business will appear on the News Feed. So mix it up and shout out what you do! I hope these few little tips have helped and again any questions at all, please post in the comments where I will always be happy to answer them for you. Sam Country Barn Dog Grooming

Brush, Brush and Brush

Are you a new owner of a curly coated puppy? Then this post is for you! With the excitement of a new puppy, there is a lot to keep you busy with toilet and behaviour training in the weeks ahead. Your puppy will also need to be seen regularly by a dog groomer. Having a grooming regime in place will make sure your dog is kept comfortable with its lovely curly coat. Being a poodle cross, your puppy has a coat that appears to shed very little. However, the combination of an undercoat and a curly coat can produce matting, should the dog not be brushed on a regular basis. It is also a coat that grows very quickly and needs to be kept trimmed and tidy for the welfare of your dog. By starting early in introducing your puppy to brushing, washing, drying and clipping will make a happy dog on the grooming table. We suggest that you make your first visit after their final vaccination and before 16 weeks old. Before their first visit, here are some things that you can help make your puppy feel at ease on the grooming table: Brush, Brush and Brush Brushing a puppy can be a challenge as they will see this as a game and the brush as a toy to chew. This however is vital “training” as they are a dog that needs to be brushed regularly throughout their life. Buy a soft bristle brush to begin with and use this every day in the first few weeks. Make sure you gently brush them so that they get used to this. By doing this regularly will make a massive difference in them accepting being brushed and will make sure your dog’s coat keep tangle and mat free. As they get older and accepting of being brushed, move on to a pin brush which will help with any tangles and knots. Gently Handle Their Feet And Ears As soon as you bring your puppy home, start to gently handle their ears and feet. These are areas that dogs are notoriously sensitive too, especially when it comes to trimming nails to clipping ears.  Every day handle your dog’s paws, touch their nails and smooth around their eyes. Gently stroke their ears and touch their coat. The more they get used to this, the easier it will be for your dog groomer to tidy these areas up. Use A Hairdryer Around Them By turning on a hair dryer around them will make them used to the noise. We don’t suggest blasting hot air over them as little puppies but just for them to hear the noise on a regular basis will help immensely when it comes to drying your dog when it has a full groom. Towel Dry Them No doubt they will get wet out on their first walks, particularly through the muddy months so make sure they are used to being dried with a towel. Again the more they are used to be handled in this way, the less they will react in the dog grooming room. These simple steps will help your dog immensely in accepting being groomed. So when should you bring your dog to a grooming salon? Arrange A First Visit To Your Dog Groomer As mentioned you need to think about bringing your puppy to a dog groomers after its last vaccination and ideally before 16 weeks. Your first visit will be a very relaxed affair just to introduce your puppy to the surroundings and the groomer will play, treat and make it an enjoyable time for them. The groomer will decide if any grooming is to be done whilst your pup is there and if you have done your “grooming training”, then they will do as much as they think the puppy can deal with without causing any stress or anxiety for them. Your groomer will then arrange a second visit for your puppy to be washed, blow dried and a nail clip. Clipping your dog’s coat is normally introduced to them around six months old but this can be flexible pending condition and circumstances with the puppy. How Often Should You Visit The Dog Groomer? A dog groomer priority is to ensure your dog’s coat is in top condition by regular professional maintenance. Being a curly coated breed, we recommend six to eight weekly appointments with regular home brushing in between visits. Some coats are more difficult than others to keep tangle free but if regular brushing is not done, the coat will become “pelted” which is when matting becomes very tight to the skin. This is not only very uncomfortable for your dog but can cause irritation to the skin together with being a lovely warm home to ticks and fleas. If the mats are not removed, they become thicker as the coat grows and sometimes this is not obvious to the eye. When brushing it may feel that there are no mats and this is mistaken for skin. This is known as “surface brushing”. By putting your fingers into the coat and deeply feeling all over, you will feel clumps that are matted fur. So make sure when you are brushing your dog, you are gently brushing them thoroughly and always check for mats. What Happens If A Matted Coat Cannot Be Brushed Out? There is no other option but for the coat to be clipped short if there are thick felted mats in the coat. Your groomer will give you their professional advice and a course of action to make sure your dog is comfortable. There are areas of the coat which are difficult to keep tangle free, for example under the armpits from friction and feet where they tend to get wet. But if your curly coated dog is not regularly brushed out, to clip or shave your dog short is the only solution to remove matted fur.  Many owners do not like seeing their dogs clipped short and a dog groomer really does not enjoy clipping a coat off completely. But it is the kindest solution and it gives the owner a chance to get on top of brushing and combing the dog as its new coat starts to grow keeping it well maintained. What Tools Do I Need To Keep My Dog’s Coat In Good Condition? There are a few tools and products that you will need to keep your dog’s coat in good condition. We recommend the following: Soft Brush Start gently with this brush when your puppy is in their early weeks using it every day. Pin Brush Once your puppy is used to being brushed and as it coats grow, gently introduce a pin brush to keep them tangle free. Slicker Brush These are excellent in removing excess hair, dirt and knots from your dog’s coat. They have slightly sharp fine toothed bristles allowing it to penetrate deep into the coat. The slicker brush needs to be used with care, so ask your dog groomer who can show you how to brush your dog gently but effectively. Detangler A bottle of detangler really helps keep a coat tangle free. Ancol Coconut Luxury Detangler and Wahl Detangler are ones we recommend. Remember to always follow the instructions on the bottle. We know life is busy and brushing your dog is something that may be forgotten. By simply having a routine where your dog is brushed out for five minutes every few days will make a very happy dog! Most dogs will love having this time with you brushing them and actually most enjoy it. Just by having some grooming together, will keep your curly coated dog in tip top condition. Any questions you have, Samantha from Country Barn Dog Grooming is always happy to help or speak with your local dog groomer.  Most of all, enjoy your puppy!