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.

 

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 anxietyNearly a fifth (18 per cent) worry that their dog won’t fit their lifestyle once they return to workOver a quarter (27 per cent) are concerned about getting their dog used to ‘normal life’ once lockdown endsMore 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 www.countrydoggrooming.co.uk

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!

Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer – Episode Three

Starring South Coast Dog Grooming Academy My training and trying to get my dog grooming business off the ground has had more stop and starts than an old Morris Minor thanks to Covid-19…. Currently writing this post with the threat of a third lockdown, this has thrown the spanner in the works of any normality for us all. Trying to complete a course has been really hard to deal with especially keeping momentum and my ageing brain suffers without continuity! Since episode two, I’ve had six more training days which have been action packed! From Shih Tzu’s to Spaniels, Collies to Frugs (Google it), mats and tangles, first aid training and dealing with some very spirited (that’s code for challenging and unruly) dogs, it has been an assault on the senses in what you can expect being a dog groomer…. The main realisation for me is that I feel strongly to niche my business. I made the decision a few weeks ago that I am going to concentrate on grooming working dogs, terriers and their crossbreeds. Some may think this is a risky decision to take especially through these difficult times in business but I believe there are enough dogs to go around. These breeds cover a large area of dogs to groom especially the “oodle” crossbreeds which are so popular these days. I also feel to specialise in an area will make you adept in working with certain breeds. Working dogs for example, are not a breed you see in their droves entering the grooming salon and I want to work on the reputation that keeping a country dog trimmed and clipped will help them immensely when working the field. I just have to win them over with no bows and frills… With my business having a very masculine and countryside feel, I hope owners with farming and rural pursuits deep rooted in them would feel comfortable visiting Country Barn Dog Grooming. With enforced viral incarceration during November and training placed on pause, this gave me some time in concentrating on getting my grooming room ready for business. With gentle persuasion (ok nagging), Mr H worked evenings and weekends in getting the room together. Thank the lord for eBay and Facebook marketplace, as I found some absolute bargains to kit the room out. As they say someones trash is someone elses treasure. I collected some dog bowls and treat tins from a lady who had recently lost her dog. With tears in her eyes as I picked them up from her socially distanced doorstep, she was genuinely thrilled that they were being used in a dog groomers as her Yorkie had been groomed all her life. So instead of funding Amazon, it was rewarding to source what I needed second hand. With walls painted, electrics sockets and lights now live and a bath plumbed in, Mr H said those words that came as bit of a reality check… “there is nothing stopping you now, you can get on grooming at home.” This coincided with restrictions being eased and I headed back to Worthing together with some appointments booked in at home to actually groom some dogs! It was brilliant to be back at the Academy and I really felt for Sarah and her team in trying to accommodate her students with Boris changing the Covid goalposts. I needed to get back as the longer I was away from grooming dogs, it seemed to affect my confidence. Dog grooming is practise, practise and more practise. One training session was watching how to speed up the groom. I need to reduce the timings down completely needing almost an F1 stopwatch to reduce my faffing about. As you know from previous episodes – I am an excellent faffer! To watch a Cockapoo groom from start to finish in just under an hour and half, I need to increase my pace. Time is actually money and to have some timed order to a groom is something I am working to improve. In the run up to Christmas, I had appointments every day which was a huge learning but very enjoyable curve! Thinking on your feet in what the dog needs and what the client wants was valuable experience. Having a few puppies through the door too was chaotic but huge fun. I felt a real sense of satisfaction when they left all tidied up but dealt with the grooming experience in their stride just through patience, time and obviously a few treats! As the year came to a close, restrictions were put in place again with Covid infections rapidly rising. This New Year has started with training again on pause. Personally, my family has had a very close call with Covid with Mr H in isolation with trips to the Covid test centre. Thankfully we remain negative but I have made the decision to delay non-urgent dog grooming appointments here at home. My utmost priority is to ensure clients safety and having been exposed to the virus it just feels the right course of action. I also want to qualify before I formally launch Country Barn Dog Grooming and ideally without strict restrictions. So I am going to delay this until it is safe to do so and with my OCN London certificate firmly in my hand! As I write, it seems that training will be on hold for a while yet as we wait another announcement from Boris…. But I feel another harsh lockdown in sadly inevitable so patience is going to be needed I think. I have to say that this is honestly driving me all slightly nuts! I have perspective though as it’s not really a hardship being at home. I have my marketing work to keep me going but the fridge, crisp cupboard and the gin bottle keep calling… This is why I need to get back to the grooming table as soon as possible to make sure I can fit in my fitted polyester grooming top! Or it will be another Amazon or eBay purchase…. by Samantha Hobden Follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram and on Facebook CATCH UP with Episode One and Episode Two Please visit for training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy

Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer – Episode Two

Starring South Coast Grooming Academy In the last few weeks, I have spent many a hour looking at all the kit you need for this dog grooming game. And believe me, it’s a booming market. My first purchase which led to actually three sales and two returns was buying myself a lovely polyester tunic. Having washed a polo shirt three times with half a Cockapoo attached to it, I knew it was time to buy some polyester. Now discussing my size is not something I relish to write about so openly but according to statistics, I am the “average” UK female size. So when my size sixteen tunic arrived, I knew immediately as I opened the bag that it was more suited to fit Kate Moss… I couldn’t even bring myself to try it on with the hope that it would fit and it went straight back to the Post Office. Two purchases later and a size I cannot even bring myself to type, I am finally modelling a comfortable tunic to work in. Thankfully I have plenty of pairs of scissors now to cut the size label out! Training at South Coast Grooming Academy has been varied over the last few weeks and I am definitely adapting to the physical aspects of the job. Harley came with me on week five and he was so excited to spend the day with me. Little did he know he was going to have his teeth cleaned, a shampoo and dry and then a small trim up. Harley is a dog that shows his emotions clearly and as you can tell, his face said it all. Teeth cleaning is a growing service within the dog grooming industry. We were trained with the Emmi-Pet system which was very easy to use. Forget the see-sawing action of teeth being brushed, this system is ultrasound. There is no obvious vibration or noise, so it is not at all scary for dogs. With toothpaste designed especially to clean and kill bacteria, you just hold the toothbrush to the dog’s teeth and the ultrasound system does it work. Harley probably behaved like all dogs who were not used to having their pearly whites (well more yellowy-brown teeth) being cleaned and showed his distaste for it. With lots of assurance and gentle persuasion, he settled into the teeth cleaning and we were all pleased with the results. It is something that I am going to consider for the future, as I feel it will need some thought in how to introduce it to customers and them committing to the canine teeth cleaning service. We had an afternoon of marketing with Tim from Abstract Creative. This topic (showing no bias whatsoever) is paramount in learning how to get your name, face and brand out there. It was good to discuss with Tim and within the group what the advantages and pitfalls are when doing the hard job in promoting yourself! This part I am sure will be a busman’s holiday for me but I do worry that my grooming skills won’t match up to the marketing pitch of my “brand”! Over the next few weeks, I was able to bring in my own models to work on. I had the lovely Tilly who is a Miniature Schnauzer x Jack Russell who was so easy to work with. I was mindful in keeping her character and that is something I am really working on at the moment. Every dog has its own characteristics and to take that way with some heavy-handed clipping (when matting is not present) is not going to endear you to the owner! I had my toughest challenge grooming the gorgeous Luna, a Wheaten Terrier. She was incredibly patient but not a lover of the driers which I am actually finding not many dogs enjoy a “blow dry”. Characteristic of the Wheaten coat, there were some mats and tangles to deal with. Thankfully I had help with fellow trainee Shaz, where we both teased and cut out the offending twisted hair. Clipping was problematic as it felt like you were clipping carpet! But this was partly my fault. You think a coat is dry but actually sinking your fingers through the coat you can then feel dampness underneath. Luna has a very different coat with almost a second layer but Wheatens are not double coated dogs? And I am quickly learning that the clippers will not accept any short cuts other than a fully tangle-free and a bone dry coat. We were all pleased with Luna’s end result and so was she. She even shook my hand in relief at the end… Luna showing her appreciation!  Another week and another breed to groom. Sid the Sprocker is a dog that makes my heart sing! I absolutely love working dogs. It was a real treat to learn to groom a silky coat and partnered again with the fab Hannah, I think we both did a great job! (does that sound like Donald Trump…?) A really interesting part of the course was to learn all about how to ensure your equipment is looked after. Having clipped my horse over the years, the only thing I did in a way of looking after them was a quick brush off and a squirt of oil and threw them back in the tack room until next year. I would get the blades sharpened but I have to slovenly admit this was only every few years… We had clipper and scissor expert Andy from Ultimate Edge Salon Services (who travels many a county ensuring that hairdressers and dog groomers equipment are in tip top condition), give us an afternoon tutorial. The first shocker for me and I have to admit is that I have been doing the cardinal sin and putting on the blade on my clippers… with them turned off!! I know! They need to be ON and then push the blade in position. We learnt in detail in what to look out for when they need servicing and this led on to the care of our scissors. So the key advice was to keep them oiled, clean, check the tension and don’t lob them on the floor! The next shocker was how clogged up the blaster dryers get. Andy opened one up to show how the filters look after a few uses in a salon and it looked like crows nest inside it! Joking aside, if the filters are not regularly cleared you’ve potentially got a fire hazard on your hands… and I don’t fancy explaining to Mr H the grooming room has gone up in flames because I couldn’t be bothered to de-fluff the dryers. So all very valuable advice. The weeks are quickly going by and we are nearly halfway through our training. So far there have been many triumphs and challenges learning this trade. Wouldn’t it be boring though if you didn’t have a challenge or two in your life? I just hope Covid stays away, as I would be gutted to stop training… So fingers crossed that I can write episode three very soon! by Samantha Hobden Follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram and on Facebook CATCH UP with Episode One Please visit for training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy

Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer – Episode One

Starring South Coast Dog Grooming Academy Welcome to the first episode from “Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer”! And in the words of Roald Dahl, “if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed”. And that is what I am doing, delving into the world of dog grooming. Writing about my experience I hope will encourage anyone thinking of changing their career, especially in dog grooming to go for it! This is a real challenge for me and I am going to be honest with the many ups and downs learning this new skill will bring. Which I am now finding out and going to document for you… If you have read my previous post, you will know that I have in the last month started training with the wonderful team at the South Coast Grooming Academy. Myself and five other trainees started with Sarah giving us an introductory insight into the life of the dog groomer. She brought in her lovely Cockapoo Buddy for all of us to give him the hairdressers version of a wash and blow-dry finish with a little manicure in between. Now, this sounds very straight forward as no clipping was involved… but believe me my first shock on day one was how long it takes to dry a dog – irrelevant of coat type! It’s not a quick blast of the hairdryer for five minutes and then they are dry. Oh no, it takes ages…and ages. To ensure a Cockapoo is bone dry will take anything from twenty minutes to half an hour. I’m honestly thinking of putting a TV in my grooming room and trying to decide what box sets I can watch to entertain myself during the drying marathon! I also found it strange handling someone else’s dog and being responsible for them. This probably sounds strange but they are leaving almost their child in your hands and your job is to make them smell and look beautiful. Not hand them back looking like they have been chewed by a rat… And then comes the equipment you have to use. There is a tool for every coat and the dilemma a dogs coats brings you. We have dematting and deshedding tools, rakes, slickers and files that we have to be armed with to ensure the dog’s coats are smooth and knot free! Clippers and the blades together with the guards is another tool of the trade which you have to learn to use for the job in hand. This is something a month later I am still not quite happy what number blade I need to tackle all the hundreds of different coats dogs have and how they are cut. But I know that will fall into place as I continue with the training. The second week, we were asked to bring our own dog in to do the full works. So I looked at my three terriers and picked the easiest job, and that was Moley. He loved being at the Academy bonding with the other models. This was probably out of sympathy that they were having to endure us novices in giving them a “professional” groom. Sarah is incredibly patient and great in guiding us in how to make the process smooth and efficient ensuring the dog’s end result is a good one. We are also mindful too that the dogs are on the table longer as we are training, so plenty of breaks are given to them. And us…. With expert tuition we were shown to cut downwards, to clip in straight lines sweeping in line to the body and thinning scissors which as far as I’m concerned are the best grooming tool ever! I was really pleased with Moley’s end result as I gave him a very short cut, which sometimes can be not very forgiving close up. This is something that I am slowly learning to stand away from the dog and stop having a very critical close up eye. When you are grooming the dog on the table and feeling despondent as the line is not measuring up on your imaginary spirit level, placing the dog on the floor makes you see actually your dog looks great! We had a Cockapoo day with a family of these poodle crosses coming in for the full works. These are now a breed very commonplace in the grooming salon and you really need full training dealing with these intelligent dogs and their curly coats. My face probably said it all when I was given the gorgeous Cookie, a six month old pup to wash and sort her fluffy coat. She actually was really great in accepting all that was thrown at her and I was very mindful in introducing water, the blaster and hairdryer, noisy clippers and scissors to her with gentleness. She took it all in her stride but her puppiness was still evident in trying to chew me or the scissors. With her not being a fan of having her neck and head being cut, Sarah helped me do as much as we could and then stopped, ending on a good note. I would have liked her head and eyes to look more defined but I know it was asking too much of a puppy. Because of lockdown, she had missed her grooming introductions, so she was given an awful lot to deal with… and me too! Another week and another Cockapoo. This time my friends lovely family dog Poppi who in her two years was very used to the grooming table. What a delight she was and so patient in my faffing… This is what I have been struggling with – my faffing. I always thought I was a methodical person but this training has shown me that actually, I’m probably not. I’m a great one at starting one job, then go to the next part of the dog as I see hair sticking out, then stop there and go to another area. Grooming a dog does need to have an organised method to it and Sarah stopped me in my muddle telling me to concentrate and finish an area at a time. Which when I did, the whole process speeded up. Which is what it needs to do. The rate I am completing a groom currently, I am thinking of offering clients dogs an overnight stay to finish them… I know it is early days and I am discovering that patience is definitely a virtue in this game. I am absolutely loving it and really enjoying being in a training environment again and as a team. The trainees on my course are a great bunch with all good senses of humour. The South Coast Dog Grooming Team (as Sarah has many assistants that come in and help) are brilliant too. I did find the first few weeks physically demanding as I have been sitting on my backside in front of a computer for the last decade. This is getting easier and I am getting used to it. Am I getting used to dog hair stuck in my bra and pretty much everywhere else? Well, I seem to be looking more like a Cockapoo these days… Polyester tunics and trousers are the way forward in grooming dogs, although the Indian summer heat has something to answer for in its non-breathable sweaty way. But this is all part of the job. So what to look forward to in the next instalment of Tails of the Unexpected Dog Groomer? Teeth cleaning, more full grooms and how to market yourself. And that is something I am very much looking forward to. by Samantha Hobden Follow Country Barn Dog Grooming on Instagram CATCH UP with Episode Two Please visit for training information: South Coast Dog Grooming Academy