By Brittney Valle
We’ve all been there—it’s the week before Christmas, you’ve been booked solid for months and the phone is ringing off the hook. You’re already overworked, but some of your best clients are calling in, desperate to get their dog cleaned up because Aunt Mildred is due in tomorrow. How do you accommodate more clients and continue building your business without breaking your back?
We all have clients that get baths between their haircuts. These “mini grooms” are known by many names—bath; tidy groom; face, feet and fanny; mini groom; deluxe bath. These vary shop to shop but usually include a bath, nails, ears, anal glands, brush out, and trimming the face, feet and sanitary areas. How can this help you survive the holidays you ask? Book ONLY these the week of the holidays.
I know, it sounds scary, and you may think many clients will be angry. But give them advance notice for next year and give yourself the best Christmas present you can—not working yourself into the ground!
I market these mini grooms to clients throughout the year, but I especially push my doodle clients to get on a maintenance schedule that includes a deluxe bath. This helps ensure the coats are properly cared for (by me!), and sustains the integrity of their coats.
It is always my greatest goal to get a doodle owner to not brush their dog. Sounds crazy, right? But if they don’t touch it at home, I am seeing it more often and it is being properly line brushed and combed out—no ripping of hairs or mats is happening. Win–win!
I thought this would be a great opportunity to demonstrate my bathing and drying procedure from start to finish.
Fig 1) Tucker is in the bathtub ready for his holiday clean–up bath.
Fig 2) Wet the dog thoroughly. I know many shops have recirculating or bathing systems that combine some of these steps for you. We prefer to do things a little more old fashioned and simply use a shampoo application system.
Fig 3 & 4) Apply a tearless face wash and scrub into the face, making sure you get down the skin.
Fig 5) I like to use a small flea comb to help get those pesky eye boogies out of the corners of the eye. If they are stuck, you can also shave them out.
Fig 6) Apply shampoo to the dog. On doodle bath day, I like to use a clarifying shampoo to really get the skin and coat clean.
Fig 7) Scrub–a–dub–dub, doodle in the tub!
Fig 8) Rinsing a coat like this can be extremely difficult because of how thick it is. It is really important that the coat is completely rinsed out from top to bottom. I start at the head, rinsing the head, face and ears, and then continue down the neck and top line of the dog.
Note: I will typically use a conditioner on most dogs with long coats in the bathing process. On haircut days, I will use a lighter conditioner but I utilize bath days to use a heavier conditioner on the coat and help repair any damage the coat might have. I also use a heavier conditioner on bath days because it isn’t as imperative that every hair be able to stand up for scissoring since we will only be touching up the face and feet.
Fig 9) I clean ears out after I have finished rinsing the dog because I don’t want to risk getting water in the canal after I clean the ears out. I use an alcohol–based ear cleaner so it helps dry up any residual water in the ear.
Fig 10) Towel drying is a dying art. In the day of high velocity force drying, it can be easy to overlook this step. I think it is important to squeeze the water into the towel and help soak up as much excess as possible. Sixty seconds of towel drying can save five minutes of force drying.
Fig 11) After towel drying, I force dry in the tub until the dog is not dripping—I usually aim for about 70% dry coming out of the tub.
Fig 12) When finishing force drying, I think it is important to be mindful of where you are blowing the water. I like to force dry legs with a towel behind it—the dry towel soaks up excess water that is blown off the leg instead of blowing it back onto the dog in another area that you might have already dried.
Following force drying, it is important to fluff dry the dog. Not only does this allow you to make sure the dog is thoroughly brushed, it will also allow your final product to look better and will allow the coat to be able to last a little longer between baths.
The concept of booking baths only for holiday weeks can be intimidating, but with prior planning it really can be a lifesaver. It will allow you to be able to accommodate more clients during the busiest week of the year while maintaining your sanity. An added bonus? All of those clients will have to visit in January for a haircut visit so it helps boost your schedule for the new year. Give yourself the gift of being able to enjoy the holidays with your family—and not sleeping them off!
Happy Holidays! ✂️