Sunday, 13 November 2011

An incredible opportunity

Today Rodders and I were lucky enough to attend a Schnauzer Grooming Workshop run by Linda. Dannie and the Team at Mister Groom in Harlow, organised especially for the Schnauzer Forum members.

Rodders and I set off at 8.45 and got there just after 9.30, for once I managed to follow the directions I had!

We could see Linda unloading her van but I wanted to try and get Rodders to have a piddle before we went in. I failed dismally as there were so many distractions as other Schnauzers turned up, we ended up with 2 standard schnauzers and 5 Mini's to groom plus Linda brought 1 demo mini and two others and Dannie brought 2 mini's and a American Cocker Spaniel Puppy. It was a bit chaotic getting everyone in and settled and Rodders was most unimpressed to be placed in a crate (as were all dogs) for most of the first hour while Linda demonstrated how to prepare your dog for a bath, bathing and drying on her demo dog. Rodders wouldn't settle, even with two of the team fussing him so Dannie put Finlay, her American Cocker Spaniel, in with him. Finlay wanted to play, Rodders shut up and went and sat in the corner. He eventually settled.

We were then let loose on our own dogs under close supervision. It was much easier to brush Rodders on a proper grooming table where he has to stay still and is tied up so he has to stand and cannot move far. - but you need to know how to do this so that he can wriggle as much as he likes but can't get loose but, if you need to release him quickly (if he fell off the table and you needed to stop him being strangled for example - eeeek). We had to make sure that he didn't have any tangles using his slicker and a wide toothed metal comb. Linda came over and helped as Rodders would not stand and he got a telling off but lots of fuss when he did as he was told, he did get a smack when he tried to bite though.

Next came bath time and I washed and conditioned him  myself with minimal help and was shown how to make sure I had rinsed him properly. Just so I don't forget, we used a scrunchy to put the shampoo on and you leave their head until last. You know when the soap or conditioner is out if the water runs clear when you squeeze their coat. I then rubbed him down with something very similar to a chamois which soaked up a lot of the water before wrapping him up in a towel to try and get some more off and to make sure he wasn't getting cold while we queued for the first dryer. When drying you need to make sure the back is smoothed down so the way of the hair growth but the legs are fluffed up against the hair growth.

Once the worst of it was off him it was back to the grooming table  for a different dryer to use with a brush to make sure that Rodders was completely dry. Here he is before any trimming started.

Linda then got her demo dog out again to show us how to do their feet and ears.  It was then back on the grooming table for Rodders as I was let loose to cut the hair from between his pads. This was much easier once I was shown how to hold his leg properly and easier still when someone held him while I did it. The scary bit was cutting his nails, luckily I didn't go too far and there wasn't any blood.

Linda and Dannie took over to do his ears as little puppies really don't like it the first time, they put powder in his ears first which help to make it easier and Linda hugged him to her while Dannie used special Tweezers to get the hair out. Rodders made some awful noises, even when they were not doing anything to him. They both assured me that he was fine and a lot of this was tantrum - he threw a few of these over the morning but was much better behaved as the day wore on.

We stopped for lunch and the dogs went back in the crates, Rodders cried for a while and then fell asleep with his nose poked through the bars.

After lunch Linda and her demo dog showed us how to use clippers and where to start and then how to finish off with scissors. We used a 7FC Head on the clippers for the head and back and 10 for the face.

With Rodders being a puppy it was important to make sure he was used to the clippers and how they felt before actually using them on him. So with Linda beside me we switched them on and just rand the body up and down him. Once he seemed OK it was time to actually remove some hair. I was so frightened of him ending up with bald patches or cutting in to his skirt or going too far that I was over cautious and had to go back over him a few times and then Linda came over to make sure that I was OK and to help tidy him up a bit.

And then it was time to do his head and face. Change of clipper head and we were off. I can't tell you how scary this is. I was dreading removing his eyebrows & beard by accident or getting too close and catching his ear, luckily I didn't do either. I am so glad that I could stop and ask if I was doing this right and to double check if I had gone far enough (I usually hadn't). It was also quite difficult to make sure I took the same off each side to keep him symmetrical, poor Rodders was going dizzy with me turning him around to check.

By the time I had done this I could see such a huge difference in Rodders and I was quite emotional already, but we hadn't finished yet. It was now time to take the scissors to him. Linda did the legs on his left side to give me a pattern to work to as I did his right. Linda also cut his face and put in his eyebrows for me and she tidied up his chest and the right legs (don't think I did too well really!).

Anyway, the finished result:


  1. Lovely to read the whole a/c in detail and he looks so fab at the end!

  2. Thank you! He was so good that day for such a baby. I understand Santa is bringing me a grooming table so I just need my clippers and scissors and we will be off!