A Dog’s Purpose

A dogs purpose
Recently, I was at the grocery store and heard a young family in line behind me entertaining their children while waiting to check out.  The mom was talking to her two young children about the movie, A Dog’s Purpose.  Having recently seen the movie, I loved hearing the how the children expressed love for their furry friend.  It got me thinking about my own dog Cassy, and how much we value her as a member of the family.  While she can help clean the house and I have failed at training her to get the newspaper off the driveway in the morning, she has a never ending supply of unconditional love, which is certainly welcome in a home full of five teenagers.

Cassy requires a significant amount of care, since, much like an infant, she can do little for herself.  Since marrying Cassy’s human “dad” last year, I have learned that taking care of her not only creates a bond between us, it is not a chore, but rather a hobby, one that brings rewards far beyond guitar lessons or crossword puzzles.

Bathing

Cassy and I share a love of visiting our local county park, which includes a 10k path around a beautiful lake. Walking around the lake is one of our favorite things to do together.  She is trained to run right alongside my bike, and on hot days,  will take frequent stops to jump in the water, which means she comes home smelling like a lake.  I have found that using a high-quality shampoo not only will remove the lake water small, but leaves a beautiful fresh scent and shine to her coat, afterwards.  We play the entire time I am giving her a bath right, through towel drying her.

Brushing

As a rescue, we are not quite sure what breed of dog Cassy is, but the vet claims she is a Husky Retriever mix.  She has rather short hair but sheds constantly…all over the house.  A high-quality brush is critical to managing shedding, since she needs a good de-furring every other day.  The brush you use on your pet should be efficient, effective, and comfortable to hold.

Exercise

I easily make my Fitbit goal every day with Cassy, as she requires a significant amount of exercise.  We take morning and nightly walks around the block, and sometimes we even take long bike rides through the park or neighborhood.

Nothing is better than pulling into the driveway and seeing Cassy waiting at the window with a tennis ball or bone in her mouth, ready to share her treasure and love with me.  She brings an immediate smile to my face, helps release any stress from the day, and is always ready to do something fun during the evening after work.

For Dog Groomers: Running a Thriving Dog Grooming Business

Run a thriving dog grooming business
We here at Les Poochs understand that you are running a business, and in addition to caring for dogs, you are also providing for yourself or your family.  A cornerstone of every thriving dog grooming business is repeat clients, so it’s always a good practice to groom the dog the best you can to guarantee a return appointment will be booked before the client leaves with their dog.

For dog groomers:  Special Touches for repeat customers

The following tips will help you in providing a phenomenal grooming experience by adding a few important finishing touches, for a really thriving dog grooming business.

First impressions

Providing a clean, safe, and inviting space is important.  Your client’s experience starts the minute they call to book the appointment or walk into your grooming salon. Keep your floor swept, and your counters and windows sparkling clean.

Even with a tidy salon, it is the end result many clients care most about, and that begins with the first impression they get after their best friend visits with you.  The cut of the dog is going to be the biggest factor when they come to get their dog.  For higher-end clients, this can require artistic talent and precision based on each breed of dog.  The next step is to take care of issues that your client will notice when they arrive home and resume spending time with their pet.

It’s not just about the cut – details matter

A dog must be clean; both the skin and hair, and muzzle and paws, and your cleaning process must address each of these areas.  Developing standardized procedures for you and your staff will help to make sure each area is cleaned on every dog.  The right procedures will make sure that the dogs are shampooed and rinsed to avoid tangles and leave the coat as shiny as possible.  You don’t want clients to find residue on their dog once they return home, or notice that their dog is starting to itch because of dry skin.  Using a high-quality dog shampoo will help.

De-shed and de-mat

A big reason many clients enjoy having their pets groomed by professionals like you is to take care of shedding and matting issues.  They usually do not want to be the ones who have to thoroughly brush their dogs on a regular basis.  Deshedding a dog can be hard with certain breeds, since the bathing process often produces a significant amount of shedding. However, with a set of high-quality dog brushes designed specifically for addressing shedding and matting, your job will be made much easier.

Top-notch customer service

Good customer service is on ongoing process that can make or break your success with running a thriving dog grooming business. As mentioned above, good customer service starts when a client makes a first call, and then it continues through every interaction between them and you and/or your staff.

Go above and beyond

Exceeding your clients’ expectations at every turn will ensure repeat business and referrals.  Spend time getting to know your clients, and teach them techniques they can use at home to take care of their dogs between visits to your salon.  As you get to know your clientele, you will learn whether they need reminders for appointments, or would appreciate a rewards program.

Final words for running a thriving dog grooming business

Of course, you can offer all kinds of bells and whistles in your business, but if you don’t continually produce a high-quality grooming experience, your bottom line will suffer. Keep these tips in mind and repeat your new standardized process with each client. Your expertise in taking care of each dog and using high quality products and good procedures will ensure you high standards are maintained (even exceeded), and that you’ll soon be enjoying success.

How to Travel with Your Dog

How to travel with your dog

For long trips and short trips, taking your dog on the road requires preparation, much like with a baby.  No matter where you are going and how you are traveling, brushes (link to page) snacks, food and water bowls, and toys should be easily accessible in your bags.

Be careful when booking a hotel, B&B, or even staying at a friend’s house. Make sure it is ok that your pooch comes along with you for your stay.  Check to see if there is enough grass nearby, and safe places for you to take your dog on long walks.

If you are traveling a distance or for an extended stay, make sure to visit with your vet to take care of updating shots and inquire about recommended vaccines for your destination(s).  If your dog takes medication, make sure you have an adequate supply for your trip and a complete copy of any important medical records.  You can also ask your vet for a recommendation on a provider, should you need emergency assistance on the road.

Will you need a crate for any part of your trip?  While it can be hard to put your dog in a crate, it may be necessary on a plane, or even at the hotel where you are staying.  If you are staying with friends, they may not be comfortable leaving your pet alone in their home to roam.  A crate, while limiting, can also be the safest place to keep your pet in new surroundings so he/she does not get hurt as they explore unattended.

Travel with your dog by car

We all know the iconic stereotype of the dog hanging his head out the window, ears and tongue flapping in the breeze.  But from a safety perspective, this might not be the best plan for your dog when traveling down the highway.  Make sure you save plenty of space in the car for your dog to stretch out and spend time with you up front as you drive, as long as it is not distracting.  Plan your route to take plenty of breaks for walks.

Travel with your dog by plane

Before you book your ticket, call your airline to discuss pet accommodations on the particular flight you want to take and figure out any extra steps you need to follow based on your destination.  If you are interested in bringing your pet on the plane with you, make sure you have the right size carrier and your pet does not exceed the maximum weight (usually around 20 pounds).  If your pet is going into the cargo area, pay close attention to the fact that usually pets are first-come, first–on, and an airline can limit the number.  Your animal will need to go into a crate, so it is best to keep the crate in your home for a few weeks beforehand and use it, so your pet can become accustomed to it.

It is very common for pet owners to want to take their pet owner on vacation. These tips will help you be certain that your dog has the most fun of all.

How to Untangle Your Dog’s Hair

How to Untangle Your Dog’s Hair

Have you ever been petting your dog and felt a bump in the hair?  It is not coming from or involving their skin – it just feels like a big clump of hair.  In dogs, this type of tangle is called a mat and can be problematic if not taken care of. Following are some tips on how to keep your dog’s fur mat-free.

How do you remove tangled hair from your dog?

The bigger the mat, the harder they are to deal with, and can actually cause significant problems for your dog, especially pain.   With great care and a calm dog, you may be able to take care of a smaller mat yourself. However, be very careful with bigger mats—they are usually best handled by a groomer.  Large tangles in your dog’s fur can result in injuries due to harsh and repeated brushstrokes, and even abrasions to the skin.

Can Groomers Remove Mats?

If the mat is big enough to cause you any concern, it is best to immediately call your groomer.  Groomers are skilled at keeping dogs calm during washing, and know just how to deal with mats to untangle dogs’ hair with the least amount of irritation or discomfort to your dog.  If a mat does have to be removed, your groomer will be able to do this with the least amount of shaving and may even possibly be able to blend in a shaved area until the hair grows back.

How can you prevent tangles in your dog’s hair?

The best mat prevention is regular brushing with a high quality set of dog brushes (link to dog brushes).  Depending on the breed of your dog, you can use a brush for the top coat and also a brush that specializes caring for the undercoat.  You can even lift hair into sections to ensure you take care of hard-to-reach spots.  Also, we highly recommend regular visits to the groomer to deal with tangles and mats.  Good groomers are able to spot a mat even before it starts.

We know your pooch is your best friend and you place great importance on taking care of him or her.  Once you get into a regular brushing routine and find a groomer you trust, your dog will be free of tangles and mats, and ready to spend time providing unconditional love for you!

Keeping your dog’s coat shiny

Keeping your dog's coat shiny

All pet owners want a dog with a shiny coat.  Your dog’s coat condition and care will largely depend on the type of breed.  Different breeds call for different nutrition and grooming schedules.  Most dogs look their best with a nice shiny coat, and many owners struggle to get the healthiest look possible.   If your dog does not have a shiny coat, there are several steps you can take to ensure you are doing everything you can at home to bring out the best in your dog’s appearance.

Regular brushing and de-shedding

Regular brushing is a fantastic way to aid in keeping your dog’s coat shiny.  Brushing activates a dog skin to start producing oils which in turn make the dog’s coat shiny and healthy.  Some dogs’ coats need a daily brushing, while others’ can skip a day or two.

Appropriate bathing

Some dogs need a bath once a week others can go longer to keep them clean and their skin/coat healthy.  Again, the type of dog and condition of his/her skin can play a factor in determining how frequently to bathe your dog. A high-quality dog shampoo specially formulated for your dog will ensure gentle care.

Grooming for keeping your dog’s coat shiny

A good grooming session will leave your pet looking his/her absolute best.  Groomers spend extra time and often have special products and tools, just like a visit to the hair salon for you!  If you start to notice that you just cannot get your pet looking its best, then a trip to the groomers is probably needed.

What can dull your dog’s coat?

Inadequate nutrition, medical issues, stress, anxiety, and even a lack of exercise can all cause your dog’s coat to be dull.  If you’re still not happy with your dog’s coat after regular brushing, bathing, and grooming, then it might be time to visit the vet’s office for a check-up.  Sometimes a change in diet or medication is all it takes – and your pet will start to feel better as well!

If you think your dog’s coat could look shinier a good first step would be to check with your groomer and veterinarian.  

 

Your dog’s anxiety

Your dog's anxiety

Just like humans, dogs experience significant stress, which can lead to anxiety.  We have all heard of the stereotypical examples of dogs reacting to being in the car (for fear of the vet), fireworks, and entering new spaces.  Fear of leaving you, large crowds, other dogs, and moving can also cause emotional issues and increase your dog’s anxiety.

How do you know if your dog has anxiety?

Well, since they cannot speak, you have to watch for certain cues.  Dogs experiencing anxiety may bark aggressively, run around your home out of control, or withdraw trembling, hiding, or not leave your side.  Any behavior that is peculiar could be a cause for concern.

What can you do to ease your dog’s anxiety?

It is always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s anxiety. A qualified professional will be able to determine if your pet has a medical problem or if there are certain environmental changes that can be made

Spend time with your best friend

Having a close bond with you can help your pet through times of change and when they have to be alone.  When you spend time with your dog, they know you care and will be assured you will always be there for them.  However, be careful not to over-coddle your pet.  Sometimes when you try to snuggle or lay too close, they may think feel threatened and that they are being attacked.

Reducing noise to help ease your dog’s anxiety

A quieter environment can be helpful if your dog is stressed.  This is especially important if you live in a city, or during times of extreme noise, like fireworks.  Keep music and TV volumes low.

Let’s go outside!

Being outdoors can be one of the best things for your dog’s anxiety and help ease a stressed-out pooch.  Dogs love to interact with nature, and it can help them relax by enjoying the sunshine and finding places to explore and sniff. Just like it can be for humans, exercise is a fantastic mood-lifter for dogs.

Time to get social

Socialization is important for dogs who are stressed when around other pets.  Your best friend may have a hard time making other furry friends.  Take care when visiting a dog park. One bad experience could cause future problems and only increase your dog’s anxiety, so to ease into social situation, it’s a good idea to avoid aggressive animals.  Always ask other dog owners before approaching too closely, “Is your dog friendly?” and then carefully observe interaction once given the O.K.

Getting your dog through an anxious time can be a great bonding experience for you and your best friend.  Quiet baths, playtime outdoors, and appropriate snuggle time will give them the emotional assurance they need when navigating the world with and without you.

Home Safety For Dogs

Home safety for dogs

Just like babies and young children, new puppies and even older dogs can get into dangerous situations at home. We often think that our most important task when it comes to home safety for dogs is to stop them from chewing on furniture, but there are other significant safety hazards that should be avoided at all costs. While dogs do have an innate sense that keeps them away from danger, there are a few problems that owners can take measures to guard against.

Following are some tips on home safety for dogs

During bath time

Bathing your dog should be a time of bonding and fun for you and your best furry friend. Make sure to keep the water at the right temperature to avoid burns, and never leave your dog alone in the water.

Chemicals and other dangerous substances

There are many items in our homes that are safe for humans to use but not ingest — cleaners, medications, and lawn chemicals, are good examples. However, dogs explore the world by closely sniffing and tasting what they find, and they do not know what is harmful. Even sugar-free gum is a hazard if it contains xylitol, which, taken in small amounts, can be fatal to dogs.

Be sure to keep these and other substances out of reach of your dog, in high cupboards or locked closets. Secure their packaging by tightly screwing lids on bottles and jars, pack any items that come in bags (which dogs can chew threw if they are interested) into tough plastic totes or pails — better yet, the kind that have locking lids.

Chewing:

Dogs, especially young puppies, like to chew on everything. This can include electric cords, sharp objects, your mouth guard left on your bedside table, and even small game pieces. All of these items can be dangerous for your pet. Secure these items from reach while keeping a variety of safe chew toys easily accessible around your home. Additionally, spend time working with your pet to ensure they know what is safe.

Outside:

Most dogs love to spend time outside exploring in your yard. However, danger can lurk at every turn. Carefully lock down your grill, tools, lawn chemicals, and fire pit, as these are all could be dangerous to your pet. Also take note of any lattice around your deck and fencing in your hard, which could be hazardous. While some dogs like to swim, be careful that they only have supervised access if they are allowed in the water.

A final tip on home safety for dogs

Dogs can get into every nook and cranny of your house. It is often hard to know what new interesting smell they will go after, and how they will try to maneuver around your home in dangerous areas. Your garage is another area to look over and ensure everything in it is no danger to pets. A few cabinet locks and some other basic precautions will do the trick. When it comes to home safety for dogs, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Selecting a dog brush: what you need to know

Selecting a dog brush

What should I look for when selecting a dog brush?

Whether you are a dog groomer or a dog owner, you share a common goal: you want to be sure you’re selecting a dog brush that makes a dog look spectacular and takes the absolute best care of their coat and fur. Following is information that we hope can guide you when selecting a dog brush.

For dog owners:

To keep your best friend looking their best, daily brushing is recommended. You want to ensure that the hair remains tangle free, shiny and as healthy as possible. If you have a breed of dog that sheds often, daily brushing will help keep the hair outside and off your carpet and floors. Make sure when selecting a dog brush, you choose one that is good for de-matting to have on hand in case you need to take care of an emergency mat situation, but also one that can handle the coat on a regular basis for maintenance brushing, to prevent as many problems as possible.

For dog groomers:

When you take care of a client’s dog, we know you want the owner to be completely satisfied with the outcome. We know your goal each time is returning a dog to its owner with a nice shiny coat that is well-brushed and completely tangle free. A good dog brush can help you do that.

For dog owners and groomers alike, brushing is a big part of pet care

Since it’s done frequently and can be hard work if not done right, it’s good to have a brush that has an ergonomic quality to make the work of brushing easier on you (and on the dog’s coat!). With this in mind, it’s good to go about selecting a dog brush that fits nicely in your hands. The curve of the brush is particularly important, as it should fit your hand and feel comfortable while you are using it.

Here at Les Poochs, we have designed our dog brushes to handle all of your needs. We use tested designs, and offer a variety of options, to ensure they provide exemplary service for you, your pet, or in the case of groomers—your business. Regardless of breed of dog and the particular coat they have, you can be sure when selecting a dog brush, that our brushes do the trick to keeping dogs’ coats as healthy as possible.

Caring for Long Haired Dogs

Caring for long haired dogs

Caring for long haired dogs can be easy as long as you do simple regular maintenance so their coat can always be easily and beautifully maintained.

If your best friend is a long-haired dog, you know that they require a bit of extra care. You want to ensure that they look their best at all times and that their hair remains tangle and mat-free. If you have a Lhasa Apso, Maltese, Shih Tzu, or Terrier (just to name a few), you may struggle with keeping your dog’s long hair looking fabulous all of the time. Following are some tips for caring for long haired dogs so their coat can always be easily and beautifully maintained.

Regular Grooming

A regular visit to the groomers is the best way to ensure your dog’s coat remains as clean and tangle free as possible. This is especially important for long haired dogs. A good groomer has special techniques to clean the fur and work out every possible issue with long hair.

Bathing

In between trips to the groomer, regular bathing is important. Dirt and debris can weigh down your dog’s coat and create tangles. A high-quality dog shampoo free of soap will leave your dog’s coat clean every single time. Follow this up with a good dog conditioner or creme rinse to ensure a silky smooth coat that is free of tangles. When you are going through the process of bathing your dog, make sure to work the shampoo, conditioner, and water in well with your fingers, so the entire coat is cleaned.

Brushing

Caring for long haired dogs can be easy as long as you do simple regular maintenance. Long haired dogs need to be brushed every single day with a high-quality brush that works well with their particular hair and coat. Taking just a few minutes daily to brush will keep fur mat-free and looking fantastic. If you do find a mat, you can immediately use our emergency mat brush (link), which has been specifically designed to get out even tough mats of hair from your dog’s coat.

We have dedicated the work of our company to ensuring you have the best products to have what you need to maintain your dog’s long hair. Should you need anything or have a question, please let us know.

For groomers: Selecting Dog Shampoo

Selecting dog shampoo

For groomers – What to know

Selecting dog shampoo for your pet grooming salon is a balance of fitting your budget while finding the best product available. When clients entrust their dogs to you, it is very important to deliver a high quality experience and return their best friend perfectly coiffed. We understand that you are running a business and therefore want the very best quality for the price. Our shampoos are safe, effective, and allow you to deliver a beautiful-looking pet each and every time.

For any dog groomer, one of the cornerstones of the grooming experience is the bath. The shampoo you use needs to outperform and satisfy your expectations as well as those of your most discerning clients. We know you have many choices when it comes to selecting dog shampoo for your salon: fragrance or fragrance-free, tearless, de-matting, de-shedding, deodorizing . . . how do you choose?

Avoid cheap dog shampoos

You may already know that buying the cheapest shampoo available can sometimes cost you a client’s business. Additionally, buying a lower quality shampoo risks adverse reactions in pets, which will not make for happy clients. They want for their pet to have the cleanest fur and skin, the best smell, and for them to be as safe as possible.

Here at Les Poochs, we know groomers. We know that you work hard for your money, and that your money should work hard for you. We also know you can be overwhelmed with many options when selecting dog shampoo to use in your business, and want to educate yourself on the important differences.

Avoid selecting dog shampoo containing soap

It is critical that you read labels and understand each and every ingredient. When selecting dog shampoo for your salon, make sure any shampoos you choose have safe ingredients for dogs, that they do not contain soap, and that they leave a dog’s coat looking and feeling luxurious.

Les Poochs shampoos are of the highest quality. We do not use any soap in them, since we know that soap can be drying to a dog’s coat and skin, and leave an unpleasant residue. Instead, our shampoos contain surfactant.

What is surfactant, and why is it important in a dog shampoo?

Surfactant-based shampoos promote lather and do not produce any suds at all. This is advantageous because suds and bubbles from soap are what causes residue and dandruff (dry, flaky skin) on a dog coat.

Our shampoos will give your clients’ pets the shiniest coat possible. You will also find that our shampoos are luxuriously fragrant, but not overbearing, with a pleasant and fresh scent.

We want your clients’ dogs to have “The best care” for THEIR “best friend.”