I’ve never taken Sherman or Leroy to a groomer. I was lucky enough to have mentors early on who took the time to teach me how to groom the boys. It took several years for me to learn the basics and while I’m not an expert groomer, I do believe I can maintain their skin and coat on my own.
Not everyone is like me though. Not everyone has the time, mentors or the ability to groom their Newfoundland on their own and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, I have heard quite a few horror stories about owners picking their Newfoundland up from a grooming appointment looking nothing like a Newfoundland. In many of these cases, I’m sure it was because the owner felt that they were leaving their dog in the hands of a trusted person who knows how to groom any type of dog including a Newfie. Unfortunately, while there are many wonderful dog groomers out there, dog grooming is different from being a hair stylist and working in a salon. A dog groomer does not need a license to cut and some groomers just don’t know that a Newfie’s coat should be trimmed a certain way.
I’m not talking a show groom, I’m talking a normal Newfie groom with hair that remains on the legs. You’re dropping off a Newfie and you should expect to pick up your Newfie looking like a Newfie not like a Lab. (Unless of course, you ask for that)
So before you drop your Newfie off for their first spa day, here’s a few questions you can ask the groomer first.
Have you ever groomed a Newfoundland before? Newfoundlands aren’t a super common breed so there’s some groomers out there that don’t know the proper technique of grooming a Newfoundland. Ask if they know what the breed standard looks like. If they say yes, ask if you can see pictures of Newfoundlands that they’ve groomed. Believe me, a proud groomer will have pictures. Who doesn’t take pictures of a freshly groomed Newfie?
What type of grooming tools they you use? A Newfie needs more than a brush so do they have the adequate tools needed to groom a Newfoundland? Ask to see them. Are they clean?
Ask how long they have been grooming and what type of breeds that they groom? Experience matters especially when it comes to someone handling your dog for several hours.
Ask if the groomer is certified. If they are not, ask where they learned how to groom. Did they go school for it? Were they mentored? Self taught? While not having a certification doesn’t mean that a groomer is bad, it does mean that they have gone through written and skills testing by a recognized grooming organization such as the National Groomers Association of America or the International School of Canine Cosmetology.
Do they offer a tour of their facilities? If so walk around and take a sneak peek. Check to see where the dogs are kept when they are not being groomed. Check to see if there are fans and if they are turned on. Is there good ventilation? Is it too hot to keep a dog there for hours? Ask to see the grooming area, if you can’t this might be a red flag.
What other services do they offer? Do they do nail trims? Ear cleaning? Anal gland expression? What do they do with hot spots? If they offer these services ask how they have been taught. I personally would only want someone who knows the anatomy of an ear canal cleaning my dog’s ear-but that’s just me. I also don’t want my dog’s anal glands expressed if they don’t need to be.
How do they handle mats? Do they shave the area? Cut the mat with scissors? Use a mat splitter? Work the mat out with a comb? Any of the ways would work but it would be nice to know what to expect. Are you going to see areas that were shaved when you pick your dog up?
What type of dog dryer do they use? A Newfie should only be dried using high velocity dog dryer, no heat. They should not be kept in a cage with a hot cage dryer on them. If you see that cage dryer is the only dryer being used, turn around and walk out.
Ask how long they anticipate your dog being up on the grooming table? The groomer should have a rough idea of how long it might take by looking at the dog and going over their coat with their hands. Ask if the dog will be given breaks during the session if they determine that it’ll be a few hours. If your dog is older and/or has joint issues make sure to let the groomer know that at this time.
Do they have an outdoor potty area? If the dog will be let outside to potty, ask to see that area too. Is it fairly clean or is there poop everywhere? Also ask who will be responsible for looking after your dog when they are not being groomed.
What’s their injury protocol? No one wants to think about this when they are taking their dog for a spa day but accidents happen. Do they have a first aid kit? What would happen if your dog was accidentally nicked by the scissors, do they have a veterinarian that they use? Would they contact you immediately and let you know? Would that injury be covered by them? Do they know CPR?
How much is this going to cost? I have no idea what a groomer charges and how they determine a rate but I would guess it’s based on size, time and coat type. I’ve heard ballpark estimates for grooming a Newfie can be anywhere from $100-$300 but I’m sure that is based on where you live and what is included in the service. Regardless, ask ahead of time so you don’t get sticker shock.
You should never be afraid to ask these questions. You are leaving your dog in the care of someone else for several hours. You should ask them questions just like you would ask your veterinarian. Ask, ask and keep asking and always make sure to let the groomer know about any special needs that your dog requires. If you get a bad vibe, just leave. There’s plenty of other groomers around.