Equipment needed:  A good sturdy surface to groom on with a way to restrain your dog while you work.  A good brush, slickers are good, a comb, toe nail clippers, ear powder, a pair of hemostats (for pulling ear hair), a good set of electric clippers with a #10 blade and a #7 blade.

You also need a freshly bathed and dried dog and a lot of patience.  It can take a couple of hours to do a fairly good job and you should plan for this with limited distractions.

Learn to groom the dog yourself.  It is not hard and everyone of us had to start somewhere. It will take some time and practice, but you can do it. The questions you are asking about giving any kind of tranquilizers or medications, that is a vets department.  If tranquilizers are needed, the vet will issue them along with permission to give them and in what amount.  We have found that the occasional dog that needs them should only have to use them once or twice, and then they come to trust their groomer and have no further problem, provided the groomer is worthy of that trust.  The most effective tranquilizer, by far, is a soothing and assuring voice and hands.  Not babying, mind you, just giving the dog some confidence.

You are right – dogs should NEVER be left alone on the table.  Be sure your groomer’s phone is at hand.  A dog should be secured on the table with a noose that is comfortable, but not slack.  No noose can mean a dog jumping off the table and breaking its legs or worse.  A loose noose can mean breaking its neck.  If a dog is restless on the table, we show it where the edges are by putting one foot off the table on each side.

Dryers can be a danger if incorrectly used.  But know that if they are not used, some dogs will never get dry, and a busy groomer realistically doesn’t have time to stand and blow/brush every dog.  Instead, ask your potential groomer what their policy is about using dryers (either cage dryers or hand dryers, or solar dryers – the sun when its out). 

Leaving the dog with the groomer isn’t bad.  Letting the client stay to observe can be a big problem.  A groomer needs the undivided attention of the dog if they are to do a good, quick, and efficient job. “Mommies” always feel they need to talk to the dog, and to reprimand it while the groomer is working, which puts the dog out of control.  Try to imagine doing fine scissor work with “Baby” trying to get to Mommie.  This is why some shops have one-way glass – so you can’t be seen or heard or smelled.  Clients also have an annoying habit of checking their watches and forcing you to hurry. I work by myself, and to have to stop and check dogs in and out (which always means a long conversation with tons of questions) means I can’t get the next dogs done.  So our way to handle this is to have all dogs in by 10, and all out between 3 – 5, with exceptions for special problems.  Dog #1 is clippered and bathed and put in the solar dryer (a mesh bottomed  x-pen with a water bucket) so they can shake off, partly dry, get a drink, and potty) while I clip and bathe dog#2.  Then Dog #1 is put into a cage dryer on medium heat while Dog#2 is in solar dryer, while I am doing dog #3.  Then dog #1 is brushed out and ready to trim.  And so forth all day.  It is very difficult to do this while having a conversation and question period with the client, getting them coffee, showing them into my house so they can use the “room”, and generally acting as a full time hostess.  So please understand, not every groomer has, or chooses to have a staff to take care of all these things and needs solitude to get the job done for you and for the other nice people who want their dogs done too.  Imagine the kindergarten teacher who has parents in the classroom which can cause all sorts of showing off and other behaviors.  This system has worked for me for years and I am not a bad, cruel, dog beating, medicating person.

Just a few things to think about.  Hope these explanations help.
Peggie Blakley
B-Majer Miniature Schnauzers

Anal Glands
Some dogs have sluggish anal glands, and some dogs don’t. We always check to see if the glands are full. If they are, they are properly emptied. If they appear to be empty, they are left alone. To check: Stand the dog in the tub or on a table. Lift its tail up straight, making the anus present itself. The glands are located just to each side of the anus, and the opening is just inside. You will see and/or feel full glands. They feel like a super-huge hickey, and are properly emptied just the way you would if it were a pimple – Hold tail UP, cover area with paper towel, get your fingers “under” the lumps, and squeeze with a gentle outward motion. The idea is to express them out, not cause rupture by pressing and squeezing recklessly. Have your vet show you how to do it, because it is important that it be done correctly, if at all.
Peggie Blakley

Need help to groom undocked tail. Eunie, my daughter has a mini with an undocked tail. The groomer does clip on top of the tail, but leaves fringe on the bottom. Joann I’ve only groomed one natural tail. I did it the same as Eunie, but used an attachment on the underside and scissor the underside just a bit at the tip. A judgment call on my part. The tail was set very low and stuck straight out. If I’d clippered it, I thought it might look like a rat (VBG). Take a look at how the dog’s tail is set and how it is carried. If a squirrel tail you may get by with clippering. If a saber a little more fringe. If straight out and set low, shorten the fringe. I tried to balance the whole dog a bit and also used the *thinners* to reduce the bulk of the beard, which I never do ordinarily. Leg furnishing were shortened more than I usually do also. I’d look at the dog move around on the floor a few minutes to see how the tail is carried. Then make a judgment call how to balance the overall dog and *still* please the Owner (G) Ben  [email protected]

There are two ways that you can groom those wonderful natural ears of
your schnauzer (take a deep breathe and be brave):
You will need:
an electric clipper (Oster, Wahl, doesn’t matter)
No.10 blade
No.40 blade
small round nose scissors

If those ears have been hand stripped: 
Routine Number One: 
a) shave the inside of the leathers with a No. 40 blade
b) pinch the ear at the edge of the leathers (skin under the hair – it is thick enough that you should be able to distinguish where the ear leathers end and where the stray hairs are)  with your thumb and
forefinger and trim across the hairs in front of your thumb parallel to the edge of the leathers, being careful not to slip and either cut perpendicular into the skin or parallel into the edge of the skin…only
cut the hair in front of your thumb so as not to accidentally cut into the leathers….
c) once you have finished trimming the 3/8″ of stray hairs in front of your thumb, slide  your thumb and forefinger to the side immediately adjacent to the 3/8″ edge that you just trimmed and repeat the trim over the next 3/8″ immediately in front of your thumb
d) continue along the perimeter of each leather….and voila, neat and tidy ears.  The more you practice, the more comfortable both you and the dog will be, but NEVER lose your concentration. That great Canadian breeder and groomer Lynda Berar taught me this technique at my first show!

If you have shaved the outside of those wonderful ears with a No. 10
blade, you can either follow Routine Number One or you can follow Routine Number Two:

a) shave the inside of the leathers with a No. 40 blade
b) pinch the ear at about 1/32″ in front of the edge of the leathers (skin under the hair – it is thick enough that you should be able to distinguish where the ear leathers end and where the stray hairs are) with your thumb and forefinger  and then with the No.40 blade, carefully and gently trim the leathers outward in front of your thumb and out into space beyond the last 1/32″ of the leathers…only trim in front of your thumb and carry the blade out and not down into the leathers so as not to accidentally cut into the leathers, you will have to repeat this on the underside of the ear leathers as well
c) once you have finished trimming the 3/8″ of stray hairs in front of your thumb, slide  your thumb and forefinger to the side and trim the next 3/8″
d) continue along the perimeter of each leather, top side and underside….and voila, neat and tidy ears.

The No. 40 blade is fine enough that it should not cut into the edges of the leathers when the clippers are drawn outwards….but this blade heats up quickly and if it does, your dogs ear will be irritated and the
dog will shake its head, and this may cause you to slip and accidentally cut into the edge of the leathers…I have seen pet store groomers do this with a No.10 blade which will leave a nasty abrasion….so turn the clippers off before they get hot…take your time…massage your dogs ears…practice the gentle pinching at the edge of the leathers so that the dog will not be frightened when you tidy the stray ends of hair.

Good Luck and enjoy yourself