I’m a dog groomer- the pooch I would never own myself & the style request I absolutely hate | The Sun

DOGS are our best friend, and the love they give us is unconditional – so of course we want them to look and feel their best.

Which is where professional dog groomers like Amii Bates, 32, come in, to make sure our pooches are always pampered and preened.

Amii has been a groomer for over nine years, and has three pet dogs – Alfie the Jack Russell, and rescue pups Pudding the Yorkshire Terrier and Bella, a Cockerpoo.

Here she shares a glimpse inside her day-to-day life, from the weirdest requests, the worst thing customers do, to the 'sheep' style she hates…

Who's a good boy?

While every dog is different, there is one breed Amii has found, over the years, to be more amenable to a good groom.

She says: "In my experience Cocker Spaniels have been the easiest breed to groom, either a working type or show type.


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"A working Cocker Spaniel typically has a lot of energy and can be very lively however as they’re an intelligent breed they tend to be very trainable so it’s still easy to work with them.

"A show Cocker Spaniel is usually less lively and will co-operate well and Spaniels are loveable dogs and always a pleasure to be with."

It's a dog's life

While there's not one particular breed that Amii dreads, a bad experience with a German Shepherd has stayed firmly with her.

She recalls: "My first experience of a German Shepherd was an ex police dog, and it really didn’t like being groomed.

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"It took me, my colleague and the dogs owner just to get the
dog into the bath.

"I had to cut short the appointment after the dog bit the owner!

"However I love a challenge, so I went back to them every two weeks to slowly gain the dog's trust.

"I wouldn’t really say the dog ever enjoyed it however it learned to tolerate it.

"This part of the job is very rewarding as you can see the hard work pay off."

A hairy situation

How difficult a dog is to groom can also come down to their coat type.

Amii says: "Large double coated breeds are the hardest to groom for me, in particular Alaskan Malamutes.

"When grooming a double coated breed it’s hard to get them fully dry all the way down to the skin so it takes a long time.

"Most Alaskan Malamutes that I have groomed also like to have a little sing along whilst in the bath.

"They like to make it known that they’re not keen, resulting in me needing my ear defenders!"

'There are breeds I wouldn't own'

While Amii doesn't have a least favourite breed of dog, there are certain breeds she wouldn't consider personally as a pet.

She says: "There are certain breeds that I wouldn’t want to own, such as a German Shepherd, Husky or Alaskan Malamute, simply because they need a lot of space and they malt a lot.

"I personally couldn’t deal with this in the house – I would spend all my time hoovering!"

Bodily fluids and anal glands

While Amii loves her job, she admits: "There are some gross parts too – its not just puppy cuddles unfortunately!

"I used to have the joy of expressing the dogs anal glands, which as you can imagine, is not a nice job.

"I have had to deal with a lot of dog bodily fluids too – especially when dogs become nervous.

"It is frustrating when they do this after a bath though because they
then have to go straight back in!"

'Mummy loves you!'

There is a common theory that suggests dogs often look like their owners – and certain breeds appear to attract certain personality traits too.

Amii says: "I have definitely noticed that certain breeds can attract certain types of owners.

"For example with poodle crosses such as Cockerpoos their owners tend to treat their dog like a baby.

"The usual request from a Cockerpoo owner is 'can you make them look like a teddy bear'.

"They are also often shouting as I take the dog to the van 'mummy loves you'."

'Sheep' dog shame

In Amii's opinion, there are two types of perfect customer – and one incredibly annoying variety.

She says: "One is a customer who can tell you exactly what they want and it’s reasonable – I like this because you know what you need to do and you can just get on with it.

"The second one is someone who is happy for you to experiment.

"It means I get to try different techniques and different looks that I think will suit the dog and it's fun!"

"The most annoying thing that a customer does is when they give me a diagram of the dog with all the measurements of how long they want the hair.

"I am happy with clear instructions but usually these diagrams don’t make much sense and aren’t usually achievable.

"The funniest request I get is when a customer asks me to leave the body long but to shave the legs and face short.

"I understand their thought process – they want it so the dog's feet aren’t soaking up all the mud and water and so the face stays clean.

"However, the dog just looks like a sheep, and I dread the owners telling their friends that I did it!"

Prepare your pet

Finally, Amii says: "It's really important that owners help their dog get used to the grooming process.

"You can start with just gently brushing your dog when they are relaxed, and reward them so they see it as a positive experience.

"Dogs often find their feet ticklish but their feet need to
be touched when they are being groomed so it always helps if the owner can regularly touch their paws at home to help them get used to it.

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"Your dog can go to a groomers as soon as they are allowed out for walks so get them booked in on a puppy introduction groom.

"All of this will build their confidence and help them to have a successful experience."

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