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5 Steps to Visualize a Goal

By Melissa Verplank, CMG

Reaching your goals, especially if they are lofty, is always easier said than done. It does not matter whether they are personal goals. Career goals. Health goals. Financial goals. Or goals in any other area in your life. Achieving goals is hard work. It takes planning, focus and action.

What if I told you there’s a shortcut when it comes to achieving goals?

What is it?

Visualization.

Personally, I’ve used this technique repeatedly to achieve my goals. I first started hearing about it in the mid-1980s. Since then, I’ve used it for both large and small goals in all areas of my life with great success. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning is a 50-50 Responsibility

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of “bringing your game to the table” when you’re learning to groom dogs. Selecting the best program, instructors, and mentors is half the task. The other half comes from focusing on the instruction you’re given and committing to ongoing improvement. Education is everything! It’s the key to building a successful career in the pet grooming business. Read the rest of this entry »


How To Improve Your Speed with Focused Goal Setting

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses ways to improve your speed by tracking your time and starting with the end in mind. She shares her own personal challenge in improving speed on Poodle feet. Learn how to increase your productivity by measuring your progress and celebrating your milestones. Read the rest of this entry »


Melissa’s Story – The Many Paths to Professional Grooming

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank describes her own unique path to a career in grooming and the importance of the motto: Education is Everything! Read the rest of this entry »


What Do Clients Mean When They Ask for a Puppy Cut?

“Give my dog a puppy cut.”

Ask 10 customers or groomers to describe this style and I bet you get 10 different answers. One one hand, it’s a great conversation starter! On the other, it’s a quick way to discover how easy it is to misunderstand one another.

The puppy cut is popular because it works well on a wide variety of pets. Almost any breed that grows longer coat can be done in this easy-to-care-for style. Yet, the puppy cut is also the most misunderstood haircut in grooming salons around the country. Why? There are no clear directions of what this trim actually is or how it should be done. It’s left up to individual personal interpretation by owners, groomers, or talented pet stylists.

 

Origin of the “Puppy Cut” Among Professional Dog Groomers

The puppy cut started as a trim style for young Poodles in the dog show world. Once the puppy is a year old, it is put into the elaborate adult haircut for the conformation ring. Today, the term “puppy cut” is used very loosely. It can apply to a wide variety of different breeds. It’s highly adaptable to any size of dog or coat type.

Many owners love this style of trim – and with good reason. It’s cute, easy to care for, and easy for customers to remember by name. In this trim, the dog does not drag in dirt and debris from outdoors. Their ears don’t drag in the food or water dish. The need for brushing between grooming appointments is minimized. On smaller pets, bathing between grooming appointments is a breeze. What’s not to love?

So what is a puppy cut?

Essentially, the puppy cut is one length all over. The most common length is between 1-2 inches over the body, legs, tail, head, and ears. Typically, it’s done with a clipper fitted with a long guard comb over the blade. There should not be any clipper marks, uneven coat, or sharp edges left in the fur. Next to a powerful clipper, high-quality blenders are your best friends when doing this trim. Everything is soft and plush, like a fluffy puppy.

This is where things get tricky. In some circles, the puppy cut can also be known as a teddy bear trim, summer cut, or kennel cut. I’ve even seen some salons turn their version of the trim into their “signature haircut.” Generally, the only things that change between theses trims are the names and the length of coat.

It doesn’t stop there! Others associate the puppy cut with smooth-coated breeds like the Boxer, Pug, or Beagle. Basically, the idea is of a youthful, “puppyish” look. Hence the name.

With all these interpretations, it’s easy to envision things differently. While that’s not a bad thing, not being clear on what the final look will be can definitely affect the result and your relationship with the customer. If an owner is requesting this trim for the first time, be prepared to discuss the trim in detail. DO NOT ASSUME YOU ARE BOTH ON THE SAME PAGE! Communication is the key to a happy customer.

Getting a clear understanding starts with a conversation. Spend a few minutes with the client and the pet before the customer leaves your salon.

Getting the conversation right starts with the 3 L’s:

  • Look – Use those precious moments as your clients walks in to observe the pet. What do you see? These first impressions can be used to guide your conversation.
  • Lead – This is the time to ask for clarity. Ask leading questions about each area of the pet (body, head, ears, legs/feet, and tail):
    • How do you want your pet to look? Smooth and sleek or fluffy and plush?What is the pet’s lifestyle? Is he the life of the party or a designated lap dog?
    • How long should be coat be? Remember, “short” means something different to everyone. Be specific to be sure.
    • How should the head look? The head and face are a big part of the dog’s personality. Getting this part right is very important to your customer.
  • Listen – Listen for details and clues. The customer may not know grooming terminology – that’s one reason they rely on you. Interpret their observations and preferences so you can create a clear mental picture of style options.

Now that you’re clear about what the customer wants, it’s time to put your talent and experience to work. A skilled pet professional will know how to make minor changes to the trim that will enhance the pet’s appeal. If the coat is too tangled to do the longer trim, you’ll be able to suggest alternatives that work best for his current condition. You can then discuss ways the customer can work on the coat at home to make it possible to have a longer, fluffier look as the pet grows out.

Educating clients on proper pet hygiene is a valuable service most salons offer for free to their clients. In order to keep the dog looking its best, you can offer suggestions for maintaining this haircut between grooming appointments. At home brushing and bathing can make a big difference in how they look and smell, too. You can also make suggestions on how often the trim should be done based on the pet’s lifestyle and coat texture. Always remember, your clients are the lifeblood of your business. Taking a little extra time up front for a warm and welcoming pet consultation will go a long way toward building a solid relationship with them.

Try these tips and see if it helps you get closer to your client’s idea of a puppy cut… the first time!

Happy trimming!

Melissa


Simplifying Dog Grooming with The Theory of Five

Certified Master Groomer and author Melissa Verplank talks about the evolution of The Theory of Five – a method of grooming she developed to create reproducible results and systematic communication with team groomers and clients. From it’s early inception to the foundation it has become for dog grooming instruction, the Theory of Five has helped groomers around the world save time and make money. Read the rest of this entry »


Tale of Two Students – Mother & Daughter Duo Learn Professional Grooming Online with Paragon Distance Learning Program

Mother and daughter duo, Lisa and Taylor Worden, chose Paragon’s Distance Learning Program to launch their family businesses in tandem. Worden’s Pet Resort and Taylor’s Tubs & Tails in Big Rapids, MI launched in December. Lisa had a vision of a pet resort with grooming available, and Taylor had a love for grooming. Together, their businesses are ramping up.

“Things are fantastic…people are very excited to have boarding and grooming together,” said Lisa, who added that word-of-mouth and social media have helped get her pet boarding facility up and running.

Their journey began last fall when Lisa decided to go ahead with a lifelong dream of opening a dog boarding facility.

“All our facilities here take good care of their boarded pets but not how I would like my pets to be taken care of. I wanted to give them a spacious outdoor space and an at-home feel inside. I also didn’t like how the pets smelled after a stay. Mind you, my pets are farm pets so they get dirty and I love that, however, that “kennel” smell not so much. So I wanted a wash station put in so I could clean them up and possibly hire a groomer to come in my facility, that’s where my daughter comes in,” she said.

Growing up, Taylor groomed all the dogs, cats, horses, cows and pigs on the Worden homestead for the 4-H program. As a busy young adult with a full-time job, it was her idea to look online for a professional grooming program to help make their dream come true. She was delighted to find Paragon.

“The program worked great with my schedule. I would not have been able to become a groomer if I had to take the traditional route,” Taylor said.

“My goal was to have my own grooming business and I completed that goal and I’m just excited to continue to learn and get better at grooms.”

Kudos to the Worden mother-and-daughter team for following their dreams!

Worden’s Pet Resort & Taylor’s Tub and Tails is located at 21367 17 Mile Rd in Big Rapids, Michigan 49307. Call – (231) 527-8029 for information.

Know someone who’d love to learn professional grooming from top industry professionals with a curriculum backed by 30-years of expertise and a leading grooming school? Learn more about Paragon’s Distance Learning Program.

 

 


Remember: Clients Have Options

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of remembering that clients have options. Thinking about this from your client’s perspective helps build your relationship. A dissatisfied customer might decide to DIY or call your competitor, or simply not have their dog professionally groomed. Each of these scenarios can affect your salon, and possibly the health and safety of the pet. Read the rest of this entry »


Make Time For Yourself

In this video, Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about the importance of taking time for yourself to maintain and improve your performance. From focus to stress-reduction, she discusses six ways that time off the job makes you better on the job. Read the rest of this entry »


7 Speedy Grooming Tips for a Happier Pet

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Speedy pet grooming is one of many ways we show compassion for the animals in our care. Grooming efficiently doesn’t mean you care less about their needs. You can groom a pet quickly while still being gentle, respectful, and without sacrificing quality and thoroughness.

I understand this not only as a groomer, but from personal experience with my own fur family. I have Maremma Sheepdogs, two of which are over 10 years old. They are heavy, double-coated, large dogs. At one time, they had the physical strength to endure longer grooming sessions. However, as they’ve aged, grooming has become more uncomfortable to tolerate.
Read the rest of this entry »


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