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Grooming Tips for Rustic Coated Dogs

Have you ever worked with a Rustic Coated dog? In this video, certified master groomer Melissa Verplank shares her learning journey on the topic of Rustic-Coated breeds. Learn2GroomDogs expert groomer, Kendra Otto, introduced the MV team to tips and tricks on grooming the Lagotto and Pumi breeds.

Want to watch Kendra working on a Rustic Coated Lagotto? Sign up today at https://www. Learn2GroomDogs.com and Get 50% off your first month. Use code: “LUCKYDOG” on check out.

If you’re already a member, visit this link to see Kendra’s video: Video @Learn2GroomDogs

Looking to train staff or level-up your own grooming techniques? Check out Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program  – Sign up and Get $100 Off with code “LUCKYDOG.”

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys, Melissa here and today I want to give a shout-out to one of our Learn2GroomDogs.com training partners and that is Kendra Otto, and Kendra Otto has been one of our training partners for quite a while now and when I first approached Kendra and asked her to be one of our educators on the streaming video library, I asked her what did she want to film, what does she want to share, what did she feel confident with, and what she said was rustic coated breeds. No one knew how to deal with a rustic coat at that time and that was a very new coat type that we were just starting to see at the time that Kendra was really working with rustic coated breeds.

Melissa:
The two that really come to mind and that we have filed with Kendra is both the Pumi and the Lagotto. When she first approached us and she said she wanted to do a Lagotto, I didn’t know what it was, but I didn’t want to let on to Kendra I didn’t know what it was, so I just said, “Okay, that would be great.” I quickly ran to the computer because at the time the Lagotto wasn’t even in the AKC book. It was just being introduced. It might have been in the miscellaneous class at that time or it still might have been in the foundation stock area coming up and looking at being accepted into the AKC.

Melissa: But at any rate, I went home, did my research, found out what a rustic coated breed was, found out what a Lagotto was and we ended up filming with Kendra. I didn’t know anything about that coat type at all, and some of you may not have had the opportunity even to see them, or maybe you’ve seen them at dog shows but haven’t really gotten your hands on them and luckily I have, but this is the 22nd edition of the American Kennel Club complete dog book.

Melissa: We’ve got a little bit of a … there we go. There’s a Lagotto and so just really a no-nonsense kind of a breed as far as look. It’s a medium sized breed with what they call a rustic coat and then this one is the Pumi, and the Pumi is a very whimsical looking little dog, goofy. They’ve got a little different ear set. They have a wedged shape head and their ears are semi-erect and the way that you end up doing them is it’s almost like a Bedlington ear but where the Bedlington ear is gonna be down, the Pumi ear is gonna be semi-erect and so it really lends to this whimsical type expression that they have.

Melissa: But until I met Kendra, I didn’t know anything about either one of these breeds and that rustic coat is really different. The other thing with a rustic coated breed is they are not to be blown out, where normally when you’re looking at your scissor type breeds, the Bichons, the Poodles, you want them blown out straight, straight, straight so that you can get that really plush finish on your scissor work. But with the rustic coated breeds, that’s not the case at all. You want that coat curling. You don’t … you want it to look almost messy. Perfection is not what you’re looking for when you’re grooming those breeds.

Melissa: Again, until I met Kendra and actually filmed for Learn2GroomDogs with Kendra, I just didn’t know what these breeds were at all, so it was really interesting to learn about these newer breeds. Both of these breeds are now in, fully in, the American Kennel Club. The Lagotto is in the sporting group and the Pumi is in the herding group. They both had very different jobs and very ancient breeds, but caring for their coats is definitely different.

Melissa: One of the things I learned from Kendra was that you really want to use a wide toothed undercoat type rake, and that because they definitely have an undercoat and they have coat that … actually it’s not considered coat, it’s considered hair. Both breeds are considered somewhat non-shedding and so for folks that have allergies many times this is a breed that they can tolerate pretty well. But you’ve really got to get in there. You have got to keep them combed out but you don’t want to remove all of the undercoat so that wide toothed type comb really does a nice job to get in there and get the snarls removed, the mats removed, but then when you go to dry them, they need to be air dried because you need that coat really curly.

Melissa: The biggest thing with the rustic coated breeds is you don’t go for perfection. That’s kind of nice. But if you want to take a look or learn more about how to groom the rustic coated breeds, definitely check out Kendra on Learn2GroomDogs.com. She’s got a couple great videos on dealing with the rustic coat and rustic coat care plus she’s got videos on the Lagotto and also on the Pumi and I want to say with the Pumi we have a show Pumi and also how to work with a pet Pumi and how to maintain that coat and how to give the client a haircut that is going to accentuate the breed profile of the dog but be manageable for that dog to live in a pet home as well. Definitely check them out. It is the rustic coated breeds, the Lagotto and the Pumi.


Paragon Experts to Give Seminars at Atlanta Pet Fair

The Paragon Pet School is different than many trade or vocational schools because its on-campus and distance learning curriculum is developed and delivered by industry experts. Those experts will be taking their knowledge on the road this week to share with groomers across the nation at the Atlanta Pet Fair. Founder Melissa Verplank and VP Joe Zuccarello will make three continuing education presentations during the four-day event.

The pet fair features more than 100 exhibitors from the $70 Billion pet industry and is one of the country’s largest trade show and conferences for professional pet stylists and service professionals. The show provides grooming professionals with access to the latest products, education, pets and employee safety training, and networking to ensure they have the tools and insights to operate successful businesses.

Grooming Competition

The show also hosts one of the biggest grooming competitions in the Southeast United States, including competitors on the 2019 GroomTeam USA. Groomers and stylists from around the world come to Atlanta Pet Fair & Conference to participate in the more than 10 contests spread over four days at the show, including a “Rescue Rodeo.”

If you want to learn more about competitive grooming contests, visit GroomTeamUSA. If you’re looking for speakers for your next Pet Industry event, Contact Us.

Here’s a lineup of Continuing Education seminars by Melissa and Joe.


FRIDAY – 4:00 p.m. German Suite with Joe Zuccarello

Culture and Team Building: Why It Is Important and How It Can Make Your Life Easier!

In this session, Joe will speak about the ingredients necessary to build a solid team and the importance of your company’s culture as it relates to productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall operations and management benefits. Have you ever felt like not going to work, either by calling in sick or playing hooky only to realize that you cannot do that because you’re the boss and you have to be there? Do you feel every day is a battle when it comes to managing your employees and your business? Are you exhausted or discouraged? You’re not alone! This session is designed with you in mind! Believe it or not, you may be to blame for the feelings you are having. But there’s good news ahead…there’s a better way and Joe will explore practical solutions for you to put in play immediately when you return to your business. It’s ok, you’ll be a room filled with others who are struggling just like you are. So come prepared to be honest with yourself, open to new ideas, and ready to leave the session with a new perspective!

SATURDAY – 3:00 p.m. German Suite with Melissa Verplank & Joe Zuccarello

Perception is Reality – The Three Pillars of Branding Yourself

This down-to-earth presentation lays out the three pillars every pet grooming business and their team must master: branding your shop, branding your team and branding your marketing message. The bottom line: perception is reality. In this session Melissa Verplank and Joe Zuccarello will present how creating positive relationships with clients and their pets will grow your business. Creating a successful pet grooming business with a strong clientele is not a destination, it is a journey. The right message will create a healthy repeat clientele. The wrong message will leave gaping holes in your appointment book. Together Melissa and Joe offer plenty of positive ideas and strategies. Their concepts allow you to create your own branding platform. Their goal is to help you understand and implement the values of positive branding to build long-term success for you, your team and your business.

SUNDAY – 12:30 p.m. Australia Room with Melissa Verplank

How to Find and Keep Great Groomers

Staffing your grooming department can be a huge challenge. Melissa knows as she’s been there countless times herself. Over the years, she has learned what it takes to find great groomers – and keep them. In this session, Melissa shares her secrets to recruiting talent; talent who wants to grow their own skills and see the company succeed. She’ll talk about what to look for when hiring plus, share ideas on how you can encourage personal growth within your team. She’ll also discuss a unique compensation plan when it comes to paying your grooming team. Melissa’s methods are time-tested and proven. When used correctly, they ensure longevity and job satisfaction. These two areas are important when it comes to growth, profitability and a smooth-running grooming operation.


Making the Most of Trade Shows – Atlanta Pet Fair 2019

Check out Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank’s discussion on the value of trade shows as a source of professional development and networking. A self-professed “trade show junkie,” Melissa will be one of the guest speakers at the Atlanta Pet Fair slated for Thursday, March 7th through March 10th.

Love learning new grooming tips? Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com.

Do you know someone who wants to get started in a pet grooming career? Check out Melissa’s online curriculum at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program: ParagonPetSchool.com

Planning to go to Atlanta? Stop by the Paragon booth!

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here. And I want to talk to you a little bit about attending a trade show. I know a lot of you guys have never even been to a trade show and they are absolutely amazing. When I first started out in the industry, I worked for a kennel and she had a whole lot of magazines up in a storage room, and I would sneak up there, and I would start thumbing through these magazines, and I started learning about seminars and trade shows.

Melissa: And I’m going to tell you, when I attended my first trade show, which happened to be in Chicago, it was the All American Grooming Show, it absolutely opened my eyes to what the industry had to offer. And from that time, and this was way back … Oh gosh. I’m going to really date myself. I want to say it was the very early 80s, if not the late 70s, when I attended my first trade show. And so every since then, I’ve kind of been a junkie on this kind of information because one of the things that’s so cool about our industry is that you can never know it all.

Melissa: And so if you’re going to attend a seminar or a trade show, which I certainly encourage you to do, you need to go in with a really, really open mind. Now when you’re a newbie, when you haven’t been out to one of these events, there is so much information. It’s almost like you’re a dry sponge, and you expand your knowledge base and by the time you get done with your first trade show, generally when I talk to folks, they are so almost overwhelmed by the amount of information that they’ve just learned.

Melissa: And what I want to remind you is that when you’re brand new, everything is new, and you do have a lot of information to absorb and gather and take home and apply. But once you get your core skills down, once you start working through the entire process of grooming on a professional level and becoming efficient and being able to be proud of the work that you are being able to do and knowing the difference between a good job and a bad job, then you start attending the trade shows and instead of just being this super dry sponge, and absorbing everything, you’re going to be going in and you are going to be targeting certain aspects.

Melissa: You’re going to be able to go in and look at the speakers and look at the programs that are being offered. And to be selective about what you want to learn next. And everybody’s gotta staircase their career, and you’re not going to be ready to hear some of what the speakers have to say, or it might not apply to you, and other things are going to be more elementary. You’ve already got that down. You don’t necessarily need to attend that one, so you can start to kind of cherry pick those particular golden nuggets that you really need. But whenever you walk in, always know there is not black and white in professional dog grooming.

Melissa: There’s lots of shades of gray. There’s lots of opinions. And so that’s one of the cool things is that we get to pick and choose and the more information and the more speakers and the more folks that you can listen to and gather information from, the better you’re going to be able to go back and provide a better service for your customers, and that’s what makes it so fun. So, go in with a really open mind and be selective. When you do go into a trade show, make the most of your time. Have a game plan going in, because again, it can be really overwhelming and there’s a lot of different programs that are going on. A lot of these trade shows will have grooming competitions also going on. And I’m going to tell you what, if you sit over on a division or the open division side of the ring, oh man, can you learn a lot just by observing what is going on in the competition ring.

Melissa: Really great education, just to sit ring side and watch what those competitors are doing. And not only watch their techniques, but watch the products and the tools that they’re using to get this gorgeous finish on these dogs. So be … Look at the classes that you want to take. Know who you want to see. When, what time those classes are. And plan ahead, so that you can go in and make the most of your time and you can not only get to the classes you want to get to, watch the grooming competition go on, get around to all the vendors. Man, I’ll tell you what, if you want to get an idea of what is available for our industry and literally get your hands on the products, no better place than a trade show to do that.

Melissa: Because there are clippers, and shears, and bows, and dryers and you name it. If it has anything to do with professional pet grooming, more than likely there’s going to be a vendor at that show that you can actually talk to and you can test out the equipment. And you’re going to see a lot of folks that, maybe you’ve just seen in the magazines, or you’ve just seen on video. They’re going to be there. And you know what, everybody started out at a beginner at some point in time. And so, it doesn’t matter how far anybody has made it to the top. More than likely, they are going to be approachable.

Melissa: Now if you’ve got a competitor in the ring, or you’ve got a speaker racing to get to a class, they may not be able to stop and talk to you and give you their full attention at that moment. But I can guarantee you, everybody is very approachable and they want to help, and they want to help the new people succeed and move forward. So get yourself out to those trade shows and you know, sometimes the best education that you can get isn’t necessarily on the trade room floor. It’s not in the classes. It’s not sitting ring side. It’s by meeting new people, [inaudible 00:06:52] getting out and socializing and meeting new people and the conversations that you have while you’re waiting in line or maybe you’ve gone to the bar or the restaurant to have a refreshment, and you’ll be able to meet new people and share ideas and the networking opportunities that are available.

Melissa: You stop and think about, when are you in a room full of people that all have the same passion that you do? Dogs and cats and grooming. And so everybody’s got something in common, so it’s really, really easy to strike up a conversation and just start talking to one another. As you’re sitting in your seminar rooms, you’re going to be sitting next to somebody. Introduce yourself. It is so fun to be able to network that way. So we’re looking at the trade show season just starting. We’ve got the California show out coming up in February, and the Atlanta Pet Fair is March 7th through the 10th of March, and I know I’m going to be at that show, along with my entire team, and that’s a great show to get out to. Lots and lots of exhibits. I think they’ve got over a hundred different exhibitors.

Melissa: They’ve got over 70 different classes that you can take. So get out there. It does take a little bit of planning. You’ve got to plan some time off, you’re going to have some travel, but if you want to come back to work energized and ready to start fresh and new, there is no better way to get re-energized then going to a trade show and learning something new. So hopefully, we’ll see you at the next trade show.


Atlanta Pet Fair Features Melissa Verplank with Groomer Tips

The Atlantic Pet Fair has featured Melissa Verplank in its “Groomer’s Corner” to advance the premier pet professional event slated for March 7 -10. Held each spring, the conference draws thousands of professionals from around the world for four action-packed days of education, networking opportunities and access to more than 100 exhibitors.

In her 5 Tips, Melissa discusses the best tools and tips for successful grooming, from chunkers to specialty shampoo and spa services.
“When people ask me how they can earn more, I always remind them that time is money, and the faster you can groom a pet safely, the more money you will ultimately make. These five tips can help you groom dogs better in less time while providing great service for your customers—and adding cash to your pocket!” Melissa writes.

Check out the Five Tips here:


Melissa Verplank Receives Pet Age’s 2019 Women of Influence Award!

Paragon Pet School is very pleased to announce that our Founder & CEO Melissa Verplank was named a recipient of the Pet Age 2019 Women of Influence Award! Now in its fifth year, the Women of Influence Awards are given by the publication to 30 deserving leaders in the pet industry.

Congratulations to the 2019 Women of Influence Award Recipients

Citing the importance of celebrating the accomplishments of females who have made a notable impact on the field in which they work, Pet Age is honoring 30 “ambitious, hardworking females who are influential in the pet industry” with its Women of Influence Award in 2019.

These women hold leadership positions at companies throughout the sector, including pet product manufacturers and retailers as well as businesses that provide marketing and grooming services. This year’s honorees include women who have followed in the footsteps of family members who already worked in the industry, while others who have realized their dreams to establish their own companies. No matter the paths to their current destinations or their roles—with titles ranging from general manager to president, executive director, CEO and more—these women all share a deep love for animals.

Congratulations to Melissa and her well-deserving cohort of peer recipients of the 2019 Women of Influence Awards. Full profiles of the winners will appear in the March issue of Pet Age. Read the full announcement and recipients list on PetAge.com.

About Pet Age

Pet Age is a business to business media brand that covers the pet industry in print, online and through social media and events.

Their mission is to serve the pet specialty market by delivering timely and practical news and information about the products, trends, and events that impact retailers, groomers, manufacturers, and other related businesses. Visit their website for more info.

 


10 Things That Take Zero Talent but Earn 100 Percent Respect

Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the power of 10 simple best business practices that will command client respect and build your business.

Want more business inspiration to fuel your grooming salon? Check out these articles. MelissaVerplank.com/blog/?s=tips+on+building+repeat+clients&submit=Search

If you’ve mastered the art and want to bone up on your own technical skills, check out Learn2GroomDogs.com

Want to train your staff to perform at the highest skill level? Check out Paragon’s Distance Education program for Grooming Salons. ParagonPetSchool.com/product/studio-enrollment-bundle/

Transcript
Melissa: Hi Guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you about something, whether you be an employer or whether you are an employee, it’s not gonna matter, and this is something that doesn’t take any money whatsoever. Totally zero. It’s 10 things, and a lot of you have probably seen this list before, but it’s 10 things that require zero talent, zero money, but it is going to give you 100% respect.

Melissa: And so I just wanted to talk a little bit about these 10 different items and how it applies to what we do as professional pet groomers. The first thing, and this is just such a huge one for me, but being to work on time. Being done with your dog when you tell your customer, when you promised it, and anytime that you can’t uphold that, whether you’re running late to work or whether you’re running behind on a dog, let either your employer know or let your customer know that things might have changed a little bit.

Melissa: If you just can’t get up in the morning because you just can’t get up, change something, get up earlier, see if maybe your employer is willing to have you start on a later time during the day versus first thing in the morning. When I had all of my mobile stylist, I had early birds and I had folks that were just couldn’t get up in the morning, and we customized their schedule for them. I had some of my drivers, they were arriving to base at 6:30 in the morning, sometimes even earlier than that.

Melissa: Sometimes they were on their client’s doorstep at 6:00 AM, but they were also done and they were out at the beach by 2:00 in the afternoon. I had other stylists that were rolling in maybe at 10 o’clock and that was fine. As long as we knew, but whatever the time you set be on time. Number two, have a great work ethic. A work ethic will get you so far and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether you are an employer or an employee, whether you are a coach on some type of a team, whatever it is, wherever it is in your life, a strong work ethic will always earn you respect.

Melissa: The next one would be effort, and effort and work ethic to me go hand in hand. When we’re dealing with brand new students, they’re not going to get it perfect straight out the gate. One of the best teachers is experience, and making mistakes is a fabulous way to learn as long as you can minimize the mistakes and hopefully most mistakes are correctable with a little bit of adjustment, but if somebody comes in with a strong work ethic and effort, oh my gosh, they are going to go so far with me and in their life. Guarantee that is going to get them somewhere in their life.

Melissa: The next thing is body language. If you can smile, the smile totally comes right through, whether you’re working on a dog, whether you’re talking on the phone, whether you’re dealing with a customer, it doesn’t matter, whether you’re dealing with your staff members or the staff members dealing with anybody else on the team. If you’re sitting there going, “Nope, I don’t want to do it,” or “Gosh, I’ve never done it, but let me try it.”

Melissa: There’s different way that that body language came through where one person was workable and the other wasn’t, and body language and energy and positive energy. There’s that phrase out there that says, “Is your attitude contagious?” “Is it worth catching?” And I love that image where there’s a whole bunch of matches lined up and there’s one match and they’re getting ready to ignite just that whole row.

Melissa: Energy is absolutely fabulous. And dogs also, they read energy. So if you come into the salon and you’re in a grumpy, nasty mood and your body language is not positive, you just don’t want to work. You don’t want to be there, you don’t want to put forth the effort. Well, you know what, your day is going to get even worse because that energy is transferred right over to those dogs. And so it’s really important to have positive energy and have that great attitude coming in.

Melissa: Not only is your day going to go smoother, but every coworker that you have, their day is going to go smoother and the dogs are gonna respond in a much more favorable way when you’ve got that positive attitude, the positive energy coming into work, and you’re going to get that respect from your coworkers and your customers and also from the dogs. Passion is right in there.

Melissa: I still remember my high school teacher, and I was definitely not the best student. I mean if I was pulling a C average, I was lucky and if it was Spanish, it was something else altogether. But I had a counselor at this little tiny high school that I went to in Colorado, and I’m still in touch with her today and she believed in me so much and she said, “Melissa, when you find what you’re passionate about, nobody is going to be able to stop you.”

Melissa: And so passion is critical. If you want to succeed in your job and in your life, you’ve got to be passionate about what you’re dealing with. And again, it’s just gonna make your life be a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable. Be coachable. If I sat there and said, “Nope, I know it all. I don’t need to learn anything,” I’m just not gonna get anywhere. And that’s one of the things with this particular industry, with professional pet grooming, you can never know it all. So always stay open, always stay coachable, always think about what you can learn more and be humble at the same time.

Melissa: That’s not on the list, but humble to me is be coachable and be humble and that will gain you respect, hands down, over and over again. Another thing is do something extra, go a little bit more. No one is going to criticize you for doing something a little bit up and beyond what they expected, and that’s what makes people talk about you.

Melissa: With a service space business, if you want to really go far, you want to be able to do something extra to get people talking about you because people don’t talk about boring services, they talk about things that excite them and referrals are the number one way that grooming salons grow. And so you want to do something a little bit extra to get those customers talking. They will love you for it and you will earn the respect.

Melissa: And the last thing on the list of 10 is be prepared. Be prepared for whatever you’re going to be dealing with. If you come skidding into work at the last minute, you’re running late and your workstation isn’t set up. If your stuff isn’t ready to go, you’re not prepared for your day, your day is going to tumble in a downward fashion pretty quickly. And so it really pulls all of the 10 together, is be prepared.

Melissa: If you do these 10 things, you are going to earn the respect of your employer, of your clients, of your boss, all the way around you’re going to earn respect and you will also have respect for yourself. And so I really encourage you to think about these items that absolutely cost zero intake, zero talent to just do.


Selling a Service Equals Selling a Relationship

In this video, Master Groomer and savvy entrepreneur Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of building a trusting relationship with your clientele as the foundation of a thriving salon.

Want more tips on increasing your client retention rate? Check out another article on this topic here.

Would you like to train new staff with Melissa’s curriculum? Check out Paragon’s Salon Distance Learning packages here.

Want access to hundreds of grooming business and technique videos for busy professionals? Visit Learn2GroomDogs.com

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you about what we do every single day, and that’s grooming. And grooming is a service based business, and it’s a little bit different than if you were able to pick up a widget and test it and look at it and try it out, and then make the decision whether you’re going to buy it or not. When we are grooming dogs, we’re selling a service. And a client isn’t going to know whether they like that service or not, most of the time until after you have finished. And so people that are calling us as a professional pet groomer, they are assuming that we’re talented, that we’re skilled, that we’re trained.

Melissa: It’s the same thing if you need to hire an attorney. Unless you have a great referral, you don’t know whether you’re hiring the best attorney for your particular situation. You don’t know when you go to the doctor whether you truly have the best doctor for the situation, whether you’re getting the correct diagnosis for what is ailing you. Taxes, shoot. How do you pick somebody to do your taxes? And if you have a complicated return, how do you know whether somebody is really doing a good job for you? You don’t. You don’t know it until after the fact. And that’s the same thing with dog grooming.

Melissa: Our customers don’t know whether they’re going to get an excellent grooming, or they’re not, until after it is done. But you know the one thing that customers can really tell, and you think about the services that you go to, they can tell whether they feel valued, whether they feel like it’s a good relationship. You just get that gut feeling that you like that person. And clients can tell when phone calls are returned, when they’re treated politely, when their pets are being treated with compassion, they can tell that.

Melissa: And so bottom line, when you’re selling services, you’re basically dealing with a popularity competition. And the winners of that competition are the ones that make those customers feel valued. That is absolutely key with what you’re dealing with. Just remember when clients and prospective clients call to see what you offer, they are going to assume that you know what you’re doing, that you know how to trim their dog the way that they think it should be trimmed. And so it’s really important that you get at least to that first base, and you’re being able to communicate with that customer and make them feel amazing.

Melissa: And you know through years and years of experience, I have found the stylists that have full books sometimes aren’t the most talented stylist. But they are the groomers and the stylists that make that customer feel important. They are the ones that make up with that dog, and that client feels comfortable leaving their beloved little fluffy with you for the day. And so that’s really, really critical, is make that customer feel valued, feel important, and build that trust so that customer keeps coming back to you over and over again.


Westminster 101: Guide for Student Dog Groomers

What is Westminster?

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.  Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all-breed, benched dog show held every year at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Today, America’s dog show has expanded into Westminster Week which includes the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster. More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world make Westminster Week like no other. As Master Groomer and our founder, Melissa Verplank pointed out in her videolog this week, watching Westminster is a great way for new groomers to improve their pet trims! We’ve highlighted information to help you tune in.

Learn more @ Westminster

How a Dog Show Works

Each dog at a dog show is presented to a judge by either its owner, breeder, or a hired professional. This person is known as the exhibitor or the handler of the dog.

The purpose of conformation shows (also known as dog shows) is to evaluate breeding stock. Judges select winners based on their ability to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. Dogs start out in the classes competing for points toward their AKC championship title. Dogs win points based on the number of dogs defeated. The more dogs entered, the more points per win. It takes fifteen points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points), awarded by at least three different judges, to become an American Kennel Club champion.

Breed Groups judged to the AKC Breed Standard include the Working, Herding, Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Learn more, including judging criteria, a glossary and terminology, at Westminster Dog Shows 101 

This Video By Purina Pro Plan Describes the Show Mechanics:

Additional Shows During Westminster Week:

For information on the Masters Agility Championship Sat. Feb. 9, follow this link.

For information on the Masters Obedience Championship, Feb. 11, follow this link:

The Schedule – 143rd WKC Dog Show

Monday, February 11, 2019

  • Daytime Session (8 am – 4:30 pm)
    • Breed Judging across Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups
    • Junior Showmanship preliminaries
      For more information about Junior Showmanship, click here. 
  • Dog Show 101 (12pm- 1pm)
    • Pier 94, Ring 10
      For more information about Dog Shows, click here. 
  • Evening Session (7:30 pm – 11:30 pm) Doors open at 6 pm for Best of Breed benching area
    • Group Judging across Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding groups (begins at 7:30 pm)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

  • Daytime Session (8 am – 4:30 pm)
    • Breed Judging across Sporting, Working and Terrier groups
    • Junior Showmanship preliminaries
  • Dog Show 101 Presentation (12pm- 1pm)
    • Pier 94, Ring 10
      For more information about Dog Shows, click here. 
  • Evening Session (7 pm – 11:30 pm) Doors open at 6 pm for Best of Breed benching area
    • Junior Showmanship Finals (begins at 7:00 pm)
    • Group Judging across Sporting, Working and Terrier groups (begins at 7:30 pm)
    • BEST IN SHOW!

Links for Viewing:

Weekend Television/Streaming Schedule

Monday Television/Streaming Schedule

Tuesday Television/Streaming Schedule


Get Ready for the Westminster Dog Show

Master Groomer Melissa Verplank explains why you should save the date to watch the Westminster Dog Show, America’s oldest institution for purebred conformation. Spawned in 1877, Westminster’s all-breed show is a source of inspiration for great grooms as breeders and owners show their top dogs.

See the “stack” of the 204 eligible breeds across every group and variety as the best-in-breed and best-in-show are selected Monday, Feb. 11 and Tuesday, Feb. 12. Check out the Masters’ Agility competition starting on Saturday, Feb.9 and Sunday, Feb. 10. Visit Westminster for the full schedule to tune-in: https://www.westminsterkennelclub.org/plan-your-visit/general-info

Whether you’re just learning to groom or striving to improve your repertoire, don’t miss this chance to study top dogs!

Want to brush up on your AKC standards? Look into our advanced education opportunities at https://www.paragonpetschool.com/home-study.

Want to pick up new tips on the fly? Check out https://www.Learn2GroomDogs.com, where our library of great grooming videos can help you level-up.

Transcript
Melissa: Hi guys. Melissa here. I want to talk to you about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. That is coming up pretty soon here. It is going to be February 11th and 12th. For us in America, this is definitely our premiere dog show. There’s a lot of really high end dog shows but what I love about this one is that it’s actually televised, and they do a really nice job with it being televised. If you’re a little bit like me, I just don’t get out to dog shows the way that I did at one point in time. Now, some of you guys, you’re dog show junkies. Hey, have at it. I’m sure not only do you watch it but more than likely, you’re immersed in it. You might even be exhibiting, which is wonderful, and I know a lot of my friends are definitely there and get really caught up with the excitement.

Melissa: For me, I would really prefer to watch it from the comfort of my living room, cuddled up on my couch. Even though I might be in the comfort of my own living room watching it, I am learning so much. Each year when the dog show is aired, I get to see the new breeds that are being introduced. There have been so many new breed introduced since even I wrote Notes from the Grooming Table, or way in the back in the day when I first got my certification, there’s been a lot of new breeds have been introduced. This is my way to stay current and up to date with what’s going on in the dog show world.

Melissa: Everything that we do in the pet grooming world, it literally transfers from the confirmation ring to our grooming salons, and so even though we’re working on every day pet dogs, and they’re not getting these high show style trims, it doesn’t matter. We are visual. If you show me a nice representation of any single breed, I can turn around with my skillset and my knowledge and transfer it into a very functional pet trim for my clients. That’s what I love to be able to do, is to be able to pull the best attributes of the dog and be able to turn it into something that the owners are going to really enjoy, and be able to live with it.

Melissa: But, you know what, I couldn’t do that if I didn’t know what it should look like. Being able to watch the Westminster Dog Club, the dog show, that is absolutely the best way for me to stay current with those trends. When we look back at it, dog styles have changed over the years. Not only are there new breeds, and a lot of the breeds aren’t necessarily new, they’re very ancient breeds, they’re just new to the United States, but when we start looking at how those haircuts have changed over the years on different breeds, it’s pretty astounding.

Melissa: Not only does the breed itself kind of change and morph into something else based on what it needs to be doing today versus what it did when it actually had a real job, but also the haircuts are also changing. When you look at Bichons from 20 years ago, it’s a very, very different haircut today than what it was back then. Soft-coated Wheaten Terriers are gonna be the same type of thing. There’s a lot of breeds that are like that. Being able to watch these top dogs being shown really gives me that edge to know what to do, or what not to do.

Melissa: There’s so many, again, with those new breeds coming in. If all of a sudden you’ve got a Pumi that a client calls and they want you to groom their Pumi, more than likely when it comes in, it might just be a shave off. But, if all of a sudden you know exactly what that breed is supposed to look like, and you know it’s got these funky cute little ears and it’s got this little wedge head, and it’s got this rustic kind of coat that is a little bit different, it’s not supposed to be blown out and straight. It’s supposed to be messy looking and curly. But, if a client calls and you don’t know visually, you can’t see what that dog is supposed to look like, you are gonna have a really hard time making that dog, or even pulling components of what that breed is supposed to look like onto your pet dog when it comes through your door.

Melissa: Again, I really encourage you to watch the show. It was one of our favorite things to do back in the day when I had a whole team of stylists, and actually a lot of our stylists still do this, is they watch the dog show either online or on TV. They talk about it. It’s just a really great way to open up communications within your own salon, and within your own team members.

Melissa: Definitely check it out. Like I said, it’s gonna be airing this year February 11th and 12th. It airs normally in the evening on TV, but you can catch it streaming online at a lot of different time points, and you can actually see a lot of the classes as well. Go to, I think it is the WestminsterKennelClub.org, and check out all of the schedule of events. You go to their website, everything is there that you need to find out what’s going on and how you can best check out the show yourself, so, enjoy.


Anatomy: The K9 Blueprint

Do you know your croup from your withers? In this video, master groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the vital role of canine anatomy knowledge in successful grooming. Great grooms flow from a solid understanding of the structure and kinetic capabilities of your subject.

Want to bone up on your canine anatomy? Check out Melissa’s definitive Notes from the Grooming Table at the Paragon Pet School bookstore: https://paragonpetschool.com/product/notes-from-the-grooming-table-second-edition/

Want to take a course? Explore your distance learning options at Paragon: https://paragonpetschool.com/home-study/

Transcript

Melissa: Hi, guys. Melissa here, and today I want to talk to you about the importance of canine anatomy and structure. This is the root or foundation of everything we do in the pet grooming world. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a pure bred dog or whether it is a mixed breed. There is going to be basic structure and basic anatomy that we all need to understand so that we can bring out the best features of the pet or possibly hide some features that may not be that desirable. And you know, when you’re looking at canine structure and canine anatomy, it’s kind of like as groomers, we are the architects of this groom.

Melissa: If you were building a home, and you didn’t have an architect that was formally and professionally trained, more than likely, that house isn’t going to be as sturdy and as strong as what it could be. And so when I look at dealing with dogs, the more you understand about canine structure, about canine anatomy, and also movement, you’re going to be able to do a better job in your everyday pet grooms just by having that knowledge in your head. So I really want you to think about how important it is, because if we don’t have an understanding of canine anatomy and structure, we, number one, aren’t going to be able to work efficiently, and with a harmonious relationship with that pet, because you just don’t understand how they’re put together. And if you don’t understand how they’re put together, then you know, we’ve got to move and manipulate these dogs all through the grooming process. And if you don’t understand what is comfortable for that pet or what’s going to hurt it, you’re going to constantly be at a disadvantage, and you’re not going to win the trust and cooperation of that pet.

Melissa: So understanding canine anatomy just from a working relationship with a pet is really, really critical. But then we’re going to take it another step further. If you don’t understand canine anatomy and canine structure, we’re not going to be able to communicate to one another. Nor are we going to be able to or are you going to be able to set patterns on a dog that’s going to accentuate their best features and detract from less desirable features. And so it’s really important that you’ve got a well-rounded education with canine structure and anatomy.

Melissa: And so when we first start out, what I want people to understand is to think about the dog in almost X-ray vision. I want you to be able to see the bones and how they lay in. I want you to understand that a hip is held in position by a ball and socket, and there’s only going to be certain ways that that hip can move. So that’s going to determine the range of motion when you’re moving that pet, how far you can lift that dog’s leg up to maybe get the sanitary area done. And depending on whether it’s a young dog or an older dog, they’re going to have a different range of motion. So you’ve got to be really, really aware of that.

Melissa: The shoulder is held together with muscles and tendons. But what type of lay back, how should that shoulder fall in on that dog? What’s the perfect structure for that particular dog? You know, every breed of dog was built to do … well, not every breed of dog, but most breeds of dogs had originally had a job to do. And depending on how they’re built will determine how efficient they are at doing that job, whether they are a digging type breed, like a lot of the terriers, and they’re going to ground. Or maybe it’s an arctic dog that was a sled dog originally. They’re going to have a different structure than the terrier is going to have. And that’s … the purebred dog is a man-made creature. And man developed it to help him do the job that it was originally intended for. So every dog is going to be a little bit different. And that’s where those breed standards are going to come in.

Melissa: They’re going to tell you, you know, if it was the perfect dog. How would it be built so that it can do its job? So again, the better you understand that, and it takes time to learn all of this. But when you first start grooming, the minimum I want you to understand is to be able to shut those eyes, shut your eyes and be able to see how those bones lay out so that you know how to move and how to work with that dog. And then the next thing you really need to understand is topographical anatomy. And that’s so we can communicate back and forth.

Melissa: If I say take your clippers from the withers and go to the croup, if you don’t know where the withers are, and you don’t know where the croup is, you’re going to have a hard time doing what I’m telling you to do. So that’s really, really important. Where is the elbow? Where’s the spring of grip? Where’s the upper thigh? Those are all terminologies that we’re going to use when we’re talking and giving direction about how to groom a particular dog. It’s also, you need to be able to get your hands on that dog and literally feel where those underlying bones are and how the muscles are going to play in, because the muscles are the key to setting the patterns.

Melissa: And if you don’t know where those muscles are and how they interrelate with the terminology and the bones, again, you’re going to have a really hard time making that dog be the absolute best it can be. So I want you to be able to tie everything together. From the foundation, you got to understand it, to what may be the finished picture should look like. If it was the perfect world or not, sometimes you’re looking at a matted dog, and you can’t be the sculptor of the fur. You’re not going to be setting patterns. But you still need to understand where those bones and muscles are going to play in, so you can handle that dog, and you can hold it so that it is safe and solid on the table, you’re not going to hurt it. All of those things are really, really critical. So it doesn’t really matter whether you’re doing a #7 All strip, or whether you are doing a contest-style trim, or you’re dealing with just an everyday pet in a low maintenance type trim. The better you understand canine anatomy and canine structure, the easier it’s going to be for you to get through that groom in the least amount of time possible while doing the best job possible.


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