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New Year’s Resolutions Can Be Dreams with Deadlines

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 A recent study divided people who made New Year’s resolutions into two groups.

1. Those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote it down.
2. Those who made a New Year’s resolution but neglected to write it down.

You know what? The results were amazing. For the group that did not write down their New Year’s resolution, only 4% of them kept their resolution. However, for the people that wrote down the resolution, a whopping 44% of them had kept their New Year’s resolution.

“You can’t hit a target you can’t see” says motivational speaker Brian Tracy. And he is so right. A dream is a wish. Most people don’t write down their wishes – Thus, most wishes don’t come true.

Another one of his famous quotes is, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”

So have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Have you put pen to paper or your fingers to keyboard? If you’ll just take a few minutes and get your dreams down on paper, your odds for success are going to increase tenfold.

So what are your goals — what are your dreams — what are your aspirations? If you really want to make them happen, put together a plan.

Do you want to go for doing six dogs a day to eight? Have you divided your day so you know how long you have to spend on each pet and still get the job accomplished? Maybe your plan includes dividing the types of dogs you take each day in order to accomplish your goal. This division might come from the size of dogs you take. Or it might be the degree of difficulty. Obviously it’s going to be easier to wash a Beagle than it is to do a full scissor job on a poodle.

Do you want to become a certified master groomer or enter the competition ring? What type of knowledge do you need to gain before you’re successful at that endeavor? Do you need to learn the foundation of dog grooming first? The foundation would be anatomy, structure and movement. Next will come mastering technical skills like; bathing, brushing, dematting, drying, clipping, scissoring, hand- stripping. Once your foundation work is down, now it’s time to take a breed. Pick one breed — and one breed only. Focus on that single breed. Read the books. Watch videos put out by top professionals on the breed. Study with professional breeders and handlers. Go to conformation dog shows. Attend workshops and seminars. Once you master one breed, you’ll find it much easier to learn additional breeds.

Do you want to own your own business? What will it take to make that happen? Outline the steps it’s going to take for you to gain the experience necessary to open your own salon or to go mobile. Once you have the experience, then it’s time to create a full-fledged business plan. A well thought out business plan will be your roadmap to starting your own business successfully.

Whatever your goal, the important part is to get it down on paper. The style that you get it down will be all your own. Some people do better doing outlines. Other people do better with simple lists. Others find mind maps work extremely well. Whatever your style, write it down. The more detailed you are about the necessary steps required, the more likely you will succeed.

Then, post it where you’re going to see it. Set a timeline to it and then energetically take action to complete each detailed step. The steps can be small — and sometimes smaller steps are good. It gives you a sense of accomplishment each time you get to move up the staircase of success.

2014 is just around the corner. What do you want to accomplish? Make those New Year’s resolutions. No matter what your goals, remember that just by simply writing them down are more likely to happen.

Happy Trimming!


Melissa’s Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Your Holidays with Ease


Most of you with any experience under your belt in the United States – just complete Phase 1. Phase 1 of the holiday marathon grooming. Getting all those pooches ready for family and friends.

Those of you in the United States, you have just gone through grooming marathon Phase #1 for the holiday season. Thanksgiving.

How did it go? Smooth as silk? Or would you like to make improvements as you move into Phase #2 – Christmas and Hanukkah?

Most of us are involved with the pet industry are here because the passion. We simply love working with the pets. However, even the most passionate groomer can feel the pressures of the holiday demands.

If you are one of those professionals who felt the pressures of the Thanksgiving crunch, take heart. It’s time to review what you did right — and areas that could use some improvement in the areas of time management in the grooming salon.

Here are My Top 10 Tips for Getting Through Your Day with Easy
#1. Mental Control
Stay focused. Pay close attention to what you are doing at all times. You’re working with live animals and sharp instruments. Chatter between your coworkers and pets breaks your focus. You lose time and you make mistakes when you don’t stay focused on the pet.

Always practice the three C’s; stay calm, stay cool, and stay collected. When you’re working with a pet you want to be friendly but aloof. You want to correct any undesirable action before it becomes a major problem. Frustration and anger have no place in a professional salon setting. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Breath. Step back to the grooming table when you have regained your composure.

Work methodically with all pets. Don’t get flustered. Set an even and steady pace when it comes to handling, bathing, drying, brushing, clipping, and scissoring. Set time goals for every step of the grooming process and strive to achieve them.

#2. Invest in Yourself and Your Equipment
What is the condition of your equipment? Are you working with top-quality equipment?

It’s amazing how much time you can save when your equipment is in top condition. Or when you splurge on that new pair of blenders that cut like butter. Or you have a high velocity dryer that has plenty of punch. Oh, and all of your shears and blades have sharp edges on them — correct? There’s nothing more frustrating than working with dull and ineffective equipment when crunch time is on. Right now you’re in crunch time.

#3. Organization in the Salon
Do you have a smooth process for client check-in and checkout? If you’re computerized, is it easy to pull up client records in a flash? If you’re still working with a card file, are all the records pulled the pets that are scheduled for that day?

Most stylists in a salon setting find working in a minimum of three or four hour blocks of time can be highly advantageous to time management. The more you have to stop to check-in or checkout clients the more you lose your focus on the pet that is on the table. By working in blocks of time, you can check multiple pets in and out in tight windows of time when it comes to dealing with customers.


Do you have a method to track all the collars and leads that accompany the pets? This is no time to be looking for that lost collar or lead! Do you have a bright assortment of those pre-made? Do you have festive bandannas cut and ready to go on the dog?

#4 Mental & Nutritional Stamina
When the rush is on, you need to be at your peak — mentally, physically and nutritionally.

You’re not going to be at your peak if you’re not getting enough sleep. I know … I know. With all the demands between work, family and holiday festivities, slumber can be hard to come by. Normally, a professional groomer is so physically exhausted that when your head does hit the pillow — sleep comes easily. Just make sure you’re getting enough hours each night so you can perform at high levels the next day.

With the holidays upon us, most salons find themselves overrun with holiday treats from their clients. Be careful with this one. Personally I learned the hard way you are not good to feel your best if you consume all those goodies all day long!

I learned in my early 20s to pack healthy food options to keep me nourished all day long. I was mobile so in between every client by reward was to eat. If I had healthy options at my fingertips, it was easy to keep my energy level in high gear. In a salon setting, this might be a little bit more challenging. Still, eating healthy small amounts on a regular basis is the best way to keep you both mentally and physically content.

Pack a nutritional lunch plus snacks. (You know your days are to be long!) Or do a potluck between staff members. We’ve done this for years at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming with great success. The rule is: Healthy, quick food options only. No sweets. No desserts. Our clients do a great job with that. The potluck is set up so everybody can grab a quick bite in between dogs quickly and easily.

If you’re not a cook – have a stack of local takeout menus available. If they deliver – BONUS!

The holidays are a great time to really test your skills. We’ll find out quickly just how successful you are. If you have a full book and struggling to fit into just one more pet each day, you know you have arrived. Be thankful for creating a service that your customers desire. If you take care of them well — they’ll take care of you. That’s what successful customer service is all about!

Happy trimming and happy Thanksgiving!


If you need a brush up on any time management lessons, here are a few titles from Learn2GroomDogs.com that could help you.
Video Title                                                                       L2GD Training Partner
• Building a Grooming Code — the Card Game                       Melissa Verplank
• Preparing for the Holiday Rush                                               Melissa Verplank
• Speed & Efficiency — Monster Sized Dog in 76 Minutes           Lisa Leady
• Speed & Efficiency — Daisy Dog in Less Than 45 Minutes       Suesan Watson
• Speed & Efficiency – Shih Tzu in 45 Minutes                             Suesan Watson
• Anything from the ‘queen’ of Gettin’ er Done – Judy Hudson    Judy Hudson
• Melissa’s Best Time Saving Tips                                                  Melissa Verplank
• Tails from Holidays Past                   Suesan Watson, Lisa Leady, Marc Lafleur,     Melissa Verplank
• What I Know for Sure (this one will just make you feel good!)    Judy Hudson

Corrective Grooming

BLOG PIC - Corrective GroomingEDITED

Photo: Award winning pet stylist and Learn2GroomDogs.com Training Partner, Irina “Pina” Pinkusevich, is a true master of corrective grooming tactics as she turns a Poodle into a Bedlington Terrier.

Corrective grooming is an art. It’s the art of accentuating the positive aspects of the pet while minimizing their faults. In order to be effective at corrective grooming, it’s important to understand canine anatomy, structure and movement plus correct breed profiles. Having an eye for balance, style and proportion is also critical.

Not all dogs or trims are candidates for corrective grooming. You must have an owner who is willing to leave some coat on a dog in order to hide its defects or accentuate the positive aspects of the pet. If a client opts for a short, low maintenance trim — you’ll not be able to apply corrective grooming tactics. However, if the client is willing to let you leave the pet in a slightly longer trim, there is much that you can do to accentuate the physique of a dog.

Corrective grooming is all about the illusion of creating a dog of perfect proportion and body structure to fit the correct breed profile of that dog. Once the stylist understands how to read and interpret a breed standard, they have a blueprint of what the pet should look like – if it was perfect. Many breed standards will actually outline the correct size, length, and proportions of the pet’s individual body parts in relationship to each other.

Once you can interpret the breed standard it’s just a matter of connecting the dots. Stealthy trimming can accentuate the key points of the pet while detracting from their faults. A talented professional pet stylist is actually an artist – a sculptor of fur.

Understanding how to do this will change the classification between a “groomer” and a “stylist”. A groomer only cleans the pet. They remove the coat with no focus on styling the fur. A pet stylist, on the other hand, is well versed in breed profile trimming. They have outstanding technical skills clipping and scissoring. They have a solid understanding correct structure and movement. When trimming the pet, they adjust the amount of fur left on the dog to highlight their best features while minimizing their weak points.

Many professionals are happy with just being a competent groomer. However, what really creates a salon that is in high demand? Have at least one talented pet stylist in your grooming department. An experienced, and correctly trained, pet stylist can easily go on to upper levels of the grooming world. Many are Certified Master Stylists under the voluntary certification testing organizations in the United States. Others go on to be successful in the AKC confirmation ring or the pet grooming contest arena. Some high achievers can be found in all areas; certified stylists, exhibit dogs on the conformation world plus show off their styling skills in the competitive grooming ring.

Here is a list of the typical areas we can influence with every day pets. Armed with a solid understanding of the canine species, a talented pet stylist can hide common defects while emphasizing the best features of the animal. The more you know about proper canine anatomy, structure and movement and breed profiles, the easier it will be to apply corrective grooming applications. It is also critical you have excellent technical techniques along with an eye for balance, style, and proportion.

• square or rectangular body shape
• topline
• undercarriage
• tail set
• neck length
• head

Bone & Body Structure
• front and rear legs
• front and rear assembly
• feet
• skull shape
• jaw length
• ears set
• tail set
• eyes
• neck

• texture
• color
• density

Happy Grooming!


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