This could be a blog about a few things, the first being that it was recently national black dog day! It’s a fact, proved time and time again by statistics, that black dogs (& cats) wait longer for forever homes in rescue centres. Sad, but true. That’s bonkers to me, my LBD (little black dog) is just as horrendous as my brown mutt. That is to say, I adore them both and wouldn’t swap them for the world. So please don’t overlook dark coloured pooches when looking to add to your family, they really are just as wonderful.
It isn’t anything to do with that though. What about pink pooches? Perhaps those who look like a tiger? Or maybe those who have a mowhawk? What do you think of those?
Here are the main types of creative grooming, though I’ve probably missed some!
+Salon creative, the basic stuff such as colouring a tail pink, is becoming more and more popular with groomers and clients alike. As attitudes change and people become more educated to the products and the process, there are more and more requests to add some flair to everyday grooms.
+Competiton creative is less common, and often the most controversial. This is where incredibly skilled groomers manage to turn poodles into bears and terriers into the terminator. The looks are dramatic and totally change the appearance of the pooch.
+Furjazzles. I kid thee not. This is often in the salon side of creative grooming and involves the application of small gems, feathers and sometimes trimming the fur into a pattern. Mostly used on short coated breeds or those who have dark fur that is trickier to colour.
+Asian Fusion. No colour or fuss, just creative styling!
But is it cruel?!
This is possibly the most annoying accusation creative groomers face.
To become a dog groomer, which is what creative groomers are first and foremost, you have to have a passion and adoration of dogs. The job is not easy, you won’t last long if you don’t want to dedicate your life to pooches. Suggesting a groomer is cruel to animals is a low blow, one which genuinely hurts and upsets. Please, don’t do it.
The dyes used are all 100% safe. Many are natural products and I’m pretty sure (but PLEASE don’t test it) you could feed a decent amount to a small child with no long lasting damage. I personally have incredibly delicate skin, eczema and am set off by just about any chemical; because of this, I patch test all products on myself first. Yep, I have coloured blobs on my arms regularly. A proper creative groomer doesn’t bleach the fur first (we know how badly it damages our own hair so why would we use it on dogs?!) and will never, ever, add creative onto a groom for a dog who isn’t happy with it happening.
A fabulous example is my old, cranky, Sophie Dog. She is 14 and is not keen on the grooming process. She tolerates brushing and bathing but is keen to avoid it if possible! In fact, the only time she isn’t trying to escape is when I’m doing something creative. I tend to colour her topknot and her tail which involves massaging the dye into her fur. She basically gets a lot of fuss and magically has pink fluff. She’s happy for me to do that. She wouldn’t be happy to stand for a furjazzle or a competition level of creative so I’ll never ask her to. She’s my baby and her happiness trumps everything else.
I’ve seen other groomers say similar to clients who have requested colour on their dog. So, if you ask me to draw a pumpkin on Fido and I say no, don’t be offended. If Fido is worried or uncomfortable with regular grooming I will not add 10 minutes on the table onto his usual routine. There’s no point.
A creatively groomed dog will never be matted or in poor condition. Creative works on well maintained, healthy coats. Someone who is taking the time to care what colour a dog’s tail is will likely be just as fussy about the rest of the dog’s care. They are often the best looked after dogs in the world.
THIS IS WHAT WE SEE AS CRUEL. DOGS SO MATTED THEY HAVE SORES ON THEIR SKIN AND HAVE TO BE SHAVED OFF, DOGS WHO’S CLAWS ARE SO LONG THEY’VE GROWN BACK AROUND INTO THEIR PADS, EARS SO INFECTED THE DOG CRIES WHEN THEY MOVE THEIR HEADS AND TEETH SO ROTTEN THEY WON’T LET YOU NEAR THEIR FACE. THAT IS CRUELTY.
But doesn’t the dog have to stand for hours and hours?
Noooo! As I said earlier, salon creative is a matter of minutes added to a groom. Often pooches will have a pamper, be let off the table for some chill time and then popped back on for a few minutes to add the funky stuff.
Even those amazing grooms you see at creative competitions don’t involve hour upon hour of the dog standing on the table. As a general rule the colouring is all, or mostly, done beforehand. Whether this is half an hour a day or in slightly longer sessions that don’t exceed normal groom time. Remember, most pooches take 1-2hrs for a full groom. They will be standing for 90% of that anyway. There isn’t a difference asking then to stand for an hour and a half to add colour.
The details and shaping are usually done in the competition. These classes last up to around 2hrs, again, the length of a normal groom. This all varies from competition to competition and depends greatly on the style produced but at all competitions, you are judged on your care of the dog. You are expected to take him or her out for loo breaks and water breaks when needed. If you don’t show due care and attention to the pooch you risk being eliminated.
Great! I’ll dye my dog at home tonight!
Please don’t! The horror stories relating to creative grooming are 99% of the time linked to people trying it at home. If it’s something you’re interested in, please chat to your groomer. They will be able to tell you if they think Fido is ready for it but also how to do it safely. The easiest and safest option is to ask your groomer to do it themselves.
You cannot use any old dye, (DO NOT USE HUMAN HAIR DYE ON YOUR DOG!) and need to make sure what you’re buying to top quality and pet safe. There are various brands on the market and like all things, some are better than others. Please leave this to the professionals and do your research first.
It’s not all about colour!
Perhaps one of my favourite creative styles doesn’t involve any dye at all, not a gemstone in sight! This is again gaining in popularity in the UK and is fabulous for almost all pooches. Asian Fusion!
This style is cute and full of character. Many styles are also practical and easy to maintain, perfect for pet owner and dog alike.
If you don’t want the traditional breed trim why not try something funky? There’s something for everyone.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO LIKE CREATIVE GROOMING, THE WORLD WOULD BE DULL IF WE ALL LIKED THE SAME THINGS. WHAT WE WOULD LIKE IS FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS AND REALISE THAT, AS GROOMERS, WE WOULD NEVER, EVER, DO ANYTHING TO HARM YOUR DOG. WHILE IN OUR CARE, THEY BECOME ONE OF OUR OWN.