Many groomed dogs can be made to look even more beautiful if you have an amazing groomer, but as a pet owner, you may not even notice. Ever been to a barber or hair stylist that did an “amazing” job? You don’t know if its the person or the products they use, but you look and feel better? Pet styling works the same way. There are many different groomers and many different products but what can make all the difference is something in the pet industry we call “corrective grooming”. In the industry, we rarely, if ever see the ideal standard that is described in the American Kennel Club breed book. Dogs may be too short, or too tall, they could have elbows that face out or dogs can be overweight. All of these things contribute to their haircut and what they look like before and after they come out of the grooming salon.
Many times as a pet parent you can not single out one thing that your groomer has done to your pet, you just know your pet looks better than he ever did before. This is because a trained and well educated certified pet stylist has learned how to correctly groom a pet to hide imperfections in the anatomy!
The most common imperfections we see is what are called “roach back” or “cat back”. These two imperfections cause either a concave curve of the spine resulting in a bowl like a spine, roach back. Cat back is a convex upward curve of the spine that resembles a frightened cat. Both of these spine imperfections can be muted with corrective grooming. Many times a pet who is dipped in the spine, we as pet stylist, leave more hair in the center of the spine and gradually clip the hair shorter as the spine extends to the neck and the tail. This results in a level top line of the spine. Transversely, we take away hair at the highest point of a cat backed dog. The shorter the hair at the highest point the more level we can make the spine appear by adding hair from the middle of the spine towards the neck and the tail. These small things pets stylist can easily master to make your pet look more pleasing to the eye and correct the appearance of the anatomy.
Another unpleasing appearance is that of elbows turning out or feet turning out. This is sometimes called East West Feet. It usually affects smaller breeds like Shih Tzus and Maltese. When certified pet stylist groom, they are consistently looking to make the dog not only look more symmetrical and balanced but to also make the pet look pleasing to the eye. In our industry, the reason people come back for grooming is because their pets look beautiful and the pets are happy. Correcting something like East West feet is taught only to well-educated groomers. These educated stylists know that taking the right amount of hair from the inside of the leg and adding hair to the outside edge of the leg can make the toes look even by using the hair as camouflage The hair left on the outside edge of the pet’s legs create straight lines, and as humans, we are programmed to see straight lines first! Helping to correct a pet that is “out at the elbows” is also a job for a well-educated pet stylist. Taking the proper amount of hair from the outside of the elbows helps to change the shape of the elbow that we perceive with the eye. Making your pet look more balanced and beautiful.
So the next time you pick up your pet look closely, your pet stylist is doing things to make you happy as well as perfect their grooming skills. A good pet groomer is worth their weight in gold. An educated Certified Pet stylist is priceless!