Tips to Find a Dog Groomer you Love!


When I was young our family had a little poodle named Tippy. For those of you unfamiliar with poodles, their hair just continually grows longer and longer. For this small poodlereason, it is necessary to get them groomed and cut regularly to keep their hair under control! My parents groomed Tippy at home so I was never introduced to the concept of professional dog groomers.

Having Golden retrievers has now definitely introduced me to the necessity of having to take my dog to a professional groomer. Lulu’s coat was smoother, thinner, and easier to manage so it seemed no matter where I took her, she got a good cut (most of the time).

On the other side of the spectrum, Maui’s coat is very thick, a bit curlier, and grows like weeds in the summertime! Her thick coat and long fur must be a bit more challenging to work with because I have a harder time finding a dog groomer near me that can give her a great, short enough cut so I will not need to bring her to the groomer more often than I go to the salon!

Here’s a bit about our journey to find an excellent local dog groomer and some pointers to help you find a great professional groomer for your dog!


The Initial Search

Initially, I took Lulu (my first Golden) to a local dog groomer recommended by Helping Paws (the service dog organization that brought Maui into my life). She groomed out of her home. It was not wheelchair accessible, plus it was a bit of a drive, so I opted to try and find something wheelchair accessible and closer to home.

I took to the Internet to find local dog groomers and discovered one super close to my daughters’ school. Having no knowledge of their reputation as a groomer, I just took the plunge and gave them a try.

Taking this plunge to bring Lulu to a groomer that I knew nothing about was a bit nerve-racking! It was like making an appointment for yourself at a hair salon with a stylist you have never met nor do you know how good of a job they will do! Once your hair is cut, it is cut, and you are stuck with it until next time!


cute dog with crazy hair


All was Good – For a While

This worked out splendidly! One of the groomers did a pretty good job, but then I was scheduled with a new groomer (Sandra) that did a fantastically perfect job!

I continued on with Sandra for grooming Lulu and then Maui and all was good …. until she left.

This amazingly wonderful groomer left this location. I felt deserted, how could she do such a thing! (Just kidding with you Sandra).


The Search Resumes

New groomers were in and out of that place after Sandra and all of them paled in comparison. It was time to start a new search and find a new dog groomer.

I probably went through five different dog groomers and none of them could give Maui a cut that even came close to looking as good as Sandra’s cuts.

Walking out of one groomer I noticed Maui’s big bushy tail was all jaggedly cut and uneven. I think my 14-year-old daughter could have done as good of a job and she’s never cut any things hair before!

Here’s a photo of Maui after a series of three or four insufficient grooming sessions. You can see she is heavy and thick with way too much fur. (Yes, she was trying to steal the Sojos meal topper bag).


Golden retriever needing grooming


The Long Haul

Thanks to the beauty of Facebook I was able to find Sandra at her new grooming location. I decided to make the 40-minute drive and bring Maui to her for what I know would be an excellent grooming.

I was not disappointed! Sandra did an amazing job … again! Maui looks like she lost 10 pounds! That’s how much fur Maui had on her!

From this point on, weather permitting (I live in Minnesota so winters can be brutal) Maui and I will be making that track up to see Sandra whenever she needs grooming.


What I Did Wrong

Looking back over this whole experience I realized I went about this whole process the wrong way. There is an easier, more organized way to find a dog groomer near you and most likely have a better experience than we did.


Tips on How to Find a Professional Local Dog Groomer

Ask Around!  

Ask your friends, family, neighbors, friends of friends, people you see on the street, people at the park, ask anyone! Any time you see someone with the dog that has a great cut, don’t be shy to ask what groomer they use. They would probably love to know that their dog looks great and they would be happy to share groomer information with you.


Groomed Golden retrieverTour the Grooming Facility 

Take a tour of any grooming facility you are considering. Do the dogs or employees look stressed? Is it organized, hectic, noisy? Make sure they keep it clean. Do employees seem happy to be there?


Are the Groomers Certified?

Some states require pet groomers to be certified and grooming facilities to be licensed. If this is the case in your state, be sure the facility you are considering has all certifications and licenses in place.


Are the Groomers Knowledgeable?

Pet groomers should have extensive knowledge of the type of animal they groom. They should be able to confidently answer questions about why and how often nails should be trimmed; off her advice to help with shedding; how to thin a coat; how often a dog should be bathed, etc.

If their answers don’t seem to quite make sense or they answer evasively, this could be a red flag. You want a groomer that has the expertise to make the grooming experience a positive and safe experience for your pet.


Knowledge About Breed Specific Cuts

If you have a breed of dog that generally requires a specific type of cut be sure the groomer you select has a good handle on what your dog should end up looking like.

If you have special requests on how you would like your dog groomed, explain this to your potential groomer and gauge their reaction. Make sure they are attentive to what you are saying and agreeable to your requests.


Ask What They Do to Calm a Nervous Dog

Many dogs get incredibly anxious when leaving home and being left at a groomer for a few hours can really intensify that anxiety.

A good groomer will know how to calm and soothe an anxious dog. See how your potential groomer reacts to this question and if you are comfortable with how they answer in what they say.

If your dog is not used to being in a kennel, try to find a facility that does not use them.


Be Sure You Understand Their Pricing

many professional groomers include bathing, nail clipping, anal gland expression, teeth brushing, ear cleaning, pad cleaning in the overall price. Others include these items separately, so if you want them to perform the services it will bump up the price.

If your dog has a super thick coat, mats, or needs any other sort of special services, be sure you know the price of any extra services before you schedule an appointment.



Trust Your Gut!

Along with all of this, be sure and trust your gut feeling.

If the facility doesn’t quite feel right to you; a groomer’s answer to your question seems evasive; the salon seems chaotic or unkempt; dogs or employees seem unhappy or stressed  – trust your gut!

If something doesn’t sit right with you, move on to the next place.



Final Notes

Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior for the next couple days or so after they are back from the groomer. Does your dog seem “not themselves” or have diarrhea (could be a result of excessive stress)?

Maui tends to get ear infections quite easily so I need to watch her for a couple weeks after grooming to make sure she doesn’t come down with ear infections due to wet inner ears.


Make sure both you and your dog feel good about where you bring them!

There are many groomers around, especially in bigger cities. You’re sure to find one that fits your needs and makes you and your pup feel at ease.

Here’s to looking pretty,

Lynne and Maui


Have you had an exceptionally great or horrible experience bringing your dog to the groomer?

Have any additional tips for looking for a great groomer?

Share your ideas and experiences with us below in the comment section!



  • Hi Lynne! Maui is a beautiful golden!
    I agree it’s sometimes difficult to find that great groomer for your dog. At this time I have a lab/spaniel mix who doesn’t need grooming, but I had the groomer issue with my previous poodle mix.
    I hope your current groomer stays put for awhile!
    Thanks for sharing the great tips about what to do when it’s time to find a new one. Very useful information.

    • Lynne says:

      Hi Kyle Ann, Thank you so much for stopping by! I never realized before having my goldens all groomers can be so different from each other. Whether and distance permitting I will stick with Sandra and see her as often as possible! Note to self – stick with something good when you have it!

  • Courtney says:

    I like and appreciate this post. My beagle is getting up there in age, and he needs special attention when he goes to the groomers, when you mentioned to monitor their behavior after they return from the groomers, it was spot on advice. When they return, you can tell if they were treated with love,( as they all should be treated).


    • Lynne says:

      Hi Courtney, Maui always acts nervous when I drop her off at the groomer no matter who it is. I expect that because she doesn’t want to leave me, but she does not act afraid it is more that she doesn’t want to be without me. And you are right, if they’re not acting themselves when they get home it could show signs of not only illness but of not being treated well. Thanks for your comments and hope to see you back soon!

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