ESSENTIAL FOR EVERY DOG GROOMER: Notes From The Grooming Table by Melissa Verplank

Dear Colin


Dear Colin – Just had a customer ring to say that I cut her dog, a cockerpoo, in three places when it came for grooming two days ago.

She is especially upset that we didn’t even mention anything. So I asked her to bring the dog so that we could take a look. We are always 100 per cent upfront anytime an accident causing injury happens.

But she refuses to bring the dog to us. It would be ‘too distressing’ for the dog. And her.

She just wanted to let us know that she won’t be coming back. And she wanted an apology. I remember the dog well. And I am 100 per cent confident I did NOT cut this dog. Barbara, London.


Dear Barbara – DO NOT apologise for something you didn’t do. Saying sorry right away suggests liability. So don’t do it until you’ve got all the facts.

But the customer isn’t even letting you see the dog. So you have no way of defending yourself. Of establishing the facts.

It could be anything. Like rough play with another dog. Or racing through sharp bramble. It might also be clipper irritation. Or the relief of mats being clipped out. And the dog is now licking, scratching, nibbling his skin. Which could lead to a hotspot.

Which you would know if she let you see the darned dog.

In this case, I would explain, calmly, that I am ‘sorry to hear’ that her dog has a cut but this is an accusation I take very seriously. I can only respond to it by seeing the cut first-hand.

OR, she has the option of taking the dog to the vet for a professional medical opinion. BUT I must be allowed to discuss with the vet directly.

If the vet puts in writing that the cuts are directly because of grooming then I will apologise and refund the grooming and the vet fees.

This is a reasonable way of doing things. Of establishing the facts. Your customer was not being reasonable because she didn’t let you see the dog. Nor take it to the vet for an objective professional opinion.

So it becomes a he-said / she-said situation. And I don’t have time for that. Agree to disagree. Move on. Don’t fret. Get back to grooming. Focus on keeping your happy customers happy.