Mission (Un)Accomplished

August 4, 2011 § 27 Comments

When it comes to getting primped and preened, it is an accepted fact that our Lil’ Miss Maple will be chalking-up more hours of blowdrying time in the grooming department than my neglected mane ever will. It is also a well-known fact that we have had more luck getting a finicky eater like Maple  to finish her meals than with finding a forever groomer that Maple could gel with. And so, after much contemplation, MM and I arrived to the conclusion that, in the long-run, the only way to make the grooming experience less of a stressful ordeal for all of us is to home-groom Miss Maple ourselves.

Maple, the glum sour plum, is not too keen about the idea:

Tools of the trade:

Armed with an Andis UltraEdge Clipper and plenty of seriously-delicious liver treats, we quickly mustered up our confidence before it could vanish and proceeded to make the first trimmings with the clipper. Four hours later—the end result: two very frazzled pawrents and one very moody puppy!

Did we accomplish what we set out to do? Well, technically, yes. We did manage to shorten the length of Maple’s coat but, after seeing how appallingly uneven it turned out, we decided to halt the mission before we could get a chance to tackle the most complicated anatomy—the noggin.

Not wanting our home-grooming session to go further astray, we made an appointment with a professional groomer to give Maple a proper trim around her face. Just as our luck would have it, Maple absolutely detested this particular groomer—but I don’t blame her one bit because I was there watching the nightmare unfold. I can’t even bring myself to name the grooming salon, other than to say that the recommendation came to me from a pet supplies store that I believed upheld a pretty good reputation. 

Well, MM and I certainly are more determined now than ever to learn the technique of dog-grooming. We hope that with some research and practice, we can become more efficient with the tools. Miss Maple, however, looks like she’s losing her patience with us—snubbing is what this pupster does best.


*sigh* Time to whip out Maple’s comfort food… liver treats. There’s nothing these potent and tasty morsels of calorie-rich goodness can’t resolve!

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§ 27 Responses to Mission (Un)Accomplished

  • didiwright says:

    Hi, girls. Whenever I read about your troubles with Maple’s grooming, I feel really sorry for you, but also very lucky to have a dog that requires no grooming at all. Anyway, at least you’ve got the tools and have given it a go. Practice makes perfect, so don’t give up. Just keep those liver treats handy…

    • Oh, how envious Maple would be of George and his easy-to-manage coat! Yes, grooming is an absolute must for Poodles—it comes with the territory (lol)! It hasn’t always been pleasant for Maple, which is why we figured it might be best to have a go at it ourselves. We’re very impressed by other blogging buddies and dog owners who home-groom their canine pals. We hope to get there one day. And, you’re right, practice makes perfect. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Tennya says:


    You miffy wanna try Pawsitive Grooming. It is a home groomer, her name is June Tan and I can give you her contact. She groomed Pebbles very well and is the best groomer I have come across.. After trying out other groomers for the past 4 times, I am going back to her pretty soon.

    Let me know if you want her number, you have me on FB. 😉

    • Hi Tennya! Thank you for sharing with us your contact for Pebbles’ groomer. It’s always helpful to hear from others, especially when they’ve found a groomer that they’re happy with. I’ll have a look at the website and will keep it in mind when Maple is next due for a touch-up… which won’t be long, given the rate her fur is growing!

  • totomameee says:

    Haha she does look very moody! I also have a hard time getting TOto head looking ROUND! But we just gave up and just do what we have to do, their fur grow out fast. Don’t give up, it just take more cutting wrong to get it right! Kekeke ~ I have many times caused pain pulling TOto fur and doing it at 6hrs stretch but now I am so much quicker and it has become so much painless for TOto keke …

    I wonder why so much groomer are such NIGHTMARES! They just don’t treat our pets right, but they also have to do what they have to do to get our $$$. There is one blog I see the groomer accidentally SNIPPED off the tongue of her brown poodle too! >> http://pinkaliciously.blogspot.com/2011/07/nana.html

    scary right!

    • I’m really in awe by how you have learnt the technique of handstripping, which I understand is a unique form of grooming for Westies. I think you’ve made great efforts in grooming TOto, and I’m sure he feels more comfortable being at home for the process. The initial learning does take quite a bit of time—6 hours, wow! We’re also hoping that with improvement, we can shorten the grooming sessions down to 2 hours 😀

      It’s so hard to believe that a groomer accidentally snipped her Poodle’s tongue—how horrific! Sorry, I just couldn’t click on the link… I don’t think my tummy can handle it. I hope the Poodle has recovered from the trauma and that the groomer will not be repeating the same mistake again 😦

  • lepawsvoyage says:

    Hi SJ, I understand how you felt about the ordeal of getting maple groom. When I first sent lele for basic grooming to get her nails cut, paw pads and tummy shaved, etc, it was hard. I told the groomer asap as I can’t bear have her out of my sight. Usually her grooming took around 30-45mins but it seems like a life time to me. I manage to find a grooming saloon called Dollhouse locate in the central. Their groomers are very friendly. So far so good for lele. I always sent lele there for a wash after a swim at sentosa.

    However, don’t be despair. I believe Maple will appreciated in no time to be groom by you. It’s always better to do at home by oneself as you know what’s best for your furkid.

    • I, too, find it very difficult to leave Miss Maple with a groomer. Mind you, I’m a huge worry wart, so that obviously does not help the situation either (lol)! Glad to hear that you’ve found a good groomer, whom you can trust with Lele. Thank you for passing on the name of the grooming salon that Lele visits—we’re so touched by your concern. Your recommendation is highly appreciated. Meanwhile, we’re trying to learn as much as we can about grooming. As you say, it’s just a matter of time and practice 😀

  • Carly says:

    It was a good effort – grooming dogs is hard! My friends have a cavapoo that they tried to groom and oh boy, by the time they were done Captain had a mohawk!

    • Lol, how cute! Well, Maple didn’t end up with a mohawk… but she did get slimmer-looking hips and a smaller-looking tooshie! Grooming is a lot more complicated than I imagined. Nonetheless, I’m glad to know that your friends home-groom their Cavapoo—I feel more at ease knowing that there are other dog lovers trying to make the same attempts as my husband and I. Now, if only there could a self-help group for folks like us!

  • Anny says:

    Home grooming is great… if you have the patience and knack to learn it 🙂 You could go for a dog grooming crash course. Over here in my hometown.. they offer the course for a fee. The basics of grooming your dog. They have it at one of the grooming shops/school.

    You have to be fast when you want to groom your dog.. and she has to be up on a table… where she can’t run 🙂 4 hours must be pure total torture for both of you and Maple. But with practice.. i am sure you guys will do great.

    We looked for a proper groomer for a while too. We finally found one who can do the job well. Hope you find a good one in Singapore too.

    • Yeah! I’ve actually been looking into basic dog-grooming courses for amateurs. There are a few schools here in Singapore, with some offering short courses over several weekends. I haven’t decided whether or not to go down this route, or to find a really informative DVD and learn from there. You’re right, though, 4 hours of grooming can be turmoil which is why we broke it up into two sessions over two days. We’re don’t want to prolong the ordeal for Maple and us—with more practice (and confidence) hopefully we can reduce the grooming time down to 2 hours!

      P.s. It makes us happy to hear that you guys know of a good groomer who can make Dommy look so handsome as always. We’re thinking of him over here and it’s fantastic to read that Dommy is up to his usual self again 😀

  • You guys are brave to attempt your own grooming, we tried before and realized after all the long hours of getting yuki to hold still and trying to make things even, that job was best left to a groomer. We do a little grooming on rocket and he hardly gives us any struggle, he’s more laid- back though,almost fearless. Not yuki, I can’t even hold her paw still if I wanted to clip her nails, and the weekly ear cleaning is such a struggle. Luckily we were very lucky to find a great groomer first time we took yuki and plan on taking rocket to him as well. I think paying someone to put up with the grooming is worth it!

    • I have to take my hat off to the groomers! After attempting it on our own (with little success, lol), it has made me realize the level of specialized skill and know-how required to work in this profession. Yes, there are some jobs better left to the professionals 😉 If we had just as good a chance of finding a great groomer for Maple as you have for Yuki and Rocket, we’d be sending her there in a spiffy! It sounds like there’s good chemistry between Yuki and her groomer, and I’m sure Rocket will have an easy-peasy time getting groomed there as well 😀

  • Muffin_mint says:

    Seriously, SJ, I think you have done a good enough job! Don’t be disappointed by Maple’s moodiness. I’m sure she isnt upset because of you. I would not have been able to do half of what you have done for Muffin even with the best tools in the world! And that is why poor Muffin always look uneven under my scissors. *chuckles

    Anyway, I find my groomer rather good. But I do see that you already have many recommendation. Do let me know if you will like more info. He is within my office building which is located in town. But one thing I must share with you here is a little trick I observe each time he does grooming for any dogs. (I often sneak some times off to watch him groom during my breaks) He will hold the dog by the “chin” and it seems to freeze the little one until he release it. And to gain more control. he holds their muzzle with his thumb underneath the chin pressingly lightly into the soft tissue. Out of curiosity I tried that on Muffin and it seems to work each time I want to calm him down or hold his attention. I don’t think it hurts ’cause till date Muffin has never resisted whenever I put my hands over his muzzle. I suppose it just feel weird for him. =)

    • Aww, gee, thanks—we really appreciate your kind words. We need all the motivation we can get!

      Thank you for the helpful tip about the chin-holding tactic. I did come across that advice after watching a dog-grooming video a while ago and have been applying the method on Miss Maple whenever I need to trim her eyebrows. It does work! As for the thumb pressure under the chin, that’s new to me. Hmm, I’m eager to give that one a go as there are times when Maple would start yapping at our neighbour (who she shares a love-hate relationship with). By the way, I think it’s amusing how you check out the grooming salon during your office breaks—only dog lovers would understand…and be compelled to do the same, lol! 😀

  • Anna says:

    I THIS is half the reason I have a vizsla. I knew I would not want to keep up with the grooming of a curly dog, I hardly want to keep up with Luna’s nails. Well I take that back I DOOO want to keep up with the nails but wanting to and doing are two different things. She doesn’t make it easy though. Have you tried searching youtube for grooming videos? Bet there are some on there, it has everything. Take it as slow as you can, though going through the drying process just makes you want to get it all done at once. Practice makes perfect, wish I was there to help, I almost did this as a job. Can you imagine if you had a standard sized poodle? Some tasks would be easier I’m sure but others would only become even larger.

    Keep it up, most dogs don’t like to be groomed so don’t take it personal if she gives you a look afterward. Just know that it’s for her own good.

    • Oh yes, curly dogs do take up A LOT of time in the grooming department! Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have a dog like Luna who hardly requires much maintenance at all—well, yes, accept for the nails (lol)!

      Gosh, I can’t recount how many hours I spent surfing YouTube videos. Some were more informative than others but, in the end, none seemed to help at all (well, for us, anyway)… it’s quite different watching a video and then trying to work on a real live ‘prop’ (lol)! Fortunately, Maple is very motivated by treats which helped us to keep the struggling and squirming to a minimum. Yes, I cannot imagine what it would be like to groom a Standard Poodle. Haha, I don’t think I even want to go there. Good on you for considering grooming as a job. After this attempt, I have a greater appreciation for the work that professional groomers do!

  • hi maple ma

    you can also try elydia, a home groomer. she’s very meticulous & patient. i’ve tried at least 5 groomers so far over the past 3 years & elydia is still the best. she’s been grooming my dogs since April 2010.

    u can check out her facebook page here:


    • Hello Baubles & Coffee momsy! Thank you for reading all about our misery (lol) and being so very kind enough to recommend a home-groomer that your dogs have come to like. I’m definitely going to compile a list of these recommendations and keep it handy in Maple’s file, should we ever need a professional to help us make ‘right’ a scissoring mistake that went wrong. I have a feeling this may be the trend for a while until we get the hang of it (lol)!

  • raisingdaisy says:

    It definitely takes practice with grooming before you can get it right, but you’ll get there! It took us several grooming sessions before we were happy with Daisy’s outcome, and sometimes we still make a mistake. But the good news is – it’s only a short time before it all grows back and we can try again! 😀

    Little Maple looks adorable no matter how her hair is cut!

    • As I was typing out this post, I was reminded of Daisy—she’s our inspiration! Daisy’s glorious bare bottom served as our comic relief as we were tentatively trimming Maple’s rear end 😀 We hope, with practice, we’ll eventually reach the same comfort level as you have in grooming Daisy. And, you’re quite right, their coats grow out so quickly. What’s short and barely there today is back again tomorrow! 😉

  • Novroz says:

    Poor maple…poor SJ too. You both gone through so much trouble for that.

    I always wonder how do dogs feel when they are being trimmed. I guess in miss Maple case, it isn’t a good thing. What will happen if she is left alone without ever being trimmed? will the fur keeps growing uncontrolable?

    • Once Maple gets brushed and trimmed, she is all smiles. From what I’ve read, Poodles like to look good and love showing off their coats. I guess it’s the actual grooming process that is unbearable, and I don’t blame them (lol)! If we left Maple’s fur alone, it’ll just grow and grow and grow in length… then we won’t we able to differentiate her from a mop 😉

  • Kas says:

    Oh I know that face entirely way too well!! Evee gives me that, “Oh no, seriously, do we have to?!?” look anytime I even pull out her slicker brush. Seriously, she was meant to be born as a hairless dog haha. I just took her to the groomers that other day – she looks like a poodle, not a Bichon, but since poodles are cute, I’m ok with it. 🙂

    • Yes, thank you for understanding our predicament (lol) 😀 We would love to see Evee’s new ‘Poodle’ look! There have been many a times when Evee appears on your blog and I would think I’m seeing a Poodle. She has the best of both worlds, I think 😉

  • Charlotte Wong says:

    I chanced upon your blog while blog-hopping. I Have a poodle, Baby, who is very difficult to groom. She has relatively straight black fur, and has gone through surgery in her hind legs so she is very difficult to handle. My husband and I have tried many groomers but didnt like the way they handled Baby. We were REALLY about to enroll for grooming class with Prestige when this lady we met at the pet store recommended Bark & Bubbles (Jalan Rumah Tinggi , redhill area). I feel comfortable that both groomers are ladies, because I have heard about male groomers hitting dogs. What put me completely at ease was when one of the groomers, Joette, told me about her poodle Toffee having gone through the same operation, so she knows how to handle ‘fragile’ dogs. Be sure to ask for their popular “Teddy bear cut” if you decide to pay them a visit!

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