Creative Grooming

with Stuart Simons

On my journey to become a professional dog groomer, I discovered that there are things about the profession that were controversial and sometimes a little disturbing. One example, I remember grooming a Hungarian Puli which had a corded coat, something that was very new to me. I remember this poor dog struggling with the weight of his burden as we got him wet and how much support we had to give him to clean his coat properly. Not knowing anything about the breed or grooming for

 that matter, I just thought that it was the way the dog grew his coat and that was that. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me that, to get a corded coat, you must first wait for the dog to matt up and then separate and pull the mats tight. Now I am not saying that this in itself is a cruel procedure, but I would say that it is time consuming and a creative groom in itself.

Another example is a bearded collie whose hair was so straight that it flowed beautifully in the wind and was absolutely breathtaking. It wasn’t until I questioned the tutor that he told me that straighteners were used on the dog to achieve this effect. 

The point that I am trying to make here is that dye or no dye, for years and years mans best friend has been groomed in many different ways by owners and breeders alike to their individual specification and no dog that you see in every day life is an exception. Bichon Frise wouldn’t be wandering around in the wild with big heads and perfectly scissored bodies, You wouldn’t see a

Shih-Tzu hunting in the undergrowth with a perfect full coat and not a single knot in it. The dogs that we see on our streets today have been bred to be companions to human beings. Creative grooming doesn’t just involve dying dogs, surely straighteners being used, corded breeds and Pom Pom poodles should equally be classed under this heading.

Now, we are not the most sensible of beings in the world, some people would say “if there is something on the market to dye our hair with, then why not try it on our dog”. Well I can tell you that this is NOT the way to go. Dogs have a completely different make up to us and some products effect them in ways that is different to how they effect us. Anything that uses accelerants, bleach or peroxide is an absolute No No for use on our beloved pets.

Here at Tails of St Leonards, we use dyes that are completely non toxic and specially made for Cats and Dogs. We use a coloured gel that washes on like a shampoo and left for 5 minutes (longer if a stronger colour is required) and then washed out. It has absolutely no smell and usually washes out in 6 – 8 washes.

Stuart Simons is part of the N.A.P.C.G (National Association of Professional Creative Groomers) and he rigidly follows health and safety procedures to ensure the welfare of any dog or cat in his care.

We do NOT apply dyes to dogs with any kind of skin problem, elderly dogs or puppies. We cannot confirm that the colour will be the exact desired hue as some dogs have different pigmentation to others and dyes without toxins can never be completely accurate.

‘As a salon owner and doggy lover I feel that it is my job to try to educate dog owners in this country to really question if what they want to do to their dog is for the best. I recently dyed a celebrities dog pink and it caused a real stir in the media. I even got a message from a friend in New Zealand to tell me that my work had reached the papers out there’.

Yes, some people were very against me having done this to the dog but the amount of people that loved it far outweighed my critics. It caused such a stir that an invite came asking me to go on Morning TV to talk about the procedure which I was more than happy to do. As we were walking up the stairs of the ITV building I got talking to one of the runners of the program and she said how terrified of dogs she was. I had Molly, My pink Bichon Frise with me and this runner was more than happy to interact and stroke molly. Afterwards, I asked why she was ok to stroke Molly even with a fear of dogs and she said “Its simply because she is pink, she looks so friendly”. Now, Molly has far more interaction and love from the public since being pink. Im not saying go out and dye your dogs all the colours under the sun, Im just trying to explain that:

A: As long as you go to a professional groomer registered with the N.A.P.C.G
B: You don’t try to do it your self
C: You don’t use your dog to make a personal, political or religious statement I don’t see any reason not to have fun with your doggy.