How much to tip for a puppy trim?
September 5, 2004 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Tipfilter: I got a puppy about a month ago and am taking him to get trimmed at one of the larger pet supply chains. What is the general consensus on tipping for something like this?
posted by bucko to Pets & Animals (16 answers total)
Not so fast, bucko! (/Richie Cunningham)
Are you asking about fur-related grooming, or some ears & tail reworking? Which breed/mix is involved?
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:59 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: Whoops. My dog is a three-week old shih-tzu. He's having some fur trimmed from his face, legs and genital area and a toe-nail clipping. It's his first haircut, and my first dog for that matter. Basically it's a $20 procedure.
posted by bucko at 2:09 PM on September 5, 2004

It's probabally the same as cabs and restaurants: 15%.
When you get to know the staff well enough, you could give them 20% on holidays, or if you feel the service is especially outstanding.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:13 PM on September 5, 2004

Who the hell tips dog groomers? Hairdressers, sure, but dog groomers?
posted by reklaw at 2:29 PM on September 5, 2004

reklaw: what? I got tipped regularly when I was a dog groomer - about as much as you'd tip a hairdresser (10-15%) was standard - not to mention getting Christmas presents from my regular clients. What makes you think dog grooming is any different?

bucko: if you like the work, find out the name of the groomer so you can go back to her/him - grooming is very hit or miss at Petsmart, the only real benefits being that it's cheap and convenient.
posted by biscotti at 4:05 PM on September 5, 2004

Smart Dalek: not sure what distinction you're making, but assuming by "ears & tail reworking" you mean docking tails or cropping ears, these are done by a vet, and if you're talking tail docking, it's done before 5 days of age or not at all unless required medically.
posted by biscotti at 4:07 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: That's why I posed the question. I don't feel like breaking custom if it's a normal practice, yet I remember being explicitly told not to take any tips while working at a couple of different department stores that I worked at as a teenager. Of course I wasn't cutting dog hair, either.

SO, if you have a dog (or other animal, I suppose), do YOU tip your groomer?
posted by bucko at 4:12 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: Whoops, that should be, "That's why I posed the question, reklaw..."
posted by bucko at 4:14 PM on September 5, 2004

Yes. Groomers earn and deserve a tip.
posted by normy at 5:26 PM on September 5, 2004

Who the hell tips dog groomers? Hairdressers, sure, but dog groomers?

Hairdressers don't have to clean up when their customers shit and piss all over them and their equipment. Hairdressers generally aren't required to handle their client's genitals. Being bitten by their customers isn't usually a hazard for hairdressers.
posted by normy at 5:40 PM on September 5, 2004

3 weeks? I'm hoping that's a typo ... otherwise check with your vet re his vaccinations first, please. Kudos for starting him as a young'un, though ... it's much easier to get them used to grooming at an early age than it is to wait 'til they're over a year old and have never been exposed to bathwater, clippers, and total strangers messing about with their genitalia!

Just a few comments, based on 17 years as a groomer. First, I'm wary of the grooming done at chains such as PetSmart ... yes, you can get a good groomer that way, but as biscotti says it's very hit or miss. They tend to be more along the lines of assembly-line work, they often hire new groomers just out of school, and I'd far rather find a small local groomer that I could build a relationship with and who, more importantly, would build a relationship with my dog.

Second, the groomer always appreciates a tip ... trust me! *grin* The groomer also appreciates goodies. I went for years without having to do any of my own baking at Christmas ... just as well, 'cause that's the busiest time of the year for groomers and they rarely have time to breathe, much less bake, the week before the holidays.

Something to be aware of for future: When you have an urgent need for a grooming and it's two days before Christmas, the groomer WILL take into consideration whether or not you tip (or treat) before deciding whether to squeeze you in between the Cocker and the Airedale. ;-)
posted by NsJen at 5:53 PM on September 5, 2004

Woah, I just saw that "three week" comment. If this puppy is actually only three weeks old (please PLEASE tell me it's a typo - I think it must be, since you said you got him a month ago) you have a LOT to deal with before you even start thinking about grooming. Puppies should be with their littermates until at least seven weeks, preferably eight or ten.

And what NsJen said.
posted by biscotti at 8:06 PM on September 5, 2004

Response by poster: Sorry, he's a little over three months old. My bad.

In the future, I plan on taking him to a local groomer that's in the same complex as our vet. They were just so heavily booked that I figured I'd just get a little trim at the chain and follow up in another month or so with the local groomer.

The general consensus seems to be that tipping is normal. I'll do just that. Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.
posted by bucko at 8:28 PM on September 5, 2004

What happens the first time a dog is at a groomer -- especially for a puppy -- sets their mindset about groomers, and makes the difference whether they view the experience as a chore to be dealt with or a torture they have to fear.

As NsJen mentioned, my experience with the chain stores is that they do not hire people who have a lot of experience in grooming or particular fondness/empathy for animals. None of the stores I've been in have seemed to manage their reception areas well and I've heard numerous reports of animals handled in a manner that's less than friendly or gentle.

One of my dogs was so badly treated by groomers at one that when we returned to shop there a couple of weeks later, he refused to get out of the car then spontaneously relieved himself out of fear after I cajoled him out to the parking lot. My sister's dog got a chunk taken out of the edge of an ear at another chain store.

Perhaps the stores in your area are better, but from everything I've heard from groomers and pet lovers all around the country, chances are great that they're not. As such, they're also not, I'd suggest, environments that your new puppy ought to be exposed to, especially for his first foray into grooming.

Ask your vet or other local dog owners for recommendations. If the groomer near your vet is booked up find another with a good reputation. But please, please reconsider taking your little guy to a chain!
posted by Dreama at 10:46 PM on September 5, 2004

Does your vet not do grooming? I work at a cat only vet, and we do a decent amount of grooming. It might be a little more expensive for your vet office to groom the puppy than a chain (I really have no idea since I don't work with dogs), but if it were my dog, I'd feel better knowing a vet was on site just in case anything happened and the puppy needed medical attention.
posted by mabelcolby at 1:47 AM on September 6, 2004

I have to agree with Dreama. It's better to wait and get in at a "real" groomer's for the pup's first experience.
posted by biscotti at 8:35 AM on September 6, 2004

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