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New Clients, Please Click Here (Salon Etiquette)
Dear <<First Name>>


Welcome to 2021.  Let's hope its a darn sight better than 2020 was, though I think we rode that particular storm pretty well, all things considered.  

The good news is that I've extracted this information for Tier 4 Groomers.  I can remain open for your dog's welfare and you are permitted to deliver and collect your dog from the salon.  This is directly from the website.  Unless something else changes, I'm open as usual. 

At the bottom of these emails is The List.  It's normally the next two weeks of appointments - check to see if you're on it.  If you're not and you think you should be, get in touch. I also list the free appointments there, so if you need one that's the first place to jump to. 
There is not enough scope in this newsletter to teach a complete novice how to correctly raise a new puppy.  However, I'm going to give you some brief notes and links to trusted sources of information or colleagues who can help you further.  OK - I lied, there is quite a marathon to get through here, so please go and make yourself a cuppa, get comfortable then read on...


Every puppy needs training.  They are dogs, not babies, who need clear direction, love and patience.  I would HIGHLY recommend that you do at least one One-on-One training session with a dog trainer to make sure you're headed in the right direction. 
  • I train on Fridays - WhatsApp me on 07767 341424 to book your lesson.  £55 per hour.
  • Gail Ward: I've known Gail since 1988 and she runs Cranbourne Dog Training School.  She has over 30 years of experience and is hugely respected in this field.  Gail has a no-nonsense approach to training and can be reached on 01344 891771.  Visit Gail's Website
  • Philippa Short holds more dog training qualifications than anyone I know.  She is also a great friend (known since 1993) and hugely compassionate trainer. Philippa can be reached on 01344 891501.  Visit Philippa's website
Bitches - Spaying and breeding

Bitches come into season somewhere between 5 and 9 months of age.  This period can be divided into three parts:
  • Week 1: This varies enormously from bitch to bitch from very light spotting which the bitch immediately cleans up and you never see, to somewhat more heavy bleeding that she leaves everywhere.  You can now buy sanitary "nappies" for your dog to wear so she doesn't stain your carpets or furniture. Her vulva can swell to the size of a small tangerine... this is normal. Don't Panic.
  • Week 2: The discharge becomes paler and more "straw coloured".  Most bitches are said to be in "standing season" ie ready to be mated from days 10 to 13.  Of course, this is a bit tricky to work out if you never saw any hint of being in season to start with.  Each mating will fertilize some of her eggs, so if your in-season bitch escapes, each puppy could have a different father. With the wind in the right direction, a male dog can smell a bitch in season from 15 MILES away.  In the wrong direction, you're luckily restricted to 8-10 miles. To put that into perspective, on a good day, a bitch in season in Ascot can be smelt by a male dog in Reading...  There is an EXCELLENT book called The Book Of The Bitch and I dearly wish it was a legal requirement for any person wishing to breed their dog to have read, digested and been tested on before proceeding.  Someone, somewhere, has my copy and I'd dearly love to have it back, please.  To my knowledge, there is no disguising the enticing scent of a bitch in season.  Your bitch MUST be on a lead at all times because even the best recall in the world can go to pot during this phase.  Do not let her out into the garden on her own unless you have 6' ++ fences that are also dug in 2' underground.  Male dogs can be hugely persistent.  With this in mind, I must be told if your bitch is going to be in season during her appointment.  If I have an entire dog booked in with her (or even afterwards when she has gone home) her scent can drive the poor chap quite insane. This isn't very fair on the male dog, me, or the male dog's owner who may have to cope with a highly excitable boy at home.
  • Week 3: The discharge will go back to BLOOD again.  This is normal.  It will tail off slowly towards the middle/end of the week.  Her vulva will shrink back too, though for some dogs it will always be larger than it was preseason. 
  • Do not assume that either Week 1 or Week 3 are "safe" as some dogs ovulate early and there are plenty of litters proving that a bitch can also be caught late too.  A tie is considered good if you want puppies, but isn't always necessary and your bitch could certainly become pregnant without one.
This happens approximately every 6 months.  I do NOT recommend spaying before the first season as your puppy needs her hormones to close the growth plates on her bones.  Without them, she will not mature in the same way as nature intended.

I would personally spay after the 2nd season, so I am capable of anticipating the exact middle between seasons 2 and 3, when her ovaries and uterus are likely to be at their smallest and the operation is the simplest it can be.  

After spaying your bitch will become between 10-15% more economical to feed.  Your vet will probably forget to tell you that, hoping perhaps that you'll sign up to their diet club and buy their diet food in six months time...

If, having read the above book you're still intending to breed your bitch, go back to your breeder.  They will know your dog's bloodlines and in which areas your bitch is deficient for the breed or type (there is no such thing as a perfect dog).  This will determine the type of stud dog used and a good breeder will know all the stud dogs available.  Since all dogs can carry STDs you need to be sure that the dog you're going to use has been swabbed, is clear and obviously, hasn't had any encounters with any other bitches after this test 😉.

Two final points on this matter
  • There is always the chance that your bitch won't make it.  
  • You should only be breeding if you intend to produce puppies that are better than the sum of their parents, are willing to follow them throughout their entire lifetime and will always take one back, whatever its age or circumstance, if needs be. 
Male Dogs - to neuter or not?

Having read the above, you might want to ask yourself if you want your male dog to be constantly put into temptation by the enticing scents of bitches in season.  It's true that many dogs have simply no interest after their "boys op" and that they make for very contented pets.  There are also some (rather fewer) entire dogs that don't seem to be bothered by girls in season too.  The op will generally take the steam out of most male dogs and unwanted behaviours such as humping and leg cocking will disappear within 6 months of the procedure. 

Not many male dogs will forget an encounter with a bitch in season.  A 45-minute orgasm is quite hard to forget.  After using a dog at stud, he will become quite a different lad to live with.  You might do well to remember that 😉. 

Your recently castrated dog will become 10-15% more economical to feed.  Cut back right after the operation if you don't want him to become porky. 

My first dog was the result of a mating between my then boyfriend's Collie and a mate's Wolfhound Greyhound cross who was apparently safe because he had had a Tardac injection (chemical castration).  Whilst my world would be entirely different if Bryndle hadn't existed and I definitely wouldn't be sitting here writing this today, just be aware that chemical castration doesn't inhibit fertility.  Or at least, it didn't work then.  Who would have thought that that fleeting encounter (no tie) would have resulted in a 30+ year career in dogs.


Oh yes, this IS a grooming blog, isn't it? 🤣🤣 The good news is that the first lockdown wasn't a complete washout.  I did a whole series of videos for Bella and Duke which included: if a picture tells a thousand words then a video is like reading the whole book.  If I've mentioned your brushing to you might I suggest that you jump straight in and binge-watch the series?  My grooming is only as good as your maintenance!  If I'm fire-fighting your mats, knots and tangles I'm not creating beautiful shapes and styles.

On the subject of ears, (or itchy skin conditions) please take a good look at this range of products.  Zymox  isn't cheap, but cheaper than a visit to the vet for a tube of Otimax for an ear infection! If you have a dog that is prone to ear problems I'd have this on hand. 

And finally...

Your dog's coat is only as good as the materials you put into him to make it from.  This brilliant website has analysed nearly every dog food available in the UK.  How does what you're feeding stack up against the rest? Take a look here. 

I can't stress how important proper nutrition is. Here are a couple of my observations as a groomer with a mere 17 years experience:
  • I spend more time sorting out the teeth of dogs on Kibble diets than I do on dogs on tinned foods. The fastest teeth to clean with virtually no scaling required at all are always in the mouths of dogs fed on a BARF diet (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food).
  • I spend more time drying dogs on a poor quality diet because their coats are harsh and porous, so they hang on to the water forever.  This means your dog is cold and wet after his walk for longer than he has to be or a better-fed counterpart.
  • I spend more time "training" table manners to dogs on a poor diet as they lack concentration and stamina.
  • Dogs smell is created from the inside out.  A poor diet will result in a stinky dog.  I can wash off what's there, but it will come back within days.  A BARF dog has no discernable odour ... even when wet.
2021 - The First List

Monday 4 January
9.00 Toto Pidgely and Nyla Tosh
2.00 Max Thompson and Barney Chapman

Tuesday 5 January
9.00 Maggie Blundell and Reggie Braccetti
2.00 Lucy and Scruffy Daines

Wednesday 6 January
9.00 Frankie Weaver and Coco Buxton
2.00 Yashi Bull and FREE

Thursday 7th January
9.00 Lily, Rolo and Suzy Durose
2.00 Wolfie Buxton and Lucy Wilkie

Friday 8th January
9.00 Dusty Organ

Monday 11th January
9.00 Oscar Kirby and Florence Jonas
2.00 Fonzie and Mia McMahon Full Groom
2.00 Mungo and Poppy McMahon Teeth

Tuesday 12th January
9.00 Cloggy Pelly and Matilda Kent
2.00 Harold Cole and Cookie Guest0Gornall

Wednesday 13th January
9.00 Macey Player and Leia Cook
2.00 Wolfie and Cookie Kerr

Thursday 14th January
9.00 Striker Reid and FREE
2.00 Scrappy and Willow Bambury

Friday 15th January

Free Appointments in January
6th - 2.00
14th - 9.00
18th - 2.00
20th - 9.00
And finally, please use the button above to take a peek at the diary and request to reserve a dog grooming appointment
Dog Training can be organised via phone or WhatsApp on 07767 341424

Looking forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Many thanks and kind regards
Katie Rourke Dowding
International Certified Master Groomer
T: 01344 291465  M: 07767 341424 E:
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