Ten-Year Anniversary of Notes From the Grooming Table – Time for an Update!

January 21st, 2014 by ificore

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Where does the time go? It seems like just yesterday Lisa and I were buried within the creation of Notes From The Grooming Table. Notes was designed to be a reference guide for the professional pet groomer.  With every breed, I identified the “correct” grooming method for the AKC confirmation show ring. However, in the book, I gave basic pet grooming directions and how to maintain the integrity of the breed using pet grooming techniques with clipper’s and scissors.

In total, Notes From the Grooming Table took over three years to write. At the time there were 150 breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club. Those were the dogs that we included with Notes. When we first started working on Notes, we had no idea the global appeal this book would have on our industry. We sell almost as many books abroad as we do here in the United States.

Since Notes was first published in 2004, the AKC has accepted almost 50 new breeds in just 10 years. A number of those breeds come in multiple sizes and a variety of coat textures. 10 years ago, the Miscellaneous Group was so small, we didn’t even opt to include in the book. Today there 15 breeds in the miscellaneous category of the AKC! We have opted to add them to the updated version of Notes From the Grooming Table.

Ten years ago, the Internet wasn’t even close to what it is today. The amount of research Lisa (my illustrator for Notes) and I had to do with individual breeds was mind-boggling.  Finding reference material about each dog required book after book — magazine after magazine — and many dog shows. Today, research is much easier via the Internet. But as you know, not everything on the Internet is totally accurate. It still requires an awful lot of reviewing, sorting and double checking before I feel the information is accurate.

 I don’t want to think about how many drawings and sketches Lisa created to make Notes come alive. When she felt she was close on the drawing, she would bring it to me for review. I know she hated this, but it worked. I’d pick up my scissors, tape, a red pen and my trusty AKC book.  I’d read the standard, measure the dog out and then start cutting the dog into what look like puzzle pieces. Lisa watch from the sidelines horrified. I cut it apart, re-measure it, change body shapes and tape it back together. I’d hand her back her draft drawing and tell her, “Do it this way.” And she always did very willingly – although I’m sure there were times she was cursing me under her breath!

When I first wrote Notes from the Grooming Table, certain tools didn’t exist. They weren’t even an idea yet. Or if they did exist, there have been huge advancements with the piece of equipment. The tools that are high on my radar list are the extensive variety of attach-on guard combs. Wow. Those have come a long way! Battery operated detailed trimmers are another piece of equipment no groomer should be without. Another tool that has gained wide acceptance are the large blending shears. When Notes hit the press, I’d never even seen this item!

Back in 2004, we never anticipated we would have a global market. We never address the different styling techniques and trends depending on what continent you’re grooming salon is located. And not only are the styling trends different, in some countries we are starting to see docked or undocked tails along with cropped or uncropped ears. These variances are sometimes personal preference or laws from the individual countries. Whether the dog has a tail or not is going to dictate how that tail is going to be handled in the grooming salon. Same thing goes for ears on many breeds.

Ten years ago, the art of hand stripping was just starting to take root in the professional pet grooming salons. Today, we see more and more pet stylists applying hand stripping techniques to pet dogs than we’ve ever seen before.

What’s up with all the hairless breeds? We’re going need to put an entire section and how to care for dogs that don’t have any coat to protect their skin. They certainly have different needs than the coated varieties!

How many of you realize what kind of deadline we were under to get Notes published for the first time in 2004? We had done a large PR bit announcing the release at a major tradeshow. Of course, our timing wasn’t going quite as planned with the final printing. There were issues. Lots of issues.

In order to get this book on the press in time to make our debut trade show, we only had 24 hours to proof the entire book. I opted to keep the first run of Notes From the Grooming Table a small run. Good move on my part. It was riddled with typos. If you are one of the early purchasers of Notes, check it out. It’s pretty funny because some of the typos are absolutely blatant. (Like the color of the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.)

Luckily, many of you were gracious enough to simply point out our typos. For the first few years, we continued to keep our print runs small. Every time we went back to press, we would fix a couple more typos. One of the typos I can’t believe has totally slid under the radar for all ten years has been the spelling of the breed Schipperke. It’s still wrong today. Whoops. Go ahead – grab your book and check it out – I’ll wait. Needless to say, that will be fixed in our revision of Notes From the Grooming Table!

For our tenth year anniversary, we are working on revising Notes From the Grooming Table. Lisa and I are excited to be able work on this project again. For the first time in years, I am literally going through Notes From the Grooming Table page by page. I have a highlighter, a colored pen and lots of sticky notes. It’s hard to believe there so many new breeds to address. We’re enjoying updating the styling trends that have changed slightly on established breeds. It’s fun being able to share with you so many new tools that make grooming dogs so much easier.

This is turning into a major undertaking. However, with this revision of Notes From the Grooming Table, we want to take our time. There will always be opinions on what is right or wrong with all aspects of the style and trends of professional dog grooming. We want to make sure we give you lots of options to create a dog that is well groomed – even if you have never physically groomed that breed before. Armed with Notes From the Grooming Table, you will have the most current and up-to-date pet styling book available anywhere in the world. Look for the revised edition of Notes coming out late in 2014.

Happy Trimming!