Why get your dog the standard shave or cut when you can do something a little more creative? Creative grooming in canines has become serious business in recent years. Competitions are held all over the country, with groomers vying for the title of most creative groomer. Most of the dogs used in creative grooming are poodles because of the consistency of their fur. In addition because they do not shed, they need to be groomed about once a month anyway.
Creative grooming involves dogs’ being cut and dyed to look like various objects and creatures. Of course, this has stirred controversy among animal rights activists who worry that dogs are being forced to go through all that just for the sake of their owners’ pride and satisfaction. On the flip side, creative groomers maintain that the dogs love the attention and have no problems sitting still for a grooming session that could take several hours. Some complex works of art may be six months in the making.
Creative groomers use colored artists’ chalk and colored hair spray to achieve the beautiful colors you see on the dogs. Some may also use semi-permanent hair color and dyes. The hair is then sculpted into works of art. Some groomers apply stencils and tattoos on their dogs as well. YouTube has many instructional videos about the many creative grooming techniques used, including one about applying stencil. To get the hair to stand up, hair spray is used. Of course, scissors and razors are used to cut excess fur.
Unfortunately, there are no safety regulations in the grooming industry, so groomers basically have free reign to do as they please. There are also no training, licensing or accreditation requirements. Therefore, any type of grooming can be risky for your dog is the groomer has little or no experience. Many groomers are under the assumption that if it is safe for humans, it is safe for dogs, which is not always true.
One creative groomer learned the hard way. She used oxidizing dyes on her dog, Silas. When he died in 2011, he has been diagnosed with three diseases caused by the use of the oxidizing dyes. His immune system broke down from all the toxic chemicals used in the dyes.
Silas’ death has brought about concern about the use of materials and dyes in the creative grooming process. His owner now speaks out about the use of unsafe products in hopes that no other dogs will die because of a competition.
Groomers have turned pooches into incredible works of art. It is not common for a dog to be turned into a camel, lion, panda, owl, macaw, snail, dinosaur or rooster. Some have been turned into kings, queens and gladiators. People may use a variety of colors on their dog to make them look like a rainbow. Some groomers receive their inspiration from TV characters such as Muppets and Winnie the Pooh.
The creations are so realistic-looking that, in some cases, you can’t even tell they are actually dogs. For those who would like to see the creations firsthand, Sandy Paw Grooming Shop Creative Grooming Awards has photos of how a creative dog groomer transformed her poodle into various creatures.