The science of dog grooming

Getting dog styling down to an art.

Audrey Leong

Published: 8 November 2016, 3:35 PM

For someone who has only had terrapins and fish her whole life, I was surprised anyone would let me near their dog, much less groom it.

Thankfully, my attempt at being a dog groomer for a day was supervised by the watchful eye of Desmond Chan, 28, lead groomer of Bubbly Petz.

Located next to the bustling coffee shops of Joo Chiat, this grooming shop was unlike any I had seen. Desmond and his partner Maeve Suar, 28, hope to revolutionise the world of grooming by taking away cages and leads, making grooming more relaxed for the dogs and their groomers.

I was in love from the moment I stepped into the glass-panelled shop cradling Coco, a miniature maltase I had borrowed for the day. Coco, on the other hand, decided to do her business on the shop floor three times.


The grooming room, where scared dogs could find comfort in seeing their owners through the glass wall.


We began with a 45-minute-long combing process, which involved me trying my hardest to get the knots out of Coco’s fur without scratching her skin.

I thought it would be easy, but Coco decided that she’d rather sit in my arms than on the table.


Coco refused to let us put her in the center of the table and wanted to be carried.


“Don’t lift her leg so high, it’s an unnatural position,” Desmond corrected me as I was trying to shave Coco’s paw pads, “always put their comfort first.”

A big part of being a dog groomer, I realised, was thinking about how you’d want to be treated if you were the one being groomed.


Desmond says overgrown hairs on the pawpads could result in itchy paws and possible infections from licking them.


It hadn’t hit me till that point that I was now shaping this dog’s impression of groomers, and if she would forever have a fear of the groomer’s office it would be because of me.

A sense of motherliness overwhelmed me, and I made sure to pay more attention to her soft whines, stopping if she started to kick, and praising her even more; conducting the grooming at a pace she was comfortable with instead of trying to get it done as fast as possible.


How I had to hold coco through the combing and shaving process since she did not like the table.


After all that shaving, it was straight into the bath. All we needed to do was to shower Coco, but I feared the worst. What if she jumped out of the tub?

Binge watching tutorials on bathing dogs on YouTube the night before had not equipped me for this.


The tub looked like an Olympic swimming pool compared to her.


With the help of Desmond, we were able to get Coco to calm down enough for us to shower her.

A part of me swelled with pride as she wagged her tail and lolled her tongue after being dried and the grooming was complete.


Coco at 70 per cent dryness, starting to regain her fluffy form.


It takes a huge amount of patience, precision and love to be a dog groomer; you need to have nimble fingers, the ability to stay calm at all times, and a sixth sense like a parent to know when the animal is uncomfortable.

I’ve got the so much respect for dog owners and groomers alike now, for keeping their pets in pristine shape so that animal lovers like myself can gawk at them with love from afar.

Check out the video of my adventures as a dog groomer here!
This is part five of ‘For A Day’, a series that features less heard of jobs in Singapore. In this series:

Working as a “shampoo girl” for a day

Indian boy turns Chinese wanton noodle hawker for a day

Wave-ing my surfing dreams away for a day

Ice cream dream come true

When something’s brewing and you know exactly what it is

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