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Puppy love: New DOGUE on the block

Jessica Schumann

Winter is almost upon us and while you might be one to lose a few strands of hair come the change of season, I can guarantee your four-legged friend is losing a lot more. Not only do frigid winds and freezing rains wreak havoc on your dog’s precious coat and skin, it’s also the most difficult time to maintain your furry friend’s grooming — trust me, I know.

From wrestling your pooch into the tub to wrangling the clippers in those hard to reach places, it’s easy to feel guilty when you give up despite the effort that you put in. But then I discovered somewhere that would do the hard yards for me – the new “DOGUE” in town.

For ages my saving ‘grooming’ grace was simply the mobile dog groomers who service Canberra’s northside and while they’ve always done a fantastic job with my furry best friend, Chica, it was the convenience (or rather inconvenience) of having to be home each time I wanted it done that troubled me, (weekends weren’t ever an option as they were always booked up well in advance).

So there was a real market for an actual, permanent dog salon in the Gungahlin area.

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Then earlier this year, DOGUE moved in; Canberra’s first ever boutique and spa for dogs. Now there’s no reason to feel guilty when I go for a manicure because I can book Chica in for one too, haha.

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Promptly booking Chica in for a Full Groom — wash, brush, clip and groom (including nails too!), it was the offer of ‘leave her there for the day that surprised me’. What? I can actually drop my dog off for “doggy day care”?

Curious to see how it all happened, I decided to hang around and watch the action “backstage”.

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The grooming area is rather spacious and is separated by a dedicated “play space” for the dogs to do their thing as they await pampering or potter about once they’re done. But when I look it’s empty, despite the noise.

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I ask owner and boutique manager, Tania Collyer, about it and she tells me that she and her team prefer the dogs to wander freely as they work throughout the day – meaning they’re relaxed not anxious.

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“Dogs are encouraged to wander around the spa and mingle with other canine customers who are also there for the experience, oh and for a haircut of course!” says Tania.

It’s also a great way for your pooch to become socialised again if they’ve rolled solo for a while, like Chica.

To start, Chica is given a warm hydro bath and all over wash but soon resembles a (cute) drowned rat as stylist Sarah wets her down and applies the first coat of an all natural, chemical free shampoo followed by a thorough conditioning.

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After a few shakes to rid the excess water, the noise really kicks in as Chica is given a blowdry, something even I know she dislikes at the best of times, (although it’s probably common among many). With a Golden Lab at her feet, Sarah places Chica on a short leash that keeps her confined to small movements on a bench, making it easier to dry her faster.

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And then the pampering begins.

From snout to tail, Chica is given a tailored clip specific to her breed (pick her one of three — Mini Fox Terrier, Maltese and Chihuahua) that sees her shed a fair amount of fur only to reveal just how grey my puppy is underneath her black and tan coat, (she is nine after all).

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While Chica isn’t in need for any extra services, it’s worth noting that if you find your dog with a hairy behind or a preference for well manicured nails, they can opt for a Brazilian or pedicure for each paw respectively.

Once her coat is clipped down to the length nominated (upon arrival), her ears are cleaned and plucked along with a toenail cut and paw clip, and some tidying around her furry skirt (the hair that grows down the back of her legs and under her tail).

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But no makeover is complete without an added touch of flair and in this case it’s pretty pink bandana tied around Chica’s collar that finishes off her new groomed look.

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DOGUE also offer a range of services including puppy school, nutritional advice, DOGUE day care, day spa and a huge range of retail products from treats to leads and harnesses, doggy fashion and toys.

Looking after the pack

The simple gift of a sweater or blanket means so much to shelter animals…Winter in Canberra is far from a warm affair particularly for dogs who have been abandoned. Donate a gently-used sweater or blanket to DOGUE and you will receive 20% off any apparel purchase. All donated blankets and sweaters collected in Gungahlin will be donated to the RSPCA ACT.

The essentials

The place: Dogue Day Spa & Boutique
Where: 169/148 Flemington Road, Harrison
When: 8am-6pm Monday to Friday (day care and spa); 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm Saturday (retail)
Phone: (02) 6154 8350
DOGUE menu: You can find a list of services here.
Web: www.dogue.com.au

Disclosure: The author received Chica’s service free of charge for the purposes of this review. Opinions are the author’s own. This article complies with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s guidelines on Online Reviews.

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Jessica Schumann

A 'rambling ranga' at heart, Jessica Schumann is a bubbly, creative social thinker who thrives on words, social media and an innate knack for sharing stories. When she finds the time to write, Jessica seeks out the beauty in change and the essence of human condition. Varied and diverse in nature, her writing delves into the enviable world of people, travel, food and culture. When you can't find her in a nook writing, just follow your nose and you’ll soon find Jessica indulging in her other passion – cooking – or curled up on the couch with a good book in hand. You can find her over at ramblingranga.com.au. More about the Author

  • Kendall Gaddes

    Plucking your dogs hair from their ears is really bad for them! My friends dog got a life threatening ear infection from having this done when she took her dog to get groomed. The vet told her that it was from having the hairs from her ears plucked. They’re there to protect you dogs ears from infection.

    • MummaBear

      Drop-eared and/or very hairy breeds like the poodle, schnauzer, maltese and bichon frise, among others, are prone to hair build up in the ear canal, which can prevent air flow and trap moisture in the skin folds, leading to increased growth of bacteria or fungi and causing irritation and infection. Removing the hair little by little and following up with a good ear cleaning can help prevent the build up of “gunk” in the ear canal and keep the dog’s ears healthier. Untreated and/or chronic ear infections in dogs can lead to conditions like aural hematomas or even neurological issues, so in breeds and individual dogs prone to ear problems, keeping the ears clean is vital. My poodle will get ear infections if his ears are NOT plucked.
      That said, some dogs do have skin that is prone to irritation, and plucking can leave minor irritations or openings in the skin, although the majority of dogs have no problems at all. Treating after plucking with a cleansing or antibacterial agent can help prevent infection in these dogs.
      There is no blanket right or wrong, it varies between individuals.