Buddy is getting stinky and he can hardly see you through his overgrown bangs. The day has arrived for his appointment and all of that will be taken care of and more!
As you pull into the shop’s driveway Buddy starts shaking and you remember the last time you dropped him off at the Groomers. He shook and was reluctant to be handed off to the staff. You kissed him and coddled him and told him he would be ok and you would be back,
but Buddy wasn’t convinced. You started getting more nervous at his reaction and wondered if the Groomers were mean to him or if he was stressed out during the bath or the grooming. As you walk-in you clench him tight as your own nervousness grows and you wonder why you have to put him through this torture every few months. You know that grooming is for his health, for his skin and his coat, for the maintenance of his toe nails and ear care. It’s essential because dog’s hair dies off, grows, gets dirty, matted, and needs to be cared for to keep him healthy and clean.
Dogs communicate through, and are very sensitive to, energy. Their main mission in life is to please you and love you unconditionally. We in turn love to be loved by him, treat him as a very special part of our family, and we want to be the most important person to our pets.
We are! But dog’s feel emotions and any nervous energy you put off. This energy is quantified in our pets. He suddenly feels “oh no, something bad is gonna happen! I can’t leave my mom/dad, they need me!”
An effective way to make the transition smooth is to realize that grooming is actually, or should be, more like a spa experience for your pet, with lots of cuddles and talking too. Groomers became groomers because they LOVE dogs. This isn’t typically a job that someone falls into. Groomers need to be exceptionally patient, kind, be able to read body language, be ok with very dirty things, sometimes even be in dangerous situations. They must have a high degree of emotional intelligence, and also be able to read energy. Groomers develop tips and tricks to help every pet; from puppies first groom, to the very old dog with medical conditions and everything in betwee.. We deal with aggression and realize that each dog is unique and takes a different approach. We genuinely want your pet to have the best experience he can, because we care about them as pet lovers and we want it to be easier for us too! Groomers are usually very supported by other fellow groomers in the shop, as well as other dog loving employees who chose to work with pets as their career.
Back to Buddy, as you debate hanging him off to the Groomer or just making a run for it, Chloe the doodle bursts through the door dragging her dad to get inside. When she sees
her groomer, she starts jumping all over her and whimpering with excitement and never even looks back at dad as they disappear into the grooming room. Why is Chloe so happy? Because Chloe’s dad had confidence that radiated down through the leash from the first time he brought her. He was happy for her to have a spa day and get all prettied up. He knows that the groomers give her all the attention she craves. He also gave her the energy that he would be back soon and she need not worry about him. Now not all dogs want all that attention. As a professional we have groomed enough dogs to know that some just want to feel good and prefer a calm approach to the whole process. We recommend sticking with a groomer that you like because we develop a relationship with them, a type of trust with the ones that aren’t so eager to be best friends, and that makes us feel good, and the pet feel the most comfortable.
You should also know that 9 times out of 10 when you release your grip from Buddy and the groomer whisks him away, the shaking stops usually instantly. It is very impressive to see. Some pets hate getting their nails done or don’t like the scissors so close to their eyes. But it isn’t often that a dog is so terrified, never able to be calmed, that he is un-groomable. If he is, we send him home. Remember we LOVE dogs and want them to look AND feel good. That is the goal of every groom. We often laugh that dogs are like Kindergarteners on their first day of school, clinging to your leg crying. You pick them up after school and they are beaming from the day they had and the friends they met.
Groomers can give you updates on how your dog was and if there’s anything you can do at home, such as playing with your puppies feet so he gets used to it. Grooming is a lifelong process, It should be enjoyable and feel good. You may think that spacing out groomings for your dog is good to avoid the “drama,” but it can actually do the opposite. Frequent groomings gets him more confident, bonded with the staff, and is healthier for him! His ears, nails, and coat need to be maintained regularly. If your pet gets “matted” this can make him extremely uncomfortable and cause many health and skin issues.
I hope this has helped you to understand from a groomers perspective the real process of grooming “nervous” pets. At The Puppy Pad, “We love your pet almost as much as you!”