Its been a while, but I like to think I don’t post just for the sake of it. This entry has come about having read a post on a breed specific forum, from a person who wasn’t happy at how their dog came back from the groomer. The person posting was not in the wrong, but it led me to think how often I see posts from both groomers and owners about dogs having to be cut short as a result of matting, and subsequent discussions that ensue.
The topic can also be linked to a recent study I did as part of my foundation degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare.
Successful grooming and coat care is not just down to the groomer. It also relies on how the coat is looked after between visits. To my mind, this is one of the reasons you need a groomer you get on with. Choose a groomer that will talk to you and is happy to discuss your’s and your pawpal’s lifestyle. Show standard or fluffy cuts are all well and good as long as you are prepared to brush or comb every day, or visit and pay the groomer at the correct intervals. Somewhere along the way is a happy medium. A cut you want, that is good for your dog, at intervals you can afford, and maintain accordingly.
Quite often I will hear “he/ she won’t let me brush him/her” I believe our pawpals are not daft, and know if they wriggle, nip, play around, you are going to get fed up attempting to brush them. Here’s where the benefit of owner education comes in. From last September to May of this year, I had a number of guinea pigs, who came to learn to groom their own dogs. In a nutshell we we went through brushing/ combing, clipping and bathing techniques that could be used on their own dogs. Over a number of sessions, each of the individuals taking part, improved their confidence, which resulted in a more relaxed grooming session, the dogs been calmer and humans visibly less stressed. Tips passed ranged from building up from scratch, by just touching areas like feet and praising good behaviour, to the opposite end of the scale where a couple of people were clipping to near salon standard on poodle mix breeds.
Knowledge is nothing if not shared. I’m fortunate to know from experience how soothing working with dogs can be. Get it right for yourself and your dog, and I’m convinced both of you can enjoy the grooming process. When it becomes fun, your dog will also see it as extra time to be around you. Your stress levels will be lower, and less anxiety on your part should also pass on to your dog. The change may not happen overnight, but it can happen. It then become a win win. Your happy because your dog is happy, and your groomers happy because you both are.