Grooming Doesn’t Have To Be The Big Bad Wolf

So yesterday I chatted with you more about learned helplessness and headcollars. Today it will be about grooming.

A lot of dogs hate it.

That is no surprise, I would hate being poked and prodded all over while my hair was pulled.

I actually had a massage a few weeks ago and hated the experience. The pressure was too hard, she kept working on my shoulder which was painful and her breathing was so loud I couldn’t think of anything else.

Now I could say to her what was wrong and ask her to stop or leave a certain area.
Our dogs can’t.

If we do not prepare our dogs for this, we are on a road to disaster.

I’ve previously talked about how dogs are very amenable.

Even if they aren’t enjoying something that is happening to them they tend to only show suitable stress signals. These stress signals are often ignored.

This is because people just don’t know what stress signals are!

I teach handling in my puppy and adult classes. Building up a positive associations with body parts being touched.

If the dogs aren’t enjoying it we make it easier, we listen to those stress signals because I teach my class what they are.

In my area, I am seeing a huge rise in cockapoos. As a breed, they need lots of grooming.

Quite a lot of people who get cockapoos are first-time dog owners and they don’t often realise just how much work their coats are.

I have been working with a lovely little Cockapoo called Darcy since she was 12 weeks old.

I love when clients ring me up who have young puppies because I can solve so many problems before they even begin!

With puppies, I always work on handling and getting them used to the hair dryer.

The hairdryer is pretty scary for a tiny puppy.

It is also really important you find a good groomer who will listen to your puppy and take things slow.

In Darcy’s last session we took her for a walk around town. She did really well and wasn’t fazed by anything but as soon as we went into the groomers, she was petrified.

I sat on the floor with her and let her sit in my lap while her Mum chatted with the groomer.

If we had left Darcy there she would have had a horrible experienced, not a great start for a dog who needs regular grooming!

Like we said, just because she isn’t biting or growling does not mean she is happy. It is likely Darcy would have shut down from stress and fear.

Most groomers would say she was great but the reality is very different.

Luckily I am working with a local groomer to set up pre-puppy groom sessions. Getting the dogs used to the environment, the smells, voices, textures before we even attempt to handle or groom the pup.

Once everything has been finalised I will spill the beans but I am super excited about making more dogs happy about being groomed!!

It’s my Nosework Ninja’s workshop on Saturday and I can’t wait! I hope you have something as exciting on during your weekend.

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