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Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

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Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by Furry Friend on Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:12 pm

Have I just been unlucky or am I seeing an alarming trend in groomer training. It seems to me that a lot of new groomers coming through courses are focused more on speed & numbers, than they are on building trust & developing a relationship with their dogs. I see an alarming number of groomers reaching for a muzzle as soon as a dog becomes fidgety, even puppies. I hear a lot of grouching 'be still' 'stop it' 'dont' 'grrr' etc etc, throughout the whole process, with little or no praise where it's due. New groomers seem to want to get big numbers through & still get out of work early & it comes at the expense of a good job & a stress free dog. Yes, it takes more time to be patient with a dog that's wriggly or naughty or just young & silly, but it's so worth it in the long run. Many of the dogs we see through the salon may return to us every 8 weeks for the next decade or more. If that dog doesn't like you; if it's stressed & miserable, it may always be difficult. I have had many a dog through that was difficult, either because of fear, nerves, aggression, hyperactivity, whatever the case, but I truly believe that taking that extra time to be compassionate as frustrating as it can be at times, will almost always reap the benefits in the long run. I have an example; a little sweet Bichon I do regularly likes to roll on her back; I work around this, most of the job, feet, legs, body can all be done with her this way. Once that's done I ask her to stand & although she doesn't like it it's not for long, because I've already done most of it. A different groomer working along side me had this dog last time; she insisted the dog stand square for the whole process, the dog was distressed & squealy & just didn't understand. She usually has a very relaxed time with us, but this time I could see she was clearly unhappy as I new the dog well. We CAN work around them sometimes, we dont always have to make them stand square & be perfectly still. Be flexible & versatile, learn different ways of doing things so we can adapt to different dogs needs. Lets face it, we'd all love to have well behaved pets to groom & how we deal with the difficult ones in their first few visits will mold their reactions to us in the long term. I know if you are fast & get get big numbers through the door that grooming can be quite lucrative, but it shouldn't come at the expense of the dogs well being. I have been grooming for 20 years & at the end of the day, the grumpy groomers always get the grumpy dogs, because the dogs don't like them! I just hope that compassion & understanding is still being taught in grooming courses & the focus is not just on numbers. I love my job & nothing is more gratifying than sending a beautiful & happy dog out the door.

Furry Friend

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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by Tail's a Waggin' on Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:21 pm

Very well said "Furry Friend". I love your view. I can't remember the last time I used a muzzle.... I have plenty of dogs that have had injury so have to adapt to what works for them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Smile
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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by B&B on Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:34 pm

I agree Smile Not sure how new groomers are ordinarily trained. But I brought my own philosophy of handling dogs into my work from previous research and learning to settle my own problem rescue pooch down. He was honestly psycho! The regular naughty dogs usually improve with patience/care/understanding after afew visits, and then become a quick job anyway! A mobile groomer can't get away with being impatient, never know when the owner is going to take notice and go elsewhere! (My belief is I've picked up many regulars with my approach to all doggy behaviour, good or bad) The owners can see when you care! I'm sure many groomers underestimate the importance of that dog/owner relationship being a very positive one. I think it is probably MORE important than a perfect groom to most customers.
Oh and I hate muzzling too! Its stresses them out more usually. Only desperation leads me to that option
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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by CoatCutter on Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:18 pm

Bravo... Well said. The pups that I start off, drag their owners over to me in the stampede to get to me (and usually wee on me lol) That being said, the one wheaton that I do in a breed trim, I have to almost literally fight with to get him to stand square, as it really is the only way to do the trim Sad

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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by Chase on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:40 pm

I don't think it has anything to do with the way people are taught but more with the society we live in today. It does not matter what industry you work in their is always someone trying to get a product out the fastest and cheapest way possible with the most profit, the last thing that is looked at is the quality of the product or what happens when the consumer receive it. (Whether that being how long a product last or how are pets or children are treated in the process) I feel sorry for those groomers who have just come into the industry an their first job is a production line.

You notice courses these days are about getting your qualifications in two weeks or less and in the comfort of your own home. Nobody has patience any more or willing to wait for things. Unfortunately the student can only work the way they are taught and probably donít know any different.

It is also about expectations of the consumer. Without wanting to wait for or pay for a quality product, people want their dogs done in 20 min and also be groomed to perfection. We live in a high speed world.
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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by Emmalovesbeth on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:57 pm

Well said!!! my clients come to me because they have tryed the fast, bothchy, stressed groomers and it does not work!

Dont get me wrong i am not past the NO STAND and UHUH!! whenit is called for i will growl a dog. Usually it is dogs that rule the roost at home that are an issue for me as they THINK they can rule me aswell. A Firm but calm and steady hand is what is needed..

My salon is clean organised and hass calming music playing this all helps keep me and the dogs calm.
When new people call i book a 2hr alotment i tell the person to make sure they ahve the time as i wont rush. Bust after about 2-3 grooms the dogs are normally done in about 70-80min depending on the breed of course..

Sadley you cannot get a good reputation based on rushing and Inpatience. I know of 2 large scale salons who will have alot of issues int eh next year or so as the people are realising that they dont have to put up with stressful grooming or rude arraogant groomers and they go to smaller more caring salons like mine!!!
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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by B&B on Mon Mar 19, 2012 6:58 pm

So true. I bagged a 3 clips at one house today, and when I told her how long it would take, she was so shocked. I told her she can leave to pick up the kids....

We certainly live in a throw away/cheap/get it done quick society. But we as groomers should be able to increase our prices in comparison to the production line groomers. I think I charge extra compared to some, and I'm hoping that they are getting a better service for the higher price. BTW I hope all you guys are charging extra for ''Patience and Compassion'' Hehe

In reality there is probably a market out there for both ways...but it's less stress for us as well as the dogs. I would hate working in a salon where I was expected to get things done in a certain time frame. Not good for the dogs either....

Maybe we could have a ''Patience and Compassion'' Surcharge. Extra 20 bucks if you want me to treat your dog with dignity, respect and understanding...We would need to include a disclaimer on major injury for not paying the surcharge. Owner must pay veterinary costs incurred due to groomer inflicted injury if owner does not pay surcharge
rofl
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Re: Patience & Compassion - the key to successful grooming

Post by C.C on Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:42 pm

Welll said Furry Friend .All dogs, like people have different personalities and it is up to us to be able to recognise the best way of handling them to get the job done with the least amount of stress on the dog and the groomer. In my experience ,some dogs need a 'firm but calm and steady hand' as Emmalovesbeth has said, while others are much easier to get done if you pander to them -it's not all about being the boss. I have been grooming like this for over 20 years and have been dubbed the gentle groomer by my lovely customers,or should I say their owners.
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