by Jun Yun Sun, Furrific Spaw
Being a dog-lover has never been a choice for me, and I don’t remember a time not feeling joy, excitement, and love whenever I would see a dog. I would never want to imagine a world without them. So when I made the decision to change careers and become a dog groomer, it was a fairly easy decision to make.
I had no idea at the time how much that decision would change my life for the better! Working with dogs has helped me become a more calm and patient person, which has helped me tremendously in my personal life as well. This is why I am always recommending owners to try it at least once, if possible.
We live in such a fast-paced society where everything must happen the instant you push a button, and we forget sometimes how to step back and just enjoy the moment. Relax, and enjoy the company of Mother Nature as she shows you how uncomplicated life can be. To me, this is what grooming is: a time to connect with nature and enjoy the company of the elegant animal we call Dog.
I believe grooming to be the ultimate dog experience because it is a very intimate experience that helps strengthen the relationship between dog and owner. When else are you going to be that close to your dog for an extended amount of time? Sure we all spend time touching our dogs in intimate and/or sensitive areas when we cuddle with them, but how long does that usually last? Fifteen to thirty minutes? An hour? The average full groom – meaning a full body haircut – usually lasts about two hours start to finish. Keep in mind; if it is your first time grooming a dog it can take all day.
I always advise people not to try grooming a dog if they are feeling rushed, nervous or anxious. Dogs do not care about your schedule or where you have to be in an hour so make sure you have your schedule clear and watches off. Grooming a dog properly is one of the most intimate moments you will have with your dog, and it will earn you his/her trust, respect and love.
According to Cesar Milan, my personal hero, the three main ingredients to a healthy relationship with our dogs are trust, respect and love. So how does grooming your dog accomplish this? You are helping your dog through a very unnatural experience by giving him leadership, encouragement, direction and guiding him through an experience that can be very frightening.
Think about it from a dog’s perspective. A dog’s idea of a groom would be to rub it’s neck and/or back on some grass, mud, trees, or even worse on the remnants of a dead animal! The nails would naturally file down as they travel and hunt for food. Our idea of a groom includes water jets, shampoos and conditioners, high-velocity air dryers, clippers, shears, and brushes.
All of this can be a bit overwhelming to a dog getting groomed professionally for the first time. The most rewarding part of my job as a groomer is to be the one that is there to provide comfort, encouragement and support, direction and leadership throughout the grooming experience. This builds trust and respect from your dog, and there is nothing more rewarding than earning a dog’s trust and respect.
The last ingredient is love, and that just comes naturally after you have earned trust and respect. Now that your dog’s face doesn’t smell like a dirty gym sock it is much more tempting to get up close with hugs and kisses!
Having a clean, fresh smelling dog encourages the owner to share physical affection with their dog – intimacy – which helps promote the emotions of love.
I hope that I’ve convinced you, and you have decided to try grooming your dog. Where do you start? What tools will you need? How do you approach the groom? I cover all of this and more in my book, The Art of Grooming: A Philosophical Approach to Dog Grooming.
If you would like to listen to the audio version that I recorded, please visit my YouTube channel. There is a playlist on that channel called The Art of Grooming. I truly believe that every groom can be a beautiful experience by applying the information I share in my book. Thank you so much for your time!