In the United States, modern dog grooming arose out of the dog show industry in the 1970s. The main purpose of grooming was to reach the show standard of each breed’s ideal appearance. Groomers and handlers shared the perspective that the animal served a purpose, and their goal was to keep it healthy.
Following this precedent, American groomers have traditionally done puppy cuts, which are simplified versions of show cuts. The grooming industry developed using kenneling, cage drying, and assembly-line methods with little concern about the connection between groomer and dog.
However, in recent years, Americans’ perspective and treatment of their dogs has drastically changed. Now, dogs are part of family life. In the US today, millennials are spending more money on their pets than any generation has in the past, and many households have dogs instead of children. Owners often treat their pets like family members, and they want groomers who will treat their dog with care, concern, and connectedness.
The grooming industry is changing along with people’s opinion of pets. Today’s cutting-edge grooming practices were first developed in Japan and Korea with the Asian Fusion grooming movement (stay tuned for a follow-up post about this!). Instead of show-quality haircuts, the goal of this kind of grooming is to have a dog who is both clean and as cute as possible, with easy-maintenance haircuts that stay cute without having to be groomed every two weeks.
At Pawsitivity, our primary goal is the comfort of each canine client. We want to understand each dog’s personality and what makes them happy so that we can give them a comfortable, pleasant grooming experience. We do our best to schedule your dog with the same groomer each time she comes, so that her stylist can get to know her fears, quirks, and individual care needs.
For example, many dogs have significant separation anxiety. In a traditional grooming salon, a dog is likely to stay in a kennel all day long outside of actual grooming time. This is why we hand-dry every dog rather than cage drying: we are kennel-free because we want each dog to be comfortable and free to move around during their time with us. When we occasionally have dogs who feel stressed by being hand-dried, we take extra time to work with them. We may schedule their appointments when we are less busy, or refer them to a mobile groomer.
Nail trimming and filing can often be a source of discomfort and anxiety for dogs. Nails can be easily cut to the quick, which is very painful. Some dogs have a fear of clipping; others dislike the noise of the dremel used for filing. Because of this, we include nail filing or clipping in every Essentials grooming appointment so that we can observe what each dog is more comfortable with, and tailor the service to their preferences.
In a traditional grooming setting, groomers will simply restrain a dog who is stressed and try to get the process done quickly. At Pawsitivity, we believe it is better to slow down, show the dog what we are doing, reassure him that it is not scary, give treats, and prevent discomfort as much as possible. Current science suggests that dogs have about as much intelligence as a two-year-old child, and we want to treat them with as much compassion as we would show to a child.
Besides comfort and de-stressing, another benefit of having your dog regularly groomed by someone who focuses on compassionate care is that your dog develops a relationship with her stylist. When something is unusual or off, the stylist notices right away. For example, we are often able to catch skin problems before they get to the point of infection. Many dogs only see a veterinarian once a year, so it is helpful to have someone who sees them regularly and knows them well.
We love working with our canine clients to help them look and feel their best. Treat your pet to a grooming experience that focuses on his comfort and relaxation ~ you will notice the difference, and he will love you for it!