Keeping the Zen in Grooming

My Sunday morning thoughts.....................Keeping pets calm. How do I do it? First and foremost is experience. With experience comes confidence. With confidence, there is calm. Animals respond to energy. That is a way of communication to them. As long as I stay calm, the pets follow suite. I do a low key greeting and calmly put them in my work area.

Think about going to a new hairdresser. Because of their inexperience, they may be anxious about doing your hair. You can hear it in their voice and by their actions. That in turn will make you nervous and unsure of what is about to happen to you and your hair. You will become anxious. It is the same for the pets, with an inexperienced groomer.

Calmness makes the pets feel secure and safe. Mobile grooming is the perfect scenario for creating a Zen environment. I focus on one pet at a time, essential oils are diffused and sometimes music or a low key podcast will play in the back ground. Sometimes it is just silence.

I do not talk to the pets much. I move about them in a rhythmic fashion, treating them with respect. There is no grabbing and pulling. I ease my hands over the pet to the place I need and then do what I need to. I also find that the least amount of restraint is best. If they are more comfortable lying down, I get as much possible done in that position and then move on. Most pets hate the drying process and I do everything in my box of tricks to make that as short of time as possible. No one likes air being blown in their face.

I look at grooming from a pets point of view. They don’t want to be there. They don’t mind that they are smelly. I understand where they are coming from and try to make the process as gentle and easy as I can. Yelling, pulling and tugging will only make the pet afraid and want to escape, making the grooming difficult, if not impossible. The groomer’s anxiety will increase, and so will the pets. It is a vicious cycle. Calmness is the key.

I do not overbook myself and only do a few pets a day. There is less stress on my end on having to rush and get to my next stop. I do not answer the phone during the day to be able to stay focused on the job at hand. Most of my clients know this and will text me or e mail me, which I check when I take a break.

I used to manage a very busy salon that had approximately 300 pets per week coming through the door. It was noisy and electric. The phones were ringing off the hook. Dogs barking and howling almost nonstop. Noisy dryers going a good part of the day and lots of people came in and out. Energy good and bad hung in the room. It was a very stressful place. I learned what not to do from working in that environment, for my mental health and the pets I cared for. One of the many reasons I chose to be a mobile groomer.

It is important for pet owners to be confident, themselves, when handing over their pet to a groomer. Sweet talking and coddling will only reinforce their nervous behavior. Quietly and calmly hand the pet over and walk away. If you do not make the separation a big deal, neither will the pet. The pet groomer takes over with a sense of calm and gets the job, at hand, done with the least amount of stress. When they are behaving calmly I reward that state of mind with a cuddle and kind words. I am rewarding the calmness, not the frantic, trying to get away, behavior.

Finally, I personally am grateful to be able to do this for a living and remind myself everyday of how lucky I am. This positive attitude on my part exudes a good energy that the pets read easily and respond to. I appreciate each and every one of my wonderful clients and look forward to all the wonderful ones I will meet in the future.


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