Kim KIer - MPAe, MGbs, CCE, CpC, LSHL-s, FFCP, PGC

Little Barks Grooming Columbia SC

Fear Free Grooming-Part One

“Our dogs give us their whole heart, what an incredible blessing. Let us give them the respect , love and kindness they deserve.”

Kim Kier CCE. FFCP 

Fear Free Certified Professional 

Let me start by saying that Fear has no place in dog grooming. Knowing that we can not control the state of mind of the dogs in our care; how then, can we calm them down and change the feeling of fear into one of trust and comfort?

“ I am Safe” This is the feeling we want each and every  dog to feel, they are in a safe space and circumstance.  They may not like some of the  actions that occur during the groom but they should not feel like they are in danger. Once  the dog starts to feel comfortably and safe, then we can of build on it to perform more detailed grooms.

 Let’s talk about how we accomplish them feeling of safe.  First, the dog has to included in the process one small gentle step at a time. At Little Barks Grooming the first step starts with the initial greeting when they walk in the door, because like us first impressions have a huge impact on your dog. Mrs Kim CCE,FFCP begins by prepping the salon before the dog comes through the door. Asking these questions from the perception of the dog. “ Is there anything that is visually scary?”(Sight) “ What am I hearing, is it relaxing or scary?”(Hearing) What do I smell?”(Smell)

Asking these questions helps us know how to make the salon a comforting and relaxing as possible. Actions we take include  (Sight) keeping clear pathways to entrance, (Hearing) music scientific shown to help relax your dog playing, (Smell) placing pheromones help the salon smell like mama when they where young. All of these small and common things we humans do not notice makes your dog feel SAFE. 

Next, the greeting starts with us talking to owner and not directly interacting with the dog until we notice they are approaching on their own. This helps feel in control and comfortable.

Additionally , there are polite  comfort signals that we can send to them, such as  blinking, licking lips slightly and approaching from the side and even moving our bodies sideways. These are some of the same signals that dogs send to each other.

In the event that the dog is nervous upon the initial greeting ,we  might toss a few treats as we talk with owner . This is accomplished by first getting us closer to the dog and then slowly guiding them further away from their owner as we talk.

The scary ,unsure moment becomes a good memory filled with yummy treats.

The Changing of the leash, the time has come for Mom and Dad to go and the groomer to take the dog for their Luxury spa day.

Here is how Little Barks does that safely without causing that panic and uncomfortable feeling that dogs feel when the owners leave the salon.  It is  easier then you would think, as we talk with owner , the owner then hands the groomer the leash says 

“Bye” your groomer stands still as you leave ,with leash in hand. The dog then will look to the groomer who is holding the leash and we walk into the service area of the salon. The dog is happy and no stress for the dog or owner.

Usually when this doesn’t work is when owners DO NOT feel comfortable with the groomer and the salon, when the owners are anxious, unsure and share those feelings with the dog by saying “sorry” or “don’t worry” then the dog thinks that something is wrong and they then say to themselves ,I don’t feel SAFE. So, as owners share any concerns with the groomer so that everyone feels comfortable before handing over the leash. As a dog mama myself I urge you to never leave your dog somewhere you have a “bad feeling” about ,that may be your internal voice warning you, that said also ask yourself  is this a valid feeling or am I just going to miss my pup and want him to miss me too. 

In the second part

fear free Professional
Fear Free Certified

of this Blog, we will go through the steps that begin the grooming service process.,the Luxury grooming experience that Little Barks Grooming offers to our furry clients. 

Kim Kier

Certified Canine Esthetician

Fear Free Groomer

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