Misia’s First Groom
Why I use a groomer to groom my low maintenance dog (with video of Misia's first groom below)
People with low maintenance/short haired breeds like my Misia may think that an odd brush and a bath when they’re dirty will do. Mostly, this is true. However, grooming done well by a professional with patience is a great socialisation tool.
In the past, Misia would only have the odd bath (by me) after a romp at the beach and we only visited the groomers for a nail trim. The grooming salon we attended was a commercial scale salon, one of those ones attached to a pet store. As a puppy Misia tolerated these nail trims, however was quite squirmy and excitable. At 10kg this was kind of cute and manageable, with multiple people holding her and patting her to get the clip done. But in the end this was still forced and Misia developed negative associations with the people, the store and the process. Slowly but surely, these got stronger to the point that at one appointment she slammed the breaks on in the middle of the store and backed out of her collar, running out through the automatic doors out into the busy car park. This association was also strengthened by Misia cutting her paw and needing stitches, revisions and multiple bandage changes. Cue a dog who DOES NOT want their paws being inspected.
Misia after getting stitches - training injury:
I’ve tried to undo this negative association on my own with positive conditioning, taking things slow and steady, but I’m also time poor. This association also was made with other people which is exactly what you do NOT want with a training Search and Rescue canine (SAR K9). In the field, a SAR K9 must be confident with being handled in all manners and checked over by strangers. Some examples include EMS putting Misia in a harness to prepare her to be lifted or a vet/team member reviewing an injury, completing decontamination protocols or providing first aid.
I do encourage all dog owners to work on this though, as it is something every dog should feel comfortable with. If you work on this as part of your training, being comfortable with grooming can translate to being comfortable being examined at the vet. In an emergency situation, it can also translate to being more open to receiving vital first aid and assistance from strangers, if (God forbid) your dog took itself on an adventure and got hurt in the process.
This is why I enlisted the assistance of a professional groomer who had the time, patience and experience to help Misia build a positive association with being handled and groomed. As you can see in the video below, at times it was rocky. To be expected as it was the first time Misia’s ever been in a bath or been properly groomed. But I’m pleased to report the second time went much better and Misia trusted her enough to trim two nails!
Photo of Gemma with Misia from her second groom:
The ultimate goal is to get Misia to the point where she stays still and remains calm throughout the process (and not just the massage part). With regular visits from Gemma, I am sure we will get there faster than I would have before. Once comfortable with Gemma, I will start encouraging others to play with and inspect her paws to generalise the positive association we are building. Slow and steady, dog training isn’t a race.
Links to buy the products used:
Emerald Black Shampoo:
(Similar deshedding tools)
Kong Zoom Groom Dog:
Zoom Groom Cat:
Little Big Dog Grooming
Phone: 0451 954 849