I have often wondered this while grooming.
Mainly because I groom in front of my shops window.
After years of grooming in rooms with no windows, I really like having my table next to the window.
The dogs like looking outside while I groom also.
I also don't have anything to hide when I groom.
There are sometimes when I am not so sure it is a good idea to groom in front of a window.
Like whenever I groom this guy.
I actually really like this guy, but he is not a groom that I look forward to.
Because he is so spoiled, and can be very nasty when he wants to be.
There is no rhyme or reason to what will set him off.
Yes, he will not hesitate to eat you alive if you do something that he does not like.
It can be something as simple as touching his belly, or foot, or tail, or...anything.
One minute he can be wagging his tail and the next trying to eat you, then wagging his tail at you again, pawing you to pet him.
Yes, his owner knows how he can be.
That is why he has a leash that says 'Bad to the bone' all over it.
Anyway, while grooming him last week, he went off on me.
I was almost finished grooming him, and only had his back feet and legs left to scissor.
He had been doing pretty good up to that point, just a little growling here and there, but that is not unusual for him.
He likes to do a lot of talking while you groom him.
I slowly picked up his foot, (you don't do anything quickly with him) and started to scissor... and wham, he swung around and grabbed my hand in his mouth biting several times, get harder with each bite.
I grabbed him.
I grabbed him with both hands.
One on each side of his neck.
I grab him to stop him from biting.
Then I proceeded to tell him just what I thought of him going after me like that for no good reason.
I didn't yell at him.
I held him firmly, turned him to look right at me, and I told him that he was nasty and that I didn't deserve for him to go after me for doing nothing but scissoring his feet.
I told him to behave and grow up, and that I was not going to put up with that crap.
I said all of this to him in the best 'your in trouble Mommy voice' that I could do.
You could actually see his eyes go from the crazed, cujo look, back to those soft eyes in the picture above.
It is like looking at two different dogs.
The eyes soften, the tail starts to wag, and you can almost hear him saying; "oh, I am sorry, I didn't really mean it.
Unfortunately, once his bitting dog button has been pushed, you have to muzzle him to finish.
And all I had left to do was 5 minutes of work.
Okay, back to what I was writing this post about...
In the middle of my giving the dog a lecture, with my hands still on each side of his neck to keep him from biting, a car pulled up in front of my shop with a clear view of me holding this dog.
Believe it or not, in the middle of keeping him from biting and lecturing him, it flashed in my mind...'what in the world must these people, out in that car, think I am doing to this dog with my hands on his neck and an upset look on my face.'
I have often thought about what non-groomers, pet owners, see and think when they watch a dog being groomed.
I read a news article one time about creative grooming, where they had at least a dozen pictures of dogs from different creative grooming competitions.
I was blown away as I read the comments.
Most of the comments talked about how sad, upset, and humiliated the dogs looked in the pictures.
So much so, that I actually scrolled through the pictures again to see what in the world those were seeing that I wasn't.
I DID NOT see sad, upset, and humiliated dogs.
I saw happy, healthy, although very colorful dogs.
I have been in Petsomethings and heard people make comments as they watch the groomers groom.
"Oh, she is pulling that poor dogs leg."
" Look how she is holding the dogs head. That's mean."
Those are just a few of the comments that I have overheard.
So what does a pet owner see?
Do they see a dogs leg being pulled?
Or, do they see what the groomer is actually doing?
Holding the leg firmly away from the body so that the armpit can safely, and clearly be seen to be clipped.
Do they think that I am pulling the dogs head backwards?
Or, do they know that I am gently holding the dogs head up so that I can see what I am cutting.
Do they also realize, that if this dog wants to move her head, she can very easily pull out of my grip.
Do they think that I am lifting this dogs leg out of it's hip socket?
Or, do they know that I only lift the dogs leg as high as each dog can tolerate.
That once again I need to be able to see what I am clipping.
Do they think that I am purposely hurting the dog while trying to pluck hair out of the ears.
Or, do the realize that it is something that a lot of dogs are not crazy about, but that I do it as gently and humanely as I can.
Do they know that I massage the dogs ears after I pluck them, and apologize to the dog for having to be the mean guy and pluck it in the first place.
Do they think that I am pinching this dogs ear?
Or, do they realize that I am gently holding that ear very still so that I only cut what I need to cut on the ear.
And, that I am praying that my hold will keep the dog from suddenly turning that same ear into my scissors at the wrong moment.
Do they think that I am holding the face so tight that I am cutting off the dogs airway?
Or, do they realize that I am gently holding the dogs muzzle so that the dogs head stays still so that it can be scissored.
Do they realize that if you hold a dogs muzzle too tight that it will only make the dog struggle to get away, and that is not what we want.
Do they think that we are choking a dog because we have our hand around the dogs neck?
Or, do they realize that a groomer can hold a dogs neck to keep the dog still without squeezing, or choking the dog in any way.
Do they think that I am pulling and hurting a dogs tail when I wrap my hand around the tail to lift it?
Or, do they realize that wrapping your hand around the base of the tail and gently holding it up is a safe and humane way of lifting and holding the tail.
Do they think that I am squeezing their dog when I tuck its head under my arm to clip the nails?
Or, do they realize that I am letting the dog hide its head under my arm because the dog does not like watching when its nails are clipped.
Do they know that this hold is like a hug, and calms a lot of dogs down when they are having their nails clipped.
Do they think that we are mean because we hold a dogs chin hair when we groom the face?
Or, do they realize that holding the dogs chin hair does not hurt and helps us to keep the head still enough the scissor safely around the eyes.
Do they realize that once again the dog can pull out of our grip at any time.
I will admit that when I have a dog that I have to muzzle because of biting, or I have a dog that likes to fight a lot on my table, I will close my curtains on my window.
I don't want a passerby to look in my window just as a dog goes nuts on my table and flips all around, because all I can think is that they think that I am the one flinging the dog around the table.
They do not realize that all I want is the dog to be standing still.
The last thing that a groomer wants is the dog to be flopping all over the place.
It also amazes me how many pet owners think that muzzling a dog is a bad thing.
Sometimes is it very necessary to muzzle a dog.
A groomers grooming career could come to an abrupt end if bitten badly.
Used correctly, a muzzle is a safe tool for a groomer to use on a dog.
The problem is, when someone sees a muzzle being used on a dog, and the groomer is not able to explain why it is being used, people jump to their own conclusions.
For some reason they seem to like to think that it is the groomers fault that the dog is biting in first place.
I got very upset when my curtain was open for people to see me grab that dog from biting me.
Even though I knew that I was not hurting him, I certainly didn't want them to think that I was hurting him.
Isn't it a crazy world when you always have to worry about what other people are thinking?
I am always very careful about the way I am handling a dog.
This post is one of the reasons why I don't let owners stay with their dogs while I groom them.
For one, I feel that the owner distracts their dog from paying attention to me while I am grooming and I feel that that is a safety issue.
The second reason?.......all of the above pictures.
A single grooming would take forever if I had to stop and explain every hold that I had to use on the dog.
Okay, I am done rambling.
I am still going to groom in front of my window. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF