Fear Free Grooming: A Compassionate Approach to an Essential Service

Picture this: your dog is a mess. Their hair is shaggy, their nails too long…they are in desperate need of a clean-up. As you pull up to your local groomer, your pup is clearly nervous: they’re shaking, resisting going in the door. Somehow, you manage to get them inside where they are promptly restrained and groomed. Afterward, although they look much better, your dog seems exhausted, perhaps even traumatized. 

This experience is not uncommon. Traditional grooming techniques focus on forcing a dog to obey and submit while they are groomed in a rushed and sometimes painful process. 

The good news is, there’s a better way to groom! At Patrick’s Pet Care, we engage in Fear Free Grooming. As a certified Fear Free® grooming facility, as well as our entire grooming staff being members of the Pet Professional Guild, we are committed to following ethical pet care practices and guidelines. Instead of utilizing traditional techniques, we ask your dog to willingly participate in the grooming process, and teach them how not to be afraid along the way. 

Alright, you’re sold. This sounds perfect for your dog, but what exactly does Fear Free Grooming entail? Kindness. Patience. And (of course) some good, old-fashioned Pavlonian conditioning!

Our process is simple: we begin with an assessment of your dog. What do they like? What are they afraid of? Then, we place your dog into a category ranging from calm and well-adjusted to the grooming process, to extreme fear of grooming. With this knowledge, we are able to approach the grooming process compassionately. 

Our goal is to have every grooming experience be a positive one for the dog and the humans. How that happens depends on the needs of the individuals involved, but always involves meeting the customer and the dog where they are at their starting point, and creating a plan to help them reach their goals. In some cases that means we don’t achieve our goals on the very first visit or even the second visit, but over time we make progress and ensure each experience is a positive one that we can build on.

CASE STUDY:
Meet Clementine

Step 1:

Clementine is afraid of the nail dremel tool, so we start out slow.

The device is on and making noise in the distance, and we tempt her to go toward the thing that scares her voluntarily by moving a peanut butter lick mat toward the dremel slowly. 

Step 2:

Next, after Clementine is relatively comfortable having the noisy dremel close to her, we gently rub her body with the handle so she can feel the sensation of the vibration first before any nail grinding happens. 

Step 3:

Finally, after she’s become used to the noise and the vibration , we gently begin to grind her nails while feeding her chicken. 


Are you interested in trying out our Fear Free Grooming services? Schedule your first appointment today!

For an in-depth walkthrough of our Fear Free Grooming services, check out our blog post “The Ins and Outs of Fear Free Grooming