We're not your average grooming salon. Who are we, and why are we different? Here's my story...
There are two dogs, and two moments that will stay with me forever. Both have influenced my career path more than I could have imagined. The first was watching my new rescue dog bite a family member. It was a bite that looked like it came out of nowhere, no growl, no warning, no reason.The second was sitting in a garden with a young Cockapoo as he was put to sleep. He'd bitten multiple people, some of the best trainers in the country had worked with him. His behaviour was getting worse, and he HATED being groomed.
Both moments were confusing and heartbreaking. What had we missed? How had we let these creatures we shared our lives with down? These two dogs set me on a path of education. I wanted to understand my dogs, why they behaved like they did and how I could help them.
During my training to be a dog groomer I'd seen dog after dog arriving at the salon panting, drooling and shaking, clearly scared. I saw dogs attempting to bite the groomer, and witnessed one serious dog bite. All in the space of six weeks. This was in an award winning salon, with wonderful groomers who deeply loved their work and their clients.
There was very little in the curriculum that addressed behaviour, that taught me to recognise when a dog was frightened. When they might bite. And what I could do to prevent that level of fear.Groomers choose their vocation because they LOVE dogs, and yet those dogs do not often love being groomed.
I realised there was a massive gap between what I'd trained to do as a groomer, and what I knew about dog behaviour and training. Our dogs are wonderful communicators, and It's our role as guardians to hear what they're telling us. And to recognise that they experience the same range of emotions as we do, including fear.
I also realised that I wasn't only dealing with dogs who are afraid. I was meeting owners who deeply cared about their dogs, who were worried about leaving them in the care of a stranger. Owners who sensed their dogs weren't happy with the grooming process, or who owned a dog that had been turned away from other groomers for "bad behaviour".
Our mission here is threefold:
To provide ethical, welfare led grooming that works for both the dogs we care for, and their guardians. To empower owners to recognise how their dogs' feel, and how they can safely groom them at home. And to create a place other groomers can come to learn about fear free grooming.
If we can prevent one dog from feeling so afraid that they feel the need to bite. Or one owner from worrying whether they're doing the right thing for their dog. Then we've been successful.