How to Approach the Groom

In the previous article titled, Dog Grooming: The Ultimate Dog Experience!, I shared my thoughts and feeling about why I believe that grooming a dog is the ultimate experience we can have with them. In this article, I’d like to explain how to approach the groom. I’ve actually covered this topic in my book, The Art of Grooming: A Philosophical Approach to Dog Grooming, so I figured I’d share a few quotes from my book that may help explain how to approach the groom calmly and confidently.

The Art of Grooming, Chapter 2: The Importance of Breathing and Visualization

“The grooming experience is one of the most intimate moments we are blessed to share with our dogs. Every groom can be a beautiful experience – one that is healing for both the dog and the groomer. It all depends on our approach. How you approach any situation is important, but it is vital when it comes to grooming a dog. If you are nervous or anxious about it, you’re more than likely to have an unpleasant experience….

Anyone who has ever played a sport, an instrument or had to perform in front of a large audience understands the importance of visualization. A very good friend of mine who played soccer most of her life told me that her coaches would always emphasize the importance of positive visualization. Positive visualization is simply imagining a situation happening exactly the way you want it to happen before it actually happens. See yourself doing something perfectly before you approach it. Our minds are powerful! Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” We must have faith in ourselves and believe that we have the ability to help our dogs look and feel their best.” 

The Art of Grooming, Chapter 3: The Importance of Body Language: Energy

“By learning to communicate with our thoughts and our body language, we are showing our dogs that we are trying to speak to them in their own language. If one of my mother’s clients suddenly tried to speak to her in Korean, she would be impressed regardless of proper grammar or pronunciation. Just the fact that they were trying would touch her. That is the way our dogs feel when we stop speaking to them and start communicating with them. Whether we know it or not we are constantly communicating with our dogs. They are masters at reading our body language and picking up our energy. Einstein said, “Everything is energy.” Everything we see is actually a collection and combination of molecules vibrating in a certain way to make up what we see. We are all made up of molecules that are made up of atoms. When we begin to go into the subatomic level and zoom in to the very furthest possible level, there is nothing. This “nothing” is something, and the Chinese call it “Chi”. Many cultures in Asia are very familiar with the concept of Chi – the life force that is in every living thing. Bob Proctor said, “Whether you look through the lens of a microscope or a telescope the view is equally breathtaking.” When we understand that our thoughts are connected to our emotions that give off energy that radiates through our bodies, it helps us to become more aware of our thoughts and feelings. “If you are ever unsure how you are feeling, just look at your dogs. They mirror your energy.” Cesar Milan…

Many times we feel anxiety or frustration as a result of challenging circumstances or a very unruly dog. We must choose to be calm and remember that we do not have to fall prey to our doubts and fears. We are artists. We have greatness inside of us. I often wonder how differently horses would act towards their predators if they realized how massive and powerful they really are. I was having this conversation with a taxi driver one night, and he pointed out to me that they can’t think that way because they are prey animals. There was a silence for a moment before I asked him, “What if we have unlimited potential inside of us, but we live in fear like prey animals do simply because we can’t think differently? What if all we have to do is change our minds and see ourselves differently in order to live fearlessly?” We are not horses – we are not prey. As dog groomers we are fearless and courageous. We do what many others do not do in spite of any pain or fear/anxiety we may have. We do it because we love them, and that love cannot be physically expressed without us. Keep these intentions and thoughts in your mind, and they will be projected out as energy that the dog will be able to understand through your body language.” 

The Art of Grooming, Chapter 8: How to End the Groom

“In review, always concentrate on your breathing and how you are feeling first and foremost. Then visualize positive results and see yourself not only doing it, but knocking it out of the park! Believe in yourself! Be aware of your energy and use the power of touch to communicate your intentions. Be aware of each moment and read the body language of the dog. Be conscious of your own body language as well and remember to listen to your body. Readjust your stance and always find a comfortable posture while working. When I remind myself to breathe I am almost always suddenly aware that certain muscles in my body were tensed while I was holding my breath. Relax, breathe, and let your body be the physical expression of your mind. “Physically we don’t stand a chance with unruly dogs. They are physically much stronger than us, but mentally we are much stronger than them” Cesar Milan. I believe that many of us groomers, including myself, suffer from self-doubt and our own insecurities at times. But that is only because we forget who we really are. We are artists – we are creators! We are fearless and courageous when we are called to be in order to lighten the burden of another. We do all that others may fear to do, or may be unwilling to do, because we love dogs unconditionally. Love is the most powerful force in existence. We are love in action, what is there that could possibly stop us? Our minds are an amazing gift from God. Once we realize and unlock our true potential, I believe that anything is possible.” 

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