“Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding”
― Jacob Bronowski
In the animal world, grooming is an essential part of life. Many species will spend hours each day grooming themselves and each other. I just read on Wikipedia that male Crab Eating Macaques use grooming as a way to mate with females. We all know that trick 😉
Animals groom themselves as a way to stay healthy, but also groom each other as a way to establish and strengthen bonds. It is an intimate activity that requires mutual trust, respect and love. This is why I believe it is so important to spend as much time as it takes to get a dog comfortable with me before I begin grooming him. Can you imagine what would happen if a dog went up to another dog it doesn’t know and began grooming him? It would most likely cause a fight.
The way I approach a dog all depends on the individual dog, and what their body language is telling me. I like to compare the first groom to a first date. Engage in some light conversation first, and keep it interesting. We want to take things slow at first in order to give them a pleasant experience. Then maybe ask for a little more on the second date. Had I tried to jump my wife’s pants on our first date, we probably wouldn’t be married – and knowing her, I would’ve gone to jail! Now fast forward to being married almost 9 years, and I still can’t jump her pants whenever I want but at least I won’t go to jail for trying! It’s the same thing with grooming. The more rapport you have with a dog, the more you can ask of them. When a dog trusts you, respects you, and loves you they are willing to do anything you need them to.
What about when a dog flips out during the nail trimming? There are ways to hold and secure a dog that helps them calm down while keeping everyone safe.