Build Rapport!

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“Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding”
― Jacob Bronowski

Build Rapport!
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.

Gina Gaetano, an amazing coworker of mine, showed me this holding method that helped calm this dog down. She uses her right arm to secure the head by putting her middle finger to her shoulder. This prevents the dog from using her head to fight. Then secures the dog close to her body with her left hand under the tuck up. I was amazed at how calm the dog was after Gina held her like this.
Gina Gaetano, an amazing coworker of mine, showed me this holding method that helped calm this dog down. She uses her right arm to secure the head by putting her middle finger to her shoulder. This prevents the dog from using her head to fight. Then secures the dog close to her body with her left hand under the tuck up. I was amazed at how calm the dog was after Gina held her like this.
Emily Whipp, pictured on left, is one of the most talented people I've worked with! There have been several big breeds like a Brazilian Mastiff that I wasn't able to get on the table or into the tub. Whenever she would see me struggling she would offer to help. It amazes me every time how easily she leads them onto the table or the stairs into the tub. She is proof that it is all mental rather than physical.
Emily Whipp, pictured on left, is one of the most talented people I’ve worked with! There have been several big breeds like a Brazilian Mastiff that I wasn’t able to get on the table or into the tub. Whenever she would see me struggling she would offer to help. It amazes me every time how easily she leads them onto the table or the stairs into the tub. She is proof that it is all mental rather than physical.

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