To be a bit narked at this dog groomer?(71 Posts)
We have a rescue spaniel who came to us with a whole raft of issues, including touch-sensitivity. Over time we have worked patiently and persistently to overcome this and he has progressed from a dog who wouldn't let you put a collar on him and who flinched if you tried to pet him, to a dog who leaps up with his tail wagging at the sight of his collar and lead, will stand to be towel-dried all over, can have tangles eased out of his coat with fingers and who has started to tolerate a couple of minutes of being brushed.
With the recent improvement in the weather, he gets quite hot and we have talked about getting him clipped to make him more comfortable. As it happens we have just had to put him in boarding kennels and the ones we chose were great, very understanding of his issues etc - and they employ a professional groomer.
We had a long chat with her when we went to view the kennels, explained all about his touch-sensitivity and the fact that when out of his comfort zone, he will growl non-stop. In the 18 months we have had him he has never bitten/snapped, but he does growl when uncertain/uncomfortable. We stressed more than once that he doesn't bite but does growl, and also repeated more than once that although we don't use a muzzle on him, we had no objections to the groomer doing so if she was in any doubt about him. We didn't want a show-standard clip, just a quick job to allow him to cool down. She was very confident, reassuring us that she works with tricky dogs all the time and he'd be fine.
The kennels have just dropped him off and he is exactly as we left him. In with his things is a scribbled note from the groomer saying "sorry, he started growling as soon as he came into the salon and I wasn't prepared to risk it. Had to still charge as he took up a slot I could have used for another dog."
AIBU to think she should have declined the booking when we explained his issues if she wasn't at least going to try to muzzle him as we had sanctioned? We KNEW he would growl, that's why we mentioned it upfront repeatedly to make sure she understood and was confident with insecure dogs!
As the owner of a dog who behaves badly when worried or stressed ( barking and growling at other dogs) I would personally have been with the dog when he had his hair do. The dog groomer should have suggested this to you anyway . Any dog groomer with experience would have asked the owner to be present the first time to allow the doggie to get the hang of things with out undue stresses. She made an error of judgment so should not charge you for her time . Quite rightly you should not pay for the no hair cut .
Yabu to vent without calling her to find out more about what happened as the note seems too brief and sketchy to know for sure how hard she tried or what put her off and it would be useful for you to know more details anyway for future use.
I do understand her charging for her time but also agree she should have made you aware that is her policy so maybe if you call to discuss further you can reach a compromise.
YANBU to expect some reduction in the charge at least, if she didn't even try, although I suppose at least your dog didn't end up having a bad experience from someone not confident.
My spaniel is a drama queen on the anxious/neurotic side, and the first time I took her to be groomed I said I wanted it to be a good experience and would be happy even if all they did was a bit of brushing or a bath and stopped on the grounds of building up to a full groom over time. I could hear her screaming from the carpark, they had no interest if she was calm or not, they were just going to run her through the system and stuff how stressed she got! I went back and demanded they stopped, took my shaking dog away and found someone else who is lovely with her.
I could find no groomers in the area who allow owners to be present during the grooming, they all said the dogs get more stressed trying to get to their owners. I did for a while go down the clippers/doing her myself route, but she behaves much better on a grooming table with someone who knows what they're doing than she does for me.
If she'd said at the outset "I'll give it a try, but bear in mind if I try and don't succeed I will still have to charge you full price" then you could have made an informed decision. She didn't mention that and reassured you all would be fine. I'd be at least questioning the bill, maybe offer something for her trouble.
I think she did the right thing for the wrong reasons.
I think if she'd gone ahead, muzzled and groomed him, ignoring the growling, it would have undone all the work you've done.
YANBU - where was the muzzle? Why didn't she use it?
Mind you, in your shoes I would have had the dog clipped at a time when I could be there. 20/20 hindsight is a great thing.
Do you think this groomer came all the way to the kennel to groom just the one dog ?
Nah neither do I. I think she and to do a block booking of Almost all the dogs in the kennel on that day. Easy job !
I wouldn't feel guilty and I certainly wouldn't be paying her.
Do you have a telephone number you can call? Speak to the groomer and get a full report of what happened to put her off.
I would attempt yourself for now, and maybe see if a mobile groomer could come to yours or you keep trying until your dog developes a trust or bond with one of them.
We saw the salon at the kennels beforehand
But you're not a dog, never mind a nervous one! You can't assume that a dog is going to react in the same way as a human and think "oh well, here I am to be groomed, it will make me a lot more comfortable and it isn't too noisy, so I will sit here and let them trim me, because I've never done anything lik ethis before!.
I appreciate that it's trial and error, and we made an error. We had hoped that with an experienced, apparently confident groomer on board, we could keep the experience as short as possible for him without him associating us with being briefly uncomfortable - one quick clip to keep him cooler in the worst of the summer heat, and then plenty of time before a repeat required next year for us to continue to work on improving his acceptance of touch. Obviously it's back to the drawing board.
WTF does it matter whether he was 'rescued' or 'rehomed' anyway?
We saw the salon at the kennels beforehand - it wasn't multi-use so only one dog worked on at a time, so there would have been no blow dryers or showers or other dogs/owners in there at the same time.
He was sold by the gamekeeper who bred and worked him for the first six years of his life to someone who intended to work him but who was not, in fact, the right sort of person to keep a dog. He suffered two years of heavy handed treatment (the flinching and dislike of anyone carrying a stick suggests he was beaten); had a number of untreated medical issues including an oral growth which was inhibiting his ability to eat and in the end was essentially abandoned when his new owner changed jobs and had to travel a lot - that was the point at which he was surrendered to the rescue organisation from which we got him.
Is that "rescue" enough for you?
I've been inside a dog grooming place. What the dogs learn to sit thorough is actually quite a lot. And of there are other dogs being done by other people then they have the noise of the other dogs, clippers, blow dryers, showers, people talking/giving their dogs commands or reassurance.
It really can be alot.
I've known a few people who's dogs it has taken a few visits and various people for their dog to be successfully fully groomed. And year are dogs with no issues.
Your expectations are too high. And your idea that a groomer should carry on with grooming an obviously stressed/uncomfortable animal is bonkers.
These things can take time, it's often trial and error.
You explained the situation and sanctioned the use of a muzzle and they were happy to go ahead and take the booking.
Okay, she decided not to do it in the end but she shouldn't be charging you.
"Having written all what you did, I'm astonished you didn't go with him to comfort him through his dog grooming visit."
I agree with this. I think you should have waited for him to be groomed when you were available.
Not if they're just working dogs, no. I know lots of people who say they have 'rescued' a dog, only to find out that in fact it hasn't been mistreated or abused, just rehomed. That's a 'rehomed' dog, not a 'rescue' dog.
Do ex working gun dogs never need rescuing then?
I suggest you sack your "behaviouralist" then, because that plan was always going to fail. What kind of behaviouralist would suggest taking an animal out of its own environment, with no people it was familiar with and doing something it hadn't been trained to accept? Its like negative reinforcement piled upon negative reinforcement, and the dog obviously behaved (growling) in entirely an expected way.
So, if, in fact he is an ex working gundog, in what way did you 'rescue' him?
Chelsy, to reiterate:
1. The behaviourist with whom we have been working suggested it might actually be a good thing we weren't with him, for the reasons explained above - this may or may not turn out to be correct, but as it appears the groomer gave up at the first growl, we'll never know.
2. The groomer did not give any indication whatsoever that what we were asking was unreasonable, despite us talking to her at length about his issue.
3. A growl is not automatically a warning that a dog will bite. It is a communication that the dog is uncertain / uncomfortable / unsure / insecure. With a calm, confident, reassuring person used to dealing with such dogs (which the groomer gave us the impression she was), it need never escalate to a bite - as indeed, it hasn't with us or with anyone we have introduced him to.
Oh, and I would get a pair of mini clippers if I were you, and do a little bit of familiarisation work each day with them, and get him used to being touched in areas he might object to. The consider either doing the whole thing yourself or taking him to a dog groomer to do small bits at a time. Possibly with sedation.
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