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Pantops Pet Salon & Spa
Charlottesville's Professional Dog Grooming

It's what we do -- it's all we do.

(434) 293-2424
Fax: (434) 293-8231
504 Pantops Center
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Groomer Has It

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 by Mike Cronk

What is it about our profession that there was a need to make a reality show of it? The television channel Animal Planet has been running a program called “Groomer Has It” which I could not stand after only a couple of episodes.

There are plenty of professional grooming competitions conducted by certified groomers which test the skills used in this profession. But that’s not what this show is about. “Groomer Has It” takes a skillful and difficult profession and puts it on display for entertainment purposes. Don’t watch it and think you can learn much about dog grooming! What you could learn is overshadowed by the Paris Hilton mentality of treating your dog like a doll.

The problem I see most often in the dog profession is that folks are just too devoted to dogs and don’t have a life outside that. I see this reflected in the behavior of the groomers shown in this program. The groomers in “Groomer Has It” wouldn’t work for me–they’re too weird. They are pretty eccentric which makes for good TV but not necessarily good grooming. This profession requires people skills–you need to relate to your customers just as much as you relate to the dogs. You must also be able to focus on the needs of the dog–not just what you want from the dog. You should be knowledgeable about training, breeds, and behavior.

While I think dogs are unique in the animal kingdom, I don’t like this trend of making them substitutes for human relationships. I don’t think it’s healthy to make a dog take the place of a mother or wife or children for that matter and it’s not fair to the dog. Humanized dogs are socialized with human psychology which can have an effect of spoiling them so much that they become a nusance. Here I agree with Ceasar Milan (“The Dog Whisperer”) and feel it’s unfair to humanize our dogs. A normal dog of any breed that is on it’s best behavior can’t be beat and that’s fine, but playing “dolls” with them is going too far.

Making pretty cookies and little raincoats is no substitute for a good brushout. I feel my job is to provide you professional grooming and by that I mean a thorough bath, brushing and haircut. That’s what you’re paying for. While I insist this is done in a friendly atmosphere, I’m not happy when one of my groomers spends more time petting the dogs than brushing–unless you want me to raise prices to include this service! Reminds me of the time when I still owned “The Pet Motel” that is currently run by my son. I had hired a young man to clean the kennel. He loved dogs and thought the job would be a lot of “fun.” I caught him petting a dog in the run but there was still a pile of poop on the floor–and he wasn’t in there with a scoop. I quickly let him know that our top priority was to insure that dog had a clean environment first and foremost. Can he and should he pet the dog? Of course, but not in lieu of clean water, proper diet, and sanitary quarters. A love of dogs does not necessarily equate to being a good groomer or kennel assistant, but a groomer and kennel assistant surely should love dogs.

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