Taking My Dog to the Groomers.
While I was biking around town, I saw a newly opened pet shop with one of the employees giving out coupons for half-off a full dog grooming service. I knew how much professional grooming is in our mall and this was quite affordable, so I took a coupon and asked what services they will provide. It consisted of a bath, drying, fur trimming, nail trimming, ear cleaning, toothbrushing, and removal of any kind of tick or flea provided it's mild, otherwise, they will provide medication first that we'll have to pay separately.
This was a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing, so I wonder if it's worth taking Maui. He has never been to the groomers before, and I sort of worry that he might feel too nervous and may bark or worse, attack the groomers. According to the employee, liability is a bit 50/50, as getting bitten is part of the risks involved with handling dogs, and if I am worried, they can place a muzzle on Maui, to minimize the risks.
I could say I'm confident that Maui will have a great grooming experience. He does go through the usual grooming process like baths, drying with a blow dryer, regular brushing, and what passes for toothbrushing. Thanks to the We Love Doodles shampoo, Maui maintained a very shiny coat, and it's surprisingly silky. What I haven't done to Maui is nail clipping because his nails are short due to all the running and walking. Plus, I often catch Maui plain scratching the concrete, so he never gets overgrown nails. Makes me wonder if he's trying to mimic how my cats sharpen their nails.
With this in mind, I asked what kind of nail trim device they will use, and she mentions that they will use one of those grinding canine nail clippers that run the nail through a rolling file to thin it out a bit, so they never risk cutting the actual flesh part of the nail.
With that, I left and discussed the grooming session with my wife. She did agree as she absolutely hated the ticks, and if she could help it, she would do what she can to sterilize Maui. By sterilizing, she means wiping all non-Maui organisms from his fur and skin. She wanted to visit the new grooming salon too, so that means Maui will have his first experience with a professional groomer.
I looked up a few things on the internet like I always do, and the common thing many articles say is that owners need to first condition their dog to be comfortable around humans in general. A dog may be fine with their owners touching their paws and other sensitive parts, but they may act a different way if another person does it, so desensitizing them is the first step, such as playing with their paws, their legs, scratching the area around their tail, and touching their tail. Maui actually doesn't like his tail being touched despite some of my playtimes with him involving me trying to lightly grab his tail. He always turns around and tries to hide it. I wonder if it had something to do with the small dog that used to bully him.
The second is to make sure the owners are aware of any health concerns such as allergies to shampoos that may lead to skin irritations. A pet salon may also ask for proof of rabies vaccination and other diseases like Parvo and Distemper as they don't want to risk spreading the disease to other dogs. Maui has all of those and I have photos of them in my online storage.
The average dog owner may go to the pet groomer about 4 times a year or once every 10-12 weeks. Those who care for really expensive breeds like Shibes or French Bulldogs, or breeds with hair that exceed 5 inches like those oddly pretty Afghan Hounds may opt to go once every 6-8 weeks, but this is under the assumption that these owners don't have a way to properly groom their dogs, or would rather have professional boutique groomers do the grooming, like owners who own contest dogs.
However, Maui doesn't need any special care. His other half is the most resilient dog breed in the world who rarely has any health problems, and can practically eat anything without issue: the mighty Mongrel. I actually loved that Maui was half mongrel because I know for a fact that these breeds (or lack thereof) live longer, and can practically eat anything we can eat, like grains and even vegetables, provided they are cooked. The only drawback is that some breeds were made to preserve certain traits like a gentle bite, or higher herding instincts, and I am sure Maui only has half of that in him.
Knowing that Maui should at least be 80% amicable to a groomer, we decided to go the groomers as a family so we can have an excuse to go to a mall as we left Maui. We might buy a few things in the pet store too.
We took Maui the next morning, as early as we can to skip the line. To my delight, the grooming tables were empty. They did ask for vaccination proof and I showed it. They also made me sign a pretty long waiver, but instead of just signing, I read through everything because I don't want to be blindsided by some potential loophole. I don't know any significant legal stuff, but at least I'll do the prudent thing and read what's given.
It's mostly about the extra charges that will incur if they need to do certain things outside the services, like removing matter fur, using muzzles, or dealing with parasites. I told them that I don't know how Maui would act, but if he does act up, I'd gladly pay for the muzzle. A small part of it is how I can't hold them accountable for small accidents such as minor cuts and nicks because they use sharp stuff and dogs are likely to wiggle around.
I also informed them that Maui had a recent Tick infestation and should they find any, I'd be happy to pay extra for the removal.
The groomer took some time to get to know Maui by calling his name. Maui even looked at me as if looking for approval and I responded by rubbing his head. I helped them get Maui up the adjustable grooming table, removed his collar, and helped them place what looked like a noose on him that hung from a pipe above the table. According to them, grooming will take about 2 hours, but depending on the dog, they may expect shorter sessions, and they have some kennels to hold dogs in case the session ends earlier than two hours.
A problem occurred as we were leaving to walk around. Maui started whining as he watched us leave. The whines were so loud that I heard them through two panes of glass. He chewed on the leash but didn't seem like he was trying to tear it apart. For some reason, Maui felt some extreme separation anxiety. I went back and the groomer tried to calm him down, and he seemed responsive to it, either that, or it's because I came back in. The groomer told me I should just leave so that Maui won't have a reason to try and whine to get my attention. I placed my faith in the groomer's words and left. Maui resumed his whining as I left, but I steeled my heart and pushed on forward.
After a short trip to the mall, we went back exactly two hours later and saw that the grooming session was over. I saw Maui sitting rather mournfully inside one of the cages. He turned around as I came in and he suddenly started gnawing on the cage bars, whining as he did. Poor thing.
As expected, they found some ticks, small ones. They removed it but it wasn't much so they didn't charge me. They did recommend that I take my dog to the vet to check for potential diseases and I'll keep that in mind. Maui's excess fur on the legs and neck were trimmed and he looks rather streamlined. His nails looked filed and his tail looked thinner. He looks almost younger actually.
I paid my dues and I leashed Maui. The poor dog kept licking my hands and still whined as if he went through a traumatic affair. I asked them if he was of any trouble and the groomer said he eventually stopped and was very calm afterward, if not a little stiff.
It didn't look like an enjoyable experience for Maui, but I hope it was at least a pleasant experience somehow. I won't be coming back anytime soon, but maybe in six months, I'll consider it.