There are many reasons why some dogs are sensitive to the grooming process. Some may be touch sensitive, may have health issues that make it uncomfortable to be groomed, may be a rescue dog, may have had a previous poor grooming experience or they could be a puppy that is coming for their first groom. However, the reason really is not the priority to me, the priority is to find a way to build confidence and trust with me, to find which technique works best for your dog to allow a groom to be completed causing the minimum distress. This does not happen overnight, and does need commitment from the guardian to attend regular sessions and often work at home in between appointment.
The majority of dogs I now groom have either been referred to me from other groomers who are concerns about the dogs wellbeing or behaviour during the grooming process, or guardians who want their dogs to be given more choices during grooming and are not so concerned with the “perfect” looking finish, but just want their dogs to be relaxed. My background in Tellington TTouch Training, Animal Centred Education and Dog Behaviour puts me in the ideal position to be enable these grooming anxious dogs to cope better.
However, I don’t have a magic wand and although progress with some dogs can be made within a couple of visits, some can take much longer. I will keep you updated throughout and help to keep costs reasonable as much as possible. My rates for Grooming Behaviour Modification is well below average for others offering other canine issue behaviour modification because I believe it should be affordable for as many guardians as possible.
Each dog is an individual and will require an different plan, so I will not be able to give you a timescale for how long the modification programme will take before we can move on to full grooms. Some of the dogs I now groom took a couple of sessions, others are still a work in progress. I will never give up on a dog without giving you other options to consider. However, if you decide that my style of grooming is not for you, please let me know and I would be happy to pass on details to another groomer.
As I am a behaviourist as well as a groomer, the sessions will also include some advice on a range of other aspects which may or may not impact on the grooming process. For example, I may notice that your dog struggles to have the harness put on and taken off, so I will be able to give you some training to help with that, so you don’t just get grooming modification for your money but other science based advice to help your dog day to day. You will also learn some general dog behaviour that will help you understand your dog better.
For some dogs it may be necessary to recommend a vet sedated clip off in the first instance. The decision to advise this is never taken lightly but in many cases can be highly advisable so that we can start working on a dog with very little coat, so we don’t risk catching small mats, or having to clip claws before they are ready.
The following prices will give you an idea of my fees:
Non Refundable Deposit – £120 (includes a copy of my book “Taking the Grrr out of Grooming Your Dog”)
This deposit will cover the cost of the compulsory introductory session of £35, then the balance will go towards sessions below until the balance is £0. If you decide that you no longer wish to use my services before your deposit is fully spent, no refund will be available. However, in the extremely rare case that I feel that I cannot help your dog then any remaining balance will be refunded.
Compulsory Introductory Session in the salon (30 mins) – £35
During this session, your dog will get to engage in Animal Centred Education Free Work, which includes a range of different types of food on a range of different textured services. This starts to give me lots of important information and helps me to plan the first few sessions. It also gives us an opportunity to have a chat. This also allows your dog to have a first positive experience of my salon, is great to help them to calm, process information, get to know me, my salon and the associated smells, sounds and equipment in a relaxed manner. By the end of this session, I would expect to be able to at least start to interact with the dog. If your dog is finding interaction with me too difficult, I will recommend either a ACE Free Work Introductory Session in your Home or Salon Familiarisation Sessions (see below).
Free Work Introductory Session in the home (90 minutes including Travel) – £35 (If I cannot make the round trip in 90 minutes, and additional 45p per mile will be charge on top of the £30).
This option is for dogs that find it too difficult to participate in Free Work in the Salon AND will not interact with me, I find that coming to the home breaks down their initial fears so that they can start to trust me. I will not force myself on a dog, and I cannot help a dog that doesn’t want to interact with me willingly, so this is an essential part of the process. This is rarely needed, but is on option available in really severe cases.
Salon Familiarisation Sessions (up to 30 minutes – £20, up to 60 minutes – £30)
These sessions are aimed at dogs that cannot tolerate interacting with me. It may be that your dog only needs one session of this, but some dogs do require multiple sessions. The aim of these sessions are to build familiarity with the salon and myself so that they can relax without grooming taking place.
Grooming Desensitisation Sessions (up to 30 minutes – £20, up to 60 minutes – £30)
These sessions are for dogs that can tolerate interacting with me and allow me to touch them but still not able to cope with a full groom. During these sessions I will either teach them a canine permission based technique so that they can give me permission to groom (believe me, it works) or if they need length taken off the coat, I may do some gentle scissoring, or a bath/dry.
For some dogs, these sessions will be ongoing for long periods, but you can help at home by reinforcing the training, maintaining the coat, bathing before the groom etc. We can discuss this during sessions.
Full Grooms in the Salon
Once I feel that your dog is ready for a full groom, I will discuss pricing with you then. This is dependant on the breed, the length of coat, whether I can clip or need to scissor (scissoring takes longer and more skill), etc.
Grooming in the home
Some dogs just find travelling and being in the salon just too difficult. For these dogs I offer the option to come to your home to groom your dog. However, for grooming in the home I do ask guardians to bath and dry before I arrive (this can be done the day before if you don’t allow your dog to get dirty again!). Bathing before also reduces my time in your home and therefore keep the fees affordable. Fees will depend on the breed of dog, size, coat condition, and distance to travel.
Other useful information
If your dogs groom does not fall into any of the above categories, we can discuss further during consultations
Please give me as much information about your dogs behaviour during grooming as possible. This will help me develop a plan.
Grooming Terms & Conditions HAPPY PAWS WITH SUE – GROOMING TERMS CONDITIONS AUGUST 2021