Grooming shouldn’t be scary for your dog.
As obvious as that sounds, we know that every day, dogs are brought shaking and whining into salons against their will, and tethered to the grooming table, muzzled, or otherwise restrained for hours at a time. We know because we’ve seen it. And because we’ve seen it, we know: we have to offer our clients’ dogs a better experience.
Our philosophy is simple. We believe that dogs should maintain autonomy over their bodies during all stages of the grooming process. We believe in consent, and in building mutual trust with the dogs under our care.
We groom dogs in the comfort of their own homes – thus eliminating encounters with unfamiliar people or dogs, places, or things. (Don’t worry: we’re really good at cleaning up after ourselves.)
HOW IT WORKS
Ours is a multi-part process.
We begin with a hands-on consultation conducted by a member of the training team, and our groomer, Kit. Together, they make an assessment of your dog’s current comfort-level with the grooming process, and create a plan to get her ready for grooming day.
Step one lays a foundation for grooming through training with a member of our training team. At this stage, we want to teach your dog that she has the power to say yes or no, and that we respect her autonomy. We call this training for “cooperative care.” Cooperative care procedures are different from your run-of-the-mill grooming experience. Dogs whose groomers engage them in cooperative care may ask them to offer their chins and paws; they’ll ask them to station themselves in the tub or on the table. And if, at any point, a dog refuses to perform a requested behavior, the groomer respects her need for space and time.
In a transitional phase, we’ll introduce Kit. Together with the trainer, they’ll begin helping your dog learn to use her skills in context. We consider these to be training lessons, but some grooming will happen! During this phase, expect your dog to look a little funny – we might shave one portion of her body, but not the rest, or cut the nails on only one foot… Don’t worry: she won’t be half-done forever!
Finally, we get to the big day: the groom itself! Kit separates bathing and grooming onto two different days (sometimes even a week apart) in order to reduce stress for your dog. Things like nail trims and touch-up trims can happen any time in between your full groom days. At this stage, Kit and your dog should be able to take things at their own pace. As their relationship develops over the first several haircuts, you may notice that grooms begin to take less time.
What happens if a dog refuses a procedure during the grooming process? Will my dog still get groomed?
Yes – or no. We do our best during the training-phase of our process to ensure that dogs are ready by the time we make it to grooming day. We spend lots of time getting dogs acquainted with the tools themselves (sights, sounds, sensations) and handling techniques that will be used during their individual grooming sessions. By the time we get to the real deal, they should be very comfortable with all of the component parts of the process. But grooming itself can sometimes take a bit longer than our practice lessons – fatigue can cause a dog to revoke her consent. In that case, we’ll try to give your dog a break and return to the task again later. If we can’t get back to it before your dog says she’s done for the day, we’ll set up a follow-up time to finish the job.
My dog and I have been asked not to return to a salon due to behavior concerns. Do you groom aggressive dogs?
Our expertise lies here. In our experience, dogs behave aggressively because they have learned that they do not have the right or the power to refuse a procedure. When dogs feel that they lack bodily autonomy (ie: when they are restrained and forced to undergo a procedure they don’t understand), they may react defensively. When we allow dogs the ability to communicate with a groomer reciprocally, we alleviate these issues.
When working with dogs who react to handling, we devote a lot more time to training. We may also recommend working cooperatively with a veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist to complement our training.
How often does my dog need to be groomed?
Great question – it depends. Depending upon your dog’s hair texture/type, thickness, and lifestyle, we may recommend more frequent services. Sometimes, we’re able to help a dog’s human teammates learn how to help with daily maintenance, like brushing or combing; sometimes, it’s better left to the pros. We’ll always discuss our recommendations and reasons with you.
My dog has been groomed many times and my groomer says she does fine. Can you just schedule her for a full groom without training?
Nope. It’s not that we don’t believe your groomer. Ok, actually, that’s exactly it. Because we know how grooming is traditionally undertaken, we want to make sure that your dog does more than “fine” – we want her to feel confident and secure! We’ll schedule an initial hands-on consultation for all new clients. If, at the end of the consultation, we determine that your dog really is okay with the whole process, we’ll schedule services ASAP.
SERVICES + PRICING
First 120-min: $225
Each additional 30-min: $55
First 60-min: $90
Each additional 30-min: $35