Unless you've been living in a cave, you have probably seen the headlines regarding a number of fatalities at Petsmart for dogs that have gone in for grooming. You can read one of the stories here:
I spoke to someone involved in the companion animal grooming industry who requested anonymity, to get their take on what was going on. For context, they have worked with animals for over three decades. Their observation was that it was most likely a training issue, i.e. that professional groomers know how to read dogs and how to handle them. I'm sure there are many very professional groomers who work at the big box stores, but if they are inexperienced groomers, that opens the door to not being able to read an animal. Since I was familiar with reading animals through my wife, and I knew her hospital takes great pride in being a fear free clinic, I decided to speak with her.
Monique, as one of the owners of Harmony Animal Hospital, agreed with the training issue angle. She said that she indeed had been keeping up with the coverage, and she said the first tip-off that this was a training issue was that a bulldog that went in for a trim was in for over one hour with three empolyees. She said that most likely the dog did not want to be there and was stressed. And by forcing the dog to participate in something that it clearly did not want to do, they were stressing it out. This would be the opposite of a fear free approach. Another issue is the brachephalic dogs don't handle heat well so the dryers can be a problem. Throw some stress on top and now you have a dog that can't cool off and is starting to have problems breathing.
I can tell you from experience that Mr. Bishi, one of our bulldogs, never had a problem getting his nails trimmed. See video below.
But Lola, our new rescue? She does not like to have her nails trimmed. So you have to be well trained to recognize when a dog doesn't want to be there. And you cannot force them to undergo something that is stressing them.
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