“Beyond Pet Beauty™” – Fear Free Pet Grooming.
In Singapore and other parts of the world, published peer-reviewed research has shown that pets and pet parents are most fearful of two places – first, the veterinary clinic and second, the grooming salon. Coupled with the fact that in time-scarce Singapore, where the pressing demands of everyday life weights down on pet parents and consequentially, their pets, this leaves little time for their pet’s annual check-up or grooming session. Naturally, this results in these important events being outsourced to licensed veterinarians or professional groomers to accomplish without the pet parent’s presence.
Progressively, these demands tend to spill over to affect how most grooming salons in Singapore are conventionally run. Clients have no time and wants it quick, groomers have a waiting list of pets to groom, so as service providers, they attempt to balance keeping the human client happy and focus on doing it quickly to deliver a desired tangible benefit at the end of the groom – a decent haircut. After all, the human client is the one who is paying for the groom, right? Wrong! At first glance, while it does not seem like a bad thing, the mechanics behind rushing a groom is akin to taking a loan. While loaning provides you with more spare monies, these monies usually come with interest – a cost to usage, for using these unearned monies. Similarly, pet parents might notice that getting a quick groom for their pet is usually accompanied by these underlying symptomatic consequences, such as physiological and mental discomfort expressed as a lack of appetite, vomiting or even a conscious aversion towards the groomer. Like a ticking time bomb that has not yet exploded, these depict the initial onset of warning signals that signify the potential long run ramifications owing to a seemingly simple and quick groom.
Unlike humans, science has conclusively determined that companion animals such as dogs and cats, communicate through body language. Upon closer examination of an animal’s body language, this will present some degree of insight to their current emotional state of mind and act as a vaguely accurate predictor of behaviour and their respective actions in that scenario. Stressful emotional states such as fear and anxiety can be easily noticed. These can include but not limited to – vocalisations such as whimpering, barking, hissing, or postural cues such as shifting their weight backwards and crouching their back, or micro-expressions such as baring their front canines or protracting their claws.
Frankly, the process of grooming a pet has never been a natural procedure and is typically perceived as invasive to most pets. Nonetheless, like the benefits derived from visiting a veterinarian regularly, grooming is a necessary procedure to ensure that your pet stays clean and beautiful. However, in most scenarios, pets are neither introduced nor conditioned to grooming processes gradually and with positive methods, as they should have been in the first place. Sadly, these pets are usually expected to deal with these uncomfortable situations, no matter what stressors they must accept, or what eventual costs it ultimately emplaces on their state of mind. Furthermore, this is exacerbated by the lengthy nature of grooming tasks, which are commonly linked together and executed in a single, yet limited bout of time. Ultimately, this unintentionally complicates and compounds these problems on the grooming table.
Currently, there is an overwhelming degree of complacency from pet groomers and pet parents about grooming sessions. Despite these warning signs, they have been conditioned to accept the industry’s status quo as is, constantly subjecting their pets to be chronically stressed by routine events such as visiting a grooming salon, being handled by a groomer or to grooming procedures in general. We owe it to our pets to ask ourselves. Is this fair to our pets? Or is there a better way?
It is now common knowledge that the use of positive techniques and well-planned introductory sessions has helped to massively reduce the stress experienced by pets in grooming salons. As a young animal develops through life, they learn to assign associations into two binary categories – good or bad. On one end, good associations are made with positive consequences. For example, if the pet is gradually introduced to the hairdryer at first and constantly given a desirable consequence such as some yummy treats, this allows the pet to slowly forge and link the present event of grooming to the expected pleasure obtained from food. Conversely, bad associations are fused by negative consequences. For example, if the pet is forced to offer their paws to have their nails clipped and filed, with no option for escape, this will create a deep-seated memory in the pet’s mind of an intense dislike for the tool, the nail clipper and filer, the person, the groomer and an overt or covert objection to the salon environment in general.
So, what if you do not introduce your pet to grooming sessions at all? Science displays the consensus that once an animal matures into adulthood, they are likely to view things that they are unfamiliar with suspicion and negativity. This is derived from their natural survival instincts, which biologically programs them to survive by limiting exposure to experiences that might harm their physical and mental well-being and affect their survival and reproductive values. Thus, the next time you would want to invite your pet for a grooming session, this missing or negative experience usually acts out as active avoidance and generally makes these sessions harder to perform whenever you require them to be done.
Pawrus® Pet Grooming Studio was established for pets to enjoy grooming and to educate pet parents to teach their pets to love grooming using positive methods.
We are the first and only grooming studio in Singapore to be specialised in the latest pet grooming trends with an emphasis on emotional well-being. The grooming studio is led by Grooming Director Jasline Aiw, who has not only consistently broken nationwide records and won top-placing international awards in pet grooming events but has also successfully groomed hundreds of pets and their parents to achieve unique partnerships in countries and continents such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and Europe.
Effective grooming relies on proper techniques, clear communication, and compassion. To begin, it requires acknowledgement that there might exist possibilities of miscommunication during grooming. Then, a plan needs to be conceptualised and put into motion to set both the pet and the pet parent up for success towards a common goal together. Unlike traditional grooming salons, we believe that true beauty comes from within, and the only way to create that is to focus on developing compassion in grooming experiences for both the pet and the pet parent.
Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. To have compassion, pet parents must learn to empathise and be motivated to relieve their pet’s suffering. It is our unwavering promise and dedication that we will work tirelessly with every pet and pet parent partnership until they are comfortable to proceed to the next stage.
We completely understand that in a busy world today characterised by unpredictability and insufficient time, it has become increasingly difficult for us to allocate time for important events. Therefore, we have created an exclusive three step system of incrementally introducing your pet to grooming with the use of introductory sessions, before moving on to small, modular sessions and finally, enjoying a basic or full grooming session in our salon. Throughout the course of their lives, we will continue to build on conditioned layers of positive experiences by teaching pets to learn to love grooming despite its inherent nature and the conventional difficulties associated with it. In our opinion and in an ideal world, we think that pet parents should be involved in the grooming processes of their pets, as loving someone as special as our pets is a personal journey that should never be outsourced to strangers. We hope that through our sessions, you and your pet will learn to collaborate and bond together in the deepest of ways. All our processes, sessions, and groomers are here with the intention of helping you and your pet unchain these inner limitations, to achieve and radiate true beauty for years to come.
Finally, as physical, and emotional guardians of your pets and yourself, we must stress that we will never recommend nor perform sessions that are not comfortable with your pet. Henceforth, there is absolutely no reason to delay grooming your pet or to stretch out intervals between grooming sessions. The more you and your pet are exposed to positive experiences with the groomer and the grooming salon, the more you and your pet will learn to love grooming with compassion. There is no doubt.
We are the new standard in pet grooming.
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