When i was studying dog training there was one saying a trainer told me that i will never forget.
The only thing that two dog trainers will agree on is that the third trainer is wrong
I quess the same applies for groomers. All i can say is everyone has there own opinion and up bringing on how to achieve a goal. All you have to do is take in all opinions, respect that they may have a diiferent opnion and use what works best for you. Its all about keeping an open mind.
My opinion, 3 weeks is too long a time between for a dog like this. I had an adult Lhasa/shihtzu years ago who would scream loud whenever the scissors or clippers would go anywhere near it. The lady lived in the neighbourhood so we agreed she come in every day. First day came into the shop talked for a few minutes, second day she handed dog over to me in my arms backwards, held her for a minute,gave her back. Third day same then I walked around with her, next day put her on the table, etc..the last holdout was scissors around her face...she would come in and I'd scissor air all around the dog getting closer each time. I guess you call this desensitization. It took about a month of this and when I could scissor her eyes it was an amazing feeling. It only took a few minutes each day and didn't upset my schedule. I was happy the owner was happy and the dog was accepting the grooming process.
Somewhat similar situation
in that I've been grooming a rescue poodle x for over 3 years now. He came to me with a lot of issues -- fearful and growling and biting. I wouldn't have kept grooming him -- I didn't like getting bitten -- but the owner got him used to a muzzle and now she brings him to me, muzzles him, I groom him and we're all happy. Yes, it's taken 3 years and he's so much improved. I don't need a muzzle to scissor his face and he's pretty good about the bath and drying process. But I still can't touch his front legs, and sometimes his rear ones, without a muzzle.
I needed a lot of patience for this one, but I know he's worth it.
I think people play into this equation too. Some people are patient. They do well using training methods that take time and are repetitive. Some people (the sort who honk if the car in front of them doesn't shoot off like a rocket when the light changes) would go crazy if they had to wait that long to see a change. That's okay -- there's more than one way to help a dog get through the grooming process. I've seen theories come and go, as have most of us. Research can be useful -- but there are so many ways to "game the process" (deliberately or by mistake) in research, as a friend who teaches statistical research told me. So in the end, maybe it's about using common sense and compassion. I like Sarah Wilson's training work. She's patient and kind. Remember, about 150 years ago (two human lives ago), some "educated" people believed that dogs did not "feel" pain -- they just had a physical reaction to the "stimuli" of knives and needles and shocks. They weren't in pain, their body was "reacting." Aargh.
These are the dogs that I do at work
I work in a very large shop-12 groomers.
These are the dogs I do. And I love the challenge.
Getting them to trust me is the success of what I do.
First- yes, I muzzle any dog that I think will bite me. If I get bit, I'm out of work. That said, the dog often doesn't want to bite you, but it's a reactive thing. Muzzleing a dog doesn't mean I'm a lousy groomer. If I think I'm going to get bit, I give off "signals, phermones, whatever" that tell the dog I'm thinking he's going to bite, so he bites.
I have a darling poox that comes to me and is just terrifed. Mostly she doesn't like the clippers around her rear legs. And she's cage shy. The Bravura is working very well with her. It's quiet. and doesn't vibrate like others. And she trusts me. I can love her up with the muzzle on, and she knows she's being loved.
I try to do these dogs in the afternoon, when it's quieter and I'm not trying to finish my work load. We spend a little time massaging- kinda like TT-touch. I don't talk too much during the groom. I get the job done, start to finish, smoothly, no drama. When I'm done, they get more positive feed back.
My best success stories are an old, teeney Shih Tzu who had been scruffed to groom (one of the 12). All she tried to do is eat me. It took about a year, and she would let me do ANYTHING. And she purred. Like a cat! She just passed away at age 16.
Also- 2 Poodles, that always SCREAMED for clean feet. Yes, I could muzzle them and MAKE them do it, but that is not what I do.
After 1 year of working with them, they LET me do their feet. They love me. They TRUST me.
And there are many more. It's the best part of grooming - for me.
Good luck, and take your time.
BNGirl. I agree w/ you 100%. I am thoroughly satisfied w/ gaining the trust of one little land shark. It makes my day & glad that I am in this profession. Patience and gentle movements work very well for me. No yelling or sudden movement.
Gaining trust is what makes this career so rewarding.
I am inbetween 'old school' & 'new school' ...
get it done as swiftly , calmly & quickly. (& of course with a muzzle if it bites!) TOO much time dragging out a grooming w/a fearful dog is only going to make it worse. no talking or babying, firm & gentle hand & just get it done! it will either improve or not after a few grooms, but we are not being paid to train & rehabilitate dogs. 1 hour of time w/a private trainer in my area is $80 ... that does not include grooming!