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A Dog's First Impression of You and the Owner's Reaction to it

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  • A Dog's First Impression of You and the Owner's Reaction to it

    I recently began grooming about six weeks ago, and I work for a mobile grooming business. Most dogs warm up to me quickly, even the most skiddish ones. A couple of times, however, the dogs that are normally "friendly" with strangers, according to their owners, are frightened or even hostile towards me when I first come to the door. The owners then respond with a questioning look, as if the dog's abnormal action is suggesting that I am an escaped convict, or animal abuser, etc. A lot of dog owners seem to think that their dog will ONLY bark at people who are "evil." lol...
    I would like to get some advice on what I can say to the customers who are worried by their dogs' behavior in these situations.

    Thank you

  • #2
    You smell weird...when you walk in, dogs don't quite know what you are, human with quite a few canines thrown in? And shampoo to boot! Add in diesel smell if we filled up that morning. And we often have a little insecurity when we are meeting new people/new dogs in their home, and dogs can pick up on that very quickly. Just make sure when you go in you are watching the dog out of the corner of your eye, but are actually talking to the owner. As dog people we tend to address the dog first, and it can really make some dogs wary. Ignore the dog and let them have the opportunity to meet you on their terms.

    Sometimes I wonder if the people that make these kinds of comments rarely have visitors. I mean, really, don't you want your dog to sound alarm when a strange person walks into your home? Dogs are going to act differently when they meet someone in public than when they meet someone at their front door.

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    • #3
      Don't know what to tell you other than maybe ignore the dog when you 1st get to the house. You are entering their territory and if you try to touch them, or pet them they may feel threatened. I do housecall and when I go to a new clients house, I talk to the parents 1st and make no attempt to make friends with the dog. It gives them time to sniff my leg, run around in a few circles and get used to me. If someone came to my house to groom my dogs and they acted the way you described, I probaly feel the same way as your customers. I also keep a few treats in my pocket, and with the parents permission, give them a little treat as an intro. Get something that smells really good, like pup o ronie or that bacon stuff, you would be suprised how easy it is to make a new best friend with a treat in your hand,,,

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      • #4
        Yep, I agree with the others. Greet the customer first and ignore the pooch, allowing them time to give you the nasal once over. I like to use a dab of vanilla, cinnamon, or even a drop of beef bullion on my shoes and on each knee. Chewing something interesting, like fruit flavored gum or, even better, a piece of beef jerky will also get you quite a few doggy friends!
        Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
        George Sand (1804 - 1876)

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        • #5
          Wow, great advice everyone! I'll definitely focus on the customer first from now on. I like the ideas of holding the good-scented dog treats and the bullion on the shoes as well.

          Thank you all very much

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          • #6
            The other day I walked up to greet a customer and his dogs. The bigger dog was being held by the owner and as I was talking to him I turned sideways and took a small step towards the dog so that he could sniff me out. Well.....he sniffed me out with his teeth. Nothing like a nice big bite on the thigh muscle to break the ice. He didn't even growl, grumble or groan. Just stepped over to me and chomped down. Needless to say, I couldn't groom that one that day. But his other dog was sweet heart.

            This was completely my fault. The owner even warned me that this dog was severely abused and abandoned when he was younger and has bitten before and could not be trusted. I guess I had to be bitten at least once to prove to myself that I am not in fact 'dog bite proof'.

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            • #7
              I think it can be harder for men. We are already usually much bigger than the dogs we're grooming and men are usually even bigger with deeper voices. It can be a bit intimidating to some dogs I think. A good portion of my regular clients run for the hills when I show up. ME! LOL. The clients always laugh and some have jokingly asked if I beat them. I joke back with "Nope, that costs extra and no one wants to pay". Plus I think some clients will just always be more cautious of men. I had my husband working with me one day at the salon I used to work at. He was filling in the for the bather who was on vacation. He came out, and boy does he baby talk the dogs in this sweet high pitched give-you-a-toothache kind of voice, and took a dog in for me. He's coddling the dog and sweet talking it all the way into the back and once he's out of earshot the client leans in and softly syas to me "I've never seen that man here before, do you trust him?" I chuckled a bit, smiled, and siad "I should, I married him! He's my husband". She blushed a few shades of red and said "Oh well, if you trust him that's good enough for me" LOL
              What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SwissNChow View Post
                You smell weird...when you walk in, dogs don't quite know what you are, human with quite a few canines thrown in? ... I mean, really, don't you want your dog to sound alarm when a strange person walks into your home? Dogs are going to act differently when they meet someone in public than when they meet someone at their front door.
                Yes and men have a forward moving energy. Women are gatherers. We take our time looking at every little thing or talking and gradually get around to the dog. Men are hunters. They walk in seek out what they want visually and head directly to it. Think about what that physical language says to a dog. Out of nowhere you enter a room, turn your body directly to them, create direct eye contact & head their direction. They are being singled out as prey! If I was a dog I would run under the bed, too. LOL!

                Rather than start the "come & git me" game I refuse to chase the dog ever. If the customer goes & gets the client & GIVES her to you that makes you their friend. If you TAKE the dog you suddenly become the man who took me away from Mommy. Think about it.
                "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Root Beer View Post
                  A couple of times, however, the dogs that are normally "friendly" with strangers, according to their owners, are frightened or even hostile towards me when I first come to the door. The owners then respond with a questioning look, as if the dog's abnormal action is suggesting that I am an escaped convict, or animal abuser, etc. A lot of dog owners seem to think that their dog will ONLY bark at people who are "evil." lol...
                  A lot of people are uniformed about dog behavior. It's understandable as there is a ton of misinformation available at the touch of a keypad. I have also heard some pretty silly advise given by professionals that have reinforced these opinions. One of the best was told in front of me by a seasoned groomer. She stated the reason the dog shakes when she brings him in for grooming was because the "last" groomer had abused the dog. She believed it....so now the client does too. She had nothing to base that statement on...just her gut feeling. Wrong. You will hear people state that if their dog doesn't "like" someone..something is wrong with that person. Really? If dogs were capable of this kind of personality testing, why aren't they standing in every airport sniffing out would be criminals or used by every dating service to find the "one".
                  If I'm grooming a large dog, I'll talk to the owner first, then have them bring the dog to me. If I'm grooming a small dog, I'll talk to the owner first, then have the owner hand the dog to me. I don't pick up the dog..until the dog knows me. By then, they usually see my rig and high tail it under the nearest bed. Most of my clients have dogs that doen't appreciate my service... I get a kick out of their reactions when they spot me at the door. One dog would literally gasp out loud..then not bark. Too funny. But I do have a few that love their baths. One is a hair lipped English Bulldog. He waits by the door, busts thru the three other dogs to be first and would jump in the tub if he could. He's my pal.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Smart-n-Pretty View Post
                    Yes and men have a forward moving energy. Women are gatherers. We take our time looking at every little thing or talking and gradually get around to the dog. Men are hunters. They walk in seek out what they want visually and head directly to it. Think about what that physical language says to a dog. Out of nowhere you enter a room, turn your body directly to them, create direct eye contact & head their direction. They are being singled out as prey! If I was a dog I would run under the bed, too. LOL!

                    Rather than start the "come & git me" game I refuse to chase the dog ever. If the customer goes & gets the client & GIVES her to you that makes you their friend. If you TAKE the dog you suddenly become the man who took me away from Mommy. Think about it.
                    yup, I can tell people all the time-DO NOT reach for my Chi's or try to pick them up,let me hand them to you! They don't listen and then wonder why my gang acts like little sharks...

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                    • #11
                      You know, I have an interesting theory, which may or may not have merit. But I'm one of those people who like to change things about me. The easiest thing to change is my hair color. And I've had a lot of different colors over the years.

                      Due to this, I've noticed that there are certain shades of red/auburn that dogs just don't seem to like. The intense deep or bright reds in particular. I've even been stewarding at dog shows, in the obedience ring, and had dogs give me wall eyes when my hair was bright red.

                      I can't explain why that would be. But it is something I've noticed.

                      So, seeing as I'm in one of my red phases, and will probably stay there for a while, when I get a dog that reacts like it doesn't like or trust me, I just tell the owner that it's my red hair. Dogs don't like red hair.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Helly View Post
                        Due to this, I've noticed that there are certain shades of red/auburn that dogs just don't seem to like. The intense deep or bright reds in particular. I've even been stewarding at dog shows, in the obedience ring, and had dogs give me wall eyes when my hair was bright red.

                        Dogs don't like red hair.
                        I thought dogs were colorblind?
                        A Light exists in Spring, Not present on the Year, At any other period -- When March is scarcely here...~~ Emily Dickensen~~

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MydogMissy View Post
                          I thought dogs were colorblind?
                          Funny you ask. I just read this:


                          Although dogs don't see exclusively in black and white (as many people think), they don't have the same range of color that humans do. There are fewer cones (color vision cells) in a dog's eye than in a human's eye. Yet, dogs have many more rods (light and motion detectors) than we do, so although they see a limited spectrum, they can see better at night. Dogs can also see flickering light better than we can, which means they might even be able to see individual frames in a television sequence where we would see a continuous scene.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MydogMissy View Post
                            I thought dogs were colorblind?
                            I just saw something on one of those Science channel thingies last week that pretty much said what Jedd reported. The show I had on said that besides blk/white, (and dogs can certainly distinguish many shades of grey) they also recognize lavenders/purples/blues, but that yellows, greens, orange/red were not noticeably distinguishable to their eye(s). Innerestin stuff.
                            Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                            • #15
                              Many of my pooch customers

                              do not like baths or nails done. I mention that to the owner and say, Just like kids, they don't want to get a bath. The owner often adds that indeed Fido doesn't like baths when they do it either. I have one Bichon that bounces with great happiness when I come. Till I roll my sleeves up, then he slinks away. A little Maltese shakes till I'm done with bath and nails then she talks gleefully to me.

                              Fun idea to add a little bouillon to a shoe.
                              Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.

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