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Something I've learned over the years

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  • Something I've learned over the years

    I'm not one to post "tips" here on pg.com. I've usually preferred to sit in the background and soak up all the knowledge that is kindly dispensed by our members. However, another post made today about a dog's reactions on meeting the groomer inspired me to share something that has made a huge impact in my relations with animals - from leopards to poodles. A little unsolicited advice, if you will. So, if I may be so bold, I would like to offer some insight that might help somebody.

    As groomers, a working knowledge of compassionate and safe animal handling techniques is required to effectively do our job. We are all aware of the impact that our demeanor and voice can have on our furry little charges. However, an important but often neglected area of consideration when handling any animal, especially dogs, is the impact that odors have on their perception of the world around them. A dog's nose not only dominates her face but her brain, as well. A dog's brain is specialized for identifying scents. The percentage of the brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is actually 40 times larger than that of a human! It's been estimated that dogs can identify smells somewhere between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than humans.

    "Odor awareness" is something that I have used for decades in dealing with all kinds of animals. I'm not referring merely to environmental odors or even aromatherapies that occur in a salon setting. I'm talking about the personal scents that emanate from ourselves and our clothing. How we smell to a dog can influence whether we are perceived as someone to trust or someone to fear, just as how we touch or speak to them. Knowing this, we can take steps to integrate the effect of scent along with sound and touch to better improve our relationships with the dogs entrusted to our care.

    The idea is to present an "olfactory presence" for the dog to "read" in addition to your body language & the sound of your voice. I make certain that when I get ready for work in the morning, I start with perfume-free soaps and shampoos. I never wear cologne. Instead, I use a dab of vanilla extract behind each ear, in the crook of my elbows and on my chest under my shirt. I make sure my breath is fresh and usually chew a piece of cinnamon gum. I'll also use a small amount of vanilla, cinnamon, and/or liquid beef bullion on my shoes, the cuffs of my pants, maybe a dab on each knee. I wash my hands frequently and use lotions with a light berry, vanilla, white tea or ginger aroma. Finally, to really set the hook, I carry really smelly bacon-flavored treats in my smock pockets.

    The result is an absolutely fascinating and enticing blend of interesting scents mingling in amongst all those other dogs and shampoo smells. It engages the dog's brain and provides pleasant first-impression associations for the dog. It also gives you your own unique "nasal signature" apart from most every other human in the dog's world. In other words, you're special, and interesting; someone whose arrival is greeted with excited anticipation. After all, not only are you nice and give lots of pets, attention, and noms, but you smell AMAZING! And THAT is the reaction that your customers will notice and remember.

    I hope this helps someone improve their canine client relations - and maybe make your job a teeny bit easier.
    Last edited by PuppyFluffer; 04-30-10, 08:15 PM.
    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)

  • #2
    Cool idea!

    That makes a lot of sense (so to speak)!

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    • #3
      awesome information, thanks!
      Certified Master Pet Tech Pet CPR, First Aid and Care Instructor
      "Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation." Henry Ward Beecher US Congregational Minister 1813-1887

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      • #4
        I enjoyed reading that. I even spray lavendar in the air before grooms

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        • #5
          I also enjoyed reading that and I would have never thought about the scents that I give so much. Really great info and I'll be trying this. Thanks!
          ~*~Robin~*~
          "In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog."

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          • #6
            Have to agree with you here.. I have had the displeasure of working with a few people over the years who 'marinate' in cologne. I just dont get it myself but they usually have the clients who you can smell waaaaay before they enter the shop anyhow...LOL

            Ive found other 'scents' that work too... very.. VERY mild lavender... is it a calming thing to many dogs but I dont use any scent on my person at all. I figure by the time I leave my house (with my brood...LOL) I must smell like Im part of the pack to the dogs already.

            I dont use scented shampoo's, the colognes we use (green tea by show season) is what my clients & I really like. Very light, clean & very little of it.. I lightly mist in the air, then 'wave' the bandana past it... thats it.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PuppyFluffer View Post
              Instead, I use a dab of vanilla extract behind each ear, in the crook of my elbows and on my chest under my shirt. I make sure my breath is fresh and usually chew a piece of cinnamon gum. I'll also use a small amount of vanilla, cinnamon, and/or liquid beef bullion on my shoes, the cuffs of my pants, maybe a dab on each knee. I wash my hands frequently and use lotions with a light berry, vanilla, white tea or ginger aroma. Finally, to really set the hook, I carry really smelly bacon-flavored treats in my smock pockets.
              That really is a great idea. I'm on Atkins, so I'm snacking on beef jerky all the time. I've noticed that if I've been eating some the dogs will be more interested to check me out.

              If I've been working with a kitty they are REALLY interested in smelling.

              Thanks for sharing.
              "The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog." -Ambrose Bierce

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              • #8
                Back when I was in school, I was having handling and behavior issues and I came here for advice. Quite a few of you suggested cinnamon candy or gum. Now I chew almost every time I groom. The doggies seem to like the smell.

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                • #9
                  Okay, this is a little off topic, but when my daughter was middle school age, she wanted to start wearing cologne. Being a young girl, she choose scents like vanilla and sugar cookie. Well, the boys sure noticed and she got compliments from many middle school boys on how good she smelled! She never had a problem finding a date all through school, and I said it was because she smelled like food! I was kidding, but maybe there's some truth there!

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                  • #10
                    Great post! Why are you holding back? You have alot to share!
                    don't find yourself up a creek without a poodle.

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                    • #11
                      WOW...I am so excited to try these techniques. Don't ever be too humble to offer advice. I'm new to grooming and rely on people like you to give great advice. I come here for my daily "schooling" and learn new things every single day. Thanks for sharing!!! 'Going to get some vanilla extract and cinnamon gum!!

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                      • #12
                        As soon as I read this, I thought this would be a great essay to put on my blog. It's beautifully written and so informative. I wanted to share it with all my readers. I contacted PF, asking her permission and she said "Yes." So thank you Puppy! It's up!
                        www.gomobileandsucceed.com
                        http://thesuccessfulpetgroomer.com

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by wet noze View Post
                          As soon as I read this, I thought this would be a great essay to put on my blog. It's beautifully written and so informative. I wanted to share it with all my readers. I contacted PF, asking her permission and she said "Yes." So thank you Puppy! It's up!
                          /blush

                          you're welcome!
                          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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                          • #14
                            Great advice!

                            That certainly was an interesting read, and great advice - sometimes we forget how sensitive a dogs nose is!

                            Reminds me of when I first started showing dogs - the instructor always reminded us to have mint or mint flavored gum in our mouth. It would mask the scent of any nervousness that we might have as we were showing. I know that it works and I still do it to this day - over 20 years later!

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                            • #15
                              This was very interesting and informative!! I am going to try your suggestions!! Thank you!!

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