We’ve all heard the clichés, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”; and “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” If dogs could talk, that’s what they would be saying right now when we look into their eyes underneath their overgrown bangs, talons for nails that click and clack like high heels on the floor, and their hair sticking out from their paw pads. During this time, we need to drop our concerns about their looks and make our priorities all about our dog’s health and happiness. Let “Shaggy” OWN that new look, read more here.

During this world shut down, some people have soul searched and baked zucchini bread to find their health and happiness. Others have barely been able to get by each moment, happy to have the energy to make a bowl of cereal, grab a shower, and not cry all day. Our dogs are feeling this change in life too – through us. Some are ready to party, happy that their owners are home every day, and others are wondering when they’re getting their couch back.
One thing we all have in common? None of us are getting our nails done professionally, and none of us are getting our hair cut at the spa.

Here’s the thing.

Whether your Governor has considered dog grooming to be a non-essential business or not, the bottom line is this, there are some basic care techniques that just have to be taken at home during this time. That’s all there is to it.

I’m not really thrilled about doing my own nails. It took me forever and I’m terrible at using my left hand.  After doing the dishes at least 10 times per day, since eating out has been squashed, plus washing my hands 6,000 times a day, I had to paint them again the next day anyway. I’m over it. All-natural for me; until this ban is lifted.

For our dogs? They aren’t real big fans of the nail clipping by you OR the pros. So here are few home tips that would help the home grooming process all the way around:

1. Make a Scratchboard
My Labrador puppy loves this game and now her nails are nicer than mine. Check it out!

2. Reinforce Cooperative Care Handling
Such a great way to bond with your dog, plus your vet, and your groomer will love you for this one! Check out this video.

3. Teach and then teach some more!
Every time you teach and encourage learning, it reduces stress for your dog, and for YOU! Enrichment activities with game playing before you clip just one nail or brush one part of the coat is a great trade-off!

4. Bathe and Dry at Home
Is there anything better than the zoomies after your dog has had a bath at home?

Check out Melissa Verplank’s videos. For a minimal fee, you can get some real help at home for Doodles, handling matted coats and so much more. She’s amazing!

Consider our Virtual Online Coaching. We can help! Learn more here.

The bottom line is, some of this is just out of our control for the moment from a legal perspective. Groomers are not considered an essential business in Michigan. Business owners are at risk of being fined and could jeopardize their future and their reputation if they break the mandate to accommodate their clients in need. If a grooming appointment is a health risk, veterinarians are available for emergencies and are able to accommodate dogs for emergencies.

When grooming salons reopen, there will most certainly be a new normal with heaps of guidelines to follow. Brian Lane, Founder of Bingos Pet Salon and Groom School in Royal Oak, opened up to his followers about his battle with the virus and how devastated he would’ve been if his parents contracted it from him. There is so much to consider!

Much of the information as professionals that we’re learning has newfound information added from various statewide and national organizations with ever-changing and new “normal” regulations added weekly.

Curbside won’t be unusual, the exchange of transactions will be online for many, and the days of chatting in the lobby will be a thing of the past for a while unless you have a mask on and you’re a six-foot leash distance away from your groomer.

When Groomers get the go-ahead to reopen, it’s going to be worse than the toilet paper madness we all experienced or heard about. Debbie Wales, Owner of Lakeside Dog Grooming in Sterling Heights has hundreds of messages to return weekly. Renee McGee of Kuts and Kisses in Shelby Township said, she’s ready, but it’s been lots of work and preparation for PPE.

Grooming shops right now are managing hundreds of phone calls per week, not including emails and instant messages through social media. Some messages are unkind and demanding for appointments. Luckily, those are the minority of calls. Most clients are being very understanding and patient during this unforeseen time. Grooming shops are ready to get the economy and their scissors moving again, details just need to be in place and all safety precautions will need to be taken by the business and the customers.

The cliché rings true: it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The overgrown hair and the crappy nails? It’s a picture, but not the whole picture. It’s what is on the inside; and inside of all of this, we’re in it together.

About the Author Christine Fox, APDT, CTDI and a Pet Sitters International member, is the founder of Wag ‘N’ Tails Dog Activity Center with two locations in Michigan. She has been involved with many pet dog trainer certification initiatives, all based on learning techniques that involve humane practices and the latest in scientific research. Christine also raised a service dog for Paws With a Cause and plans to train her newest pup in therapy work. Through her work with dogs and their parents, Christine has developed many happy and healthy relationships with both humans and dogs in the community.
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