The grooming profession on the surface may seem highly superficial yet lucrative at the same time. The average person may find dog groomers somewhat odd yet noble for choosing to spend their life caring for the grooming needs of countless dogs. Some may even enviously romanticize the groomer’s profession imagining the process of transforming a messy dog into a beautifully shaped piece of art while at the same time showering in the loving affection of the dog. Whatever one believes about the dog grooming profession the fact remains that it is a career path that can set a family or individual on their way to enduring financial freedom or personal demise both physically and psychologically.
For centuries grooming has been a part of the man dog relationship. In the early 20th century the dogs were groomed to enhance their performance abilities during the various labor tasks they performed for their master, this included; hunting, gathering, herding, and guarding. The focus was the removal of any coat which was obstructing the performance of the dog during his duties living next to the man. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that grooming took on a whole new dimension with the rising popularity of lap dogs across Europe grooming adapted the role as serving to enhance the beauty of the dog by shaping and trimming the fur. The entire industry shifted and became heavily coat centric.
This paradigm remains predominant in today’s grooming profession where young and seasoned groomer pay hefty dues to be a part of judged grooming competitions all centered on the beauty and shape of the coat only to return back home to serve their clients in the pet grooming salon where these extravagant styles are not needed nor demanded by the clients. The reality is that the majority of grooming salons cater to pet trims exclusively this means that the chance of them encountering a person off the street who will ask to have his Poodle trimmed according to the breed profile is slim to none. The dog owners of today are looking for a functional easy to maintain stylish short trim that will be maintained on a four week schedule.
This leaves the professional groomer yearning to test out his skills and to express his artistic urge on dogs that have the coat length needed to shape to their respective breed standard.
The solution to this dilemma is to encourage grooming competitions to use model dogs these model dogs replicate and behave as real dog hair they can be washed, brushed, and shaped just as real dog hair. The biggest benefit to the model dogs is that they are not real so no living creature must suffer enduring hours on the table for you to express your artistic abilities.
Many animal welfare organizations have already successfully lobbied many countries where it is becoming more and more difficult to hold show dog competitions and grooming exhibits. Their arguments are that no creature should be forced to endure hours of standing still for a groomer to express his talent further the life a show dog is predominantly spent living in crates as they travel from show to show. The glamour of show dogs quickly dissipates when one learns what these dogs are put through and how they are raised.
A shift in consciousness is all it takes to wake up from the illusion that show dog grooming is enjoyable to the dog. When we use others no matter if the other is a dog we will encounter the same treatment in our personal lives.
Grooming is an integral part of the man dog relationship and serves to keep the shared living space clean and healthy. No living creature should be used as a canvas for someone to express their artistic abilities the model dogs are a great substitute for this. A shift in consciousness is all it takes to realize the dogs are not a living canvas rather a living being with their own needs and desires.