Grooming at Petsmart: Why it is Ruining Your Dog
The Petsmart Grooming Setup
If you walk into any Petsmart, you'll see rows of aisles for every kind of pet, fish tanks, customers with their pups, maybe a Banfield veterinary clinic, and the grooming section. The grooming area is surrounded by large glass windows, so customers can watch their dog be groomed. They observe the bath, the blow drying, the hair cut, the nail trimming, and so on.
This system doesn't work. Petsmart is a corporate world; the grooming department is run by people who have never groomed a day in their life. The workers are assigned a set number of dogs each day, which they have to groom in front of the whole store. This system is dangerous for the groomer, your dog, and you.
Do you take your dog to Petsmart for grooming?
Disadvantages of Petsmart Grooming
For the groomer:
This system is dangerous for the groomer (and any future groomers your dog might see). If a dog gets aggressive or snooty with the groomer, the appropriate response to teach the dog to stop that behavior would be to correct the dog. This would involve restraint, collar pops, or a firm "no". But there you are, staring at the groomer with your dog, so how could they possibly do anything but coddle your dog in front of you? They can't. The dog goes on being aggressive and is never taught how inappropriate that is, which could easily lead to the groomer being bit.
For your dog:
This system is dangerous for your dog, in the sense that they could grow to have a bad attitude at the groomer's. An aggressive reputation is something that can follow the dog for the rest of it's life, and can affect the dog's quality of life. If the dog's life becomes tainted by this aggressive, uncooperative behavior, they stand the chance of being banned from the groomer's/dog parks/kennels/etc; they may also lash out at other people and pets.
The idea of owning a crabby dog is daunting on it's own. The idea that your dog could turn on you and bite you is heartbreaking. Do I have to say more?
What to do Instead of Petsmart Grooming
Take your dog to a groomer who is willing and able to work with your dog. A good groomer will teach your dog that squirming and biting are inappropriate behaviors. Yes - this may include correcting your dog with leash pops and a firm talking to. They will teach your dog to relax and enjoy their grooming appointment. This is much less stressful for everyone involved, and will make for a happier groomer-client-pup relationship.
* It's important to note that if you ever feel that your dog is being abused at the groomer's, then you should switch to a new one. Unfortunately, not all people who sign up to work in the animal industry should really be doing so.
Taking your dog to a grooming environment where the groomer works to keep them happy is important for the long-term health of the pup-groomer relationship. Stop taking your dog to Petsmart, and start taking them to a groomer who works with your pet and isn't run by the corporate law.