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Discussion Starter #1
I took in My 8 month old puppy, Lilo, to about a month ago to get the matting behind her ears shaved and her nails clipped. Shes scared to death of nail grinders, clippers, files, etc. So I figured, "hey, petsmart knows how to deal with bratty dogs, why not?".

she's never been to the groomer (I adopted her at three months) and she was doing just fine with the slicker brush and the comb I normally use until I took her in.

When they were done with Lilo's nails and started the clippers, she started getting scared and wiggling out of the groomer's arms. They took her in "the back" where there's just a door, no windows. This concerned me because she's scared to death of all brushes now!

I've tried to slowly introduce her to brushes again and gave her a treat to distract her while I (softly) brush. But as soon as she sees the slicker or comb go by her, she frantically wiggles out and hides.

She's shedding like crazy now. She shakes to get rid of the excess fur but that still can't be better than a good ol' brushing.

What do the groomers do when they take our babies to the back room? What couldve possibly happened to her that she can't trust the thing she used to love?

This is a picture of my baby by the way..
http://instagr.am/p/H9oUJ4ir3O/
 

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Before anyone jumps and puts down petsmart groomers, like all employees you get your good and you get your bad.

Im not sure what might of 'happened' in the back room, but id assume they might of had to restrain her or whatnot.
Try offering her a treat while grooming her :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Not bashing.. I love petsmart. I just want to know what happens back there since my dog runs and quivers at the sight of a slicker after she came back from there. Not to mention, she was the saddest I've ever seen her after we left. It's concerning.

But I do offer treats before, after, and during the process as well as alot of positive reinforcement when she seems stressed. I brush a little bit at a time, barely touching her coat just so she can get used to it again :-/
 

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Not bashing.. I love petsmart. I just want to know what happens back there since my dog runs and quivers at the sight of a slicker after she came back from there. Not to mention, she was the saddest I've ever seen her after we left. It's concerning.

But I do offer treats before, after, and during the process as well as alot of positive reinforcement when she seems stressed. I brush a little bit at a time, barely touching her coat just so she can get used to it again :-/
Oh I wasn't saying you were :D
Hopefully someone will be able to dig up some advice for your little guy soon
 

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Before anyone jumps and puts down petsmart groomers, like all employees you get your good and you get your bad.

Im not sure what might of 'happened' in the back room, but id assume they might of had to restrain her or whatnot.
Try offering her a treat while grooming her :)
True, our petco here has fantastic grooming.
 

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we take bratty dogs to the back as well (I dont work in a chain grooming shop). Why do we? So the dog cant see the owners. Dogs who see their owners, normally fret even more, and worry more about getting back to them. Which is not helpful, and dangerous to all involved. What do we personally do? we use more retraints, such as a groomers helper, or 2 or 3 people to help hold a bad dog.

id suggest starting your dog on a regular grooming procedure. dogs at this age start to freak out over small things, espeacially dogs who have never been to a pro groomer before. This is why dogs should be brought in to start their grooming at about 2-3 months old. Leaves them much less stressed out for the furture, and lets them start knowing everything before the fear stage really hits in.

Id start booking her bath and tidys or a puppys first grooming appointments, so She can learn how to behave. Id start teaching her to stand still on a table, nail clippers are not scary ect
 

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we take bratty dogs to the back as well (I dont work in a chain grooming shop). Why do we? So the dog cant see the owners. Dogs who see their owners, normally fret even more, and worry more about getting back to them. Which is not helpful, and dangerous to all involved. What do we personally do? we use more retraints, such as a groomers helper, or 2 or 3 people to help hold a bad dog.

id suggest starting your dog on a regular grooming procedure. dogs at this age start to freak out over small things, espeacially dogs who have never been to a pro groomer before. This is why dogs should be brought in to start their grooming at about 2-3 months old. Leaves them much less stressed out for the furture, and lets them start knowing everything before the fear stage really hits in.

Id start booking her bath and tidys or a puppys first grooming appointments, so She can learn how to behave. Id start teaching her to stand still on a table, nail clippers are not scary ect
This.
Our back room is our bathing room, and occasionally I groom dogs back there because we have a large viewing window in the grooming room. It's not a torture chamber, it's the same style of room, just smaller and with a tub :) dogs that are overly happy or wiggly or obsessed with people or dogs get groomed back there until they learn HOW to handle the groom, then we start working on handlng the familiar groom with new distractions in the main grooming room. If I have a dog on my table who happily explodes and is wiggling, wagging, trying to jump off the table, etc every time they see a person, I'll soon have a dog on my table who is cut or stabbed. Some dogs are ridiciulously well behaved when their owners are right there, but if your dog decides to try and leap towards you every 3 seconds...it's dangerous. Occasionally an owner is allowed to stay in the grooming shop, but we tell them that the dogs HAVE to pay attention to us and we explain to them why (safety). I don't care for my dogs being taken to the "back room" at the vets, but they never really have to because the vets have seen that my dogs behave and listen to me better than strangers. It's a case by case basis. But Tankstar is right, book a bath and tidy ASAP and get her used to this, or she probably WILL be pretty traumatized if she should become matted.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you guys so much for all the helpful info. I guess it's back to square one for Lilo & I.
 

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I've heard so many bad things about PetSmart and other chain groomers. You should try Googling "PetSmart grooming review" or even "working as a groomer for PetSmart" to see for yourself. Not many satisfied customers (although there are good stories, too) and it seems as though many of the groomers are very inexperienced and under qualified due to the training they receive from the company. If Lilo had a bad experience, I'd suggest taking her to a different groomer that is not part of a pet store to see if it's any different.

Cheers - Amanda
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I've heard so many bad things about PetSmart and other chain groomers. You should try Googling "PetSmart grooming review" or even "working as a groomer for PetSmart" to see for yourself. Not many satisfied customers (although there are good stories, too) and it seems as though many of the groomers are very inexperienced and under qualified due to the training they receive from the company. If Lilo had a bad experience, I'd suggest taking her to a different groomer that is not part of a pet store to see if it's any different.

Cheers - Amanda

The experience wasn't necessarily "bad" at petsmart. We were in & out in 15 minutes and all she was in for was a Matt removal behind the ears and nail grinding. Hearing all the buzzing made her nervous and probably caused the big setback in grooming.

I've read all the horror stories but I refuse to cloud my judgement based on people's experiences. Not all of them are bad, and some genuinely love dog grooming.. Afterall, one of my sisters has always trusted 5 dogs to all different petsmarts and they've all been fine. Maybe I just need to re-desensitize Lilo :-/
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Just a small update..

I went out and bought Lilo a kong zoom groom and she absolutely loves it, she thinks it's a toy. She had no problem with me brushing her.. Problem is, its not Catching almost any Fur.I'm gonna introduce the slicker again with the zoom groom in tact so she doesn't panic.

Wish me luck!

http://instagr.am/p/IGQIPrir9L/
Anyone know what this picture keeps coming out blank when I post it?
 

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with her coat type (fromwhat I have seen) the ZG wont do much of anything for her. It will work great with bathing and getting shampoo right down to the skin though
 

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Some PetSmart stores have an express service where they will groom the dog right in front of you, no waiting. (it's pricey though) I used to bring Pebbs in and ask for everything to be done in the front room with me in sight. Since the one I went to closed, I haven't been able to find one that doesn't make it very difficult to book an express grooming appt. (to the point where I felt they really didn't want to provide that service).

I have since switched to a crate-free grooming service where they take their time and work with each dog's personality very carefully. We spent some time getting to know the groomer so that Pebbs would be comfortable, then she was taken to the "back". It's not express, or done in front of me, but she's happy when she leaves. Sometimes even with a few small mattes in her ears, (my choice, because she hates having her ears groomed and I can get them out at home). Pebbs has been doing great with the crate-free.

I should also mention, she hated being taken to the back room, before I found our current groomer, and would often shut down mentally for days afterwards. I think for her, it was the crating and being with strangers got her all worked up. She was much better when we did the express in the front room. I guess each dog is different. My Lab would love to spend a day at the groomers, and has done so happily in the past. Even gave the vet lots of love when her quick was cut too short in the back room. (that one has no regrets as long as she's getting some luvin)
 

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I used to work at Petsmart...like others are saying, we used "the back" to help dogs calm down, to keep other customers from possibly misinterpreting what was going on (you wouldn't believe how many ppl see a dog struggling and assume its the groomers fault and that that poor doggie is being tortured. :p), and to even keep mom or dad from misinterpreting things or talking to their dog. No abuse was going on back there, that's for sure. Obviously though, I can speak only for my Petsmart. I think you're on the right track as far as desensitizing your puppy...she's probably just going through a little fear stage and if you keep working with her, she'll pop out of it. :)
 

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I used to take my late lab (RIP Chipper) to Petsmart during the winter months for baths/nails/Furminator. After awhile, he could be let off the leash at the counter (as long as the other dogs were already on the tables and restrained, being groomed) and he'd jog to the back room and get his "his" crate all by himself. When he was younger, this never would have happened. It takes time and patience to develop good grooming manners.

On the other hand, Potsie is no prize to groom, especially his feet, and I found out that groomers end up not doing a great job on them (I've tried several). In their defense, I know they don't have the time to spend a lot of time on one dog. As a consequence, I've learned to groom him myself. It may not be a professional job, but it's the way I like it.
 

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If she never had experience clippers before the noise can scare them. That why its important to introduce the full grooming experience to puppies so they don't fear it. Brushing and combing is a good start at home. Its also a great bonding experience for you both. BUT ... when it comes to grooming that you can not do at home its important this is part of her training as well which people don't always realize. Taking clippers to your dogs body and just going up and down massaging her with it may help. Also I highly suggest bringing her to a groomer. This way she can get use to someone else touching her. Doesn't have to have a full hair cut but maybe just pads shaved, a little trim here and there.
 
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