Have you ever been working on a difficult dog and you find yourself repeating “goood dog”,,, “waaaiiiiiit”, “staaaayyyy”, “it’s okayyyyy”, “you’re okayyyy”… sometimes in a low tone mantra where your entire concentration in on doing something while every part of you in aware of what you’re doing alomgside what they pet is doing?
Has this stressful connection ever started to really open your consciousness- kind of like a glowing ember becoming hotter and igniting into a flame? Or walking into a very strong wind where you really have to lean into it’s force and stay conscious of placing each foot step?
Have you ever found these stressful times at your table to feel kind of like you have to choose to connect with every one of your senses just to keep a pet safe because they’re scared and reacting or shutting down- and you are just trying to get something done?
~You ever find yourself a little scared, too?
~You ever find yourself giggling uncontrollably, or even tearing up at something so adorably cute and genuine that a pet just did on your table that really makes you feel connected to witnessing how beautiful and sweet an animal can be?
That is your energetic self.
And I’m not just talking woo- I’m talking science coupled with mindfulness of all of the factual parts of our selves and our pets that come to a centerpoint dance and flow on our grooming table.
As much as you’re communicating to your dog that you need them to be still and to trust, you’re also communicating to your energetic self to stay calm and careful and mindful of the process you’re doing, and of keeping your connection with the pet.
It is from this energetic connection that most amazing groomers connect with their innate ability to keep a pet safe and work on building trust, while getting through or around some of the hard parts of the grooming process. Especially for fearful pets or for things that can cause physical pain or mental stress for some pets.
Pets literally live in an energetic world with us. They don’t speak our language per se, but they feel and process & react to our energy and voice and body language and facial expressions in an effort to filter and understand us. They do all of this while still being, very much so, an animal. One with teeth and claws and instincts- but alongside a very real need for connection and support and to be able to be vulnerable while staying safe.
All of these things hinge on trust.
We don’t need a degree of dedicated study to understand that we see examples of how this plays out every day in our homes and at our grooming tables as our pets learn routines and adopt their places in our hierarchy in terms of learning our mannerisms and how to fit in or how to stand out.
We all navigate through this energetic world as well. We learn our routines and we learn to read others body language and markers- both good & difficult. Both human and animal if we are in the role of pet caregiver. Some are more in tune or sensitive to picking up on it, but it’s there inside nearly all of us to tap into.
It is this part of our very real self in how we interact in our natural world that if we can learn to tap into, through patience, empathy and mindfulness, that can take our grooming to the next level.
If we can learn and nurture practices at the grooming table to step outside ourselves, to think outside the box, to adapt on the fly and to stay connected to the heart of our selves and of our pets, we will find that even when we can’t get something done, even when we’re tired & a pet is tired… that what might feel like a fail… is still a win.