I AM a dog groomer in Charlestown and in Grooming 101 we were taught to interpret dog behaviour, a vital part of the trade for our safety and the dogs’.
At either end of the behaviour scale are ‘‘fearful dogs’’ and ‘‘aggressive dogs’’, both of whom are most likely to bite you without warning.
Trust me, there is a huge difference between the two.
Most of my first-timers are fearful, as they don’t know me and are in unfamiliar surroundings.
Letting them run around to sniff and sometimes mark their new territory is the difference between a good and bad grooming session.
Forcing them to comply against their will usually ends with either a bite or an injured dog.
The RSPCA temperament test sends shivers up my spine. If a dog cowers or growls at a tester, is it then needle time?
Most of my grooming dogs would face sudden death if, God forbid, they ended up at the RSPCA.
Even my own dogs, when I mention the word ‘‘bath’’ run and cower behind the lounge, and a trip to the vet becomes a mission to get them through the front door, followed by barking and growling. Would they be put down also?
Spending a few minutes observing a dog in a cage cannot determine its true behaviour. If a dog is petrified it will growl, whimper, urinate and, if pushed, bite.
Megan Foley, Charlestown