Slow groom – low pressure bath and scissors for dogs and rabbits

Teresa Cancio has always had a passion for animals. “In childhood, even going to school, my house dog and cat were my companions for play and picnics in the country,” he told PiT. After a career in the social sciences and humanities, as a research fellow in sociology, she decided to embrace a new phase and devote herself to animals. “However, it should be something that represents an improvement in animal welfare and solves a problem I have always been aware of: the stress and discomfort that many animals have to go through in order to be clean and look good,” he explains. Theresa.

The project should also be “something that is based on scientific evidence and motivates me from the point of view of knowledge and learning. The study and care of animals, and their welfare, is part of my DNA.”

That’s why he decided to become Professional Low Pressure Shaver. And what is the concept of this? “This means that I resort to gentle techniques aimed at gaining the animal’s trust — in me, in the place, in the hygiene and personal care — and desensitizing and counter-adapting if these negative feelings are caused,” he asserts.

Contributing to this choice was the fact that Teresa, in 2013, adopted a dog – because she wanted to do activities with the help of animals – and soon realized that this four-legged friend, whom she called Floresta, has a very strong temper. He was afraid, so he needed a lot of help to get over his fears.

“Among other things, the forest suffered from grooming. As a teacher, I also realized that around me, there were many people worried about the stress the animals were subjected to in the course of such care. Many of the nanny who chose the profession for the love of animals even They ended up giving up or feeling disappointed with having to deal with the stress that many of the procedures put on the animals,” he says.

Having completed both her dog grooming and dog grooming course completely hands-on, she set up Slow Groom as a service in November 2021, at that time home visits only.

Fear-free methodology

But Teresa did not prevent her from learning here. “At that time, I began training in fear, anxiety and stress reduction techniques in the body grooming salon, within the scope of an international program that was previously restricted to veterinary practice but is now offered to dog trainers, dog breeders and other professionals working in the companion animal area.”

In April 2022, he completed this training which coincided with the opening of his shop in Telheras (Lisbon). “Certification is not the end, but the beginning of a journey, as we have access to training aimed at our goals,” he asserts.

In Slow Groom, Teresa resorts only to positive reinforcement – which can include food and cookies, but also other strategies, such as playing, or simply reaching for something interesting to the dog, such as sniffing. “I think the environment in which the session is held has a significant impact, so I use elements of environmental enrichment (aromatic mats, games and puzzles and nibbling and licking snacks, which are structured into assessment and decompression sessions) and spreading pheromones.”

At this stage, Teresa divides the procedures into two or more sessions, depending on the objectives and complexity of the case, and in full agreement with the teacher. Confident dogs with good fur and who tolerate the process relatively well may need no more than a shower and a nail clipper. However, other dogs can benefit from several short sessions – the longest being up to a maximum of two hours – so that they are not too stressed.

“The most important thing is to observe and evaluate dogs’ language and, as far as possible, give the animals a choice. For example, if a dog gets very anxious at the grooming table, but has gotten better on the floor, I choose to clip it to the floor. Using rewards makes it easier to cooperate in actions, because it gives The dog is a target to be there.

I also encourage teacher attendance, as I believe that, contrary to what is generally said, it can be a reassuring factor for an animal.”

The project went well. “In the case of dogs, there are clients who are very receptive to this concept and readily accept new rules, such as bringing their dog to visit the venue in order to provide a pleasant initial experience without special grooming,” says There.

As far as dogs are concerned, “I’ve especially had elderly dogs, some quite old (17 years and over), and dogs that, due to some greater sensitivity, have poor tolerances to handling, mowing or stripping. Some arrive on the vet’s recommendation in Behavioral domain or trainer.” On the other hand, puppies “are the ideal client, since it is the time when they are most receptive to absorbing experiences and when preventive work can be carried out, which is always the most effective and continuous.”

Clipping rabbits in Slow Groom

In addition to dogs, Teresa also has many rabbits among her clients. “Rabbit shearing is part of low-stress grooming, as it is a scissors that has a functional aspect of luxury and not a lot of aesthetics—there are no rabbit opponents.”

“Many people don’t know, but rabbits do many of their daily grooming sessions themselves, just like cats. However, they don’t have the ability to flake off and expel hairballs, which can build up in their stomach tube and cause a blockage, which is a veterinary emergency,” she explains. Theresa.

In addition, due to the fact that rabbits are low-growing animals, rabbits more easily get knots in their fur, in the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe limbs and abdomen, where dirt can accumulate. “So mowing is essential for healthy skin, which can air and keep it clean.”

Before moving on to shearing rabbits, Teresa studied the behavior of the species. “Because – in nature – prey, the rabbit tends to squeeze a lot out of its environment. We also have to take this advantage into account when handling it and, if possible, always keep the paws in contact with the surface.”

So, you already know. If your pet is very stressed just by placing their paw in a place to care for it, why not opt ​​for the concept of low stress? He will thank you.

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