DEAR DIDI: My dear husband passed away last year. He truly loved his hunting dog which is a German Shorthair Pointer. The dog is pretty well trained although he doesn’t listen to me nearly as well as he listened to my husband. We used to have Magnum professionally groomed on a monthly basis but my husband is the one that took him. For a short haired dog ... he sure sheds a lot. I am in my 70’s and my arthritis is such that I just can’t handle Magnum to get him in and out of the car, let alone into a grooming salon. I’m scared he will pull me down. The groomers say they are not allowed to handle the dogs outside of the salon for liability purposes. I definitely cannot handle Magnum if I have to try to get him in my bathtub by myself. Any suggestions on how to keep my husband’s best friend in good condition? – Grieving widow in Ripon
DEAR GRIEVING WIDOW: You are not alone in your situation. I have many clients that have inherited their dogs from spouses and other family members. Kudos for honoring your late husband’s memory by tending to his prize canine! Professional grooming is an essential part of good health of our dogs because it isn’t just about beauty or shedding. A good groomer will often be the first to notice cancerous skin growths, impacted anal glands, ear infections, and a whole host of other issues. There are many reasons why loading your dog up in the car and hauling them to a salon can become a worrisome issue.
If your dog is an anxious pooch around other dogs, a trip to the salon can become a very upsetting day as most salons have several clients simultaneously with dogs being escorted back and forth constantly. A relaxing day with groomers tending to your dog can become a traumatizing one if he can’t handle being crated. Many salons maximize their time by having a dog sit in a kennel under an air dryer after their bath. Barking and whining are the norm in a salon. If that raucous frays on your dog’s nerves, then grooming day will not be something to look forward to. In some cases, a dog may have had an encounter with a skunk and the last thing an owner wants to do is ruin their upholstery by loading that dog in their car to take him to a groomer. Many dogs have no issues with any of these aforementioned situations and do quite well in large, professional salons. Indeed, they adore their spa day! None of that matters to the owner that has a dog with issues or an owner that is easily overpowered by her canine. In this case your dog, no matter how well meaning, could inadvertently trip you causing hip, shoulder or wrist fractures, in addition, to possibly becoming loose and running off. A loose dog is at risk from many environmental factors ranging from being hit by a car, kidnapped, or attacked by another loose dog.
Responsible pet owners, such as yourself, think ahead to these possibilities and plan accordingly. I would suggest that you use a mobile groomer such as Custom K9’s Mobile Grooming. They pull up to your home with a beautiful trailer and then come to your door. They will escort Magnum out to the trailer and he then gets the undivided attention of two beautiful ladies from start to finish! They finished my dog in less than an hour. They use high quality products and can address any special skin or coat issues. No crating, no other dogs, no barking, no stress. Custom K9 has experience handling difficult, high energy dogs and can be reached by texting or calling 209-598-2749.
It might also be a good idea to have a qualified trainer/behaviorist out to your home to help you and Magnum bond and get on the same page, as far as, obedience. He needs to listen to you now and behave appropriately for your safety and his enjoyment around the house.
Dierdra McElroy is a graduate of Texas A&M University, owner of California Canine, and is an Animal Behaviorist specializing in canines. If you have questions or concerns about the pets in your house, you can get them answered through a future column of Dear Didi. If you have a question for a canine behaviorist send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.