Tag Archives: competition

Well Groomed

I watched this 2019 documentary about the world of competitive, creative dog grooming on the Doc Play platform.

I’ve always owned dogs that I could groom myself without too much trouble. (Izzy, for example, has the short coat of a greyhound and only needs brushed and regular nail trims and possibly a bath once a year). But I have clients whose dogs need professional grooming and, hey, this was a movie involving dogs so I had to watch.

The documentary follows the stories of several women who use poodles as their creative canvas in grooming competitions across America.

It’s a different world, to say the least.

Ethically, I’m against the use of brightly coloured dyes being used on dogs. They may be marketed as harmless, but if a dog was meant to have a coat in the colours of the rainbow, genetics would have sorted that out by now. I also can’t endorse the use of nail polish on dogs, either. Both product ranges must have a chemical base and exposing dogs knowingly to these types of chemicals just seems wrong.

The poodles, I have to say, are very well behaved on the grooming table. I suppose they’ve become accustomed to the hours they spend standing on the grooming table for these competitions. To me, though, that seems sad when they could be out playing or just enjoying life as a pet.

Professional dog grooming is just that – a profession. And I am in awe of the great work done for my client’s dogs who are – well – real, loved family members – in need of a solid groom.

I simply can’t get my head around this art form because the dogs don’t really have a choice to opt out.

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

The Golden Retriever obedience fail

This video is a couple of years old; but to me it shows the best in owners who compete in events like obedience and agility.

In this obedience test, the dogs run a gauntlet of diversions including treats and toys.  Their goal is to focus on their handler and reach the end – quickly.

You will see that the first two dogs manage this test fairly successfully.  And then it is the Golden Retriever’s turn…

What I like is that the owner doesn’t yell or visually get upset or angry. She encourages her dog to reach the end of the competition.

And then everyone celebrates!

It breaks my heart to attend competitive events when the owners/handlers are angry or upset with their dogs when they don’t perform.  Dogs, like us, have bad days.  I have even met owners who say they know their dog doesn’t like competitions, but he/she does it because that’s what the owner wants.

My recommendation is that you and your dog take part in things that give you joy – and in this Golden Retriever’s case – he clearly shows he’s enjoying life and having fun.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand