Hank is a 3 year old American Staffordshire Terrier mix who almost didn’t make it into the door for his first visit – he was that scared. His previous nail trim experiences included heavy doses of drugs and a number of people pinning him down to accomplish the task. Mom came to us wondering if there was another way to help Hank that didn’t require drugs and muzzles.
Hank’s first visit began in our training room and he completely avoided our Groomer for almost half the visit! A soft squeaky toy and a ball proved to be the key to his heart. By the time Hank left his first appointment his tail was wagging and he had learned that he could have fun here.
Our next visit included some play time, and some gentle touch. We began setting up the repetitive routine that would carry over into the salon for his nail trims. He learned to anticipate what he needed to do to earn treats and toys and he readily showed off his skills.
We moved our training into the salon next, repeating everything on the grooming table. Hank learned to get on and off the table, sit safely while the table raised and lowered into place, stand and laydown on the table, and offer a paw on command.
By the fourth visit Hank knew the routine and readily jumped on the table and offered his paw, expecting all the rewards he loves. We completed nails on two paws during that visit – no muzzle, no drugs, no restraints, and just one person.
Hank is nearing graduation from the Fear Free learning plan we developed. He will likely always be most comfortable following the routine we established together, but thanks to his mom’s patience and trust in our plan Hank can now enjoy stress-free grooming appointments.