What is trust?

For the purpose of of building and maintaining trust in the grooming profession, trust can be defined as choosing to risk making  your pet vulnerable to another person’s actions. You choose your groomer because you believe their actions will support your wishes in the care and welfare of your beloved pet, and at the very least, not harm it in any way. Some owners extend trust easily and only withdraw if there is evidence of betrayal of that trust. Others believe that trust is to be earned by demonstrating trustworthiness and professionalism.

In pet grooming, trust is a more complicated relationship than most services. It’s not just about the mutual relationship between client and service provider. It is a triangle of trust between client, pet, and grooming professional. 

With trust flowing freely in all directions there a feeling of collaboration, care, and receptiveness to new ideas. Without trust there is only fear, anger, resistance, and blame. It is important to be very clear about expectations to foster a trusting relationship

The Pet’s Expectations:

  • I will feel safe
  • I will be given patience 
  • I will be guided through moments of doubt or fear with understanding
  • I will not be left unattended
  • I will be in a clean, parasite-free environment.
  • I will have my grooming needs tended to by a certified professional
  • I will receive the level of regular grooming required for my breed, age, lifestyle to keep me clean, healthy, and loveable
  • I will not be subjected to unnecessary dematting for the sake of vanity

The Client’s Expectations:

  • I can trust my groomer to take very good care of my pet at all times
  • My groomer has my best interest in mind in the care of my pet
  • My groomer will be honest and tell me everything I want to know about my pet’s visit
  • My groomer will fully disclose all costs and plan of action at time of checking in, with no surprises at pick-up.
  • My groomer will help me with a maintenance plan and schedule
  • My groomer will tell me if they notice anything unusual concerning the health of my pet
  • My groomer will provide good value for services 
  • My groomer will be honest in their credentials and experience
  • My groomer will provide a clean, professional environment
  • My groomer will provide grooming advise for at-home maintenance
  • My groomer will be professional and respect the client relationship

The Groomer’s Expectations:

  • My client has fully disclosed all their pet’s medical and behaviour issues 
  • Vaccines are current
  • My client has been clear concerning their needs and request for service
  • If my client is unsatisfied with service, they will let us know immediately so we can correct any issues right away
  • My client will show up for appointments on time or give 24 hours notice to reschedule. 
  • My client will pick their pet up on time
  • My client will maintain a regular grooming schedule and not neglect their pet’s physical and mental health and well-being by waiting until it is in severe condition before receiving grooming attention.

Most of the pet owners reading this probably don’t realize that the exchange between pet and groomer concerning feeling safe and being able to handle whatever comes is a two way street. The groomer has a right to feel safe too and to work well within their own experience and comfort level. It is as important for the groomer to communicate this to the owner as it is for the owner to fully disclose all behavioural quirks that are known. It is lying by omission or just plain negligence to hand over a pet with known aggression problems and hope the animal behaves itself. 

No matter how diligent, accidents do happen. Pets can do unpredictable things, groomers can make mistakes, and clients can lose track of time. Honesty is always the best policy. Once a breach in trust occurs it is very difficult to get it back. A clear acknowledgement  and apology without excuses or justification can make the difference between a broken relationship, and one that gets stronger.

I would love to hear your comments and suggestions for expectations I may have overlooked.