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:
The Client's Expectations:
The Groomer's Expectations:
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.
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Janet Wormitt, CFMG CFCG
Cat-a-lyst and Ad-vo-CATe