I have no idea why my dog’s groomer seems cold toward me

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 50s. A pet groomer, whom I have asked to groom my beloved dog for 10 years, has suddenly started acting coldly toward me, and I have no idea why.

I regularly took my dog to an animal clinic attached to a pet grooming salon, where I became acquainted with the groomer. The person talked to my dog and me in a friendly manner. I felt like the groomer had a good personality and I began asking the person to groom my dog.

But since about a year ago, I have felt the person may be in a bad mood more often than usual around me. The person still acts politely reserved around other people, but I’ve noticed the groomer’s attitude toward me alone has changed. I’m anxious about having my dog groomed by a person who is acting like this, but I feel like I can’t change dog groomers as the stress might be too much for my dog.

My beloved dog is already old. Thinking that my dog may feel unhappy during the grooming in the final stages of its short life because the groomer has come to dislike me makes me feel extremely sorry for my dog. Please tell me what I can do.

—I, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. I:

As I have kept only a cat and a parrot as pets, I’m sorry if my answer misses the point. If I were your dog, I would wish to be groomed by my owner rather than have my nerves shot due to the rocky relationship between my owner and a groomer.

It would seem something serious has happened if the groomer feels it’s worth it to lose a customer by having such a chilly demeanor around you. And after being so friendly, too. Regardless of the reason, I think you can reach your answer immediately by imagining if the person were your own hairstylist.

I am not versed in how often a dog needs grooming, but I can imagine how stressful it would be to keep in contact with a person who clearly dislikes me. As it is said that dogs are sensitive to how their owners feel, if you’re anxious during the grooming, the dog will likely pick up on that.

In the midst of the pandemic, I fear that pets all over the world are feeling their owners’ stress from head to tail, further shortening their short lives. Listen very carefully to your dog’s voice, and please let your dog spend its remaining days more relaxed.

—Hazuki Saisho, writer