Vanessa with Girl With The Dogs grooms all kinds of dogs but as familiar as she is with the many breeds out there, she took extra time to consider grooming Rexx. That’s because Rexx is a Caucasian Ovcharka. The shepherd dogs are very large (up to 170 pounds) and very protective.
“It was not a decision I took lightly,” she said. But she brought Rexx in and the 4-year-old dog’s first professional grooming session. He was quite matted so she focused on comfort rather than beauty. Throughout the groom, Rexx give Vanessa a rumbly complaint that she takes seriously, because…well he’s such a big and potentially dangerous dog!
The male voice you hear is not Rexx’s owner, but rather Girl With The Dogs’ videographer. In the end, Vanessa manages to get Rexx trimmed and de-matted, except for his belly. That will just have to wait for another time.
Viewers thought, given Rexx was not familiar with grooming, that she did pretty well. Some dog owners noted that for breeds like Rexx it’s best to start the grooming sessions with them when they are puppies so they get used to it.
A viewer commented, “I love how when you let him sniff the shaver he stopped growling, investigated it, huffed, and then flipped over. It’s like he was saying “Hm…it is…serviceable. Continue, barber.”
Others wondered why Rexx’s owner wasn’t with him to control him. One viewer commented, “I’m sorry, but the owner definitely should have been there the entire time. It’s good that this dog growls as a warning so you know when to back off. There is no way in hell I would have let anyone groom my CO [Caucasian Ovcharka] without me there to keep an eye on her behaviour. She was the dog equivalent of a plush toy but some risks are just not worth it.”
Vanessa with Girl With The Dogs responded, “These dogs are very protective of their owners. Having them present could have been more dangerous if he felt I was a threat to them.”
Another viewer agreed with Vanessa. Alec Aquino wrote, “In my experience with protective dogs, it is 100% best to not have the owners around. The anxious dog will constantly look to the owner for validation instead of listening to the groomer’s commands. Obviously the groomer needs to remain in control of the situation and that is very hard if the protective nature of the dog acts up during a groom.
“There’s a yorkie for example I do that is neurotically protective of his older owner-will not let me near him, bites hard when his owner is around,” he continued. “I have the owner walk out of the room, give the little guy a few minutes to look around and get comfortable again and guess what? He comes to me for assurance now because his owner is no longer there to give it. Often it’s not protective nature either, it’s just they’re allowed to get away with everything at home so when the ‘giver’ leaves they’re stuck with us and learn there are boundaries and they can’t always do what they want.”
Viewer and CO owner Mark Holmes remarked, “That’s the calmest CO I’ve ever seen. Dozer my fella would never let a stranger do this (he’s 3 and larger than the one in video). He’s extremely obedient but there’s a total distrust of strangers in this breed. We’ve a had many. All the same. You’re very brave. I’m glad you put the muzzle on. They can seem fine one minute and then lunge the next, very hard to switch a CO off.”
One viewer, a vet assistant, says that she does not work on Ovcharkas unless they are sedated. “They’re so protective and so powerful that one move they see as threatening could wind up with you in the hospital,” they wrote. “Kudos to you for working with this lump, he’s clearly extremely well-trained and you’re incredible with the pups.”
“I was in Georgia (the country) last year and every Georgian person told me: DO NOT APPROACH THE SHEPHERDS,” remarked another viewer. “I was visiting a monastery at some point and one of them barked at me and my soul nearly left my body. You’re very brave to give him a chance!”
Another person noted that Rexx has been well trained, “Despite all the growling this was a VERY well behaved dog. He gave clear warnings of his comfort levels and never snapped or lunged at you. Hopefully time and exposure will make grooming less stressful for him.”
“I’m always so happy to see you treat the ‘difficult’ breeds with respect and healthy caution, while not referring to them as aggressive or dangerous! The fact that you muzzled him despite thinking he wasn’t going to bite is good to see – I do the same thing at my vet practice! Just such a good balance of being brave and being responsible,” said a viewer in the vet profession.
A vet industry professional noted, “Really appreciate you showing the difficult side of grooming, and also the time it involves- working in the veterinary industry it is a pet peeve (haha) when owners request ‘just a nail trim’ at the end of a sick consultation for their defensive large dog who hates having their feet touched – to not traumatise the dog and put yourself at risk takes a lot of time and patience! You clearly know when to back off and give this dog space. A groom is not something that can just be squeezed into a short time frame. The work that goes into it definitely justifies the costs – Rexx already looked so much better by the end of your video!”
Rexx probably felt a lot better too with his mats out of his fur!
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