What is Intentional Grooming?
Intentional grooming is taking the “task” of grooming your pet and making it into a bonding and learning opportunity for you and your pet. How many times have you gone to the barn to ride and just taken out the brush, hoof pick, and comb and just gone through the motions? Or how many times have you grabbed the flea comb and brush, and combed your cat while she hissed and yowled?
Intentional grooming allows you to bond with your animal, learn more about their baseline body health, and is an excellent preventative measure for discovering health issues that your pet has, that otherwise might go unnoticed until it is painful and expensive.
- Set your intention. Take a deep breathe and relax, and say to yourself (or to your pet) “My intention is to connect with my pet and take the time to really notice what I am doing and how it effects him.”
- Sit with your pet for a few moments. Don’t just dive in. Pet them, give them a few scratches, and just talk to them and let yourself relax as well. The more you are both relaxed, the better the grooming will go.
- Let your pet smell the grooming items. Just hold it to their nose to let them sniff. Animals rely very heavily on scent to give them information about their surroundings. This gives them a chance to identify what it is, and shows them respect that you understand they need this.
- Purposeful petting. Run your hands intentionally all over their body. This does not have to be a long process, just gently and fluidly run your hands from head to tail, including going down their legs. This lets them know you will be touching their whole body, it awakens their senses, and actually gets the blood and energy moving in their bodies.
- Feel. While you are running your hands on her body, notice the tempurature, fut texture, bony points, and anything that feels different- hard, soft, swollen, etc. The more you do this, the more you will know the intricacies of their body. Then, if there are variances, such as a tempurature change, or a bump, you will feel it right away. This can help you to find things such as cuts, swollen joints, lumps, items stuck in their fur, etc.
- Observe. Watch your pet as you do this. Do they flinch at a sertain point? Put their ears back? try to move away? Start purring lounder? Do their eyes soften? This lets you know what they like, don’t like, where it might hurt. If they seem uncomfortable in general, you may be going to fast or too hard, especially with a comb or brush. If they seem to really like an area, spend a few moments there as a treat.
- Follow-up. If you do feel something unusual, watch-it and call a vat if you are concerned. I have several client and friends that have found potentially dangerous things early on and were able to treat them before they became a larger problem.
- Groom. We also want this to be functional, so certainly brush, groom, pick. Just keep an eye on what you are doing and the responses your pet gives you. They are actually very good at communiating, and the more you do this, the more subtlties you will notice, and the better you will understand your pet in all areas of your life together.
- Consistency. Do this often. Depending on the breed of animal, you may need daily grooming or just once a week. Take the time to learn this for your oet if you don’t already know it.
- Enjoy! You will find that you create a stronger bond with your pet. Animals who you to hate grooming ill look forward to this time. Sensitive animjals will thank you for moving slower, or lightening up on your touch. That chronic itch that Fido has? He will be delighted that you found just the rioght spot!
The More Techincal Stuff
Grooming is more than just making your pet look good. Petting, brushing, picking, and combing actually stimulate the circulatory and energy systems in your pet. When you groom regularly, you will notice a shinier coat. This is beacuse it stilumates the body to process and elimiate stagnant energy and waste that accumulates in the folicles, skin, muscles, etc.
Do you have a horse, dog, cat, etc with cold legs or feet? Spend extra time on their legs. Rub up and down, take extra time with a soft brush, give them a little massage on their limbs. This will increase the circulation to the area and help improve blood flow!
Learn more about how this all works at my website http://www.equine-touch.com.