Dornoch dog groomer goes holistic as the north's first to be certified
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A DOG groomer from Dornoch is leading the way in her profession with a new accreditation from an internationally recognised grooming academy.
Victoria Mackenzie (43) is the owner of Ultimuttly Groomed, a dog grooming salon in Dornoch, and she can make a claim to being the only groomer in the north of Scotland (and currently one of only seven in the UK) to have achieved a certification in holistic grooming.
She said: “I could see that lots of dogs were quite scared of the grooming process and really didn’t want to be in the salon.
“That’s quite upsetting when you love working with dogs, as you don’t want to be the cause of their stress and fear. I didn’t want them to be so stressed, but I didn’t know how to help them.”
After researching different ways to approach the trade, Victoria came across the Holistic Grooming Academy – an internationally recognised distance-learning college whose courses are accredited through the Complementary Medical Association and certified through CPDUK.
The diploma requires a year of self-study covering topics such as canine behaviour, body language and communication, the “force-free” approach and positive training techniques.
After completion, the qualification equips the groomer with techniques to help reduce fear, stress and anxiety in the salon.
Victoria’s cabin is cage and crate free, so dogs have free run of the space. The fully one-to-one environment, meaning her attention is always on the dog.
Ms Mackenzie added: “If you have a dog who gets groomed, the chances are you’ll be aware of some issues they have, such as fear of the dryer, or a dislike of their feet being touched.
“While it’s unrealistic to expect dogs to eventually love all aspects of their groom, through working with the dog you can help them learn to tolerate these things, which in turn leads to a better experience for us both.
“I’m really proud of myself for completing the diploma. I’m confident that I’m now able to do my very best for each and every dog who comes through my door.”