Grooming VS Petting

One of the “must dos” before my wife and I take a trip with our dogs is to give them a good brushing. The more hair we leave in the yard the less hair they leave in the car!

Grooming, however, is different from petting. Our Golden Retriever doesn’t mind being brushed. To her it’s attention and that’s good. Our Siberian Husky does not share the same perspective. For him being brushed is akin to being punished.  When grooming him you must stop to pet and reassure him everything is going to be okay.

People are this way. I once worked for someone who treated everyone the same. His idea of grooming, making us into better workers, was to review events/projects in staff meetings and critique, often in an abrasive way, the employees who were responsible. Though some co-workers didn’t mind the public praise or criticism that accompanied these reviews others were mortified. One staff member even mentioned to him in private that she wasn’t comfortable with this type of “grooming.” His response was she needed to toughen up or find another job!

People react differently to grooming. Some require more petting and assurance to help them be comfortable enough to learn and grow where it’s needed. To get the best out of one another we must be willing to approach each person open-minded, with humility, finding out what works and what doesn’t so we can make sure “teachable” moments aren’t torturous.

Remember what may be grooming to some might feel like punishment to others.




About is a place for sojourners walking this spiritual path called life. - Essentialist, contemplative, author, advocate, old soul

Posted on January 28, 2014, in Mindfulness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I learnt this – perhaps a bit late – when I headed a department. Mistakes – as in exam papers for instance – leap out at me. I tended to point these out and forget to praise as well. I took it for granted that qualified, professional people would do a good job and didn’t need lots of praise – my mistake. Different strokes for different folks takes on a more profound meaning.


  2. just had this conversation with a friend an hour ago. Not quite in these terms, but pretty close. Thanks


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