‘This is no cutesy, bubblegum job’
THERE'S a lot more to pooch pampering than bows, barking and bones, as a new reality show reveals.
Pooch Perfect lifts the lid on the quirky and competitive world of pet styling, also known as dog grooming.
Hosted by Aussie comedy darling Rebel Wilson and her four-legged co-host Russell the Brussel, the new series features 10 professional pet stylists and their assistants competing in a series of challenges revealing dramatic transformations of adored family pets.
Judge Colin Taylor, an international dog grooming champion turned judge and educator - says the show is the first of its kind in the world.
"Something was tried in America quite a while back, about 10 years ago, but it didn't have what this show does. This is a family show," he says.
"Normally when you watch a reality show either the kids want to watch it and the kids don't, or the parents want to watch it and the kids don't. This is a show the whole family can sit down and watch together."
He is full of praise for Rebel, a fifth generation dog shower who, ironically, is allergic to dogs.
"She's incredible to work with. She makes you feel at ease and then when they say the cameras are rolling she is on it. The one liners she says are hilarious. It just comes off her tongue.
"Rebel comes from a family of dog people. She was a junior handler and her mum is an internationally well-known all breed judge herself."
Colin hopes the heartwarming show challenges some of the stereotypes about pet styling and dogs shows.
"One of the most difficult aspects of the job is handling. You've got a moving object with a sharp pair of scissors in your hand. You have to be able to read body language and think 10 seconds before that dog. You've got to know when it's going to move," he says.
"People think it's a cutesy, bubblegum kind of job, but it's a physical job and it can be dirty.
"But when you do a job on a dog and the dog comes out and it's happy and the owner's eyes light up, it's a satisfying job and it is very rewarding in that way."
Colin has dozens of awards to his name, spending years honing his craft on the competitive American dog show circuit.
"America is very, very competitive. they raise the bar so high but you want to reach that bar," he says.
"At first I found it hard because I had that English mentality that it's not about wining but taking part. That was quickly forced out of me. In America it's not about bronze and silver, it's about gold and you have to always be on top of your game to win."
He says the satirical 2000 film Best in Show speaks some truths about the industry.
"It's a big, warm community, but also a very bitchy," he says.
"That film speaks the truth as far as how quirky people can be in the industry. There's that saying don't work with animals and children; the people driven to those jobs are quirky. The could be called a little bit crazy, but they have a lot of passion."
He wants to drive home the importance of grooming to pet health and says our four-legged friends love looking and feeling their best just like we do.
"I want to show the industry in a better light where people look at us as professionals and see it as an artform," he says.
"Dogs bring a lot of smiles and love to people's lives, but children have to remember if you want to have a dog you have to look after it and grooming is a part of a dog's natural wellbeing.
"If someone is thinking about getting a dog, then I want them to understand the importance of finding the right dog for their lifestyle."
Pooch Perfect premieres tonight at 7.30pm on Seven.