About Michelle
& the Yes You Chien family

About Me

My husband David and I bought our house in France after falling in love with the French Pyrenean area and holidaying in the region for several years in a camper van.
We are both huge lovers of dogs and one of the main reasons for relocation to France was to expand our animal family and to run a business working with dogs.

My love of dog grooming started with me clipping my two Cockerpoos when they were puppies. I wanted them to have positive early experiences with someone they knew and trusted. I loved seeing how their confidence grew during short sessions in which they allowed me to brush them all over, progressing to calm scissoring and clipping sessions during which they were always reassured and praised. Several friends then asked me to do groom their dogs and I was motivated in how using the techniques I had practised, kept these dogs calm. Encouraged by my enjoyment of this work with dogs and by some lovely people who work for the brilliant charity Les Amis des Animaux I went off to get trained, completing a Formation at a groom school in the Dordogne.

I continuously top up my training with different groom trainers in the UK, plus I am also studying hard to complete a two-year course which encompasses not just perfecting the groom of many breeds to show standard, but also studying the skeletal and muscle structure of dogs, plus illnesses, parasites and first aid.

My interest is not just in the styling side of working with dogs, but in their evolution, behaviour and motivation. To that extent I have studied with the IMDT (Institute of Modern Dog Trainers) to complete a course in Learning, Motivation and Reinforcement. Although I thought I knew a lot on how dogs brains’ function, I learnt so much more detail, and now use those skills and techniques in communicating with dogs to reassure them when they are with me.

Puppies and Young Dogs

In the U.K. I trained with Gwen Bailey, author of many dog books, world renowned behaviourist and owner of “The Puppy School” franchise. I used this training to help show several friends how to help their puppies deal with many aspects of life, plus ensure their puppies learn basic commands such as a strong recall to keep them safe. I love doing short introductory sessions for young puppies to the groom room. This helps give them a positive first experience to bathing, the hair dryer, and having their nails clipped, which is so important to their future development and comfort with grooming. This early experience also helps enormously with their vet visits as they will have had pleasant sessions on “the table”, being handled, examined, and rewarded.

Rescue & Nervous Dogs

In the U.K. I worked with rescue dogs at Diana Brimblecombe Rescue Centre in Berkshire. Dogs with a history of malnourishment or abuse, or who have recently been removed from a potentially harmful situation are likely to be anxious in the groom room. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with so many different breeds of dogs with different histories and unique personalities and quirks.

Knowing how to put these dogs at ease and cater to their needs, plus sometimes helping their owners with techniques to help them relax, is invaluable to my career as a groomer.

Hearing and visual issues / Old dogs often with arthritis or dementia 

Dogs with these challenges usually cope very well in the groom room. My studies have enabled me to understand stress, pain, and their anatomies to compassionately handle them with as little stress and strain on their bodies as possible.

I am passionate about ensuring all dogs always have positive experiences when they are with me, so that they feel relaxed for future grooms.

Charity Work

I feel honoured to be able to help this fabulous association by occasionally grooming SPA dogs ready for adoption. The transformation in how these dogs look and obviously feel, when matted dirty coat is removed is so rewarding.
I love running the “Have a go dog agility” each year for the association fete days and strongly believe that dogs should enjoy this type of activity rather than be encouraged to do something they don’t like. Most dogs love the mental challenge of intuitively following your body language and learning how to scale new obstacles. Agility is great for a dogs’ confidence, exercise (both mind and body) and for developing a stronger relationship between owner and dog.

Shortly after my husband and I moved to France, I ran weekly social obedience classes for Les Amis des Animaux, and now enjoy helping my clients on a one-to-one basis with their individual needs for their dogs.

Pets as Therapy (PAT)

For 2 years, every week I took my dog Duffy and cat into a dementia home to meet the residents and give them comfort. I trained Duffy to be very calm, not paw or jump up, or react to any sudden noises. We naturally had to pass strict assessments by Pets as Therapy to allow us to work in the home, and not alarm or injure the residents.

My passion for dogs is so great that a holiday involving them is just perfect.

Several years ago, I spent two weeks learning to drive a sled team of 10 huskies in Canada – Rocky Mountains. This involved learning how to rein the dogs and take command, firmly instructing the lead female and male dogs to go on / stop and change direction. I fed the dogs at night and harnessed them ready for bed, ensuring that no two male or no two female dogs could get within attacking distance of each other. They were extremely strong and needed careful handling. These dogs were not pets, but very determined working dogs and it was wonderful to experience the human / canine trusted relationship.

The Yes You Chien Family

My husband David is always happy to give some Groom Room cuddles!

Dexter is our seriously smart and calm 8 year old cockapoo on hand to help a nervous dog feel comfortable.

Daphne is our laidback and playful 3 year old cockapoo who is always happy to help burn off some energy with a run around the garden.

The Alpaca boys are here for entertainment purposes 🙂

Qualifications, Training & Experience

Formation in Dog Grooming

Following this initial dog grooming course I continue to have training whenever I am in the UK. An experienced groomer can always learn new techniques and keep up with the latest fashions!

Certificate Connaissance Animaux Domestique

This course and exam are a legal requirement of working with dogs.

Agility PASS

I was a member of the French dog club - Club Canine St Roch for 3 years. In France, prior to competition, dogs must pass a high-level test which Dexter “flew" through.

Brevet

Obedience exams which Dexter and I passed with an Excellent mark. These exams show the relationship you have, and the ability for you and your dog to work together.

CPR for Dogs

Formation de Toilettage

Dog Grooming in French

Institute of Modern Dog Trainers

This course only believes in positive reward training and never punishment. I learnt so much on the minute details of how dogs think - such valuable help for relaxing dogs when they are in my salon.

Institute of Modern Dog Trainers

This course only believes in positive reward training and never punishment. I learnt so much on the minute details of how dogs think - such valuable help for relaxing dogs when they are in my salon.

CSAU

Obedience exams which Dexter and I passed with an Excellent mark. These exams show the relationship you have, and the ability for you and your dog to work together.