Becoming A Professional Dog Groomer: The Good, The Bad and The Furry
Are you looking to turn your love of dogs into a career as a professional dog groomer? Dog grooming is a fulfilling and rewarding profession that allows you to work with man's best friend every day. If you're interested in becoming a professional dog groomer, here's what you need to know.
Key Responsibilities of A Professional Dog Groomer
A professional dog groomer has a variety of responsibilities, including:
- Brushing and trimming: This includes brushing out tangles and matting, as well as trimming the dog's fur to maintain a specific style or to remove excess hair.
- Bathing: This includes using specialized shampoos and conditioners to clean and deodorize the dog's coat, as well as rinsing and drying him.
- Clipping nails and cleaning ears: A groomer would be responsible for trimming the dog's nails and cleaning the ears, to prevent possible problems like ear infections.
- Brushing teeth and expressing anal glands: Yes, dogs need their teeth brushed, daily actually, to prevent gingivitis from developing. Expressing the anal glands is necessary to maintain a healthy “touchie.”
- Styling: Professional dog groomers provide services such as styling to breed specifications or owner’s instructions, which may even include creative grooming, dyeing or clipping patterns in the dog's coat.
- Sanitation: Professional groomers are responsible for maintaining a clean and safe working environment. This includes cleaning and sanitizing grooming tools and equipment and ensuring the dogs are clean before returning to their owners
- Communication: Groomers should create a welcoming environment for dogs and their owners. It is important to communicate effectively with the dog's owner, explaining the grooming process, and discussing any concerns or issues noticed while grooming their pup.
- Knowledge of dog anatomy: A good groomer should have a knowledge of dog anatomy and the different dog breeds, to distinguish how to safely and effectively groom the client, this includes paying attention to the dog's behavior, skin and coat condition.
- Health assessment: A professional groomer should also be able to identify any signs of skin or coat conditions, such as allergies or infections, and inform the owner and recommend or refer them to a vet if necessary.
Overall, a professional dog groomer must possess the knowledge, skills, and ability to groom dogs safely and effectively, as well as strong communication and customer service skills. It's also important for a professional groomer to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques in the dog grooming industry through continuous professional development training, attending workshops, seminars and trade shows.
Now that you are aware of the key responsibilities of becoming a dog groomer, what are the sought-after qualities?
Qualities Of A Dog Groomer
When salons are recruiting groomers, the following qualities are sought-after:
- Friendly and sociable: You should have a friendly and affable disposition. Some groomers become groomers because they prefer dogs’ company to that of humans but as a groomer, you need to interact with your customers. Relationships will ensure returning customers, as well as, attracting new patrons.
- Professional: You always need to be professional, whether working on the dogs or talking to customers. This will portray a professional image, confirming that you know what you are doing and that you are good at your job. Being a professional and running a sought-after grooming salon will make necessary annual price increases easier and more acceptable to customers.
- Knowledgeable: Possible candidates should have a solid knowledge of different dog breeds and their grooming specifications, coat types, handling, health issues, product and equipment use, to name a few.
- Patience: This is a particularly important quality to have, for two reasons: the first being that some cuts are very intricate and time-consuming, and the second reason that some pets do not stand still during the grooming process. This is where staying calm comes into play. If the groomer becomes impatient the dog will reciprocate in the same manner. An impatient groomer can cause accidents.
- Physicality: Grooming is physical work. It requires you to be on your feet for basically most of the day and involves a lot of bending down and lifting heavy dogs. That then the reason why a potential candidate should have the physical strength and capabilities to do so.
- Creative- Being creative allows you to think freely and try new things whether it is a new grooming style or a suggestion to improve the overall business.
- Hard-working- As mentioned before, being a dog groomer is hard work as you would sometimes need to work for long hours, especially over the holidays as everyone enjoys a clean pup over Christmas.
- Compassionate- Compassion is an absolute must to have towards each pet that enters the salon and throughout the whole grooming process. Each “client” is different and should be treated as such.
- Attention to detail- Grooming includes precision scissoring work and advanced eye-and-hand coordination for a professional result. Attention to detail can go a long way in becoming a successful groomer.
- Strong communication skills- Communication is extremely important as the dog owner needs to convey his expectations and the groomer needs to listen, understand and deliver. A satisfied customer is likely to recommend you to their friends, leading to potential growth in your business. Communication between staff members is also key to a successful workday.
If you have checked all the boxes, then dog grooming is for you! To ensure that you are aware of what awaits you as a professional dog groomer, it is always good to measure the pros against the cons.
Pros And Cons Of A Professional Dog Groomer
Being a dog groomer can be a rewarding and fulfilling profession, but as with any job, it has its pros and cons. Here's a closer look at some of the key considerations to keep in mind if you're thinking about becoming a dog groomer.
- Working with dogs: If you love dogs, this is the perfect job for you. As a dog groomer, you'll get to work with a wide variety of breeds and personalities, and you'll get to spend your days surrounded by man's best friend.
- Flexibility: Dog grooming jobs are available in a variety of settings, such as pet grooming salons, veterinary clinics, and mobile grooming units. This means you'll have a lot of flexibility in terms of where you work and how you structure your schedule. You can decide when or for how many hours you want to work. This is great especially when you have other responsibilities.
- Be the boss: For those who enjoy working independently, dog grooming can be a great option. Many dog groomers are self-employed and run their own businesses, which gives them a lot of autonomy and control.
- Helping others: As a dog groomer, you'll be helping dog owners to keep their pets healthy and happy. It is a good feeling to know you're making a difference in the lives of both dogs and their owners
- No costly degree needed: You do not require a lengthy and costly university degree to become a groomer. It is recommended to have gained experience and some form of grooming education before you start your own grooming business.
- Allows creativity: Most groomers are the creative type and enjoy working with their hands. Grooming allows room to be creative for example by adding pet-safe colour to the fur or creating a completely new grooming style. Every day presents new challenges and new opportunities to be imaginative.
- Physical demands: Dog grooming can be a physically demanding job. You'll be on your feet all day, and you'll need to be able to lift and move heavy dogs.
- Stressful: Some days can be hectic and stressful, especially when you have a lot of dogs to groom in a short period of time.
- Handling aggressive dogs: Dealing with aggressive dogs can be challenging and dangerous. It's important to know how to handle dogs safely and how to deal with aggressive behaviour.
- Prepare to get dirty: Prepare to get dirty while grooming. This will include dog hair everywhere, slobber, fleas, and even urine and faecal matter when some accidents happen.
- Difficult customers: Every business has those “never satisfied, rude” customers. Whatever you do, they are never happy with your service and yet come back time after time. Handling such clients can be tough, but the important thing is to always remain
- Experience neglect: From time to time, some dogs that enter the salon may have some form of neglect. It is your responsibility to handle the situation correctly and educate the owner on this subject.
Overall, being a dog groomer can be a rewarding and fulfilling profession for those who love working with dogs. However, it's important to keep in mind the physical demands and potential stresses of the job before deciding. A good way to get a better understanding of the profession is to volunteer, or take an internship, at a pet grooming salon to gain hands-on experience.
So, some of you may be saying “I am ready, coach, put me in” but you are not really sure where to start?
How To Become A Professional Dog Groomer
The first step in becoming a professional dog groomer is to complete a training program and earn your dog grooming certificate. PDGA offers a variety of courses catering for the absolute beginner to the professional [Click here to view courses]. Whether you choose PDGA or another grooming program it is extremely important for these programs to include both theoretical and practical training, covering topics such as breed-specific grooming, dog anatomy and physiology, grooming tools and equipment, and grooming techniques.
Once you have the required education and certification, you can start looking for a job as a professional dog groomer. You can choose to work in a variety of settings, such as pet grooming salons, veterinary clinics, or even start your own mobile grooming business or open your own grooming salon.
In order to build a successful career as a dog groomer, you will need to have a passion for working with dogs and be able to communicate effectively with both the dogs and their owners. You'll also need to be physically fit, as dog grooming can be a substantially demanding job. Strong customer service skills and a friendly, patient demeanor will also be important to help build a loyal customer base. If you are considering a career in the field of dog grooming, you should consider enrolling in a dog grooming assistant course.
Overall, becoming a professional dog groomer is a rewarding career path that allows you to work with dogs every day. The dog industry has been growing in recent years. Pet ownership in general is on the rise, and this trend has been driven by factors such as an increase in disposable income, more people living in urban areas and a greater emphasis on the human-animal bond. There has also been a rise in the need for dog-related services such as dog grooming, dog walking, dog training, dog-sitting and dog boarding services. If you're dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort, you can succeed as a dog groomer and enjoy a fulfilling career working with man's best friend.
P.S. Keep your peepers peeled, as we will be dropping a 20% discount on our Dog Groomer Assistant Course later today, available until 16 Jan 2023!
So sit, stay and do not go away.