How to be a Pet Groomer

Are you thinking about starting a career as a pet groomer? Pet grooming is ideal for people who love animals, but make no bones about it, a career in the pet grooming business can be difficult to get started in. But once you’ve established yourself as a qualified and experienced groomer it can be a very rewarding career and a lot of fun working with dogs of all sizes and types of coats.

To become a successful pet groomer you’ll need to enroll in a professional grooming school. These schools can be found in the yellow pages of your local directory, or for quicker searching use the internet. Professional schools provide their students with the tools, techniques and skills needed to break into the pet grooming profession.

It may surprise you to know that many people who work as dog groomers haven’t attended a professional school, but instead learned the grooming procedures and techniques by taking correspondence courses or night classes at their local college.

As a new dog groomer just starting in the business, it helps to get a job with an established grooming shop as a trainee or assistant. Working for a good dog grooming service will provide you with hands-on experience and the additional training needed to assist you in propelling your career forward in the pet grooming business.

There are many different breeds of dogs, all requiring special techniques for proper grooming. As a dog groomer you’ll have to know how to groom every breed of dog. For example, the grooming style of a Golden Retriever is very different than that of a Yorkie.

When you have been trained and are starting your career, you can ask friends and family if they will let you practice your grooming skills on their pet dogs at no cost to them. This will help you in improving your skills and your friends and family will probably be eager to give you a good reference when you’re searching for the right place in which to begin your career.

When you’re finally ready to be a pet groomer and you feel comfortable enough to proudly say so, you can choose whether you want to work in an established grooming shop, work from home, or even set up a mobile dog grooming business and travel to a client’s home.

Professional Dog Grooming

Some dog owners enjoy grooming their pets at home, while other owners don’t want to go through the hassle and work involved in keeping their dog looking its best at all times. Long haired dogs are the most difficult to groom at home and for these owners a professional dog grooming service is a good alternative.

The grooming needs of a dog vary according to factors such as the breed of the dog, the type of coat, how many layers the coat has, the hair length, and whether the dog spends more time indoors or outdoors.

Some grooming activities like brushing the hair and the cleaning the teeth and ears, can easily be done at home, while professional dog grooming services may be desired for nail trimming and haircutting.

Most dogs will need the following grooming tasks, but at different intervals, depending on how many of the factors listed above apply to your dog :

* Brushing the dog’s coat and removing any matted hair
* Teeth cleaning
* Nail trimming
* Ear cleaning
* Haircuts (necessary only for certain dog breeds that have continually growing hair)

    There are several grooming tasks that should be performed by a professional dog groomer:

* Nail Trimming. The nails of a dog are very sensitive. They have abundant nerve endings and can easily bleed if they’re cut too short. This can be a difficult and stressful task for a dog owner unless they have adequate experience in trimming a dog’s nails. The procedure also requires special tools to cut the nails and grind them smooth using a power nail grinder. Professional dog groomers are trained in the best methods of trimming and styling a dog’s nails and provide assurance that your dog’s health and well-being are the primary concern.

* Cutting a dog’s hair should always be done by a professional dog grooming service because it takes special training to know exactly how a dog’s hair should be cut.

* A professional teeth cleaning appointment should be scheduled once a year, the same as you would schedule with your own dentist. A thorough teeth cleaning can only be done by a professional dog groomer. It cannot and should not, be performed at home.

Professional dog groomers are trained in correct and painless methods of dog grooming with your dog’s safety in mind. Unfortunately, many dog owners have discovered that when they attempt to perform some dog grooming techniques at home, they end up hurting their dog.

The next time you take your dog to a professional groomer take the time to ask them for tips on how to best take care of the simple pet grooming jobs at home in between your appointments with the groomer.

How To Choose a Groomer

Have you been grooming your own dog and are now considering using a professional groomer, or do you have a new dog that definitely requires the skills of a trained groomer because its hair is too long, or the dog is too large to handle bathing and grooming it by yourself? If any of these applies to you here are the guidelines on how to choose a groomer.

Whatever the reason or reasons, it’s important that you choose a groomer who not only is convenient to your home and busy schedule, but more importantly, one that will care for your pet as if it belonged to them. Many dogs fear a visit to the groomer because they’ve been mistreated or they were subjected to a groomer who lacked the necessary “dog friendly skills” to correctly handle a pet averse to being bathed or groomed.

Depending on the breed of dog you have, a groomer may be an absolute necessity to keep your dog’s coat neatly groomed and clean.

When searching for a groomer it’s a good idea to first ask your family and friends for recommendations, or ask your vet. Many vets, especially those associated with clinics and animal hospitals, have on-site groomers trained to deal with most any kind of dog – reluctant ones, ticked off ones, and hyper ones.

Before you choose a grooming salon or a groomer in a clinic or animal hospital, ask the person who will be bathing and grooming your dog these questions:

* Does the groomer own a dog? If so, what breed or breeds of dog?
* Do they groom their own dog or dogs and are their dog’s coats kept neat and clean?
* How long have they been grooming dogs?
* Did the groomer go to school to learn grooming or did they learn it ‘on the job?’
* What breeds do they have experience grooming? Be sure your breed is one of them.
* Do they do different styles of cuts for different breeds or are they a “one cut fits all groomer”?
* What hours does the groomer work?
* Will you be notified when to pick your dog up?
* How far in advance do you need to book an appointment?
* What is the fee range for your breed of dog?
* Is the ear hair plucked from those breeds with hair in the ear canals?
* What if your dog ends up needing to be sedated for grooming? Is that service offered?
* If so, will it be the vet who sedates and monitors your dog?
* Will the groomer also trim your dog’s nails during the grooming appointment?
* What type of shampoos and conditioners does the groomer use?
* If your veterinarian recommends a certain shampoo do you need to pay for it?

It is equally as important that you do a self-analysis of the facility you’ll be entrusting your dog to.

* Is it kept clean, neat, and orderly?
* Are there unpleasant odors that bother you? If they bother you, think what the experience will be for your dog with its superior sense of smell.
* Where are dogs kept while waiting for their appointments and also while waiting to be picked up afterwards?
* Are they housed in groups with unfamiliar dogs or will they have their own space? Is it a cage they will be kept in? If so, how large is it and what kind of freedom of movement will they have in the cage? Are the cages or waiting areas clean and free of feces and urine after being used by each dog?
* How are clippers, scissors, nail grooming tools, etc. cleaned between grooming different dogs?

Your relationship with your dog’s groomer should be as important to you as the relationship you have with your own hairdresser or barber. They should listen to what you want and you should get the answers to your questions before making your decision about which groomer fits your needs, and the needs of your dog.