With 3 out of 5 Americans owning a pet (source), many dog owners consider a career related to canines, and specifically pet grooming. If you've been thinking about becoming a dog grooming, you're in luck – in the US, pet groomers are in high demand.
People own more pets now than ever before, often treating their pets as family, and sparing no expense for their comfort and happiness. The pet care business is a billion dollar industry. If you love animals and are willing to put in a little time and effort, you could be on your way to a successful career as a pet groomer before you know it. In this article, I'll cover everything you need to know about how to become a dog groomer.
Dog grooming isn't all about snuggling adorable pups. You need to keep in mind that you'll be dealing with some hard-to-handle dogs too. Pet groomers need to know how to deal with anxious, stressed or aggressive dogs.
If you're just beginning to learn how to groom dogs, I recommend you watch all DIY dog grooming videos and read How-To articles on Top Dog Tips – these will get you started on the right path.
Remember, pet grooming tasks won't just be simple doggy baths and haircuts. You'll be clipping dog's nails, expressing anal glands and cleaning tear stains too. If you want to be a dog groomer, you need to understand what you're getting into.
Be sure to do your research and try to spend some time in a grooming salon before deciding that this is the career for you. Talk with experienced groomers and make some calls to dog grooming schools in your area. If you want to really understand what being a dog groomer is like, it's best to ask the experts.
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Where to Begin Your Career As a Pet Groomer
Apprenticeships for aspiring dog groomers
Many people receive on-the-job training. Locally owned shops will hire assistants to help with shampooing, drying, or working the cash register. These assistants will sometimes receive on-the-job training to learn the skills needed to be a groomer.
If your goal is to be a dog groomer, it is best to ask if you will learn grooming at your interview. Small, local owned businesses may not want to train an additional person for grooming. Some retail pet stores have classes to train their employees in grooming skills.
One such chain retailer is PetSmart. They have a grooming academy to train their employees on grooming techniques, animal behavior, and animal health. So check your local newspapers and online job boards for hiring information, and apprenticeships, in your area.
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Trade schools for aspiring dog groomers
If you are ready to get started now, but have not been able to find a job where you can apprentice, there are trade schools in many areas that provide training for a fee. There are also correspondence schools that provide training by mail with DVDs and text books.
Aside from dogs and cats, rabbits can also benefit from grooming services. Many people also like to get their horses groomed. Deciding the animals you want to serve beforehand will help you make sure you get the courses that are right for you.
Successful groomers also need to be educated in skin diseases that affect the animal species that they serve. Animals can have allergies, funguses, and other skin issues, just like their human counterparts. Different skin problems may require a special dog shampoo.
Oatmeal based for dogs with sensitive skin and antiseptic for dogs with fungus are just a couple of examples. Pet owners depend on their groomers to alert them if there are any issues.
If the issue can be resolved with over-the-counter or natural remedies, many groomers will also stock these remedies and provide instructions to pet owners on the applications. A groomer also needs to know when an owner should bring their pet in for a vet appointment for any health issues.
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Starting a pet grooming business
There is more to learn in grooming than just cutting styles. Many pet grooming businesses also provide services such as nail trimming, teeth brushing, and ear cleaning. There is also one weird service for dogs, called “expressing the anal glands”, which many professional groomers provide.
Also, animals have different style coats. Dogs with a double coat cannot be shaved. Dogs with curly hair require a different style brush then dogs with straight hair. Investing some time into learning the different coats, and the dos and don’ts for each, can save you some customer aggravation in the future.
Many groomers work for themselves after they are trained. You can own a pet spa or have a mobile grooming service. Mobile grooming services are usually operated out of a truck. A truck will need to be outfitted with anything that you would need, including a place to wash the animal. You can also groom the animal in their home, just make sure you have a portable table and are equipped to clean up any mess that is made in the pet owner’s home.
To get started in your own dog grooming business, you need to have your own equipment such as:
- nail clippers
- hair clippers,
- blow dryers
If you are going to work at an established business, they should already have everything you need, but you can ask in your interview just to make sure you are prepared. You also want make sure you have a certification.
If you take a course, you will likely receive a certificate, but you may want to get a certification from a nationally recognized organization. The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers certification as well as teaching courses for new groomers or those looking to further their knowledge and stay up to date on the newest trends.
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Depending on space, a groomer may decide to have a significant amount of their business dedicated to product retail. You can decide if you would also like to sell other items such as pet toys, brushes, shampoos, pet clothes, food and water bowls, or collars and leashes.
There is almost no limit to the other pet accessories you can sell from your shop. Adding items can propel your business from a simple grooming shop to a high class boutique. You may also be able to combine your services with dog boarding business options to really give you an edge in the market.
Pet grooming can be a very rewarding career for those people that love animals. You can finish your day knowing that you served your customers by giving their fur babies a much needed pampering. There are also ways to serve your community.
Many groomers donate time and money to local animal shelters and rescue organizations. Giving homeless animals a makeover to help them in adoption processes can be an excellent way of giving back. The work is there if you are dedicated to learning the ropes and exceeding at the job. A successful groomer goes the extra mile to make sure the customers are satisfied.
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