Woman and her little dog relaxing on a sofa

How to Become a Dog Groomer

In the 21st-century, the pet car and grooming industry are booming with pet parents looking to spend huge amounts on their animal family members. After you have decided to join the grooming industry you will need to explore the different educational and licensing requirements needed for your new career. There is not dedicated qualification needed to become a dog groomer, but it is not recommended for any groomer to begin working professionally without gaining some experience to make sure they have the knowledge needed to become a respected member of this sector.

Deciding whether the grooming industry suits you

Before you embark on your career as a dog groomer you should look to make sure you have the right temperament and demeanor for taking up such a role. The first question one should ask is whether you are an animal lover who has the confidence and calmness around animals to become a dog groomer?

Confidence is key when it comes to making a success of a career as a groomer. Dogs, cats, and any other animals a groomer may encounter have an intuitive sense for the calmness and confidence of the person handling them. If a groomer does not have the ability to remain calm and collected throughout the grooming process you should not follow up your interest in the sector.

Many of those who express an interest in the dog grooming industry do not take into account the high level of physical work involved in grooming animals each working day. You should be capable of lifting heavy loads throughout a working day and being on your feet for a prolonged period of time. Lifting dogs and other animals onto a grooming table and into a bath can be tough on the body and requires the groomer to be physically healthy.

Look into educational opportunities

Although there is not a dedicated educational requirement in most states of the U.S. and around the world for dog groomers, getting some education is an all-important part of taking on this career. There is a range of educational opportunities out there for a new groomer to explore from online courses to dedicated dog grooming schools.

One of the most popular ways of beginning your career as a dog groomer is to explore the opportunities available for learning through online courses. Most of these courses last between eight and twelve weeks and provide a large amount of information about the best ways of grooming a dog successfully. Most online courses are taught to a curriculum with an experienced groomer offering feedback and advice when an assignment is completed.

It is important for you to take the time to learn as much as possible when choosing an online course and using the feedback of an instructor constructively. Getting as much practice and learning as much as possible about individual grooming techniques and the legal aspects of becoming a groomer cannot be underestimated.

Another option to explore is attending a full or part-time dog grooming school in your area of the world. Many physical locations have opened up with experienced groomers passing on their advice and tips to new entrants to the industry during an intensive course. Many dog groomers who wish to become as successful as possible choose these physical courses over an online course as they spend the majority of their days practicing their skills.

Get as much practice as possible

Once you have made the decision to become a dog groomer and picked an educational pathway for your new career, you have to get some hands-on experience. If you have decided to join a physical dog grooming school you should have a constant conveyor belt of dogs to groom.

However, if you have decided to take the online education route you will be responsible for finding the many different breeds of dogs to practice your new craft with. You will need to find as many pet parents as possible willing to let you practice your craft on their dogs as possible to learn the requirements for different breeds. For example, the large pom style balls of hair on the hips of a poodle are left in place to keep their hips warm from as a leftover from the history of the breed as sports and hunting dogs.

Another option many new dog groomers look to explore is to spend your time working with an experienced groomer or salon. Choosing to become a dog grooming assistant will see you learning how to properly bathe and dry a dog before the groomer goes to work creating a style for the animal. The benefits of working with an experienced dog groomer include picking up a number of tips while on the job and gaining experience of handling different dogs on a regular basis.

Become certified

Although we have stated you do not need to gain a specific form of certification to become a dog groomer there are some high-profile options out there. One of the most important certification options is the “Master Groomer” qualification from the National Dog Groomers Association of America. This qualification is a sign of the success and experience achieved by a groomer over the course of their career.

If certification is not required, why should you look at obtaining the “Master Groomer” qualification? The simple answer is a certificate from the leading association of dog groomers in the U.S. is a great marketing device for your career. Many pet parents will spend some time looking for the best groomer for their dog and will be impressed by your ability to earn national accreditation.

Look at the legal side of dog grooming

Even when you have completed your learning experience as an apprentice dog groomer or completed an online course, you will still need to look at the legal aspects of the industry. One of the most important ways of staying at the top of your industry is to make sure you can reassure pet parents with the correct levels of insurance during your career.

Liability insurance is a must for your salon or private grooming service when you consider you will be working with animals who may squirm and move as you try to groom them. Making the decision to get some advice from an insurance agent is an impressive option to take to ensure you get the correct level of coverage to protect yourself.

Continue to sharpen your skills

Once you have completed the educational and experience needs of learning to become a dog groomer, you should remember your skills are never completely honed. There are new products and equipment being released on a regular basis meaning the decision to join a national association should be properly considered. Groups such as the National Association of Dog Groomers publish reviews and news around the industry which could be important in keeping you on the correct course in your career.

The purchase of equipment is expensive and each pair of shears purchased need to be sharpened and replaced on a regular basis. The advice of experienced groomers and experts from top grooming salons should be taken on all aspects of an industry expected to see an 11 percent job growth rate over the coming years.

Look for new experiences and openings

The pet grooming industry is booming in the 21st-century and has become a crowded market in many areas of the world. However, there are ways you can set yourself apart as a dog groomer as you explore the different options open to you in providing a unique pet grooming experience.

Some salons have begun providing pet pedicures to make sure each pet parent looking at your services are drawn to your salon. Marketing can be something many dog groomers do not consider until they have completed their education and begun to look for customers for their service.

Once you have made the decision to become a dog groomer you should spend some time exploring the many different options open to you in gaining experience and choose which pathway is the correct one for you. If you are striking out on your own you should not become discouraged if the business is a little slow in the early days as you will need to build your client base over a longer period of time.

Once you have completed your education you will be faced with a series of decisions about how best to extend your career. Many groomers look to partner with a veterinarian who will provide space in their office and assist in building a client base for the groomer. By keeping regular records and making sure you are aware of the needs and temperament of the dogs passing through your doors you will find your business will grow at a much faster rate.

In conclusion, dog grooming is a career choice you should take if you are a person comfortable in the company of different dogs of all shapes and sizes. Confidence is a key part of the requirements for this role which you can explore in a range of different ways when beginning your career. Once your career begins you should make sure the chance to continue learning throughout your career is not ignored as you look to stay at top of this fast-growing industry.