Pet groomers have an awesome job – you get to take care of animals and make sure they’re looking their best! What could possibly be better than that? We know being a dog groomer can be a challenging task but let’s be real, it’s a great career. The job is rewarding for not only you, but pets and their owners as well. You need to be intuitive to be a groomer; the relationships you build with your pet clients helps you develop compassion and empathy skills!
Your intuition goes a long way in discovering which techniques work with certain pets. Knowing the types of pet clients you’ll meet in your dog grooming business keeps your appointments running smoothly. It also gives you the right experience on how to deal with different dog personalities! So let’s run through some of the most common clients you’ll meet as a groomer, shall we?
1. The Anxious Client
He’s a happy pup, but being away from his owner makes him feel a little insecure. This client will warm up to you, but he’ll be weary of your actions right off the bat. Just be sure to make no sudden movements…
Handling an anxious pet can be a difficult task, but it helps to ask the owner the best way to calm their pal down. If you can replicate how their owner speaks to them or helps them when they feel anxious, you’ll establish trust with this dog. Trust is the most important thing to gain with a client – especially for a groomer! You need to get to some sensitive places and you’ll definitely want each dog to be cooperative.
2. The Cuddly Client
He’s a people person, and he’s not afraid to show it! He may require gentle reminders to keep still, though. To him, a soft pat can be a cue for a long-winded cuddle. Don’t be afraid to pet this client to keep him calm, but be aware that getting the dog too comfortable on the table can make it difficult for you to groom him.
Make sure he doesn’t lie down, or (if he already has) find out how to motivate him to stay standing. His owner may have taught him a few commands which can help you to keep him focused. It may take some time, but he’ll learn that his grooming session is not the right time for a cuddle. Reward his good behavior and be sure to tell his owner how good he was through the appointment!
3. The Prankster
Watch out for this guy – he’ll be ready to run circles around you if you’re not careful! It’s all in good fun, but he can make a pretty big puddle in your salon or knock down your equipment. As with other clients, he may just need to get used to being groomed. Create a routine and introduce the grooming process to him. Make a no nonsense space in the salon where he will be groomed by keeping toys and games in a separate area. In a quiet atmosphere it’s easier for your client to calm down, especially if he sees other dogs behaving!
4. The Lethargic Client
You’ll mainly find this personality in older pets or ones who aren’t too impressed to be at the groomer’s. Not that he doesn’t like you, but this client probably won’t be jumping around – which is actually quite helpful for your job! He may be anxious or just needs to get used to new people. After a few appointments, he’ll always be happy to see you!
If you think there might be an underlying problem, talk to the owner and mention your concerns. They’ll know what his “normal” is, so if anything seems off they can make a quick trip to the vet. Better safe than sorry when it comes to pet health – and as a groomer, your experience with other dogs helps to tell if something’s up!
TIP: Don’t try to be a vet. Asking a few simple questions about a dog’s personality can keep you from jumping to conclusions. You don’t want to freak out the owners if there’s nothing to worry about!
5. The Excited Client
From a wagging tail to a few irrepressible barks, this client is one excitable fella. He LOVES new people, and he adores going to the groomer’s. He knows he’s in for a good treat when it comes to your grooming skills!
Greet him enthusiastically, but be sure to calm him down before getting him on the grooming table. If he’s too excited, he could knock something over or (worst case scenario) hurt himself while he’s playing around. You know that your grooming tools can be dangerous, so take every safety precaution before you enter the room with a pet client. A few minutes of soft patting or having him lie down to relax can change the way the appointment goes. He’ll be calm, collected, and ready to be beautified!
Dogs are all unique, and once you gain experience with different pet personalities your business will run as smooth as ever. Groomers are always learning new strategies to work with different dogs – ask for input from the owners to find out what their dog likes and doesn’t like. It will help you understand any dog that comes through the door!
Before you get to work, make sure to read over the rookie grooming mistakes you need to avoid!
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Casey Bechard of Off The Leash Pet Grooming is a QC Pet Studies graduate. Read all about her favorite breeds and pet haircuts as a certified groomer!
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