It’s become very common for dog grooming courses to be offered online, and for busy, aspiring groomers, this is great news! However, the convenience of completing assignments and completing your dog groomer certificate online will require you to do a bit of extra work. Specifically, you’ll need to take it upon yourself to find dogs to work with for practical assignments.

But don’t fret! This process is easier than you think, and will provide you with excellent experience. Read on for our full guide to finding some furry friends for your online grooming assignments!

Keep guidelines in mind

There are many advantages to enrolling in a dog grooming course, including the skills and experience you’ll gain by working with different dogs. The practical assignments in your course allow you to work hands-on with a variety of breeds, ages, and coat types. When starting your search for dogs, make a list of the requirements outlined in your assignment, and take it a step further by researching breeds and coat types so you know exactly what you’re looking for.

dog grooming course

Often, your dog grooming class will contain specific assignments that require you to work on a particular breed of dog. You definitely don’t want to go out into the world searching for a pup to work on, only to find out later that she has the wrong type of fur!

In order to ace your dog grooming assignments, be sure to make careful notes ahead of time on what type of dog you’ll need. This will save you both time and energy during your search. Additionally, try to avoid working with dogs that are all black or all white. Keep in mind that online grooming courses will require clear photographs of your work to help your tutors assess your skills, and you’ll have an easier time photographing or filming your work if your dog is not pure white or black.

Now that you have a few guidelines, it’s time to start looking for pups!

Spread the word

As an aspiring groomer, you love dogs and likely have friends and family that feel the same way. As you begin your dog grooming course, tell those around you that the assignments in the course will require you to practice on real dogs, and that it would be helpful to use their pups for practice.

With social media at our disposal nowadays, a great way to reach out to an even broader network is to post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram that you’re looking for dogs to help in your grooming assignments – you never know which of your friends or family will come forward, or who will share the post with their friends to increase your reach!

In return for spending some grooming time with their dog, you can offer a free nail clip, brushing, or shampoo as a thank you. Get inspired with these add-on ideas for your grooming business!

Another way to find dogs is to contact local animal shelters and rescues. While they will not be as easy to approach as friends and family, they still are a great resource for aspiring groomers. Be clear about your experience level as a dog groomer when speaking to a shelter or rescue, and that you would like to gain experience with their dogs as part of your dog grooming course. While you’ll likely receive positive answers, be prepared for them to say no. Each shelter and rescue is different, and their rules and regulations will vary. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth a try, and this experience will boost your people skills!


While social media is an excellent way to find dogs through your network, don’t forget about good old fashioned advertising! Dog owners spend a lot of time walking their pups and taking them to the park, so use this to your advantage. Post flyers throughout your neighborhood and in dog parks that include what you’re looking for (refer to your assignment for specifics!) and your contact information.

dog groomer certificate

Not only will you find canine friends this way, you’ll also get to know the dog owners in your community. This will prove valuable once you begin your dog grooming career and need to find clients!

Obtain a signed release form

This is a very important detail to keep in mind when finding dogs for your assignments. Your dog grooming course might require you to have a release form completed by the dog’s owner that provides their consent to place their pup in your care. Think of this as a necessary element of the process – you want to show the dog’s owner that you’re responsible and professional, and you also want to ace your dog grooming course! It’s a win-win situation!

Discover 6 amazing jobs you can land after obtaining your dog grooming certification!

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