Once you get through the first few units of your pet grooming course, you’ll need to find a few furry friends to practice your technical skills on. After all, how could you become a groomer without actually grooming a dog?

But where can you find a canine volunteer to help you practice your grooming techniques? There are a few things you need to consider before you recruit any dogs, like getting a release form from the owner and knowing which breed your assignment calls for!

Once you know the type of breed you’re looking to practice on, you can start your search. Check out these 5 places to find pets for your dog grooming course!

Shelters & Rescues

The number one place we can recommend looking for dogs to groom is at a shelter! These pups are in for some much needed pampering, and you should be the one to make their day. Not only will you be offering to help out the shelter, you’ll be learning valuable skills (and making new friends!).

Shelters and rescues are always looking for volunteers, so this is the perfect opportunity for someone so passionate about animal care. Don’t be afraid to reach out – pick up the phone, drop them an email, or pop by and speak with someone! They’ll be more than happy that you’re willing to help out with the animals. And hey, you might even find a lifelong pal while you’re there…

Learning dog grooming online with practical salon assignments

Dog Parks

Is this one too obvious? Maybe – but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it! If there’s a dog park in your area, try to get the word out that you’re a groomer. You can start building a list of potential clients!

Dog parks are obviously a great place for groomers to connect with owners and meet canine clients. Not only can you find almost every breed under the sun, it’s an open and welcoming environment to venture into.  Strike up a conversation with an owner about how beautiful their husky’s coat is, and casually mention that you’re studying to become a groomer.

You’re probably thinking, “But that would be so awkward!” and we beg to disagree. Have you ever met a dog person? They are some of the most kind-hearted people in this world, and they would be thrilled for their pal to get a free groom!

Just don’t forget your business cards.

Pet Shows

Whether it’s a pet expo, a dog show, or a fair, attending an industry event is an awesome way to find clients and get your name out there. Even when you’re just starting to groom, you can build strong relationships with owners and their pups – let them know you’re training and would love to groom their pal pro bono. They’ll appreciate the gesture, even if they don’t accept! And if they do, you’ll be able to practice your way to being their groomer long-term.

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to speak with other pet vendors and groomers at their stands. Spend time networking and learning about the services available to both you and the pets. Your knowledge of tools, accessories, and products will serve you well when you have to make recommendations in the future!

Get experience as a dog groomer

Around the Block

If you don’t know your neighbors already, be prepared to introduce yourself! Tons of people own dogs – and some own more than one – which means your target demographic is pretty general. When you see a dog in your area, strike up a conversation with the owner. If you introduce yourself as a groomer-in-training, they’ll be more likely to stick around for a conversation.

How much easier would it be for owners to just drop their pal off next door for a grooming appointment? Point this out to them and it could be the start of a great relationship.

In Listings

Sometimes, the best way to find dogs for your grooming course is to let owners find you. This may seem counterintuitive, but we all know that local listings and classifieds exist for a reason. Put a flyer or an ad in your local listing that describes your grooming services, and you’ll be hearing from inquirers in no time!

We should mention, though, that your success rate here really depends on your location. Your community might not be the demographic that uses listings – instead they may trust word-of-mouth referrals or local businesses. If this is the case, be sure to market yourself accordingly.

Are you ready to work with animals as your day job? Start your career today with flexible online dog grooming courses!

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