If your goal is to become a dog groomer, it’s natural to want to be successful in the industry! Ensuring that every dog who passes through your salon is healthy and happy is what you’re passionate about, and you want your reputation as a groomer to reflect this. You definitely don’t want to do anything to sabotage yourself!
However, there are 4 things that can ruin your dog grooming career (and quickly), if you’re not careful. Read this list carefully so you know what to avoid!
Overloading your time with appointments
Managing your time as a certified dog groomer is a delicate balance. Completing a dog grooming certification course will give you the skills and motivation to hit the ground running as a professional groomer. For many, this means taking on many appointments to start – after all, this will boost your experience level, bring more clients, and earn you more money! However, there is only one of you. Until you have a salon full of helping hands, taking on 8 or 10 clients in a day is not a good idea.
First of all, you’ll be rushing through appointments causing a great deal of stress for the pups you’re grooming. You could also be putting both the dogs and yourself at risk of injury. Dogs don’t want you to groom them quickly! This will show in their temperament during the groom, as they’d much rather you take your time and provide them with a gentle, attentive experience.
Second of all, your desire to take on more grooming appointments can often lead to situations that you’re not ready for. If you take on jobs that are outside your realm of knowledge, you run the risk of producing poor quality work, and could receive negative reviews (and a bad reputation).
So, as tempting as it is to take on as many pups as you can in a day, try to schedule your time and check in with your own energy levels as you go. Don’t go above your level of experience just yet, and be patient with yourself!
Skipping the inspection before grooming
All dog groomers can attest to the excitement of having a new furry client walk into their salon for the first time. You can’t wait to get them bathed, brushed, and clipped, as well as get to know their owner.
But never underestimate the importance of a full inspection prior to grooming! Each dog that you care for is different, so it is extremely important to take a few moments before any grooming appointment to run your hands through a dog’s fur and use your trained eye to note any issues. Prior to any groom, let the owner know what your standard grooming practices are, and that additional costs could be required in the case of certain conditions. The last thing you want to do is groom a dog with an existing health condition, as you can worsen the situation or leave the dog’s owner in the dark about how to treat their pet!
Also, you don’t want to surprise your clients with an additional bill at the end of the grooming appointment that they didn’t anticipate – this certainly won’t help boost your dog grooming career.
Some things you want to be looking for include:
Eyes and ears
While you’re not qualified to treat an eye or ear infection, you can recommend a proper examination by a vet. Take some time to look inside the dog’s ears for an accumulation of dead skin or hair, discharge or swelling, and if any of these are present, you can choose not to continue with the appointment.
Similarly, look for irritation, redness, swelling or discharge in a dog’s eyes, and know when to recommend the dog’s owner take them to the vet.
The inspection you conduct before a grooming appointment allows you to pick up on common skin problems. All of these should be treated seriously, and your communication with the dog’s owner is key in a situation where infection might be present.
One huge advantage of dog groomer training is the trained eye you’ll be able to use when caring for your furry clients. You can catch potential dental problems before grooming a dog by using your expertise to pick up on abnormalities. Although you’re not qualified to clean the teeth and gums (leave that to the vet!), you can lift the dog’s mouth flaps before the appointment to look at the gums and check for redness or swelling. If an infection is present, grooming isn’t a good idea, and you can communicate this to your clients.
As a groomer, you have a responsibility to both the dog and their owner. You need to communicate effectively with the owners and mediate between what they want and what the dog needs, and conducting an inspection before grooming is vital in order to provide the safest grooming experience (not to mention keeping your reputation strong as a groomer!).
Not learning enough
While it is possible to learn dog grooming techniques on the job, it’s not the same as a dog grooming class. In order to take the best care of your clients, you’ll need a combination of experience and knowledge.
Dog grooming courses are offered both online and in-class, so you can choose the best option for your goals and lifestyle. Receiving hands-on, practical training will allow you to hone your skills and be ready to jump into the industry once you’ve obtained your dog grooming certification.
But the learning shouldn’t end there!
Dog groomers are always learning – new products, techniques and trends are emerging all the time, so you need to pick up new things as you go. You can do this by learning from other dog groomers, attending workshops and conferences, and reading. Your dog grooming career will benefit from your constant thirst for knowledge and your efforts to stay on top of trends.
Refusing to communicate
A huge prerequisite of becoming a dog groomer is to love dogs, and you do! Understanding different breeds and temperaments is needed to groom them successfully and ensure they’re comfortable.
However, it isn’t just furry clients you need to become familiar with – dog owners are the ones who pay your dog grooming salary, depend on your services, and trust you with their pet. To ensure your dog grooming career doesn’t end in disaster, you need to be a people person. This may sound simple, but not everyone can interact with customers on a daily basis — dog owners can be very vocal about what they want done with their companion, and it can be challenging to juggle their expectations with your own responsibility as a groomer.
Know that every dog owner wants the best for their pup, and you’ll begin to see challenging personalities in a different light. The ability to keep their dog clean and healthy is what clients want from a groomer, so it’s important to find a balance between what the dog needs and what the owner asks for. Have confidence in your training and experience – you’ll make the right decisions to ensure your career as a groomer continues to soar!
Dog groomers will hear the same requests all too often – read on for 4 of the most common, and how to handle them!
We’re myth-busting today!
You have options when starting your dog grooming business!
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!