If you love animals and want to become a dog groomer, you probably know your stuff when it comes to the job description. However, job descriptions don’t always provide you with a realistic understanding of what it’s like to be a dog groomer from day-to-day. Job postings for dog groomers, in particular, emphasize experience and tend to leave out a lot of details.
Since the industry is so specialized, salons expect applicants to already have thorough knowledge about the local industry when applying. As a first-time groomer, you probably have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. Don’t stress, we’re here to help! Keep reading for some of the tasks you might not expect to see in a dog groomer job description.
Many people pursue a career in dog grooming because they love animals. While this is the most fundamental requirement for working as a groomer, it’s equally important to have great people skills. If you like animals but don’t feel as passionately about humans, this might not be the job for you. As a dog groomer, you need to please your clients. That means dealing with people!
The dogs you groom are, in a way, your most important clients. The health and safety of the dog should always come first! But unfortunately, they won’t be the ones paying you. This means you’ll have to play a careful game between giving the clients what they want and working with what’s possible. Sometimes owners want cuts that are just not realistic given the build and coat of their dog. Or worse, you may have to refuse them service because their dog is too aggressive. It’s tough, but attempting a groom on animals that just can’t sit still could endanger the dog and your employees!
In the service industry, the customer is always right. But in reality, turning away clients is necessary sometimes. If you aren’t confident in your people skills, maintaining your cool while handling situations like these professionally can be difficult. You don’t want to ruin a relationship and receive bad reviews! You’ll need to follow an outlined procedure. It’s much easier to do something you’re uncomfortable with if you’re following a clear policy!
Great Physical Shape
You’ve probably been warned about this before, but we’re here to warn you again: dog grooming is more physically straining than you think! You’ll be on your feet for most of the working day, continually lifting them on and off the table. And to top it all off? You’ll need to control the behavior of the dogs you’re grooming!
Now, we’re not saying that you have to be in the best shape of your life. But exercise should definitely be part of your daily routine. Otherwise, the tasks of dog grooming can put a serious strain on your muscles, and you’ll be more susceptible to getting injured. Some large dogs weigh close to 150lbs! Dog grooming is easily one of the most rewarding jobs out there. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with dogs all day? But, if you’re in constant pain or are always injured, it’ll be much more difficult to enjoy your work.
Have you ever noticed all the hair on the floor when you go to get your hair cut at the salon? And how there’s always an employee sweeping it all up? Well, dog grooming salons are no different. In fact, the volume of hair could be a lot more given the variety of coat types out there. Helping out with maintenance and sanitation of the salon in some way or another is mandatory. Cleaning is just part of the job.
When you’re just starting out as a groomer, expect more maintenance duties. What can we say? It’s part of the initiation! Even if you have experience grooming, the salon owner will want to run you through a few grooms and monitor your work closely at first. This is to ensure that you understand and are adhering to the quality standards of the salon. Before they deem you ready to groom dogs on your own, expect to spend lots of quality time with the broom!
Here are some of the maintenance tasks you may be asked to do:
- Sweep up dog hair
- Wipe down surfaces after each appointment
- Mix together the dog shampoo
- Hose down the bathing tubs
- Wash towels and dry towels
- Sanitize grooming tools at the end of the day, or as needed
This is only sometimes specified in the job description. Nonetheless, it’s important to know! Many salon owners prefer groomers with experience grooming other animals—feline grooming, in particular. Many pet owners go to dog grooming salons with their cats due to the lack of feline-only grooming salons. So if you have experience grooming cats or even other animals like bunnies, this is definitely an asset! Animal behavior between cats and dogs differ greatly. If you’ve had specialized training for both companion pets, you’ll have a leg up on other groomers.
If the grooming salon provides a variety of spa services on top of grooming, you may be asked to do a range of other dog-related activities. For example: taking dogs for a walk; brushing their teeth; shampoo treatments; dressing them in cute outfits; and even serving up organic doggy chow! At most salons that offer retail items, you’ll probably be involved in sales, too.
In addition, you may be working in a very fast-paced environment. With back-to-back client appointments, you’ll have to work fast. Remember, the dog always comes first, so be careful! If it is particularly busy, you make have other bathers working on the same dog, and so you’ll need to know how to work in a team. In this case, strong communication and interpersonal skills are key!
Animal behavior can be unpredictable at times and as a dog groomer, you’ll need to be ready for anything! It’s a good idea to get certified in pet first-aid so that you can be confident in your ability to handle anything that comes your way!
Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments!
Looking to apply for dog grooming positions? Check out this article on the difference in pet groomer salaries between freelance and employed workers!
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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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