Everybody has to start somewhere. The certified dog groomers in your town have all done rigorous training in order to get to where they are now. And you need to put in the same amount of work into your dog grooming course too. This means practicing your grooms over and over again until you’ve mastered your skills… and then some more!

If your lifelong passion has been dogs, you’re likely devoted to ensuring a dog is always safe in your hands. We know you’ll be extra careful, but the trouble lies in convincing pet owners of the same—it’s harder than it sounds!

But don’t worry. We’re going go over how to sweep pet owners off their feet and land you an arsenal of dogs to practice your dog grooming skills!

dog owner with lab at home on couch

Be kind in your approach

Understand that it’s normal for dog owners to be nervous. They’ve probably never worked with practicing groomers before. It’s up to you to assure them that you’re not to be underestimated. Just because you’re in the process of learning doesn’t mean you can’t handle a head-to-tail groom! Be confident in your skills, but most importantly, be kind to owners and their pups!

Talk about your dog grooming course certification

Let them know that you’re trying to become a certified dog groomer! Your serious approach to your education will signal to owners that you have the professional knowledge to guide your grooms.

Don’t be afraid to discuss some of the curriculum so owners know what you’re learning and how you’re tested. If you’re taking QC’s Dog Grooming Course, you can also mention that the course does not allow you to proceed to practical assignments until after completing the First Aid for Groomers course.

Many dog owners will be happy to help out a student who is taking formal training. They’ll be assured that you’re abiding by safety practices and proven grooming techniques.

dog grooming course student

Be transparent with the details of your groom

Don’t just whisk away their beloved pets without giving them any details. Most pet owners don’t like to be surprised at the end of a groom!

Basically, give them the 5Ws: who, what, when, where, why… and also discuss how you’re going about the groom. Show them that you’re knowledgeable about safe grooming practices. As a dog grooming student from a credible dog grooming school, you should discuss every aspect of the groom with them beforehand. They also must sign a waiver, so take the time to answer any questions they may have about the grooming process.

And don’t forget to remind them that the groom will be free, since it’s part of your on-going training!

Learn how to take “no” for an answer

In many cases, you’ll have pet owners who would love to take advantage of a free groom. However, you’ll also run into your fair share of owners who don’t wish to have their pet practiced on—and that’s fine!

Not everyone will be comfortable with the groom. And sometimes the reason is that their pups may be new or anxious about grooms in general. If that’s the case, trust the owner’s judgment. The last thing you want is for someone or the dog to get hurt.

dog with dog owner together after professional dog grooming

It may feel discouraging if the dog owners who say no are the ones most easily assessable to you— such as your family and friends. But not all hope is lost! Even if they say no, you can still complete your dog grooming course.

So, who can you ask?

Where you can find pet owners

Asking your friends and family for help is definitely a good choice, but they may only expose you to a few breeds of dogs. If you’re taking a well-rounded pet grooming course, you’ll need to gain experience grooming a large variety of dogs.

To do this, you will need to cast a wider net in order to find dogs for every assignment of your course. You can ask colleagues from your current job who wish to help you with your professional journey. Or, you can ask for referrals and have people spread the word that you’re practicing your grooming skills.

Another option is for you to go to a dog park and hand out flyers and speak to owners one-on-one. You can also volunteer your skills at an animal shelter. Grooming rescue dogs is highly rewarding and shelters are often in short supply of groomers willing to donate their time! Plus, you’ll know that you’re helping dogs find permanent homes.

Be proactive with your approach

For your grooming course, you’ll need to work with a wide variety of dog breeds and temperaments. If you shelter yourself during your education, you won’t be prepared for the types of doggy clients you’ll face in the real world!

pet grooming after bath

You need to take the reigns – it’s your career after all! If dogs aren’t readily available, take action and approach potential candidates. You’ll benefit from networking practice and be able to keep practicing your skills without long durations between grooms. But make sure you’re not too aggressive! Follow the tips in this article and you will be well on your way to building great relationships with future potential clients!

Do you have any tips about approaching nervous owners? Let us know!

Just how much can you make as a professional dog groomer? Check out our salary outlook!