Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m a 38-year-old, stay-at-home mother of two children: a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy. I freelance as an artist, primarily in Graphic Design. I also have 3 dogs and 1 cat. I’m a total animal lover!
How did you know that grooming would become more than just a hobby?
I graduated college in 2017 and worked in advertising for a while after that. I got married, and after I had my daughter, I made the decision to stay home and raise her. Then came my son, so things were busy! But now that he’s getting ready to start school, I want to get ready to join the work force again.
I knew I wanted to start my own business, and I knew I wanted to work with animals. I’ve always groomed my own dogs, so the idea of becoming a groomer just happened naturally. Now I’m excited to complete my grooming courses, and start growing my business!
What’s your favorite dog breed that you love to groom, and why?
My favorite breed that I’ve ever groomed is definitely the Yorkie! I had a tea cup Yorkie when I was younger. He had such silky hair, and it looked so beautiful whenever it’d be washed and combed. The best part would always be in the summer, when I would cut his hair short. It would make him look like a puppy all over again!
Why did you decide to do your dog grooming courses online with QC Pet Studies, rather than in a physical class? How have you found the overall online learning experience?
Like I mentioned before, I am a stay-at-home mom. I don’t have family nearby that can help with my son’s care, so I’m not able to go to a physical dog grooming class. Because of this, the online option worked perfectly for me! I did my research on several online grooming courses, and QC Pet Studies was definitely the one that made the most sense.
I liked the way it was structured: it provides a more organized and straightforward approach. The fact that QC offers the First Aid course for groomers was definitely what made me make my final decision, though! None of the other grooming courses I found online seemed to offer it, but I believe it it’s very important for groomers to have basic first aid when handling other people’s pets!
So far, the experience has been wonderful! I have learned so much, and both the instructions and the course books are so easy to understand and follow. The one thing I would recommend would be to make it a tiny bit easier to contact the instructor with course questions, but other than that, it’s been a great experience so far. I was really surprised with how thorough the courses are!
What was the hardest dog grooming technique you’ve encountered? Is there a particular technique or skill you’re learning to master right now?
I have to say, the hardest technique has been the nail trimming. At first, I was so afraid of hurting the dog that I would transfer my nervousness to the dog. The dogs with black nails have been especially challenging. I’ve slowly been getting more confident, but it’s still a little stressful. I try to take deep breaths and trim a little at a time. This is one skill I will only get better at with experience!
Do you have any advice for students of dog grooming courses who are struggling to find dogs to practice on? Where should they be looking? How can they assure the owners that they’re going to take care of the dog?
The way I’ve found dogs to practice on is by reaching out to friends and family. I have been lucky so far, in that many of them are dog people; they either have the dog I need, or they know someone who has one. I’ve found that offering a free groom makes it easier to find people willing to lend you their dogs. I let the people see where I will be grooming their dog, and I’ve also made professional business cards to provide them. I find that this helps them feel more secure about handing over their precious pet.
Also, I keep pictures of dogs I’ve groomed, as well as photos of my own pets that I groom myself. This way, potential clients can see that even though I am a student, I do have some experience with grooming.
Admittedly, there is one breed I have not been able to find through friends or family. So I’m going to go on my local Facebook groups, so I can reach out and see if I can find someone local who will be willing to lend me their dog. I believe social media can be a helpful tool to find dogs to practice on.
There’s also the option of visiting your local shelter and asking them if you can help out by grooming dogs there!
How do you think QC’s dog grooming courses have prepared you to work in the field? (E.g. was the tutors’ feedback useful, do you feel that you’ll graduate with a mastery of all your tools? Etc.)
I think this course is so well-rounded that I now feel very confident when I groom dogs! I think the best part is hearing the instructor’s real work experience. The tips they offer on how to deal with problems you’ll encounter in the field have been very helpful.
For example, a friend reached out to me to help with a dog they rescued. The dog doesn’t allow them to cut his nails, and so the nails had gotten really long. I told them I would give it a shot. I remembered my instructor’s advice for situations just like this one: to hold firm when the dog tries to pull his feet away, and just hold on until the dog realizes you aren’t going to let go.
When I applied this advice, it worked like a charm! I was able to trim the dog’s nails, which obviously made his owners were very happy. I’ve found that those little tips offered by my instructor have been a big help!
You’re still in the process of your dog grooming courses. After graduation, do you want to work in a salon, as a freelance groomer, etc.? What are your career goals, and how would you like to work towards them in 2020?
When I graduate, I plan to open my own business from home. My home has a separate building that I’m currently remodeling, so I can turn it into my dog salon. I’ve already received my permits and business license, and I am a month or so away from finishing the remodel.
So as soon as I graduate from QC, I’ll focus on growing my home grooming business. At first it will be a part-time job, but I am hoping that by the end of 2020, I can turn it into my full-time career!