Every serious profession has a learning curve. It’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes as you’re launching your dog grooming business. But when you’re working in the service industry, there are plenty of mistakes that could ruin your career.
Doubly so when you’re also working on living creatures.
Just to be clear: everyone makes mistakes. No one is going to expect you to be perfect all the time, and never mess up. Mistakes are healthy, as they help teach you to grow! However, there are many mistakes that can be avoided through proper training and education.
So, while you’re almost certainly going to have a few hiccups here and there at the start your career, you can at least avoid career-ruining mistakes by taking an accredited grooming course.
Here are some examples of rookie mistakes you’ll learn to avoid during your dog grooming classes…
1: Endangering a Dog’s Health
It shouldn’t come as a shocker that an inexperienced and uneducated dog groomer will be way more likely to commit mistakes that can seriously endanger a dog’s health. Your grooming course will spend its entire curriculum teaching you how to groom dogs safely.
Your training will include:
- How to choose the proper grooming tools and products for a dog’s grooming needs
- Proper techniques so that you use your tools and products safely
- How to identify different medical conditions that might affect how you groom the dog
- How to restrain a dog properly and safely during a groom to prevent injuries
- Canine behavior training, so that you can identify the first signs of stress in your furry client
- First Aid techniques that will prepare you to appropriately deal with any medical conditions that arise during the groom
- How to safely manage having multiple dogs/animals in the same grooming environment
- And much more!
There’s way more to grooming a dog than just grabbing a pair of shears and going to town. Throughout each step of the process, there’s a right way and a wrong way to work on the dog.
The wrong way can lead to a disaster. Sadly, this is one of the biggest and most common rookie mistakes when you’re uneducated.
2: Endangering your OWN Health
Dog grooming classes won’t just teach you how to look after the dog’s health and safety during a groom. Your own health and safety are just as important!
Sure, almost anyone can hold a pair of clippers in their hands. But do you know the proper way of holding those clippers, so you don’t develop wrist problems in a few years? How about how to effectively lift a dog without hurting your back?
More importantly, do you know how to handle difficult dogs so that you don’t end up with a nasty bite? We talked about behavior above, with regards to avoiding any injuries for the dog. However, understanding dog behavior is just as important when it comes to ensuring you don’t get injured yourself!
A stressed dog is a dangerous dog. When pushed too far, even the most well-behaved dog can resort to thrashing, jumping, lunging, and even biting. Uneducated dog groomers often claim they’re experts on dog behavior, simply because they have dogs themselves.
(Or worse, because they’ve watched a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer on TV.)
These are often the same groomers who will push a dog way beyond his tolerance threshold, and claim to be “teaching” the dog in the process. It’s not uncommon for these people to proudly (and foolishly) wear their bite scars like badges of honor.
When you take a dog grooming class, you’ll learn just how wrong and dangerous this mindset is. Instead, you’ll come to understand how to identify the earliest signs of stress in a dog, so you can properly diffuse any situation. You’ll specifically learn techniques and tools you can use with the most difficult dogs.
And guess what? “Flooding” ISN’T one of those techniques!
3: Making Every Dog Look Like They’ve Been in a Fight with a Lawnmower
With a good pair of clippers and enough patience, anyone can shave a dog down to the skin. But actually grooming a dog to breed specifications, or according to what its owners want?
That takes a LOT of skill and proper technique!
Without proper education, would you even know what the standard breed cut of a Schnauzer is? How about the right technique to ensure you get an even cut on a Yorkie’s face? Would you be able to achieve a proper teddy bear cut?
It’s easier than you think to screw up and make a Golden Retriever look like he got his tail caught in a door. The reason clients bring their pups to you is because you’re supposed to be the expert who can groom their dog in a manner that they can’t do themselves.
You owe it to your clients to actually know what you’re doing.
4: Not Running Your Business
This is actually a VERY common rookie mistake in most animal-related businesses. When you’re passionate about what you do, spending time running your business can feel like you’re taking time away from doing your job.
In theory, we get it.
But in reality, you’re expected as business owner to dedicate the time and resources needed to make sure your business is actually successful. Dog grooming classes will teach you the most effective way to do this, and how you can streamline that time.
During your studies, you’ll learn:
- Why it’s important to develop a solid business plan (and how to do it)
- How to name your business in a way that will appeal to potential clients
- How to set your prices so that your business is profitable, yet still competitive
- How to market your services so you gain enough clients to stay afloat
- When and how to effectively hire employees
- How to grow your business by expanding your network
- How to set up a proper professional grooming salon
- Why you should have a website and maintain it, even if you have a solid client base
- How to deal with difficult clients, without compromising your reputation
- How to increase your standing in the industry, allowing you to charge more for your services
- And more.
Ultimately, this is the difference between being a part-time dog groomer out of your home, and actually building a successful career. Assuming that you want a career where you work full-time, make a good salary, and can take a vacation once in a while, then you need to know how to run an actual business!
There are tons of mistakes dog grooming rookies can make when first starting out. By getting educated before you launch your career, you’ll at least be able to avoid making the biggest and costliest ones.
Instead, the only mistakes you make will be the ones allowing you to grow and truly hone your craft!