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Camille Torkornoo

3 Tips for Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, Feature Image

Dream of becoming a dog groomer? Make that dream a REALITY in 2021!

Today, QC Pet Studies student and owner of Mount Zion Kennels, Camille Torkornoo, breaks down 3 awesome tips to help you launch the career of your dreams!

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, Camille Torkornoo headshot

Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

Here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know: according to the Global Pet Market – Analysis By Type (Pet Food, Pet Care Products, Pet services), Pet Type, By Distribution Channel, By Region, (2021 Edition): Market Insights, Covid-19 Impact, Competition and Forecast (2021-2026), the global pet market was “valued at $223.54 billion” dollars USD in 2020! Moreover, of all the animals getting adopted last year, dogs were reported as being the most popular.

However, thanks to COVID, grooming services have faced a rather bumpy ride over the past year. With multiple waves and unexpected lockdowns, salons all over the globe went from open, to closed, to open again, etc. But here’s the good news: now that vaccines have been getting distributed, the chance of another lockdown is decreasing.

As a result, businesses everywhere have been able to re-open their doors. This time, hopefully for good!

What does this mean for YOU? Well, if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a dog groomer, now is the PERFECT time to turn that dream into a reality!

Why NOW Is the Perfect Time to Get Started

The adoption and sale of dogs saw a drastic increase over the course of 2020. But at the same time, many pet owners couldn’t always visit their local groomer. Now, however, we’re finally at a point where dog groomers likely won’t need to close their doors again. (Fingers crossed!) As more people continue to get fully vaccinated, and safety measures continue to be respected, this means that groomers will hopefully be able to run their businesses at full capacity soon.

And as for all those new dog owners who couldn’t get their pooches groomed during lockdown? They’re going to be racing to their local salons to book appointments ASAP!

Basically, this may very well be the best time to pursue your goals of becoming a dog groomer. Not only are grooming services in high demand – there are countless clients waiting to book with a groomer like you… and the industry is likely to remain this way for the foreseeable future!

Dog groomer brushing out small dog at salon

3 Tips for Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

So, now that you’ve decided to go for your dreams and make them happen, how should you get started? Where do you need to begin?

Luckily, I’ve got 3 awesome tips to help you take those important first steps!

Tip #1: Enroll in Online Grooming School!

The COVID-19 pandemic gave the majority of us a lot of extra time on our hands. You may very well still have that extra time. But eventually, that’ll be a thing of the past. So, why not take advantage of this by starting a new, exciting career before your schedule becomes hectic again? That way, once everything is officially back to normal, you can get paid to do what you’ve always wanted!

QC Pet Studies is an in-depth, online grooming school where you can get professionally trained and internationally-certified in less than one year. The beauty of this school is that you get the exact same hands-on training and textbook knowledge that you’d get in a physical classroom… Except you get to work from the comfort of home, and entirely at your preferred pace!

Moreover, as you progress through your training, you’ll get personalized feedback from their amazing tutors. These are people who are also real-working industry experts. When you graduate, you’ll become an official, designated dog groomer – with a proper certification to add to your resume!

Enrolling with QC and getting professionally trained is a great place to start your career. It’ll make your pathway to becoming a groomer much easier, as well as provide great opportunities along the way. Plus, having that certification will benefit your career in countless ways!

Keep in mind that I say all this from personal experience. After all, while I’m currently working as a professional dog groomer, I’m also a student of the craft. Right now, I’m working through two professional courses: Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers, both offered through QC Pet Studies.

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, 2nd in-post image, groomer trimming Pomeranian's backside

Tip #2: Take Advantage of the Increased Number of Potential Clientele!

As we discussed earlier, many groomers had to close their doors in 2020. As a result, countless pets lost their groomers for long (and unexpected) periods of time. Plus, not all of the groomers who closed their doors last year have decided to re-open them. This means that there are more than a few dog owners who are on the hunt for a new groomer to tend to their furry family member!

Moreover, many people also got new puppies during the lockdowns. Those puppies only add to the large number of dogs who need a new groomer in 2021.

Since there’s now an overwhelmingly high volume of existing clients desperately trying to get back on their grooming schedule, a lot of shops are unable to take on new clients at this time. In fact, plenty of groomers are actually completely booked for the next 2+ years!

You can take advantage of this by becoming a dog groomer! Chances are good that you could easily take on a full clientele, consisting of several different breed types, to help you expand your skill-set as a groomer and gain experience in the field. One place where you can start is to find friends and family who can’t get their dogs to a groomer. If you do a great job, they’ll probably tell their friends and family about your services. Pretty soon, you can have all sorts of clients through word-of-mouth alone!

Tip #3: Find a Mentor and/or Do an Apprenticeship!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: there are SO many pets that need groomers, and grooming shops are overwhelmed right now. So, another option at your disposal is to look into applying to be a groomer or an apprentice at a local shop in your area!

Many grooming shops are currently understaffed; facing difficulty in meeting the high demand of clients in need. As a result, they’re actively looking to bring on new groomers, trainees, and/or bathers. I would actually say that a bathing position would be the best place to start out in a grooming shop! After all, bathing and prep work is the foundation of every great groom.

If you learn to master that part, it makes the grooming part a lot easier – as well as faster to learn!

The hands of a young girl are carefully washed by a red dog in a white bath. The German Spitz owner thoroughly washes the wool

Do YOU have any other tips to add to this list? What advice would you give to someone who dreams of becoming a dog groomer in 2021?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks so much for reading! 💕

Becoming a dog groomer has never been easier! Enroll with QC Pet Studies today and earn your professional certification in as little as 9-12 months!

What to Expect in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course

QC Pet Studies First Aid Course review, May 7 2021, Feature Image

First Aid training is critical for all professional dog groomers! Want to add this important certification to your resume? QC Pet Studies student, Camille Torkornoo, is here to discuss why you need to enroll in QC’s First Aid for Groomers Course! 

Camille’s business, Mount Zion Kennels, specializes in grooming and breeding standard Poodles. To learn more about Camille and her journey as a dog groomer, check out her Student Feature!

The Importance of First Aid Training

When working with live animals, accidents are sometimes bound to happen. This is exactly why it’s VERY important to know how to deal with them. Luckily, QC Pet Studies created their online First Aid for Groomers Course for this very purpose. This 2-unit program covers everything you need to know about First Aid for the animals you work with.

From caring for common, minor injuries, to responding to major medical emergencies – this course will go over it all. The goal? Once you’ve graduated from this course, you’ll be fully prepared for any type of emergency you could possibly encounter in the grooming industry!

Key Lessons You’ll Learn in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course

1 – Navigating Potential Hazards in a Grooming Salon

One of the very first topics QC Pet Studies covers in their First Aid for Groomers Course is the many different types of accidents that can occur within a grooming salon. Some examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Sprains;
  • Fractures;
  • Minor and major wounds;
  • Types of parasites, etc.

First, sprains and fractures are not uncommon for dogs. Any breed, age, and size can sustain these types of injuries. However, overweight and senior dogs are especially susceptible to them. QC’s First Aid training goes over the various ways that groomers can recognize, prevent, and properly treat sprains and fractures if they occur.

Secondly, minor wounds – such as nicks, scratches, and abrasions – are also fairly common. This makes sense when you factor in the tools used in your day-to-day tasks. Major wounds, on the other hand, can be a lot more serious. Common examples of more serious wounds include punctures, deeps cuts, and any other injury that causes heavy bleeding. Obviously, your professional groomer training will help you prevent a lot of these injuries. But sometimes, things happen. This is why it’s important to know how to deal with them!

Lastly, parasites are another thing you’ll often come across as a dog groomer. The two most common ones you’ll deal with are fleas and ticks. QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course will cover everything you need to know about parasites and how to safely deal with them.

Of course, this program also covers many other possible injuries and incidents that can – and likely will – happen throughout your career. While I’ve only listed a few examples, just know that there is a LOT more information this training will teach you!

Dog on grooming table at salon

2 – Assessing and Preventing Risks

QC Pet Studies also covers how groomers can properly and effectively prevent, prepare for, assess, and respond to the many injuries that may occur on the job. Risk management is a major component of First Aid knowledge. Ideally, you want to train your eye so you can foresee accidents before they happen. But when things are beyond your control (as is sometimes the case), the next best step is knowing how to mitigate the situation in the safest way possible.

The other thing about risk management is that you don’t ONLY want to learn about potential risks to the dogs’ health. Rather, it’s just as important that you understand the potential workplace hazards that can put your own safety at risk. The good news is, QC Pet Studies also teaches you about this in the First Aid Course!

3 – Putting Together a Proper First Aid Kit

In order to apply proper First Aid practices, you’re going to need to have a reliable First Aid kit in your work space. Not sure how to build one or what items should be included? No problem!

QC’s First Aid for Groomers Course covers everything you need to know! You’ll learn how to put together a proper kit, so you can always treat wounds and injuries to the best of your ability. There’s a quiz in Unit A that will help guide you in the right direction. Moreover, there’s even a Self-Study assignment (with TWO exercises) that’ll help you begin building your very own First Aid kit.

QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Training: Helpful Assignments

One thing I particularly appreciated about QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course were the assignments. Every assignment perfectly complements the lessons being taught in the textbooks, expands on them, and rounds out your training.

Personally, one of my favorite assignments was the Self-Study homework on how to stay calm during an emergency. It’s easy to become stressed, panicked, and overwhelmed during an emergency. But if you’re prepared and know how to stay calm, you’ll be able to respond and treat the emergency in the most appropriate way.

This assignment goes over different breathing exercises that can help reduce stress. If ever under duress while on the job, these breathing exercises will help calm you down. I also appreciated how this Self-Study encourages students to reflect on past responses to stressful situations. This way, you can mentally prepare yourself and improve upon your responses during future emergencies.

Another great assignment included in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course is the 4th Self-Study assignment in Unit B. This assignment deals with identifying medical emergencies. First, you’re given several different emergency scenarios. Next, you need to outline how you would respond to that emergency, based off of what you’ve learned. Finally, you’re then asked to go back and compare your response to the suggested response provided within the textbook.

I found this exercise to be extremely beneficial! It helps you, as the groomer, assess your ability to identify, think through, and respond to the different medical emergencies and/or health conditions you might experience.

All in all, I highly recommend that every groomer take this First Aid Course offered by QC Pet Studies. Knowing how to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergency situations is essential – for not only the safety of the animals you work with, but also for you as a groomer!

Did you know that when you enroll in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, we’ll give you our First Aid Course for FREE? Enroll today and earn a double certification in less than one year!

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves for ALL Beginners!

dog grooming must-haves blog article camille mar 12 2021 feature image

Want to start a career in dog grooming? QC Pet Studies student, Camille Torkornoo, is here to reveal 5 dog grooming must-haves to get you started! Camille’s business, Mount Zion Kennels, specializes in grooming and breeding standard Poodles. Learn more about Camille by reading her Student Feature!

dog grooming must-haves article camille mar 12 2021 headshot

In the world of dog grooming, there are A LOT of different tools used for different purposes. It can be challenging to know which tools you should invest in when starting out.

Maybe you’re interested in becoming a dog groomer, or maybe you just want to learn how to groom your own pet at home. Either way, here are my Top 5 dog grooming must-haves for ALL beginners!

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves

1. Combs

The very first dog grooming must-have for ALL beginners are combs. Combs are one of the most essential tools for the job! They come in many different lengths and sizes. For this reason, it can feel a bit tricky deciding which one to get when starting your career.

If you’re new to dog grooming, I recommend a basic steel comb with fine-coarse teeth. This type of comb should do just fine when starting out. It can be used to find matted spots and comb them out. Plus, you can use it comb out the hair before cutting or scissoring it. I find this kind of comb give dogs a nice fluffy finish to their groom, when used correctly!

2. Slicker Brushes

Like with combs, there are many different kinds of brushes. When deciding which kind to get when starting out, a slicker brush is the way to go! Slicker brushes are definitely one of the top dog grooming must-haves! They can be used for fluffing and brushing out coats. Plus, they work like a charm for de-matting heavily tangled coats!

groomer brushing dog with slicker brush

3. Nail Care Tools

Dog grooming isn’t just limited to cutting and styling hair. Nail maintenance is also an essential part of it! You can’t trim a dog’s nails without the proper tools. So, you’ll need a good pair of basic nail clippers.

Medium-sized nail clippers work well for most dogs. But for really big breeds with thick nails, a large-sized pair would work better. You’ll also want to invest in a nail grinder. Nail grinders will smooth out the nails after they’ve been clipped. Not to mention, they’ll get you a bit closer to the quick without cutting it and making the dog bleed.

When it comes to nail maintenance, styptic powder is another essential dog grooming must-have. If you accidently clip a dog’s nail too far and expose the quick, you can put some styptic powder on it to make the bleeding stop.

4. Clippers

We can’t talk about dog grooming must-haves without mentioning a good pair of clippers! There are a few different kinds, but the best ones for a beginner would be a pair of 5-in-1 clippers.

These clippers have an adjustable blade. Another perk is that they don’t tend to get hot as quickly as detachable blade clippers do! Since they’re not very expensive, this staple tool is also affordable for any budget. They make the perfect addition to your dog grooming kit when just starting out!

5-in-1 clippers are perfect for trimming faces, feet, ears, and paw pads. You can even use them for light bodywork on pretty much any dog. They’re a lot quieter and don’t vibrate as much as detachable blade clippers do. I find this great, especially when working on sensitive dogs and puppies.

dog grooming shaving dog with clippers

5. Shears

The last dog grooming must-have for all beginners is a good set of shears! Shears are also known as grooming scissors. Scissor work will complete every groom you do – and you can’t accomplish that without a good set a grooming shears.

There are quite a few kinds of shears, coming in all different lengths and styles. It can prove to be a difficult choice when selecting a pair to start out with. But don’t worry, I’m here to help! Here are 3 types of shears I recommend for all brand-new dog groomers:

#1 – Straight Shears

You’ll want to start by investing in is a good pair straight shears. Straight shears are used for creating nice, straight lines on any breed of dog. They’re the standard pair of shears used for every groom!

#2 – Curved Shears

The second kind you’ll want to get is a good quality pair of curved shears. Curved shears are perfect for cutting rounded edges on topknots, legs, and tails. They are definitely a must-have, especially if you’re working with Poodles and/or Poodle mixes on a regular basis!

#3 – Thinning Shears

The last kind you’ll want to get are a pair of thinning shears. Thinning shears have toothed blades. As a result, they only take off a fraction of the hair when you cut it. Thinning shears create a smoother look and they’re great for blending hair.

If you mess up when using straight or curved shears, you can use you pair of thinning shears to blend and hide the faulty cut. Plus, they’re great for working on double coated breeds. These are truly are a dog grooming must-have!

dog grooming must-haves shears

Choosing Shears: Food for Thought

Here are some other things to take into consideration when getting your set of shears:

  • You don’t want them to be too short, but you don’t want them too long either.
  • A good length to start out with would be 6 or 7 inches.
  • You also don’t need the most expensive pair out there – but you do want to invest in some good quality ones.
  • Good quality shears should have a sharp edge that’ll stay sharp. This will allow you to provide nice, clean cuts to your grooms and create a great finished look.

Now That You Know The 5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves…

…go forth and take the industry by storm! You’ve got this! 🙂

Set your career up for success by getting professionally trained and certified in less than one year. Enroll with QC Pet Studies today!

QC’s Dog Grooming Course: What I Learned in Unit A

Thinking of enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming Course? Camille Torkornoo, a current student, is here to break down what’s taught in Unit A! Camille’s business, Mount Zion Kennels, specializes in grooming and breeding standard Poodles. Learn more about Camille by reading her Student Feature!

Dog grooming course student, Camille Torkornoo

QC’s Dog Grooming Course: Unit A in a Nutshell

I learned a lot of important information from Unit A of my Dog Grooming Course. One of my favorite features included in this program is the feedback I get from my tutor, Lisa Day. I find it very helpful in my learning because a real industry expert is helping me see what I’ve done well, as well as what I can improve upon.

Unit A thoroughly covers what it means to be a dog groomer. You learn about canine anatomy and terminology, along with canine skincare and esthetics. QC also makes sure to teach you the risks that come with the profession and which precautions can be taken to prevent injuries. All of this information is essential!

The Most Important Lesson I Learned in Unit A Was…

…the Personal Health and Safety section! Dog grooming is a physically demanding job. As such, it has the potential to be dangerous as well. By taking the advised precautions outlined in Unit A, dog groomers can create a safer working environment. In turn, this will help reduce the risk of serious injuries.

Common Dog Grooming Risks

Naturally, some of the risks involved with grooming include bites and scratches. This is to be expected with any job involving animals. But dog groomers also risk developing long-term health issues, too.

For instance, groomers must constantly lift dogs and use loud equipment. These things, when combined with the constant repetitive motions involved when grooming dogs, can lead to physical bodily damage.

Groomers also need to watch out for carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries, joint damage, and even hearing loss. The constant inhalation of dander, hair, chemicals, and bacteria can lead to respiratory damage. The consequences of this can range from a chronic cough, to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the world of dog grooming, general respiratory damage developed on the job is known as “Groomer’s Lung.”

This is why it’s extremely important to take a proper dog grooming course. Professional training will make you aware of these potential risks and teach you how to avoid them (to the best of your ability).

Preventative Measures Taught in Unit A of QC’s Dog Grooming Course

Unit A provides the following tips to help prevent and/or lower the risk of contracting the above issues…

Preventing Hearing Loss / Damage

Groomers can wear earplugs or noise cancelling/reducing headphones. These will help prevent hearing loss or damage caused by the constant use of loud dryers.

Preventing Harmful Inhalation

Wearing a mask can help protect against the inhalation of dog hair, dander, ground nails, etc. As a result, masks can help lower the risk of contracting could “Groomer’s Lung.”

Preventing Eye Injuries

Using a form of eye protection can also be a wise precaution. It will help prevent debris from flying up into your eyes when clipping a dog, drying them, or grinding their nails.

Preventing Muscle / Joint Damage

Braces can be a smart investment for a dog groomer. For example, wrist braces and exercises can help reduce the risk of excess wrist strain caused by constant, repetitive clipping, brushing, de-matting, and scissoring on dogs. Back braces and exercises are also useful, too. As groomers, we constantly need to lift and bend while working with dogs. The last thing you want to do is blow out your back!

Other Health and Safety Tips

Unit A of QC’s Dog Grooming Course also covers specific exercises for groomers to do. When done correctly and regularly, these exercises can aid in avoiding or decreasing muscle strain, pain, and injury.

The assignments in Unit A of my dog grooming course also added to my training. Specifically, they helped me gain a better understanding of ways to create a safe environment in different circumstances. The assignments gave hypothetical situations for me to navigate. I needed to provide a way to prevent injury and maintain safety in the proposed situations. It was a great learning experience!

Canine Anatomy

Canine anatomy is another critical topic your dog grooming course absolutely needs to teach you. In QC’s program, this is covered in Unit A. I found this particular lesson to be very important. The assignments helped me to become more familiar with the different parts of a dog. I also learned all about various types of conformation and physical attributes, coat types, coat features, and more!

Knowing canine anatomy and breed variations will take a groomer’s skill-set from good to great. This is because you’ll then understand how to properly create a look that highlights a dog’s breed-specific features. As a result, you’ll be capable of creating the breed’s profile look.

QC’s Dog Grooming Course will teach you how to create a balanced look on different types of dogs, as well as properly work on dogs with structural faults and/or physical restrictions.

side profile of German Shepherd dog

Skincare and Esthetics

In the Skincare and Esthetics portion of Unit A, I was taught about the anatomy of a dog’s hair and skin. I also learned about the different layers and cells, and their purposes. Proper skincare is important! As a groomer, you need to know how to maintain a healthy coat and the dog’s skin in general.

By taking a dog grooming course, you’ll discover the most common skin issues and conditions in dogs – from fleas to mange. I was grateful to learn about this in Unit A of QC’s program. As a groomer, the dog’s wellbeing always has to be your very first priority.

You must understand how a dog’s skin and coat work, as well as how to maintain it. That way, your clients’ dogs will leave in top condition and look great!

Dog Groomer vs. Veterinarian

All that being said, it’s crucial to remember that you’re a groomer. You’re not a veterinarian. As such, it’s important to stay in your lane. Never try to provide owners with a diagnosis, even if you think you know what the problem is.

Yes, as a groomer, you’ll deal with a dog’s coat and skin more than their vet will. But vets have extensive medical training – the kind of training you won’t find in any dog grooming course. If you do suspect that your client’s dog has some sort of medical issue, raise your concerns with the owner and recommend that they seek out their veterinarian’s professional opinion.

Sometimes, it’ll be the client who unknowingly blurs the line between your job description and a vet’s. They might ask you to do or recommend something that falls outside of your qualifications. This is why it’s important to always be clear that you are not a vet and can’t provide a diagnosis. All you can do is raise your concerns with them. After that, it’s the client’s responsibility to seek further medical advice from a trained expert.

If a dog comes into your shop with a suspected condition that could be potentially contagious, Unit A will provide you the knowledge to deal with it safely and accordingly.

Want to learn more about distinguishing your role as a groomer from that of a vet? Keep reading here!

dog grooming course unit a article camille torkornoo last in-post image

Overall, I learned a LOT of invaluable information from Unit A of QC’s Dog Grooming Course. If your dream job is to work with dogs every day, perhaps grooming is the perfect career path for you. And if it is, there’s no grooming school I recommend more than QC Pet Studies.

Earn your professional certification in less than one year by enrolling in QC’s Dog Grooming Course today!

How to Groom a Poodle: A Crash Course

groom a poodle feature image

Want to learn how to groom a poodle? QC Pet Studies and poodle expert, Camille Torkornoo, is here to help! As an aspiring groomer, Camille’s business, Mount Zion Kennels, specializes in grooming and breeding standard Poodles. Learn more about Camille by reading her Student Feature!

Grooming a Poodle: Breeding Standards

A Poodle is one breed of dog that comes in three recognized sizes:

  1. Standard (16″ and over)
  2. Miniature (10″ to 15″)
  3. Toy (under 10″)
standard white poodle full body

Poodles are very active and intelligent dogs. When grooming a poodle, the way you make them look should reflect these incredible qualities!

To start, poodles should be squarely built and well-proportioned. Their eyes should be dark and oval shaped; set far enough apart and positioned to create an alert and intelligent expression. The ears are long and wide, and should be thickly feathered, hang close to the head, and set at (or slightly below) eye level.

A poodle’s skull should be moderately rounded, with a slight but deviate stop. Length from the occiput to the stop should be about the same as the length of the muzzle. The muzzle should be long, straight, and fine. It should also have a slight chiseling under the eyes.

Remember: it should be strong without lippiness, and complemented by the chin, which should be defined, without snippiness.

A poodle should have small, oval-shaped feet with well-arched toes that are cushioned on thick, firm pads. The angulation of the hindquarters should balance that of the forequarters. The hock should be short to the heel, and perpendicular to the ground. The neck should be well-proportioned, strong, and long enough to permit the head to be carried high with dignity.

Finally, the topline of a poodle should be level from the withers to the base of the tail. Never sloping or roached! Their chest should be deep and moderately wide, with well-sprung ribs. Last but not least, the forelegs should be straight and parallel.

The Challenges of Grooming a Poodle

Poodles are known to be one of the most challenging breeds to groom. This is to their high-maintenance, curly coats. In order to maintain a poodle’s coat properly, they must be bathed, brushed, and trimmed constantly. There are many different ways to style a poodle. A few of the most common pet trims are the:

  • Kennel Clip
  • Bikini Clip
  • Modern Clip

The Tools You’ll Need

Grooming a poodle requires a lot of tools! Some of the tools you’ll need include:

  • Combs of different lengths;
  • A slicker brush;
  • Clippers and comb attachments;
  • Straight and curved shears;
  • And more!

How to Groom a Poodle: A Walkthrough

Before you groom a poodle, they must be clean and fluff-dried. This will help make sure that the hair is completely straight, allowing you to cut it evenly throughout the whole body.

The Face

When the poodle is ready to be groomed, start with the face. Take a #15 or #30 blade and begin by flipping the ear up. Start clipping against the grain at the base of the ear, all the way to the corner of the eye. Remember to keep a straight line! This will set the line between the topknot and the face.

Next, clip the rest of the cheek and to the throat. Begin shaving down the neck, from below the ear to the throat. Do this on both sides in order to create either a V or a U shape (depending on your client’s preference) in the middle of the throat.

Finish cleaning up the face by shaving from the corner of the eye and the stop down to the nose. Then you’ll go around the eyes (but NOT above), from the corner of the mouth to the nose, and then the chin. A longer blade may be used on the chin to give the illusion of having more underjaw.

groom a poodle female groomer trimming black poodle's coat

The Feet

After the face is done, I move onto the poodle’s feet. Use the clippers to clean the paw pads, as well as between the toes. After that, you’ll want to clean up the front of the foot. Set the line at the wrist and make sure it goes evenly around the entire foot. Carefully shave between the toes and webbing. Don’t forget to go over the hair around the base of the nails, too!

The Tail

When grooming a poodle’s tail, how you’ll approach the process will depend on the tail set and the length of the tail. Generally, though, I measure approx. 3 fingers up from the base in order to set the line.

Take your clippers and clip from where you want the line set, down to the base of the tail. Do this all the way around. After that, you’ll want to make a V shape at the base. I draw a diagonal line from the hip to the pin bone on both sides. Where those lines intersect is where I put the tip of the V. Cut out the outline of the V with the corners of your clippers. From there, you’ll finish up by cleaning what’s in-between!

The Top Knot

Once it’s time to shape the top knot, start by combing out the poodle’s hair to one side. Next, use straight shears to cut a straight line from the corner of the eye to the center of the top of the ear. You’ll then comb the hair out to the other side and do the same thing.

After that, comb the hair forward and use curved shears to trim it. Don’t trim beyond the tops of the eyes, but make sure you do trim enough so that they are visible. Once you’re done trimming both sides, as well the front, use curved shears to trump the edges. This will create a balanced and rounded topknot.

Now your poodle is ready to style in whatever trim you want!

white poodle with top knot

Want to learn more about grooming poodles? QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming Course will teach you everything you need to know to become a true expert! Learn more here!