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Casey Bechard

3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, Feature Image

As a professional groomer, you’ll sometimes hear dog grooming complaints from unhappy customers. That’s just a reality in this line of work! What’s important is how you choose to handle these complaints.

Luckily, QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, Casey Bechard, is here to help.

Today, Casey breaks down 3 common client complaints. Moreover, she’ll reveal the RIGHT way to respond to them. This way, you can properly mitigate the situation – and hopefully turn an unsatisfied client back into a happy one!

A Reality of The Job: Dog Grooming Complaints

I would be completely lying if I said I never, ever got one complaint from a client. And you know what? There’s absolutely no shame in getting one, because it will happen at some point or another throughout your career.

After all, we are human. We’re not perfect! Sometimes, I think clients forget that we make mistakes, same as everyone else. But one thing they don’t always know is that complaints can actually help us in the long run.

They really do, trust me. Personally speaking, I have grown SO much as a groomer because of what clients have said to me. If ever a dog grooming client voices a complaint, the key is not to simply shrug them off.

(Well, I mean, sometimes you will. It’ll depend on the nature of the complaint, of course.)

But for the most part, you need to embrace complaints and see them as constructive feedback. Only then can you use them as a way to better yourself.

Today, I’m going to discuss a few experiences I’ve personally had in my dog grooming career so far. Hopefully these experiences – and how I handled them – will help YOU if (or when) you run into a similar dilemma.

3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them Properly

Complaint #1: “You sent my dog home injured!”

This is a complaint that probably won’t be all that common for you, but you’ll more than likely hear it at least once. In this situation, the owner thinks that you’ve injured their dog during the grooming appointment.

For example, one time I groomed a Shih-Tzu pup, same as I’ve done many times before. There were absolutely no issues during the groom, nor where there any issues after it. In fact, the dog was happily running around while waiting for the owner to come back.

However, a few days later, the shop got an email from the owner. In it, they stated that I’d cut her dog by her private parts. Moreover, she was disappointed that no one had told her that her dog had this cut.

She also stated that she was going to be bringing her dog to the vet because she was in pain. I remember her asking in the email, “How did we not tell her, because clearly her dog was in pain?”

How I Handle This Complaint

So, when I had a minute, I simply started writing her back. I told her that I was sorry to hear about her dog and how uncomfortable she was. However, I stressed that if I had accidentally cut her dog during the groom (which I know I didn’t), I definitely would have let her know.

After all, that’s not something we try and keep from owners. On the contrary, we ensure to inform them of anything like that immediately. Afterwards, I went on to say that she was fine after the groom as well, as well as the fact that there were no issues present at that time whatsoever.

PRO TIP: Notice that I wrote in a very professional manner that I didn’t injure her dog. Furthermore, I made it clear that if ever I were to make such a mistake, I’d have admitted it and let her know. If you know you didn’t do anything wrong in a situation like this, stand up for yourself. Trust that you did the right thing.

The Aftermath

Not long after, I received another email back from my client. In it, she apologized and admitted that she figured out that it was all just razor burn. Her dog had been licking it raw and that’s why it looked worse than it was.

It actually worked out for the best, because I wasn’t aware that this dog got bad razor burn sometimes. As a result, I was able to add it into her file so I could be mindful of that next time.

So you see, if I had admitted to something I hadn’t done, this whole situation would have had a very different outcome. My client’s pup could’ve continued getting bad razor burn because I wouldn’t have known it was a potential issue.

My point is, there are ways to stand your ground and be nice about it! I get that she was upset in the first email. But as you see, all I had to do was explain my side of the story, along with what I’d seen, and it all turned out fine in the end.

Want to ensure you’re fully equipped to handle all possible injuries and/or emergencies on the job? Take your dog grooming skill-set to the next level by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course!

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, in-post image 2

Complaint #2: “You didn’t groom my dog perfectly!”

Sometimes, you’ll have brand-new clients coming in for their very first dog grooming appointment with you. Now and then, some people may start going off about how the last groomer did this and that, and how unhappy they were.

As you can imagine, this can be quit intimidating. Some clients are looking for a PERFECT groom – and honestly, there isn’t one because it doesn’t exist. There are some people that you just can’t make happy. Such is life.

But as always, it’s still your job to try your best! So, listen to everything they’re saying. From there, approach the groom based on your understanding of what it is they want. If you have any questions or are unclear about something, don’t hesitate to ask!

Based on my personal experience, when these types of clients come to pick up their dog afterwards, they’ll gush about how cute it looks and how they like it. However, within a couple of days, our salon might get a call about how they actually hate the groom.

Despite their initial, positive reaction, it’s not, in fact, what they wanted.

(Sigh.)

How I Handle This Complaint

From here, I’d simply ask if there’s anything I can do to fix what they don’t like. Similarly, I’ll ask if there’s any additional info I should know this time around. This way, I can avoid doing it again the next time.

Believe it or not, a lot of time, that client will just wind up saying something along the lines of, “No, I just wanted to let you know.”

This is the point when I’ll say, “Okay, thanks for calling. If that’s everything, I must get back to my client (a.k.a. the dog I am grooming).” Then I’ll leave it at that.

Most the time, you won’t hear back again from a person that doesn’t like your cut. They’ll simply not return for future business. In this industry, get the odd person who seems to have something negative to say something about everything sometimes comes with the territory.

This is fine – but these are the types of customers I recommend shrugging off and not letting ruin your day. After all, there’s not much you can do about it after the fact. You did the best job you could, and you tried everything in your power to remedy the situation.

Ultimately, THAT’S what matters!

Tibetan terrier dog getting washed at dog wash in stainless steel bathtub, selective focus

Complaint #3: “You didn’t stop my dog’s shedding!”

With dog grooming, you not only give dogs haircut. You also groom bigger dogs that just need a good brushing. At my shop, we call this a de-shedding treatment.

We use special shampoo, brush the dog in the tub, blow-dry them, and then brush them even more once they’re all dry. Essentially, we’re getting all that extra dead undercoat off the pup.

But the thing is, they’ll most likely still be shedding a bit. After all, dogs shed. That never completely stops, and it’s just part of having a dog.

Plus, if it’s the dog’s first time getting the treatment done, it’ll most likely shed a bit more because their hair follicles aren’t used to the treatment. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind, too.

How I Handle This Complaint

A surprising amount of clients will wind up complaining a few days later, after their dog has seen us. Why? Because they’re unhappy that their dog is still shedding.

Well, yes… They will continue to shed. Because they’re dogs.

The goal is to reduce the amount of shedding, so that it’s less than it was before the grooming appointment. However, it won’t stop it entirely. In the face of this kind of dog grooming complaint, I’ll simply tell the customer this.

Some of the time, they want us to re- brush their dog because they think it shouldn’t be shedding hair at all. Of course, I can do that – and I will, if that’s what they want. However, it’s still very important to try and instill in their minds the fact that their dog will continue shedding.

Simply put: that’s what their dog does when they have an undercoat. Clients will typically be a lot happier with grooming results once they have a realistic understanding of what to expect.

I hope this article can help you in the future, as you navigate your way around dog grooming client complaints. Just stick to your gut and believe in yourself. Tell the truth always, and above all else, just have fun grooming!

Become a professionally trained and certified dog grooming expert in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

How to Build Your First Dog Grooming Starter Kit!

Dog grooming starter kit article, July 23 2021, Feature Image

New to the industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time? You’ve come to the right place! Join QC Pet Studies graduate and expert groomer, Casey Bechard, as she shares some tips and tricks to help you get started!

When you’re first starting out as a dog groomer, knowing which tools to use can be difficult. Personally, when I first began my career, I experimented with a lot of different tools. Over time, I found ones that I loved. On the other hand, I also found ones I didn’t love – and that wished I hadn’t spent money on.

So, if you’re brand-new to this industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time, you’re in luck. This blog is all about just that! As we dive in, just keep in mind that all of what I’m about to say is based on personal preference, as well as my own subjective experience. Some of the tools that’ve worked for me at the start might not work for you. Think of the following tips as something I hope can help you out – but don’t think of them as gospel.

Ultimately, what works best and gets the job done will be up to you and you alone!

Building My Dog Grooming Starter Kit: Tools I Like and Dislike

QC Pet Studies’ Grooming Kit

When you sign up for QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, they’ll actually send you a dog grooming starter kit to help you in your training. This kit (and its shipment) is included as part of your course tuition, which I found extremely helpful! Furthermore, this kit was very good for me because it gave me a good introduction to staple tools of the trade.

By practicing with QC’s tools, I could better decide whether or not they were the best fit for me – a.k.a. if I’d want to use them in my professional career or not. By extension, this kit also helped me decide what sorts of other tools I was interested in trying out.

There were definitely some tools provided in QC’s kit that I thoroughly enjoyed using. For example, I loved the thinners and the handheld clipper. In fact, to this day, I still use those thinners! However, I’ve had to invest in a new handheld clipper because I overused the other one.

QC Pet Studies dog grooming starter kit

Adding to My Dog Grooming Starter Kit

The rest of my most-used tools, I first ordered so I could give them a try. Hands-down, my most favorite comb in my kit is a Greyhound Comb. I’m completely OBSESSED with it and use it for every groom! (Speaking of which, I should probably get another one to add to my collection!)

Truth be told, I have so many combs in my grooming tool kit that I never use. Why? Because, in my opinion, none of them compare to this one. I also invested in 2 new pairs of curved scissors. They’re a bit bigger than the ones QC Pet Studies gave me, which I actually prefer. I’ve found that these larger ones do slicker work, and the length of the tool makes the scissoring go faster.

Other Personal Recommendations

If you only buy one tool for your dog grooming starter kit, though, then I recommend investing in a Chris Christensen Slicker Brush. You won’t regret it, I promise! These brushes are great for those curly-coated breeds. Moreover, they’re the absolute best at getting out knots.

I use mine every day and it’s worth the money! Now, I got the smaller size of the two (they come in either medium or large). But if you have the budget, I highly recommend buying the bigger one. I sure wish I did – and I definitely plan on purchasing it eventually! All of my other slicker brushes simply don’t compare to this one. Of course, I do use the other ones for certain looks I’m trying to achieve. But if I’m being totally honest, I mostly pick up my CC Slicker Brush 99% of the time!

Groomer brushing dog with Greyhound comb

A Tool You Can Skip in Your Dog Grooming Starter Kit

Ever heard of the Furminator brush? Chances are, anyone with a furry pet probably has. It’s quite a popular tool, particularly for pet owners to use at home. If you happen to be a fan of it, that’s awesome. I’m not here to knock it in any way. All I’m saying is that it’s not a tool I’d personally recommend for your dog grooming starter kit.

I’ve tried using it before and I’m just not a fan. Based on my experience, I found this brush to be way too sharp. As a result, it was all to easy to leave marks on the dogs and irritate their skin. A lot of times, if clients use that brush at home, they’ll come in complaining that their dogs have red marks and sores on their skin. I’ll ask what kind of brush they used at home. Almost always, it was the Furminator. So, I try to avoid this tool – and I tell my clients to do the same.

2 Tips to Keep in Mind

Firstly, if you have other groomers around you, try to see what tools they’re using on a regular basis. You can then go from there, try those tools for yourself, and see if you’d like to invest in them for your dog grooming starter kit. Importantly, I always recommend testing out a tool before putting too much money into it. So many times, I’ve seen groomers purchasing all these new, expensive tools without knowing if they like them or not. Lo and behold, they get them, try them out, and discover that they were nothing but a waste of money!

Secondly, if you’re ever unsure about a certain tool, read its online reviews before buying it. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful, and it’s prevented me from spending unnecessary cash a number of times. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to shop around! Look at a bunch of different websites in order to find better deals. Who knows, you might even find a better quality version of an item you’re interested in.

Having options is NEVER a bad thing!

Dog gets hair cut at Pet Spa Grooming Salon. Closeup of Dog. The dog is trimmed with scissors. Gray background. groomer concept

In Conclusion

As a professional groomer, having a mastery of the different tools you’re using on your clients’ pups is a MUST. Some brushes may be sharper and harsher than others. Certain scissors won’t do the same job as other scissors. If you’re grooming a dog that has lots of lumps and bumps, only the right tool will allow for a safe, careful result. My point is, it’s critical that you truly know what you’re doing and which tools to work with at all times.

I hope this blog will prove useful as you go forth and put together your dog grooming starter kit! If you use the tips I’ve provided above, I promise you won’t go wrong with the tools you’ve picked! I know it can be fun shopping for all the new and exciting gizmos and gadgets. Just remember that you won’t have everything you want (or need) overnight. That said, I promise you will get there. Have fun trying them out and I hope you can find some amazing tools!

Happy grooming!

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course and receive YOUR dog grooming starter kit in the mail in as little as 1-2 weeks!

The 3 Dog Haircut Styles My Clients Request Most

Dog haircut styles article, Apr 9 2021, Feature Image, Corgi getting haircut at groomers

What are some of the most common dog haircut styles you’ll be expected to know? QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, reveals the Top 3 cuts her clients request the most! Casey works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. She is an alumnus of QC’s Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers courses.

Today, I’m going to share with you the 3 dog haircut styles that my clients here in Regina, Saskatchewan, request most from me. It’s important to keep in mind that popular dog haircuts can vary from location to location. However, what this article can do is show you a few of the styles your potential clients might request and how to give them what they want.

The following list is in no particular order. It’s also worth mentioning that while these 3 cuts are requested the most often, they do not make up the majority of my time while working in the salon.

With that in mind, let’s jump into it and take a look at puppy cuts, summer cuts, and breed-standard cuts!

Dog haircut styles article, first in-post image

The 3 Most Requested Dog Haircut Styles

1. The Puppy Cut

There’s no single industry standard that defines a “puppy cut“. In general grooming terms, this dog haircut style is basically when the hair is trimmed to the same, even length all over the body. What people consider to be a puppy cut can vary based on location, breed knowledge, and personal preference.

In my own experience, a “puppy cut” in my salon is literally when clients bring their puppies in for their first groom – and want them to look like a puppy for as long as possible.

Dog Haircut Styles: Puppy Cuts for Golden Doodles

Typically, when clients request this particular cut, I use an E guard comb all over the dog’s body. I tend to do this cut a lot on Golden Doodle pups. I have a lot of clients with that breed and they always love their dogs’ coats. For this reason, they want to keep them for as long as possible.

As groomers, we know how much maintenance it takes to keep a Golden Doodle’s coat mat-free. So, I start by walking the client through what I’m going to be doing during the appointment. Next, I explain the at-home maintenance that will be required on their part between grooms. After that, I advise them to come back in about 4-6 weeks, depending on how much they brush at home and take care of the fresh groom.

We’re the subject-matter experts, so it’s important to make sure ours clients are properly educated whenever possible. This is why I also show my clients the types of brushes they can use and how to use them correctly. I go into this level of depth because a lot of clients (especially ones with new puppies) don’t yet understand the amount of work needed to keep their dogs’ coats healthy and maintained.

Creating the Puppy Cut

To achieve this dog haircut style, you’ll first need to bathe and dry the pup. Depending on the dog, you might also need to use conditioner or detangling spray. The trick with a puppy cut is to get the dog super dry first. There should not be a wet spot anywhere on them!

Remember: a lot of dogs don’t like the high velocity dryer. So, you might need to bank a bit more time for this step. Once drying is complete, do a thorough job of brushing them. Next, begin shaving them with your e-comb. Regular brushing throughout the grooming process is key when it comes to achieving a puppy cut. Brushing helps make everything look neater and allows you to see if there are spots you’ve missed. This way, you can go over it again.

After you’ve finished shaving the dog, the next important step is to scissor the legs. I achieve this with curved scissors and a regular comb. First, comb out all the legs. Secondly, scissor off any excess hair. The head and face areas are where clients might ask you to get more specific. For example, they could want their pooch to have a beard, shorter-looking ears, etc.

This is just one reason why it’s important to have a consultation prior to the groom. Be specific with your questions so you can have a good understand of what your client wants. Ultimately, people mostly just want their dogs to look cute. But they also want it done in a certain way.

When it comes to the face and head, I tend to use thinners. I clean out the pup’s eye area and then make the head round, while keeping it proportionate to the body. Afterwards, I clean up the chin (if my client does not want a beard) and the top of the head.

2. The Summer Cut

When it comes to dog haircut styles, the “summer cut” is probably the most common one I do. Simply put, this kind of cut involves trimming the hair shorter to the body (about 1-2 inches long, on average). This way, the dog will be cooler during the hot summer months.

Sometimes, clients will come in and say, “I want my dog short everywhere!” In this case, the summer cut is my go-to!

Dog Haircut Styles: Creating the Summer Cut

Once the dog is dry, bring it to your table and brush them out really well. This is especially important if they have a curly coat on their body, legs, head, and neck. Once that’s done, you can achieve this cut using a 2 guard comb on your blade. This way, even though the hair will be short, it’ll still leave enough to protect the dog’s skin from the sun.

When the clipper work is done, you can begin shaving the armpits and sanitary areas. Don’t forget about the hair between their eyes. For this spot, you can use a hand-held clipper for safety and close precision. Once toy tend to the paw pads and nail areas, you can then start scissoring the legs and shaping them up a bit.

Once the legs are finished, you’ll finally move onto the dog’s head. Scissoring work there will mostly consist of cleaning up any unwanted hairs that are falling in their eyes and mouth. Personally, I use my thinners for this part of the job. Sometimes, I’ll switch to my scissors if I need to trim up the ears or tail.

And just like that, presto – you’re finished with your summer cut!

3. Standard Breed Cuts

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes, clients want a cut that best represents their dog’s breed. Of all the dog haircut styles listed in this article, I deal with this one the least.

But when a client does request it, I almost always refer back to what I learned through my QC Pet Studies training. In Unit G of QC’s Dog Grooming Course, there’s an entire booklet devoted to interpreting and working with breed standards. This is what I look back on, as well as the instructional videos of tutors demonstrating the different cuts.

Most of the time, I do breed standard haircut styles for Golden Retrievers and Schnauzers. When working with Golden Retrievers, you’ll mostly be brushing out their coats and doing a little bit of trimming on their furnishing parts. Basically, you just want everything to look like it’s flowing together nicely.

For me, it also helps that Golden Retrievers are one of my FAVORITE breeds to groom! They are such sweet dogs. It’s like they know how beautiful they look afterwards. Watching them happily prance around after the appointment is always a highlight of my day.

Dog Haircut Styles: Standard Breed Cut for Schnauzers

For a Schnauzer, the standard breed style is your typical skirt, beard, and eyebrow cut. Fun fact: I actually had to work with this breed for one of my hands-on assignments in school. I vividly remember the dog… and the mark I got doing on my assignment.

To this day, I still groom that dog. But my mark, on the other hand, I try to forget. I’m just kidding – while it wasn’t very good, it did push me to become better. I really had to practice that cut because, for me, figuring out where to place the skirt was difficult. So, I practiced every chance I could on Schnauzers. I want to say that I’ve now got it down to a T. But hey, if the owners like it, that’s all that matters! 😉

To achieve the skirt, start by shaving the back of the dog. A #4 blade should do the trick. To know where the skirt starts, look to where the ribs are on the dog. Start shaving just below that area. I find that this is a prime spot to start my skirt. Just make sure to shave around the bum area, as well as a little lower on the chest.

To maintain the skirt, comb through it thoroughly and then trim it up with scissors. The most important part of the skirt is making sure it’s not matted at ALL. Once that’s finished, move onto the head and the ears. They should be the same length as the body hair. The one exception is the eyebrows and beard, which should be left long for the time being.

Next, clean up between the eyes with your thinners. Once this is done, you’ll be ready to tackle the Schnauzer’s face. First, brush the eyebrows forward and then grab your scissors. Put them on an angle, with the tip of the scissor pointing away from the dog. From there, you’ll trim the brows.

Remember: they shouldn’t be falling in the dog’s eyes. But they should still be a good length, so it looks like there are eyebrows. When you move onto the beard, start by combing through it. Hold the muzzle and trim it up a bit with scissors. Bam, you have a Schnauzer cut that’s true to the breed standard style!

I know this blog was a little lengthy, so I thank you for sticking around ’till the end. I loved writing this one! My goal for you now is to keep on practicing. Master each and every dog haircut style to the best of your ability. If I can do it, so can you!

Happy grooming! 🙂

Learn more about dog haircut styles and how to master them by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

4 Awesome Dog Grooming Package Ideas

dog grooming package ideas article feature image

Trying to come up with competitive dog grooming package ideas for your business? QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, is here with 4 great ideas to get you started! Casey works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. She is an alumnus of QC’s Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers courses.

One important part of being a professional dog groomer is knowing how to appropriately charge a client for certain services. The thing is, when it comes to pricing, there’s no real ‘one size fits all’ answer. There are so many ways that you – as the groomer – can choose to charge customers for your services. You can offer a la carte services, package certain services together, etc.

That being said, I do have a few cool dog grooming package ideas that I’m going to share with you today. I’ll first share how my own salon sets and groups grooming rates. Then I’ll let you in on a few ideas that I think would be exciting to use (and haven’t seen others do yet).

Let’s jump into it!

dog having ear hair trimmed

4 Dog Grooming Package Ideas to Get You Inspired

Idea #1 – Charge by Breed

In the salon I’m working at now, we charge by the breed. This means that if someone were to bring in a Shih Tzu, the prices we’d quote them would be based on that specific breed. A client who brings in, say, a Border Collie would be presented with different rates.

When we charge by breed, the main dog grooming package we offer includes a:

  • Bath;
  • Blow out;
  • Brush out;
  • Haircut or trim (if need be);
  • Nail trim
  • And an ear cleaning.

However, on top of this package, we also offer what we call “add-ons”. For example, let’s say a client wants their dog to have everything mentioned above. But they ALSO want their dog to have a teeth brushing, blueberry facial, ear plucking, nail painting, etc. All of these additional services would be an extra cost added on top of the original price.

Here’s the thing about charging by breed: while we do have a certain price range for certain breeds, that doesn’t mean that every dog of that particular breed will fall under the same price. For instance, two German Shepherds could come to us in completely different shape. The German Shepherd in need of a lot more work won’t cost the same as the German Shepherd who comes to us in next-to-pristine condition.

We also take into consideration the fur type, size, and temperament of the dog. If a Border Collie were to come in, the starting price would be, say, $72.00. That’d be the standard, base fee we’d be starting from for that particular breed. But what if that Border Collie is bigger than a normal Border Collie? What if its fur is thick and has some matting?

Then we would factor in all of these things, as well as how much time it would take to groom this particular pup. In this case, I’d say that the price is now between $85.00 to $95.00.

This is just one idea of a dog grooming package that I personally know works and flows great for my team and me!

Idea #2 – Create Dog Grooming Packages that Catch a Client’s Attention

There are plenty of dog grooming package ideas that will be successful due to their ability to grab your clients’ attention. For example, you can bundle certain services together and give each bundle a fun, catchy name. I’ve always thought this would be a great idea!

For example, say you want one of your packages to be a full-service, luxurious experience. It would include whitening shampoo, conditioner, a blow out, a hair trim, a nail trim, ear cleaning, smell good spritz, and a bandana/bow. You could call this package “The Spa Treatment”!

You could offer this package for an all-inclusive, set rate. If a client wanted to omit a particular service from this package, you would eliminate it – but the price would stay the same. As far as what you would charge for a package like this, I believe it would all depend on your skills and qualifications at the time. Your location should also be considered, such as whether you work in a salon, from home, or at your client’s home.

Idea #3 – Create Issue-Specific Dog Grooming Packages

In terms of dog grooming package ideas, another option is to develop certain packages that deal with very specific things. For example, you have a package catered specifically towards dogs with sensitive skin. This package could be available for both small and big dogs, with a different price range per size.

In this sensitive skin package, you could provide:

  • Hypo shampoo;
  • A CO2 tablet to soothe the skin;
  • A blow out
  • A gentle brush out;
  • A trim or de-shed (if needed);
  • A nail trim;
  • Ear cleaning;
  • A Bow or bandana at the end.

Pro Tip: If a client were to choose this package, always remember to reassure them that you will be cautious and mindful when dealing with their pup’s sensitive skin. They will definitely appreciate this!

dog grooming package ideas shiba inu being brushed

Idea #4 – Offer Mini Dog Grooming Packages

Not all dog grooming package ideas need to be grand-scale. Some of the best bundles out there are the smaller, mini ones. These will serve you well when a client wants just a couple things done – without having to pay for the more traditional grooming services, too.

For instance, you could have ‘Walk-In Service’ mini packages, as well as mini packages reserved only for clients who book ahead. Here are some examples of services you can easily bundle together into a mini service package:

  • Nail trim, shave pads, and trim Grinch feet;
  • Teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and wrinkle clean (or just eye clean);
  • Sanitary butt, face, and feet clean up (you could call this one ‘The Full Maintenance Clean’!).

All these ideas exclude the actual full groom. As such, you could charge less than half of the regular grooming price. You can also tailor the prices accordingly, based on a variety of factors. If you tell your regular clients about these smaller, bundled services, they might be interested in coming in for them between full grooms!

From a business standpoint, these mini bundles give your client a wider variety of options to choose from. They will help get clients through your doors, create more opportunities for prospective customers to try out your services, and ultimately better your bottom line.

When it comes to dog grooming package ideas, the sky’s the limit! There are lots of fun ideas you could explore and try out. Just make it your own and use products that you believe in. With a bit of thought and creativity, your dog grooming business can offer something truly special and unique.

Happy grooming!

Did you know that QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course also offers a full unit of business training? Learn more about this exciting certification course here!

My Dog Grooming Career: 3 Common Salon Hazards

dog grooming career woman giving poodle a haircut
QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she draws on her own dog grooming career experience to reveal 3 of the most common hazards you’ll face in a salon – and how to navigate them properly!

As most of you know (or will come to know), a dog grooming career isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, obstacles are thrown your way and you have to be smart about how you deal with them. Before you start grooming in a professional setting, it’s important that you first have the knowledge necessary to spot and avoid hazards. This way, you can keep yourself, your client’s dog, and others in your salon safe.

In this blog, I discuss a few of the most common hazards you may come across in a dog grooming salon. These hazards may be relevant to dogs or people – but all the same, they’re critical to know as you begin your dog grooming career!

3 Common Salon Hazards You’ll Encounter Throughout Your Dog Grooming Career

1 – Rising Tables and Elevated Tubs

Rising tables and elevated tubs are two of the most common things used in our salon. You might be thinking: Why are they a hazard? Well, if not used properly for the type of dog you are grooming, it can put you and the dog in a potentially dangerous situation.

Rising Tables

We use rising tables for two primary purposes. Firstly, we groom our clients’ dogs on them. However, we also use rising tables to dry dogs, too. This piece of equipment is not so much an issue when grooming the dogs, but it can be when we dry them.

If the dog doesn’t like the high velocity dryer, they’ll often try to get away from it. This means they’re now attempting to get OFF the table. The problem is, rising tables have a loop that goes around the dog’s neck and is meant to keep them in place.

I’m sure you can see where the huge hazard lies: the dog can tip the table, fly off the edge, and accidentally hang themselves or break their neck.

This is where proper training makes all the difference in your dog grooming career. You need to know how to read your client’s dog. This way, you’ll be able to best determine whether you should dry them on the table or on the floor. This can prevent a potentially disastrous situation!

If it’s a big dog and/or you’re in doubt about which option to choose, I usually start drying them on the ground and see how they do. I’ll then try to move them up to the table if I see that they’re okay.

Elevated Tubs

When it comes to elevated tubs, the simple path is for your client’s dog to get in and out using the steps connected directly to the tub. But with some dogs, that’s not always the case. Some like to leap out of the tub at a moment’s notice. This could be a hazard because they’re wet, thereby causing water to fly everywhere.

You might be trying to gently help them out of the tub, but sometimes they’ll catch you off guard and want to do it their way. In other scenarios, your client’s dog may actually require help, for one reason or another (i.e. they’re scared of the water, they have limited mobility, etc.). If you feel you can’t safely remove them from the tub on your own, never hesitate to ask for help from your colleagues.

2 – Kennel Dryers

I’m not sure if a lot of salons use kennel dryers, but we use them at our salon when dogs are still damp. Throughout my dog grooming career, I’ve heard good and bad things about kennel dryers. That being said, we’ve never had an issue ourselves.

But it’s important to remember that you always need to monitor the dog while kennel dryers are being used on them. They could overheat, which is never good. Additionally, if the dryer is blowing on one area of their body for too long, the dog can easily get burned.

With equipment such as this, it’s always important to keep a watchful eye on the situation.

I’m not saying you have to sit by the kennel 24/7 just so you can watch them. Rather, it’s simply a matter of peeping in on them if you’re walking by or have a break. Even if I didn’t groom the dog myself, I’ll look out for them either way.

Pro Tip: Extra caution must be taken for certain breeds, such as with pugs, frenchies, etc. Some dog breeds come with irregular breathing patterns and/or health issues, and a kennel dryer can make them worse. I don’t usually put those breeds in a kennel with the dryer if I don’t have to.

3 – Wet Floors

Okay, this one might seem like a silly hazard to be wary of in the work place, but it’s up there on my list for a reason!

In your dog grooming career, you’ll often be working with water. You’ll regularly be bathing dogs, disinfecting surfaces and equipment, and mopping floors. These things can all make for a slippery mess, which can be a potential danger for you, your co-workers, customers, and even the dogs.

In my own dog grooming career, I’ve had times where I’ve slipped on wet floors. In fact, I’ve had to change my runners for that very reason. I’ve also heard stories about dogs hurting themselves by running on wet floors. Just hearing stories like that makes me want to be very careful about big, wet spots on the floors of my own salon.

I would hate for something to happen to one of our furry clients! After grooming bigger dogs especially, you’ll most likely find me sweeping up around the tub and table area; getting it ready and safe to use for the next person.

As you can see, there are plenty of potential hazards in a dog grooming salon – and I only covered 3 of them! You absolutely must be aware of them, and be capable of reading a situation before it becomes a problem.

Have safety check-lists and cleaning lists as well. Make sure everyone working is on the same page, so you’re not throwing anyone into a situation they have no idea how to handle. Above all else, make sure YOU’RE as prepared as possible by getting professional training at the start of your dog grooming career!

Be safe and happy grooming!

Start your dog grooming career in as little as 3-6 months by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course today!

My Top Tips for Increasing Your Dog Groomer Salary

professional groomer increasing her dog groomer salary through excellent customer service

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she shares her top 2 tips for boosting your dog groomer salary.

It’s no joke when I tell you that you can make quite the dog groomer salary in this line of business! Admittedly, though, there are factors that can affect your level of success. Depending on location, the demand, local competition, etc. some groomers might make more than others.

Where you provide your services can play a part, too. For instance, your dog groomer salary might be a bit different for brand new groomers freshly entering the industry, compared to a seasoned expert. Similarly, you might see a different income when you operate out of your own home vs. in a salon.

All that to be said, I have some tips and tricks that may help you increase your dog groomer salary! While the following may seem like little, easy things, you’ll find that they’ll actually go a LONG way for your business…

dog groomery cutting dog's hair

1 – Get Your Name Out There!

You might think this is pretty straightforward. The problem is that most people don’t understand the level of work that actually goes into this marketing strategy.

If you’re thinking, ‘I just have to talk to some people, hand out a few business cards, and I’ll start racking in the clients‘ – then you’re already on the wrong track. I wish that’s all you had to do! But in reality, the process requires a lot more effort than that.

Now personally, I didn’t start my own salon, and I didn’t provide grooming services out of my home. Rather, I work alongside other people at an established grooming business. When I first started, I was lucky enough to have a mentor to guide me and lift me up. It also helped that they could put in a good word about me to clients.

But although all that was nice, I still wanted to do my share. I wanted to play an active role in growing my career, and increase my dog groomer salary myself. So, I started taking action! Here are a few things I did that I found to be extremely effective:

Promoted Myself on Social Media

These days, everyone lives online. It’s basically an unwritten rule that if you want to succeed in the modern world, you NEED to have some sort of online presence. The greater that presence can be, the better.

With that in mind, I made an Instagram account and followed everyone in my area who had a dog. (Okay, maybe not everyone, but you get the idea.) From there, I began posting photos from my grooming portfolio. Making use of social media is a fun – and constructive – way to get your name out there and show people what you can do.

If potential clients can’t see your past grooms for themselves, or see what you have to offer them, then you’re just another groomer trying to make it. There won’t be anything unique setting you apart from the crowd. If you want to stand out from the competition, then it’s important not to fall into this trap. Showcase your best work for everyone to see!

Make your account your own. Once it’s ready, get your friends and family to follow and like your posts for a while, until your channel reaches more people. With my current Instagram account, I’ll have people follow me and then the next day, I’ll see that they booked their dog in with me. SO COOL!

Focusing some of your efforts on your social media strategies will be a great way to grow your clientele, get more bookings, and increase that dog groomer salary of yours.

Encouraged Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth is something you can successfully establish through your level of high customer service. The longer your customers know you as a groomer, and trust your quality of work, the likelier they’ll be to recommend you to others.

Because let’s be real: your clients will often become like family after a while. Customers who are happy with your services will typically return back to you every 6-8 weeks. When you treat them (and their dogs) right, they’ll grow to trust you. Often, they’ll want to work with only you.

When you achieve such a fantastic reputation as a groomer, your clients will be guaranteed talk about you to their friends and family. That’s just the way she goes! As a result, you’ll hopefully get more bookings out of it, from people who can become long-term clients as well!

Another thing you can do is offer incentive and/or referral programs. For example, you can provide brand new customers the opportunity to get 10% off their first groom if they book with you. As another example, you can reward existing clients with discounted services, gifts, or a free groom whenever their personal recommendation results in you booking a new client.

I really, really appreciate the clients who continue to come and see me – and only me – to groom their dogs. It makes you feel good inside! Plus, long-term clients mean long-term bookings. These are people who can guarantee you that you’ll continue to make a dog groomer salary for the foreseeable future.

Talked to EVERY Client

This one is especially important!

Whether the owner is dropping off or picking up their pooch, you want to make sure that you talk to them each and every time. More importantly, establish that contact when they come to pick up their dog. Some things you can discuss with them include:

  • Telling them how their dog did during the appointment
  • If you have any concerns, based on what occurred during the appointment
  • Health issues that you wish to bring to their attention
  • If you have any recommendations (i.e. upkeep) for the owner once they’re back home, etc.

I feel that communicating with the client is a fundamental part of the grooming process as a whole. By chatting with you, the owner can better decide if they vibe well with you and like the work you did on their dog. Sometimes, they’ll want to book their NEXT appointment with you right then and there!

Of course, that’s always great because then you’re guaranteed another groom from them – which means money for you.

2 – Add Extra Services to Your Business!

In our shop, how we charge for things might be a little different than others. The initial price is determined by the breed of the client’s dog. Then we build off of this base rate with ‘add-ons’, as chosen by the customer.

So, if a client wanted their dog to get their teeth brushed, or have a blueberry facial, those would be extra charges (or add-ons). By adding extra services to the appointment, it all adds up pretty quickly. For every appointment, my co-workers and I then get a commission for the total amount rendered.

This is an example of a smart, effective way to set your rates, package your services, and add extra services to your business. That being said, your rates should always be set in a way that’s realistic, and won’t alienate all of your customers. While you should always charge for your worth, it’s important to remember not to get greedy either – otherwise it can have a negative impact.

It’s important to be transparent about your prices, too. Don’t try to hide your rates, or sneak them up on clients. When first making these changes in your business, don’t be surprised if some customers aren’t sure how to feel about them. They may be hesitant at first, and may have questions.

Honesty is always the best policy! Answer all of their inquiries to the best of your ability – but don’t hesitate to also tell them the awesome benefits of your extra services, too! There are plenty of clients who will be happy to pay a few extra dollars to spoil their pup. For others, even if they don’t plan to purchase those services, the fact that you offer them in the first place can still look great on your part!

dog groomer holding dog's paw while shaving its stomach

Earning a reliable dog groomer salary is understandably important. But it’s also important to remember that it’s not the main priority. Instead, your job is about interacting with the clients and their dogs in a way that leaves a positive impression. It’s about putting in the effort to assure them they’re in good hands. It’s about keeping an open line of honest communication at all times.

Above all else, the #1 priority of your career should always be the health, safety, and satisfaction of your client’s dog!

That being said, I hope that I’ve been able to show you that there are many ways to make money in this industry and boost your dog groomer salary. So, take care, and as always, happy grooming!

One major way to increase your dog groomer salary is by earning a reputable certification! Start your training with QC Pet Studies today!

How the Pandemic Has Affected My Dog Grooming Career

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses how COVID-19 has affected her dog grooming career.

What a time we are living in right now! I hope this blog posts finds everyone safe and healthy. I feel honored to be sharing my story of how the world today is affecting my dog grooming career.

I’ll start by sharing what it was like at the start of all this. Then I’ll touch on how I was feeling before going back to work, as well as how things are going now.

Closing the Shop

When COVID-19 really started making waves, my boss and I were hesitant about closing the shop. But it also unfortunately made sense. Once the world was declared to be in a pandemic and social distancing started happening, business really slowed down.

To put this into perspective, I was down to grooming maybe 3 dogs a day – and that was considered a good day!

Going through that was kind of scary. We were all thinking, “Is this it? What if we never get busy again? If we close, how many clients will I lose?

Things like that were constantly going through my head. But ultimately, I think people were just scared; scared to leave their house and scared of going to a public place. Getting their dogs groomed was probably the last thing on their minds, and I can totally get that.

So when we decided to close, we weren’t sure for how long or what that would look like. In total, we were closed for just over a month. When our city decided to reopen businesses, that’s when we decided it was time for us to resume our services as well.

At that point, I was getting messages from people asking if we were open, as well as clients requesting that I go to their place to groom their dogs. So, it felt like the right time to open our doors again. You would not believe the response we had when we decided to reopen again!

All of our clients are amazing; they wanted to book with us right away. We were booked for nearly 3 weeks in advance! To me, that’s mind-blowing. I think the pandemic caused many of our clients to really take notice of what we go through as groomers.

When they couldn’t turn to us, people were trying to groom their dogs themselves while at home. I think a lot of them didn’t actually know how hard it would be. In a way, it’s almost as if some people now have a greater appreciation for groomers.

It was also great that everyone was really understanding and cooperative when it came to the safety protocols we set in place for the shop. Things went very smoothly once we opened again.

My point is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, folks!

Getting Back At It

It was so weird getting back to a working environment after being forced to take that time off. For starters, everything looked a little different than before. We now had less staff, everything was by appointment only, and our daycare services were remaining closed.

Don’t get me wrong – we were busy and work was good.

But one thing that bothered me (or rather, made me sad) was that some of our best clients wound up turning to other groomers while we’d been closed. While I absolutely get that their dogs needed the service, it was still a disappointing blow.

This was especially the case when I saw that a lot of them were going onto social media and raving about how great this other place was. Many claimed that they were set on a new groomer. That definitely hurt, and we were all pretty bummed about it. We care about our clients, after all, and grow bonds with them and their dogs!

But we just had to keep focused on the clients that were continuing to support us. Those are the ones that matter and need our focus. Plus, we got a lot of new clients as well, which is great!

Worried About the Dogs

This was another concern. Being closed for as long as we were, we were scared to see what shape some of the dogs coming to us would look like. Some of our worries were:

  • Would the dog be matted to the skin?
  • Would they have only a few mats, or would they be in surprisingly great condition?
  • Will it take me longer than an hour and 15 minutes to get the job done?
  • Will I be falling behind a lot?

I think not knowing what to except with every dog coming in was definitely the hardest part. Personally, I absolutely HATE falling behind in my working day. Achieving excellent results in a timely fashion is very important to most groomers.

That being said, that sort of thing was out of our control. We needed to be able to adapt – and together, as a team, we did! My fellow groomers and I were always helping each other out when we needed it. If we noticed someone falling behind on a groom, we’d ask if they needed a hand, or if they wanted their next dog bathed.

Little things like that go a long way! It’s so important to have good people to work with, especially during difficult times. You can’t always do everything yourself. Having an extra set of hands can really turn a bad situation around.

Did this whole pandemic bring its fair share of ups and its downs? Oh, for sure. It was scary not knowing what the future looked like, but getting back into the swing of things really helped with my confidence, too.

If nothing else, it served as a reminder of how the grooming community always steps up and supports one another. We all banded together to try and make things better. Because really, everyone was in the same boat. We were ALL along for the ride!

Client Love

Like I’ve said before, our clients are amazing! They never fail to make us feel appreciated. We were getting extra tips, donuts, coffees, and sorts all other treats. Why? Because we love what we do, and they see that in the quality of our work.

In reality, if you think you’re failing or not doing well enough as a groomer, your clients and co-workers all have your back. Throughout COVID-19, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Many of us have wondered at least once, “What do I do now?”

But when people were messaging me when we weren’t even open, asking for advice? That really gave me hope. It made me realize that pandemic or no pandemic, people are still going to need to have their dogs groomed. It’s really as simple as that.

Since we’ve re-opened, we’ve been SO busy! It’s been over 2 months now, and we’re just starting to see it slow down, and turn back into what our normal summers have looked like in the past. It’s a welcoming reminder that as crazy as the world’s been this year, we will eventually go back to how things once were. This difficult time won’t last forever.

Above all else, my hope for you is that no matter how hard things get in your dog grooming career (or even just in the world itself), you”ll try to always look on the bright side of things. Believe me, holding onto hope is the very thing that will always get you through the dark days. ❤️

In Hindsight…

When I think back on these past several months, it was definitely the not knowing that scared me the most. But once we got back to work, and I saw just how awesome our clients were to us, all that worry was gone.

Yeah, there have been a few bumps in the road along the way. I’ve had a few tired days. Ultimately, though, when I see all those clients going home happy, their pup freshly groomed in their arms… That’s always enough to put a smile on my face!

Why not maximize your time at home right now by earning your certification and kick-starting your OWN dog grooming career? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

Why First Aid Training is Essential in Dog Grooming Courses

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses the importance of First Aid training for groomers, and how it’s helped her as a grooming salon manager!

When it comes to grooming dogs, there is so much more you need to know then simply bathing, brushing, clipping, etc. It’s just as important that you properly understand the dog’s health, and that you know how to spot the signs that indicate they might be at risk.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong, especially when grooming certain types of dogs. Please know, I’m not writing this to scare anyone! Rather, the point I wish to make is that it’s always beneficial to have First Aid training as a certified groomer.

The single best way to acquire this knowledge is through your dog grooming courses! As a graduate of QC’s First Aid for Groomers Course, I’m going to share a little bit about what you’ll learn in this program. I’ll also touch on some of the things I took away from it, and have since applied in real-world situations, as part of my daily job in a grooming salon.

What I Learned from QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course

As some of you may know, when you sign up for the QC’s Dog Grooming Course, you’re also provided with the First Aid for Groomers Course at no charge! Now, you’re probably thinking: how am I supposed to learn First Aid on a dog through an ONLINE course?

I mean, yeah, I thought the same thing. This is an understandable question to have. But the videos and course texts you receive demonstrate the theories, techniques, and practices in an incredibly thorough way. So long as you pay proper attention to your studies, there is no doubt that you will learn everything you need to know!

Above all else, what I took away from my First Aid training was that there are many things that can potentially go wrong. This is particularly the case when grooming certain dogs. However, the majority of these risks can be avoided, if you know how to read the dog’s behavior and body language.

If a dog is in distress of any kind, he’ll exhibit signs that indicate this. Trust me, once you know what to look out for, it won’t be hard to detect when something bad might be about to happen. This way, you can react accordingly and minimize the chance for there to be negative consequences.

For example: if a dog were to about to experience a seizure, and you had NO idea it was about to happen, the situation could easily become life-or-death for that dog. On the other hand, if you’ve taken dog grooming courses and First Aid training, you’ll be able to anticipate the situation and handle it in a way that keeps your furry client safe!

In the 2 years that I’ve been grooming professionally, I have only ever seen 1 dog seize on the table. In that case, it took place when we were using the high velocity dryer. A lot of dogs will undergo high stress when this dryer is being used – so this is one step in the grooming process that you should be on HIGH alert for.

In my experience, I’ve also noticed that another potentially dangerous factor to be mindful about is accidentally cutting or scratching the dog with your tools. Similarly, you need to pay attention and make sure they don’t become overheated and/or dehydrated.

Your First Aid training (and dog grooming courses in general) will guide you through proper grooming techniques and etiquette. This way, you’ll lower your chances of accidentally injuring the dog, and will know what body language to look out for in the event that they experience distress.

Remember: once your client’s dog is in your care, everything that happens to him is YOUR responsibility! Knowing First Aid can really help in difficult situations.

Applying Your Training to a Real-World Environment

Whenever a dog first comes to see me, I will inspect him and gather as much information as I can. My goal is to figure out:

  • What his ‘normal’ disposition/behavior is
  • If he is in good health and in good condition

You’ll also need to know if he has any underlying conditions, health problems, or injuries. The best way to obtain this information is by asking the owner directly, before the appointment begins. If something happens to occur while grooming the dog, and he incurs an injury of any kind that wasn’t there before (e.g. a nick, a rash, etc.), ensure to let the owner know as soon as they arrive to pick up their pup.

If you come across anything worrisome or potentially problematic, let them know of this, too. Even if it’s not that big of a deal presently, it could be something that grows worse if left unattended.

At the end of the day, every single client wants to make sure that their dog is in good hands. Being thorough, mindful, and honest is a guaranteed way to let them know they are!

A lot of times, people go into dog grooming not really knowing what to actually expect. Your dog grooming courses and First Aid training will help prepare you. They’ll help you come to find that some dogs have bad skin and fur; others have infected ears or mouths. Every dog is different – I can’t stress this enough!

You will always use what you learn in a First Aid Course, even if you don’t know it. I’m always checking the dog’s gums to make sure they’re breathing well, or giving them water if they’re panting. If a dog seems super stressed out, I’ll pause the groom and give him a break. After a while, these little habits will become as second-nature to you as breathing.

We all want what’s best for the dogs we are handling! Not to mention that if this is truly your passion, you’ll forever be wanting to learn more when it comes to dog grooming – and even just dogs in general!

Personally, I love learning about dogs that have skin issues. I don’t know why this fascinates me, but if I see a dog with itchy or flaky skin, I always become overwhelmed with the desire to treat it with a good bath and moisturizing shampoo.

The fact that I can rely on the information I gathered from my dog grooming courses and First Aid training, and apply it to my career on a regular basis, is incredibly rewarding to me!

Other Valuable Information You’ll Learn

Another critical thing you’ll learn in your First Aid training is how to make an emergency plan. You’ll learn to gather and utilize important network contacts. Vets and animal poison control are two resources you absolutely MUST have on-hand at all times. Make sure you have this information in a safe spot, where everyone working there can access it with ease.

You’ll also become an expert at checking a dog’s vitals. This includes:

  • Checking to see if the gums are healthy
  • Making sure his capillary refills are normal
  • Keeping track of his respiratory rate
  • Ensuring he has a healthy pulse
  • Noting the size/state of his pupils
  • And much more!

These are all fantastic things to know! In an industry such as this one, it’s the little things – and the smallest efforts you make – that go a long way and leave a lasting impression on your clients.

It’s definitely worth it to learn about the health of dogs, and get the most out of your dog grooming courses. I hope that you continue learning things as time goes on, and never fail to be amazed at the new information always around every corner. I truly believe that there is ALWAYS something new to learn in this career!

Happy grooming! 😊

Ready to build off your dog grooming courses and earn your First Aid training? Enroll today in QC’s leading online First Aid for Groomers Course!