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Mireille Pitre

Dog Grooming Classes Will Help You Avoid These 4 Rookie Mistakes!

Every serious profession has a learning curve. It’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes as you’re launching your dog grooming business. But when you’re working in the service industry, there are plenty of mistakes that could ruin your career.

Doubly so when you’re also working on living creatures.

Just to be clear: everyone makes mistakes. No one is going to expect you to be perfect all the time, and never mess up. Mistakes are healthy, as they help teach you to grow! However, there are many mistakes that can be avoided through proper training and education.

So, while you’re almost certainly going to have a few hiccups here and there at the start your career, you can at least avoid career-ruining mistakes by taking an accredited grooming course.

Here are some examples of rookie mistakes you’ll learn to avoid during your dog grooming classes…

1: Endangering a Dog’s Health

It shouldn’t come as a shocker that an inexperienced and uneducated dog groomer will be way more likely to commit mistakes that can seriously endanger a dog’s health. Your grooming course will spend its entire curriculum teaching you how to groom dogs safely.

Your training will include:

  • How to choose the proper grooming tools and products for a dog’s grooming needs
  • Proper techniques so that you use your tools and products safely
  • How to identify different medical conditions that might affect how you groom the dog
  • How to restrain a dog properly and safely during a groom to prevent injuries
  • Canine behavior training, so that you can identify the first signs of stress in your furry client
  • First Aid techniques that will prepare you to appropriately deal with any medical conditions that arise during the groom
  • How to safely manage having multiple dogs/animals in the same grooming environment
  • And much more!

There’s way more to grooming a dog than just grabbing a pair of shears and going to town. Throughout each step of the process, there’s a right way and a wrong way to work on the dog.

The wrong way can lead to a disaster. Sadly, this is one of the biggest and most common rookie mistakes when you’re uneducated.

2: Endangering your OWN Health

Dog grooming classes won’t just teach you how to look after the dog’s health and safety during a groom. Your own health and safety are just as important!

Sure, almost anyone can hold a pair of clippers in their hands. But do you know the proper way of holding those clippers, so you don’t develop wrist problems in a few years? How about how to effectively lift a dog without hurting your back?

More importantly, do you know how to handle difficult dogs so that you don’t end up with a nasty bite? We talked about behavior above, with regards to avoiding any injuries for the dog. However, understanding dog behavior is just as important when it comes to ensuring you don’t get injured yourself!

A stressed dog is a dangerous dog. When pushed too far, even the most well-behaved dog can resort to thrashing, jumping, lunging, and even biting.  Uneducated dog groomers often claim they’re experts on dog behavior, simply because they have dogs themselves.

(Or worse, because they’ve watched a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer on TV.)

These are often the same groomers who will push a dog way beyond his tolerance threshold, and claim to be “teaching” the dog in the process. It’s not uncommon for these people to proudly (and foolishly) wear their bite scars like badges of honor.

When you take a dog grooming class, you’ll learn just how wrong and dangerous this mindset is. Instead, you’ll come to understand how to identify the earliest signs of stress in a dog, so you can properly diffuse any situation. You’ll specifically learn techniques and tools you can use with the most difficult dogs.

And guess what? “Flooding” ISN’T one of those techniques!

3: Making Every Dog Look Like They’ve Been in a Fight with a Lawnmower

With a good pair of clippers and enough patience, anyone can shave a dog down to the skin. But actually grooming a dog to breed specifications, or according to what its owners want?

That takes a LOT of skill and proper technique!

Without proper education, would you even know what the standard breed cut of a Schnauzer is? How about the right technique to ensure you get an even cut on a Yorkie’s face? Would you be able to achieve a proper teddy bear cut?

It’s easier than you think to screw up and make a Golden Retriever look like he got his tail caught in a door. The reason clients bring their pups to you is because you’re supposed to be the expert who can groom their dog in a manner that they can’t do themselves.

You owe it to your clients to actually know what you’re doing.

4: Not Running Your Business

This is actually a VERY common rookie mistake in most animal-related businesses. When you’re passionate about what you do, spending time running your business can feel like you’re taking time away from doing your job.

In theory, we get it.

But in reality, you’re expected as business owner to dedicate the time and resources needed to make sure your business is actually successful. Dog grooming classes will teach you the most effective way to do this, and how you can streamline that time.

During your studies, you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important to develop a solid business plan (and how to do it)
  • How to name your business in a way that will appeal to potential clients
  • How to set your prices so that your business is profitable, yet still competitive
  • How to market your services so you gain enough clients to stay afloat
  • When and how to effectively hire employees
  • How to grow your business by expanding your network
  • How to set up a proper professional grooming salon
  • Why you should have a website and maintain it, even if you have a solid client base
  • How to deal with difficult clients, without compromising your reputation
  • How to increase your standing in the industry, allowing you to charge more for your services
  • And more.

Ultimately, this is the difference between being a part-time dog groomer out of your home, and actually building a successful career. Assuming that you want a career where you work full-time, make a good salary, and can take a vacation once in a while, then you need to know how to run an actual business!

There are tons of mistakes dog grooming rookies can make when first starting out. By getting educated before you launch your career, you’ll at least be able to avoid making the biggest and costliest ones.

Instead, the only mistakes you make will be the ones allowing you to grow and truly hone your craft!

Ready to start your dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course today, and be certified in as little as 3-6 months!

How to Complete your Online Dog Grooming Classes Safely from Home

To say the world is a little loopy these days is an understatement. It’s difficult to imagine that we’ve all been socially distancing for only a few weeks. It feels like we’ve been at this for six months already!

But while staying at home isn’t fun for most, it’s also the least we can do to help our healthcare workers fight this pandemic. Last week, we discussed how you can maximize your time at home by taking dog grooming classes to get your professional certification.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can complete your online dog grooming courses safely from the comfort of your own home.

Studying at home

For the theoretical portion of your online grooming classes, safely studying from home is very simple:

  • Read your course books
  • Watch instructional videos
  • Take lots of notes
  • Keep your workspace tidy

In the best interest of keeping things sanitary, always remember to regularly clean commonly-used surfaces and objects. This would include keyboards, remote controls, pens, desks, etc.

Completing your Assignments

This is where things can get a little tricky. There are different types of assignments in your dog grooming classes. Let’s go over each one individually.

1 – Quizzes and written assignments

These types of assignments are more common in the early units of your dog grooming classes. This is where you’ll learn the theoretical parts of dog grooming.

These assignments can be done from your home, using the same tools and safety practices you use when studying.

2 – Case Studies

Case-study assignments are mostly used in the business section of the course. For these, you’ll need to do industry research.

Right now, it’s best to ONLY conduct this research online! Avoid consulting with other professionals or businesses in-person. Yes, some of your research might be more difficult, if many businesses are closed.

But this could also mean the business owners are bored at home, too! If there’s someone you want to consult for your schoolwork, try to reach out on social media. That being said, if you do this, be ready to take no for an answer.

3 – Practical Assignments

Your practical grooming assignments are the ones where you’ll actually work on your skills. These assignments include practicing different individual skills, and completing various elements of the grooming process. You’ll need to record these on video, so your tutor can review your technique and provide helpful feedback.

Here are some ways to safely complete these assignments:

  • Don’t ask someone else to film your work. Use a tripod or stable surface to secure your camera, and film your work yourself if you can.
  • If you do need another person to help you, remember to stay at least six feet apart. You may want to wear protective equipment as well.
  • If the assignment asks you to use a dog, try to use your own dog as much as you can. Many assignments don’t require a specific breed.
  • Use your at-home grooming equipment. Don’t go out to self-grooming stations or salons if you’re under a stay-at-home order/quarantine.

Finding dogs

There WILL be some assignments where you’ll be required to groom a specific breed or type of dog. Normally, it would be easy enough to use a friend’s dog, or go to a local rescue and give one of their fosters a bit of a pampering session.

These days, though, that can be risky.

The good news is, dogs can’t carry the coronavirus. The bad news is that if you borrow a dog, you’re probably going to have to be in contact with other humans who can spread the virus.

But there are still ways you can keep everyone safe! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t borrow dogs from anyone who’s sick. The same goes for anyone who’s recently been exposed to someone who’s sick.
  • Don’t borrow dogs if you’re sick, or if you’ve recently been exposed to someone who is sick.
  • Try to find owners who will allow you to take their dog to your home to do the groom. Don’t groom dogs in other people’s homes. Likewise, don’t allow the dog’s owner to linger in your home while you’re working.
  • Try to avoid travelling long distances. Borrowing a dog from down the street is safer than travelling across the city for a dog.
  • When picking up or dropping off a dog, see if you can make the exchange outside. This is safer than going into someone’s house, or inviting someone into your home.
  • If possible, bring a leash from your house. This way, you don’t have to handle a leash that’s been recently touched by someone else.
  • Wash your hands before picking up the dog, and again after you’ve dropped them off.

Taking Care of Yourself

This is a great time to focus on your future career goals! With proper planning and precautions, you can safely complete your dog groomer classes from home. When this is all behind us, you’ll be ready to launch a new business.

That said, remember that at the end of the day, NOTHING is more important than your health.

Things are changing quickly, and we all need to adapt every day. If you don’t feel safe working on strangers’ dogs, it’s perfectly okay to take a break from that part of your studies. Focus on your own dog, or spend your time practicing your techniques in other creative ways.

Keep in mind that your mental health is just as important! It’s okay not to be okay these days. For some people, taking classes is a great way to focus on something positive during these uncertain times.

But for others, an online course is just another source of stress. If you’re in this second group, it’s okay to take a break and focus on your own wellbeing.

We’re all rooting for you!

Haven’t enrolled in your dog grooming classes yet, but interested in getting started today? Check out QC’s leading Dog Grooming Course, and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

How to Keep Yourself and Your Clients Safe During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 is all over the news right now, and you’re sure to be thinking about it, too. While over half of those diagnosed globally have confirmed to have since recovered, there are a lot of unknowns about the outbreak that are still yet to be discovered. So it’s always good to be prepared!

Your pet grooming business is a service industry profession. There’s NO way to completely avoid coming into contact with people and their dogs. If there was, it’d be impossible for you to do your job! There are, however, some common sense ways you can help minimize the risk to both your and your clients’ health.

Check out these 6 simple tips, and start implementing them into your pet grooming business practices ASAP!

Coronavirus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D render

Wash your hands

We’ll say it again, and louder for those in the back: WASH. YOUR. HANDS.

Current research suggests that the Coronavirus spreads mainly via respiratory droplets. This means that when an infected person coughs or sneezes (or talks, or even breathes), tiny droplets of water containing the disease can be transmitted to nearby persons and surfaces.

One of the most effective ways of limiting the spread of this type of virus is by washing your hands frequently and thoroughly. Get into the habit of washing your hands several times per hour, including any time before and after you’ve touched a communal item. Examples of this would be:

  • Doorknobs
  • Grooming tools that are shared in the salon
  • The office phone
  • The cash register
  • And any other surface/ item that’s regularly touched by more than one person!

Mind you, washing your hands doesn’t need to be a fancy endeavor. Good old-fashioned soap and water works perfectly fine. There’s no need to constantly break out the hand sanitizer. That’ll likely just wreak havoc on your skin anyway.

That being said, it’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer bottles around. Clients may want to use them when they enter and/or leave your salon.

Lastly, but just as importantly: keep your hands off your face!

Hygiene concept. Washing hands with soap under the faucet with water

Stay home if you’re sick

If you’re coughing, sneezing, or have a fever, DON’T risk it. Sure, it could just be a cold (and it probably is). But it could also be something worse. Because of this, do yourself – and everyone around you – a favor by taking some time off from your job.

This is especially true if you’ve had contact, or suspected contact, with ANYONE infected with the Coronavirus. Even if you’ve simply traveled recently to hard-hit areas, it’s best for you to err on the side of caution.

Remember: it can take several days for you to start showing symptoms of the Coronavirus. During this time, you’re still infectious. So if you’ve recently come into direct contact with someone known to have the Coronavirus, it’s probably better to be safe than sorry.

If you run your own pet grooming business, reschedule your appointments! Alternately, if you work at a salon, talk with your boss and explain the situation. They may very agree with your decision to stay home for a few days, so as not to take any risks.

If you can’t stay home when you’re sick…

If you absolutely cannot stay home just because of a cough (we live in the real world and there are bills to pay, I get it), then take extra precautions to ensure you don’t get anyone else sick:

  • Wear a mask. Most masks aren’t great at preventing you from becoming infected, but they ARE really good at helping you to not infect others. Regular surgical masks catch those respiratory droplets we discussed earlier, and prevent you from spreading your germs all over the place.
  • Avoid direct contact. This means no handshakes with clients, no hugging your colleague on her birthday, etc. Try to stay a good 6 feet away from anyone else. Keep your germs to yourself as much as possible!
  • Warn your clients. Your clients should be informed of your condition. Remember, just because you have mild symptoms doesn’t mean you can’t pass along a potentially dangerous disease to someone else. If you’re sick, it’s a good idea to warn your clients ahead of time and see if they’d rather reschedule their appointment. Most will be extremely grateful that you have their best interest at heart.
  • Warn your colleagues. Similarly, colleagues will want to know that you’re sick so they can make an informed decision about how to handle the situation. You might not be aware of a colleague’s severely immunocompromised family member who lives with him. If you absolutely have to go to work while sick, warn your colleagues in advanced so that they can choose to stay home themselves, or take other precautions. (Also, maybe prepare yourself to be the black sheep, too, until you’re feeling better.)

Encourage Sick Clients to Reschedule

You’re allowed to refuse to work with a sick client, if you don’t feel comfortable. You’re allowed to turn clients away. If clients walk into your salon coughing and sneezing, you can ask them to leave.

During the outbreak, you can help everyone stay safe by amending your cancellation policy. Encourage clients who are ill to reschedule their appointments to a future date when they’ve recovered.

Coronavirus and Pets

According to the WHO, there is no evidence that pets can be infected with the Coronavirus. However, it’s possible that infected individuals’ pets can transmit the disease in the same way you can become infected by touching an infected surface.

So if an infected individual asks you to groom their dog (even if it’s dropped off at your salon by another person), it’s a good idea to take extra precautions with that dog. It might even be in your best interests to reschedule the appointment altogether.

Clean Your Space

More than ever, it’s worth taking extra time to keep your work space as clean as possible. This means regularly disinfecting all tools, cleaning all surfaces with soap and water, and using air purifiers to try and keep the air clean.

Stay Informed

There’s lots of news floating around about the Coronavirus. It’s hard to stay on top of it all. It’s a good idea to find a trustworthy source, and then check it regularly for updates.

In the United States, the CDC has a very informative Coronavirus Disease web portal that’s updated regularly. Consult their recommendations for disease prevention, so you can stay on top of the current risk assessment for your area.

The government of Canada has a similar portal here. In addition, the World Health Organization has tons of useful advice and resources as well!

The bottom line is: no one knows exactly what will happen with the Coronavirus over the coming months, or even years. At this time, risks are still very low. But being informed, and taking common sense measures to stay safe, are always a good idea.

So while you don’t have to turn your grooming salon into a surgical suite, it’s a good idea to stop letting clients lick your face. Maybe their dogs, too.

Happy young caucasian female wearing blue long sleeved shirt making thumb up sign and smiling cheerfully, showing her support and respect to someone

Want to run your own successful pet grooming business by becoming a certified dog groomer? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming Course today and start working this year!

The Occupational Health Hazards of Being a Dog Groomer

Professional cares for a dog in a specialized salon. Groomers holding tools at the hands. Pink background. groomer concept

Every career has risks to your health. People who sit at computers all day can develop back problems and get chronic headaches. Healthcare professionals are exposed to a myriad of diseases on a daily basis. Social service professionals are at an extremely high risk of burnout… You get the idea.

The key to minimizing the health risks of any job is proper training and preventative measures. Unfortunately, a lot of dog grooming courses don’t really delve into this topic. That’s why today, we’re going to look at the occupational health hazards of being a dog groomer, as well as the steps you can take to protect yourself!

1: Back Problems

As a dog groomer, you’ll sometimes find yourself working at odd angles. Being bent over a grooming table can be murder on your back. Not to mention, you’ll also frequently be lifting dogs into or out of the tub, as well as on and off of the grooming table.

Preventative measures:

  • Use mechanically-powered grooming tables and tubs. You should set a comfortable height based on the dog. Try to keep your back straight at all times.
  • Use a ramp or steps for the dogs. If you don’t want to invest in a power-lifted table/tub, you can at least set up steady ramps or steps. This way, the bigger dogs can climb onto elevated surfaces on their own.
  • Use the buddy system. If all else fails and you have to lift a heavier dog, get a colleague to help you.
  • Use a brace. An orthopedic back brace can help prevent back strain. It also helps improve your overall posture. Poor posture can be a major cause of back pain, too.
  • Exercise daily. Yoga and/or other stretching exercises can help keep your back strong and healthy. It also increases your endurance for those long days on your feet!

2: Sore Feet / Plantar Fasciitis

“Sore feet” can seem like such a snowflake malady, can’t it? But if you’ve ever worked a job where you literally don’t sit down for 12 hours per day, you know the real effect sore feet can have on your life. It can very easily be disruptive to your life outside of work!

Foot pain .Woman sitting on grass Her hand caught at the foot. Having painful feet and stretching muscles fatigue To relieve pain. health concepts.

Preventative measures:

  • Wear comfortable and supportive shoes. Heels and flats have no business in a grooming salon. Use a comfortable shoe with a good arch; one meant for walking and standing. Sneakers are a good pick for this type of environment.
  • Use insoles and orthotics. Insoles and other orthotic inserts are normally recommended if you’re going to spend the entire day on your feet. It’s not a bad idea to consult with a podiatrist if you start experiencing any type of foot pain from your job.
  • Rest and stretch whenever you can. It might not be ideal to take your shoes off in a busy grooming salon, or in the break room where people are eating. But if you’re able to get away for 10 minutes once or twice a day to take off your shoes and stretch your feet, it’s probably worth doing.

3: Groomers Lung

Yes, that’s a real thing!

Being a dog groomer means you breathe in a lot of stuff that you probably shouldn’t. Over time, this can cause mild to very severe lung problems. Groomers Lung is unfortunately not well known in the grooming community, but it’s a very real and serious condition that should be taken seriously.

Preventative measures:

  • Use a mask. This is especially important when blow-drying a dog, or if you’re brushing out the undercoat of particularly hairy dogs (I’m looking at you, Akitas). But it’s also a good habit to wear a mask any time a large amount of fur and other debris is flying around. The good news is that there are tons of cloth groomer’s masks you can buy, and most are super cute!
  • Rinse out your sinuses. Even when using a mask, you’d be surprised how much dog hair and other garbage you can still breathe in. Using a sinus rinse like a neti pot or Hydrasense on a daily basis can help clear out debris from your nasal passages. This way, it won’t get inhaled into your lungs.
  • Have a good air filter in your salon. While we’re at it, maybe have more than one. Air filters will trap all that nasty stuff flowing through the air, so less of it ends up in your lungs. In an environment such as a dog grooming salon, with so much fur flying around the room, you should make sure to check your filters every few days. Replace them frequently – it’ll be necessary! Don’t follow the manufacturer’s recommendations here; you’ll likely have to change your air filters 3 or 4 times faster than recommended.
  • Clean like there’s no tomorrow! Try to vacuum (or at least sweep) your workstations before and after each client. Doing so will help catch errant hairs before they get into your lungs. You should also thoroughly vacuum and clean the entire grooming salon every day. Ideally, you’ll even do this twice per day: once in the morning, and once at night. You’ll be surprised how much hair and dust settles overnight!
Dog in noise cancelling headphones, blue isolated background.

4: Hearing Problems

You might not think about this one until you start spending a lot of your time in a salon. But doggy hair dryers are LOUD! Being exposed to these kinds of loud noises on such a regular basis can take a toll on your ears. You probably won’t notice it at first, but hearing loss is something that comes on gradually. Once the damage has been done, though, it can’t be reversed. So take care of your ears!

Preventative measures:

  • Use ear protection. This one’s common sense, and pretty straightforward. Whenever you’re using a dryer or any other loud instrument, always make sure to protect your ears. Ear plugs are both affordable and effective. Alternately, you can also invest in a good pair of ear muffs that anyone in the salon can use.

5: Bites and Scratches

Working with animals, it’s just a fact that the odd bite or scratch will happen. That said, it should be the exception and not the norm. I know dog trainers, who make a living working with aggressive dogs, who haven’t been bitten more than once or twice in their entire 30+ year careers. If they can avoid being bitten by dogs who want to kill them, you can avoid being bitten by Fluffy on the grooming table.

Evil Chihuahua looks into the camera with a displeased expression of the muzzle.

Preventative measures:

  • Listen to the dog. Dogs don’t want to bite you. They’ll give you plenty of warning before resorting to biting you. A growl is the clearest sign that you should stop what you’re doing. In addition, a stiff posture, pinned back ears, hackles up, whale eyes, etc. are other common signs you should look for.
  • Stay below the dog’s threshold. This is the biggest problem most groomers face. If a dog gets overly stressed, he will react. You can likely groom any dog with enough time, but you have to give the dog that time. If a dog gets stressed during a groom, you need to slow down and let them get used to the situation. This might mean taking 3 or 4 times longer to groom a “difficult” dog. Ignoring the dog’s emotional state and pushing through anyways, just to get the job done, will ALWAYS make things worse for you and the dog.
  • Avoid grooming difficult dogs. Many groomers can’t devote the time, or just don’t have the training (provided in dog grooming courses), need to groom a reactive or aggressive dog. That’s okay, though! Just be honest with yourself about the types of dogs you’re willing to groom. There are plenty of non-reactive dogs out there that need grooming! Avoiding difficult dogs will not hurt your business.
  • Use a muzzle and other tools. There’s nothing wrong with muzzling a dog for a groom, if he has a history of biting. Other tools in such a situation might involve an e-collar (a.k.a. the cone of shame), which physically prevents the dog from reaching your hands. Keep in mind, though, that a muzzle isn’t fool-proof! It should only be there to protect you in the event that you make a mistake. In other words: using a muzzle doesn’t absolve you from doing everything you can to make the groom a relaxing and positive experience for the dog.
  • Seek medical care for all bites and scratches. We know this isn’t exactly a preventative measure, but since these injuries are almost inevitable, it’s worth mentioning. Dog bites can be nasty. If you do get bitten, clean out the wound immediately and, if needed, seek medical care.

Now, I feel like I’ve just spent 1,500 words telling you that you’re going to die if you become a dog groomer. But this article is NOT meant to deter you from being a professional dog groomer! Like I said at the start, every profession has its own risks. Nothing is completely foolproof.

The critical thing is that with the proper education, dog grooming courses, practice, and preventative measures, you CAN – and most likely WILL – have a long and healthy career as a dog groomer, without ever encountering these issues!

Learn everything you need to know by taking dog grooming courses, and becoming professionally certified. Start your grooming career in 2020!

Popular Movie Dog Breeds and How to Groom Them

With the 2020 Academy Awards behind us, we thought it would be fun to take a look at our favorite big screen dogs, and of course, how to keep them well-groomed!

1 – Golden Retriever

golden retriever portrait photo out in grass

Whether it’s Buddy from Air Bud, Shadow from Homeward Bound, or the Full House/Fuller House dogs, a golden retriever is a naturally great choice for a movie dog. They’re typically aloof and eager to please, which makes them a pleasure to train and work with.

Even more convenient, a golden retriever’s shape and coloring is pretty standard. This means that it’s relatively easy to have 4 to 5 similar-looking dogs on set to play one single role.

How to Groom:

Goldens love water, not to mention mud! Their thick and long double-coat makes them the kings (or queens) of shedding. Because of this, regular baths and brushing are an absolute must. De-shedding tools will also be your best friend. However, beyond regular maintenance, golden retrievers don’t require much in the ways of grooming. Some light clipping/shaping of their fur for the movies certainly won’t hurt them. Just don’t shave them down!

2 – Chihuahua

Bruiser from Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movie dogs of all time. From Bruiser to the three Beverley Hills Chihuahua movies, the chihuahua has become a reliable Hollywood dog. Their small size and biting personality (heh) make them a great choice to complement a quirky lead character in any movie. Despite popular opinion, the Chihuahua is a highly intelligent and trainable dog. Just lay a blanket on the ground for sits and downs – the floor is cold and dirty!

How to Groom:

Chihuahuas are an easy groom. Their short, soft coats don’t require tons of maintenance. Just a quick bath/dry, a nail trim, and an ear cleaning should be all that’s needed. They are known, however, to have particularly delicate skin and are prone to allergies. That’s why it’s important to pick a mild or hypoallergenic shampoo for these sensitive pups.

3 – Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog walking in park

Honestly, there are too many labs that have starred in cinema history to list them all here. Marley & Me and Old Yeller are probably the most popular ones, both played by yellow labs. Labs are faithful, happy-go-lucky pups who are always ready for a party. They’re another breed that makes it easy to have several animals playing the same character, since so many can tend to look strikingly alike.

How to Groom:

We’re starting to see another pattern here: Hollywood picking dogs that are easy to groom! Like Goldens and Chihuahuas, a lab’s grooming routine is pretty straight-forward. No clipping or shears are required; just a bath/brush to get all that extra fur out, as well as regular nail trims, and you’re good to go!

4 – Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd)

The Malinois was not a very well-known breed to the masses until the past decade or so. They became fairly popular when the 2015 Hollywood hit, Max, hit the big screen. While they’re amazingly intelligent dogs, they’re admittedly NOT a great family pet in a lot of cases.

Malinois are bred to work. If you’ve ever seen one of those internet videos where dogs are scaling walls or walking tightropes while blindfolded, odds are that was a Malinois. In most homes, they get bored and are highly destructive. They can become neurotic and aggressive if not properly trained or stimulated, and that’s a lot of work with this headstrong breed!

The sad truth is, an alarming amount of Malinois who are adopted as family pets are put down or rehomed for behavioral issues before they’re two years old. This has become such a problem that most Malinois breeders don’t sell their dogs as pets at all.

As actors, however, Malinois are a dream to work with! They’re fearless and eager to do any job, whether that’s pretending to be an attack dog, or performing complex dog stunts for a big scene. Name a trick, and you can teach a Malinois to execute it!

How to Groom:

A Malinois’s grooming requirements is similar to that of a German Shepherd’s. That is to say, they shed like the devil and can get fairly stinky. This being the case, regular bathing, blowing, and brushing is crucial. But like all other dogs on this list so far, they don’t require tons of grooming beyond the basics.

5 – Cairn Terrier

carin terrier dog sitting in grass

Not many people know what a Cairn Terrier is these days. That is, until you reference Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Then EVERYONE knows this breed! Cairn terriers are spirited little things that can be a joy to work with. Sadly, they haven’t been featured in many Hollywood hits since the 1939 classic, but Toto will always hold a special place in our hearts. ❤️️

How to Groom:

This is the first Hollywood dog on our list that has a fair amount of grooming involved. (Hey, maybe that’s why they haven’t been used much in more recent movies!) As a wire-coated breed, the Cairn Terrier requires regular stripping to keep their coat healthy and their skin happy. A maintenance trim every month or two is also recommended, to keep the classic haircut in check!

6 – Saint Bernard

It’s Beethoven!

That movie was a staple in every millennial’s VHS collection growing up. Admit it, you’ve seen, too. To this day, at least once per week when I’m walking my Saint Bernard, a car slows down and the driver will shout at us, “Hi Beethoven!”

(Not even kidding. It’s weird.)

Saint Bernards are amazing dogs. They’re loyal and protective of their owner(s) and family. But at the same time, they love everyone, and just want to sit on your feet and cuddle. If that knocks you over? Well, that’s an invitation for more kisses! Our point is, they’re sweethearts.

You don’t see them much in Hollywood anymore though, and that’s probably because of the size (bigger dog = bigger pains) and their relatively short life-span in comparison to their smaller doggy cousins.

How to Groom:

There are long and short-coated Saint Bernards. Either variation requires about the same type of grooming. Thorough, regular brushing is a must – especially for the long-haired Saints, since they’re more prone to matting. This big, floppy-eared beast is prone to ear infections, so regular ear cleanings are advised. Finally, and importantly, this is not a dog that you should leave to “air dry”. There is a lot of very thick fur on this dog, so you want to blow dry them after a bath. This will ensure healthy skin under that coat!

Do YOU have a favorite Hollywood dog or breed that we didn’t cover today? Let us know in the comments!

Want to take grooming courses so you can learn how to groom professionally? Enroll in QC’s leading dog grooming course today, and become certified in 2020!

5 Little Known Factors That Can Help Your Dog Grooming Business

female groomer hugging scared collie

Dog grooming businesses are booming just about everywhere, but ensuring that your business prospers for the long run is a lengthy and challenging process. You’ll always need to be on the lookout for more dog grooming clients and ways to expand your business, and the reality is, not all of these things can be learned in dog grooming school. Some things will require a bit of “real world” experience.

Luckily, we’ve got 5 easy ways for you to up your game and book more clients. Great news: most of these take little to no effort and WILL have lasting results!

female dog groomer grooming a small, curly breed

1: A Website

Okay, so this one might not exactly be a secret, but it’s seriously surprising how many dog groomers don’t bother to have a website. Frankly, a Facebook Business Page is not a substitute for a professional, independent website!

We’re living in a world where every person has the Internet in their pocket. 1 in 4 homes have at least one smart speaker! Our point is, like it or not, your online presence matters. Your website, your branding, your portfolio, and your social media channels – they all matter.  If you don’t have these, there’s a huge market out there that you’re just not reaching.

But if you don’t at least have a website, you’re making this entrepreneurial thing WAY harder on yourself than is necessary…and being a business owner is tough enough!

Most people assume that setting up a website is complicated, but it actually doesn’t have to be hard at all! You can create a simple site using tools like Squarespace or Wix in just a day or two – no graphic designers or web developers needed! These services are very inexpensive, too, which is a nice bonus!

2: Online Scheduling

So you have a website. Now what?

Well, people are going to use your website to see your services and prices, as well as find your contact information. But ask yourself this: What if clients didn’t have to call you to book a grooming appointment in the first place? What if appointments could be made directly from your website?

Just think about how many people you know who absolutely loathe making phone calls. These people are more likely to opt for text or email instead, if available to them. Plus, online booking can often be done much faster than over the phone.

Think about it: what if your grooming business were to be the only local business that spares people the anxiety of making that dreaded phone call?

On your website, you could have a simple “appointment request” form, where people can request appointment slots with your company. You can then follow-up with the client directly to confirm the appointment. This takes very little effort to set up with most website builders, and can add immense value to your business.

female groomer bathing dog

Just be sure that you stay on top of the requests and keep yourself organized. The last thing you want to do is forget about them! Also, make sure to set realistic expectations with the client as to what will happen when they click “submit” on that online form. How long will it typically take for you to read and respond to their form? You can let them know an approximate wait time for a reply, either on the form itself, or as a disclaimer once it’s been submitted.

Pro tip: If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can set up online scheduling software and integrate it with your website. This way, clients can actually see your schedule and book specific appointment slots that are most convenient for them. There are tons of apps and different software out there that do this, though keep in mind the good ones aren’t free.

3: Listing Your Specialties

Think about the types of dog owners who might be skeptical about going to a dog groomer. It could be a good idea to dedicate a few pages on your website addressing their concerns before they even mention them!

REMEMBER: A lot of clients won’t bother calling your business to ask about their concerns. The more questions you can preemptively answer on your website itself, the more impressive you and your business will be. Therefore, the more clients you’ll secure!

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  • First-time dog owners might be worried about booking their first appointment. Explain exactly what they can expect when they book a grooming appointment (and what their pooch can expect, too).
  • Puppy visits are often scary for dog owners! This is especially the case with experienced dog owners who understand how crucial it is to make every experience a positive one! A page on your website explaining how you introduce puppies to the grooming experience can lead to more bookings and life-long customers!
  • Owners of reactive dogs are always worried about environments such as grooming salons. A web-page dedicated to reactive dog owners will do loads to assuage their concerns. You can explain how you care specifically for reactive dogs, what special techniques/tools you use, and more.
  • Something bad might happen to their dog while in your care. While First Aid Training for groomers isn’t mandatory, we feel it should be. It’s incredibly useful, and is one of the top things that will make your clients feel at ease when trusting you with the safety of a member of their family!

Animal Shelters and Foster groups also need groomers. This is often an under-served, but important section of the dog community. Think about offering special prices or unique services for shelter dogs and foster dogs. Display it proudly on your website! Not only will this give your business some serious karma points, but rescues and shelters are extremely likely to recommend services they use themselves.

skiddish young dog next to owner

4: Register your Business with Google

Have you ever used Google to search for a business or service near you? If you haven’t, you’re in the minority (and frankly, you should try it – it’s a great tool!). When you want to compete and make your business stand out, you can’t ignore Google’s importance in terms of reaching customers.

Creating a Google Business Profile is free and helps customers find you. Using your address, business hours, etc., Google can quickly serve up your business information if potential customers search for things like, “Dog grooming near me”, or “how much does dog grooming cost?”, etc.

You can also customize your Google business listing to allow customers to call you directly from your listing, visit your website, and even book appointments (see point #2 above)!

To get started, just go to Google and search for: “Google My Business”.

5: Show customers you care!

People are suckers for heartfelt stories about animals. Just think about the last Internet video that made you cry. Odds are it had something to do with a neglected dog finding a new home, or a cat being reunited with its owner. Maybe a dog happily tippy-tapping with his new favorite toy!

You work with animals every day, which gives you amazing opportunities to have a seriously WICKED Social Media strategy. Most groomers don’t bother to use this to their advantage. But the fact is, it’s the perfect place for you to excel and get your name out there!

Share ‘before and after’ photos of all your furry clients on social media. Make a ‘photo release’ part of your client onboarding process. Most customers will be happy for you to post photos of their babies! (But of course, some customers will ask you not to, so make sure you always respect those requests for privacy purposes.)

female groomer giving dog teddy bear cut

If you offer special services to shelter animals or rescue dogs, for example, take some time to make a little video montage of that dog’s journey. Think about how you’d react to seeing a video of a scared shelter dog going into a salon so it can get pampered up. Imagine how touching and absolutely heart-warming it would be to see the dog feeling so much better afterward.

Not only will your business benefit from the publicity, odds are your video will help that dog get adopted, too. Win-Win!

There are lots of creative ways you can boost your business. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and see what works!

Interested in launching a dog grooming business, but not sure where to start? QC’s Online Dog Grooming Course comes with full business training that will set you up for success!

The Dog Groomer’s Salary: What to Expect in 2020

beautiful medium-size dog on grooming table, being rubbed down by towel

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, dog grooming jobs are going to increase by over 16% over the next 10 years.

WOW!

That means you can expect the grooming job market to grow much faster than almost any other job. Great news! So how much money can you expect to make as a groomer? What can you expect in the grooming industry in 2020? Let’s find out!

Note: Please note that all amounts listed in this article are in US dollars. 

cute up-close shot of puppy

Wages

Dog Grooming Professionals

Wages for dog grooming jobs are slowly increasing over time. According to payscale.com, a dog groomer’s salary in the US is anywhere between $21,000 (on the low end) and $54,000 (on the high end). That puts the average right around $32,000. Groomers also make an annual average commission of almost $6,000.

Keep in mind that these numbers refer to dog groomers that are employed mostly at salons and pet stores. Self-employed dog groomers can earn substantially more for their work.

Dog Grooming Salon Managers

A dog grooming salon manager might be an employee of a larger company, or she could be the owner of the grooming salon. A grooming salon manager can make anywhere from $30,000 to $72,000 per year, with the average being approximately $45,000. The average salon manager also receives an annual bonus of around $2,300, and the same commission amount of almost $6,000.

groomer cutting pomeranian's nails with scissor clipper

Factors that affect salary

The numbers above are averages that represent dog groomers of every kind across the United States. Your salary will depend on many factors, including:

  • Your location. Dog groomers in New York earn a higher average salary than dog groomers in Cheyenne. On the other hand, the cost of living in New York are staggering compared to the cost of living in Wyoming.  Salary isn’t everything; consider your costs, too!
  • Your education. A certification in dog grooming can help you earn higher wages, especially if you freelance. Clients will pay more for the reassurance that you’ve been trained to not hurt their dog.

Your experience. Your years of experience as a dog groomer will have a direct impact on how much you can earn. Groomers at the top of the scales that we discuss above typically have over 10 years of professional dog grooming experience under their belt.

Job Growth

As mentioned before, the number of grooming jobs is expected to increase very quickly over the next few years. That means you can expect:

Entry Level Opportunities

When an industry expects an increase in job numbers, most of these jobs are entry-level. Therefore, anyone who is looking to become a dog groomer will have no shortage of available grooming salon jobs they can apply to. With a solid education and good interviewing skills, you should be able to land your first professional dog grooming job and start gaining experience!

shiba inu getting brushed by groomer

Freelancing Opportunities

High demand for dog grooming services means that you can likely make a very good salary offering part-time grooming services out of your own home. Not everyone is comfortable bringing their dog to a grooming salon, and many owners will pay handsomely for the premium and individualized service you can offer as a freelancer. It’s a great opportunity to earn extra income until you’re ready to make grooming your full-time job!

Expansion Opportunities

A period of industry growth like this one is the perfect time to think about expanding your existing grooming business. Depending on your experience, this might mean:

  • Expanding your salon
  • Hiring more employees
  • Launching a mobile grooming service
  • Offering specialized services
  • And more!

Changes in Customer Behavior

The millennial generation has a bad reputation, but it hardly coincides with reality. Despite popular beliefs, millennials are not selfish and entitled. This is a generation who grew up working in the service industries, and who by-and-large respect the hard work that you do as a dog groomer.

Also, with many of these millennials opting for a child-free lifestyle, they’re adopting pets like crazy. They absolutely adore their fur-babies! These customers are willing to spend their hard-earned cash on pampering their pooches.

This means that by offering a unique grooming experience that targets younger clients, you can charge way higher than the average dog grooming prices for your services.  You can be really creative with your approach! Some ideas to get your hamster-wheel turning:

  • Luxury dog grooming. This might include everything from ergonomic dog beds in the kennels, to having a doggy massage therapist on staff.
  • Green dog grooming. Global warming affects everyone, and businesses who are environmentally conscious tend to stand out in a good way. This can mean anything from powering your salon with solar panels, to using biodegradable, cruelty-free products.
  • While-you-wait dog grooming. Not every owner is comfortable leaving their dog in a salon and coming back to pick him up later. Consider having a separate “waiting area” for your clients while their dogs are groomed. Bonus points if this space doubles as a doggy play-date!
  • Partnered services. More and more doggy daycares offer grooming services. Why not flip the tables and offer dog walking services as part of the grooming experience!
  • Personalized services. Send your pupper clients a card during the holidays, and a little gift for their birthday. It’s a cheap way to stay on your clients’ minds, and hard-core dog parents will swoon!
  • Altruistic approach. Donating part of your earnings is a great way to gain some publicity while doing good work. An example: “For every 20 dogs we groom, a deserving dog from the local humane society will receive a full spa day at our salon, absolutely free!” Think about the kind of Social Media attention that could generate, not to mention how awesome that would make you feel!
cuddling small puppy wrapped in towel

All in all, 2020 will be a fantastic year to enter the dog grooming industry or to grow your business.  With a few years of experience, you can expect a comfortable salary, and as you can see, there are so many other ways you can earn even more money!

Want to earn your dog grooming certification in 2020? Enroll today in QC’s leading online dog grooming course!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of the Last Decade

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we embark on a brand new decade, let’s first take a look back at your favorite Sniffin’ Around blog articles from the past 10 years.

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

There are tons of clippers out there, and a bunch of custom blades to accompany them. As a professional groomer, it’s important to know your way around your clippers. The wrong blades can cause uneven cuts (at best) or seriously injure the dog (at worst)!

Should you go for steel or ceramic blades? What size is best for your dog?  Are 5-in-1 blades any good?  How should you maintain your blades?  We have the answers to all these questions and more in this highly informative article.

Ask any professional groomer, and they’ll tell you that the teddy bear cut is a groomer’s bread and butter. It’s definitely a style you’ll have to practice and master before you can launch your dog grooming business. QC’s online dog grooming course has an extensive breakdown of this very important cut. In this popular post, you can get a sneak peek into the course video where QC tutor, Lisa Day, takes you on a step-by-step overview of the teddy bear cut!

Becoming a professional dog groomer takes patience and dedication. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process! Back in 2017, we outlined the 6 simple steps that anyone can follow in order to achieve their goal of becoming a dog groomer. These steps are just as relevant today! So why not work these 6 steps into your New Year’s resolution, and become a dog groomer in 2020!

As a professional dog groomer, keeping a dog’s coat healthy is the responsibility at the very core of your job description. Different coat types have very different needs. For example, double coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved. Wire coated dogs need to be stripped. Smooth coated dogs have more sensitive skin. Using the wrong technique or tool on a dog can cause a lot of damage to their coat!

But it’s not always easy to identify a dog’s coat type, especially if you’re dealing with a mixed breed. So use these four tricks to properly identify your furry client’s coat, so you can give him the groom he deserves.

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

Now there’s an important question if you’re looking to start a career as a dog groomer! Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because any state/province can set its own regulations. But this post will guide you through finding out the basics: from what exactly a dog grooming license is, to how to find out if you need one where you work.

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

Lots of people use the terms “certification” and “license” interchangeably. But they are, in fact, two completely different items. Whether it’s required or not, a certification is always a good idea for any serious dog groomer. It’s a proof of competency that you can show to potential clients. If you’re “certified”, then you’ve been trained to groom dogs safely.

Read the full article for more information on the differences between licenses and certifications, how to find out what you need, and how to obtain them.

Frankly, I was surprised this article wasn’t number one on this list. “How much money will I make as a dog groomer?” is one of the most important questions people ask before deciding whether they want to launch their grooming career!

Of course, your actual salary will vary based on your location. But this article does a great job of breaking down the criteria that will affect your grooming salary, including the types of services you offer and your years of experience. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the numbers a little for inflation (the article was published in 2017, after all), but the overall information is still highly relevant today!

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

Let’s face it: there are perfectly valid reasons why someone might not be suited to being a dog groomer.  It’s a wonderful career for the right person. But it can also be your own personal hell if you start a grooming career without thinking through the down sides of the job.

If you’re on the fence about whether you want to become a professional dog groomer, consider these 8 reasons why the profession might not be the best fit for you.

Okay, so maybe this is why #4 wasn’t closer to the bottom of the list. Here’s another article that’s a must-read before you decide to become a professional dog groomer! This article outlines additional start-up costs for your dog grooming business. It also gives you a ballpark range that you can expect for your salary, once your business is up and running. Want some tips to increase that base salary? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Cheers to the #1 most popular dog grooming article of the past decade (WOW)!

As a professional groomer, there are a few haircuts you’ll encounter over and over again. Yes, the teddy bear cut is going to be number one by far – but there’s also the poodle cut, the lamb cut, the kennel cut, and more. This article demonstrates 7 dog haircuts you’ll encounter countless times over the course of your grooming career.

happy dog portrait with yellow background

Are there any articles you’d like to see covered in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to turn your dreams into reality, and start your dog grooming career? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming course today!

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe during the Holidays

adorable dog photobombing family christmas photo
two golden retrievers and a chihuahua wearing reindeer antlers

The holidays are upon us; a special time of year for the whole family, including our four-legged family members. It’s also a time of year when many dogs end up at the emergency vet or in animal shelters! Here are some ways you can help keep Fido safe this holiday season.

1: Dogs are for life, NOT just for Christmas

Let’s start with the most common mistake many owners make: getting a new puppy as a Christmas present. Too often, these puppies end up abandoned before they’ve even reached their first birthday. Never buy an animal unless you’re prepared and willing to be in it for the long-haul. Please ensure you’ve thought hard on it and weighed all the pros and cons before adopting a puppy/dog as a Christmas gift, especially for a young child. Some things to consider are:

  • A child will be excited at first, but will likely not keep up with a dog’s care and training. This isn’t the dog’s fault! He can’t learn if you don’t teach him.
  • Puppies will grow! Plenty of people seem to only want the novelty of having a tiny, cute pup that everyone will swoon over. But the moment he gets bigger, and maybe doesn’t look quite as adorable anymore, the shine is gone and now he’s no longer wanted. On top of that, the number of people who adopt large breed dogs and then give them up as soon as they “grow too big” is astounding.
  • Dogs need constant care! A dog without adequate mental and physical exercise will become destructive. Again, that’s the owner’s fault. You’d become restless, too, if you were always bored out of your mind, with nothing to do. Your pooch is no different!
  • Giving up a dog is almost certainly a death sentence. If you adopt a dog with even the slightest thought that “if it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of it”, please don’t adopt him. Turn around, and go invest in a goldfish. The sad truth is, giving up an adopted dog may sentence him to a place that could spell the end for him if he doesn’t immediately get adopted again. Not to mention that the older a dog get, the worse his chances are at getting a second chance.

Remember: dogs are not commodities! If you’re not 1,000% committed to caring for him for the next 10+ years, get a stuffed animal instead. At least they won’t pee on the carpet.

2: Watch for open doors

The holidays are filled with comings and goings. If your pooch is known for bolting out the door as soon as it opens, pay special attention to your dog when family and friends are visiting! It only takes a split second for a pooch to sprint for an exit. It’s easy for this to happen while everyone’s saying “hi” and hugging at the front door.

small dog running in snow

If you’re worried about this happening, keep Rover behind another barrier while the front door is open. This could be a baby gate, a crate, or just in a separate room.

3: Be careful with food!

Holiday feasts can be a treat for Fluffy, too. There’s nothing wrong with giving her a little piece of turkey meat or some mashed potatoes as a special Christmas treat. But many holiday favorites can be dangerous to dogs, specifically:

  • Turkey bones – they can splinter and cause severe internal damage or intestinal blockage. Meat is okay, bones are not.
  • Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, most seeds, etc. – these can be very toxic to dogs. Be sure you know what kind of food is safe for your dogs to eat.
  • Anything sweetened with artificial sweetenersthese can be lethal to dogs. Be very careful with the desserts, and make sure Fluffy doesn’t sneak a bite!

Keep in mind that guests often don’t know what’s safe for a dog to eat and what isn’t. A lot of the time, they’ll want to spoil your dog. If you can’t trust your guests not to accidentally poison your dog, it’s probably safer to her (or your guests, if you’d prefer) in a separate room while the food is out.

4: Be careful with the not-food!

Dogs aren’t exactly as discerning as we are when it comes to putting stuff in their mouths. Scented Christmas decorations like candles and other knick-knacks can be just tempting as a juicy turkey leg. I once had a golden retriever eat a bag of beeswax tealight candles. That was a fun trip to the emergency vet…

brown dog about to eat christmas tree ball ornament

Similarly, tree ornaments can be tempting toys for dogs. For larger dogs, the tree itself can make for an alluring target. Interactive Christmas toys, like your singing and dancing snowman, should probably be kept on a high shelf.

Christmas presents also probably shouldn’t be kept under a tree, i.e. at nose-level. Dogs will be eager to play with boxes and/or eat them. At best, you’ll end up with slobbery presents. At worst, you’ll end up with a hefty vet bill for emergency surgery to remove little Timmy’s legos from your dog’s tummy.

Note: If your dog does make a buffet out of your tree, decorations, or presents, call the vet or emergency vet immediately. Don’t risk your dog’s life by using a ‘wait-and-see’ approach!

5: Plan for office closures

Many pet care professionals are closed, or have reduced hours, between Christmas and New Years. Be sure these closures won’t affect your pet’s care by taking the following precautions:

  • Book your regular grooming appointment several weeks ahead of time
  • Buy extra dog food so you don’t run out on Christmas day
  • Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is under regular care for chronic conditions. Ensure you have enough medication to get you through the holidays, if your vet’s office will be closed.

6: Be mindful of stressed-out doggos

While the holidays can be a great time for us to visit family and friends, or have large groups of people over, this can be extremely stressful for many dogs.  A dog under stress can be unpredictable. Even the most gentle soul can become reactive, and hurt themselves (or someone else) if they’re put under enough stress.

scared small pup in owner's arms

Here are a few tips to give you and your pooch the best chances at an incident-free holiday season:

  • If entertaining at home, pay close attention to your dog’s body language, and look for signs of stress. Provide them a safe space to escape the noise and crowds if they need to. This is especially important if there are children present!
  • If visiting someone else’s house with your dog, the same rules apply. Bring a crate with you so you can put your dog somewhere safe, if needed. If you know your dog doesn’t do well with large gatherings, other dogs, or children, it might be safer to leave him at home.
  • If travelling without your dog, use a reputable kennel or pet sitter while you’re gone. If a friend is watching your dog during the holidays, be sure she’s well aware of your dog’s needs and how to best provide them – especially if she’s having people over for Christmas, too.
  • Keep in mind that holidays are the busiest dog park days. People bring their pooches out to “tire them out” before larger gatherings. This means that parks are crowded with dogs who are over-stimulated, and very likely don’t have too good of manners. At this time of the year, it might not be the best space for your furry friend.
  • Give your dog some TLC in an environment that’s comfortable for them. We totally get it: things are crazy during the holidays, and everyone already wants all of your time as it is. But with all the hustle and bustle, your best boy is going to miss you, too! Don’t forget to make some time for him when you can – even if it’s just for a few minutes to give him a cuddle, throw around his favorite toy, or brush his fur to keep him looking his best. Grooming a dog helps to stimulate his blood flow, which keeps him healthy, both in body and spirit!
man walking his happy dog in the snow

All these points are particularly important for puppies and senior dogs alike. Remember that puppies go through several fear-imprint periods while they’re growing up. A traumatic experience can cause life-long anxiety issues. Senior dogs, on the other hand, become much less tolerant as they age. So even if old Rex used to be fine with kids pulling his tail back in his youth, it doesn’t mean you should let your 1-year-old niece do that this Christmas.

(But also as a side note, don’t let kids pull on a dog’s tail in the first place. This hurts the dog and can cause them to reflexively react with aggression, which could put the child in danger. It’s basically a lose-lose situation for everyone involved!)

All in all, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take time off work and spend it with your loved ones. With the right precautions, your pupper will enjoy this time as much as you do!

How else can grooming a dog be beneficial to you? By making it your career in 2020! Enroll in QC’s leading online dog grooming course today!

7 Easy Ways to Tank your Dog Grooming Business Reputation

You’ve worked hard to establish your dog grooming business. You have a great space and a solid base of recurring clients. You’re booked every day. Life is good! But where’s the fun in that? Tanking your reputation will make running your business a lot more challenging, and that’s the real test for any true entrepreneur, isn’t it? If you’re looking to completely ruin your dog grooming business’ reputation, here are some sure-fire ways to get it done!

1. Triple your prices overnight

You have a solid client base, so logically it’s now time to make them pay through the nose for your services. Most business owners would incrementally increase their prices over time. But not you! Your clients should expect that you’ll jack up your prices once they see how talented you are.

Extra points: Don’t tell your clients your prices have increased until after you hand them their bill, then argue with them when they complain that a nail trim shouldn’t cost $100. If they refuse to pay, threaten legal action! Heck, why stop there? Record them with your phone and post it to YouTube so the whole world can see how unreasonable they’re being!

dog dressed as robber sitting in a suitcase full of money

2. Overbook, then rush through appointments

You’re a talented dog groomer and your business is in high demand. Time to work on your speed game so that you can cram more bookings into a standard workday! Most groomers would hire other professionals to help out with their booming business, but what a waste of resources that would be!

Why hire a brusher/bather if you can just give Rover a quick rinse in the tub, spray him down with a doggy cologne, quickly smooth down the top coat, put a bow on his head, and move to the next dog? Time is money, and cutting corners is your best friend! No need for a thorough bath, rinse, and brush.  Rover will smell good enough when his owners pick him up, so they’ll never know. By the time they get home and see the mess of a dog underneath the bow, it’ll be their problem to deal with!

3. Start using the wrong tools

If your dog grooming clippers break, there’s no need to replace them. Just head down to the drug store and buy a cheap beard trimmer. It’s basically the same thing, right? Who cares if it’s nowhere near powerful enough, ends up ripping clumps of fur out, or cutting the dog’s pads while you trim their paws!

Run out of your fancy dog shampoo? Use whatever you have in the bathroom at home. Forget that your own shampoo isn’t formulated for dogs and will irritate their skin. They’ll still get “clean” with that shampoo, and their skin will eventually heal.

(Probably. Fingers crossed.)

Can’t find your grooming shears? Grab any old pair of scissors from your office. Sure, they’re not nearly sharp enough; they’ll cause uneven cuts and will tug at the dog’s fur with every snip, making them extremely uncomfortable. It’s not like it’ll cause permanent damage.

The bottom line: no need to inconvenience yourself or invest in good tools. Dogs are resilient – they’ll survive.

(…Maybe.)

woman shrugging

4. Listen to the owner’s wishes, even though you know better

Shave a golden retriever for the summer because “he’ll get too hot”? Sure, no problem.

Put a senior dog with a heart condition through a full groom, even though there’s a chance he’ll end up at the emergency vet (or worse)? Yes, sir. Not a problem, sir. After all, the owner has a party tonight and Bella needs to look her best, health concerns be damned.

You can also totally use an oatmeal shampoo on a dog with a history of yeast infections, because the owner read on the internet that it’s good for itchy skin. What do you mean, ‘improper etiquette’? Meh, it’s not your job to advocate for the dog or educate the owner. Who cares if Fluffernutter ends up with a crazy skin infection a few days later? That’s not your fault, you were just following orders!

5. Store personal client information in an unsecured forum

Who needs privacy? Your customer’s contact information, emergency contacts, credit card numbers, etc. don’t need to be secured. Just write them all in that one messy notebook you leave on the front desk, completely open and in plain sight. Better yet, store all that information on an unsecured spreadsheet, and then email it to yourself for good measure. If someone happens to steal or hack your clients’ information, you’re innocent! Securing information is HARD and you’re BUSY. It’s not like you could easily use encrypted software to properly store sensitive data or anything.

Bonus points: When your clients’ information does get hacked, deny all responsibility and blame the victim. They never explicitly told you to not keep their credit card number and expiry date on a post-it note. What are you, a mind reader?

small dog dressed up as a mind reader

6. All aboard the gossip train!

OMG, have you seen the way Debbie looked this morning when she dropped off her poodle for a groom? Baggy sweats and puffy eyes like she’s been crying all night… Must be trouble in paradise!

Your clients, staff, and vendors are going to love the new you when you loosen that tongue and gossip with them about other clients! It’s not like they’ll expect you to be professional and refrain from spreading rumors or butting into people’s lives. Yeah, you’re there to groom their dogs, but what’s a little gossip to go along with it? Dinner and a show! If Debbie didn’t want you to gossip about her, maybe she shouldn’t so obviously have problems at home.

It’s not like everyone will wonder if you’re also gossiping about them behind their backs, too, right?

7. Start fights with online reviewers

How DARE someone criticize your business by leaving a horrible review! She’s really going to get uppity about you injuring her dog during a routine groom and then lying about it? Real mature. Doesn’t she know how difficult it is to run a business these days?

You’ll show her! You’ll reply to her so-called “honest” review by attacking her personally, calling her names, poking fun at her appearance, and using racial slurs for good measure. Since you have her contact info, you can always dox her if you really want to get revenge. You’ll find out who her employer is and you’ll send a complaint to her boss. You’ll find her social media friends and spread rumors to turn them against her, too.  She tried to ruin your business, and now she must PAY!

Bonus Points: Find out where she lives and show up at her house to attack her in person. A stalking charge is a great way to seal the deal on a ruined reputation. You might even make the news – yay for free publicity!

beautiful groomer holding dog in salon

All kidding aside, it’s easy to damage your dog grooming business’ fragile reputation by making careless mistakes, or just not thinking ahead to the consequences of doing things “the easy way”. As a business owner, it’s worth taking precautions to safeguard your reputation whenever you can. Remaining professional at all times, and following the business tips provided in your dog grooming course business training unit, will help you gain a spotless reputation that will follow you throughout your career!

Want to hear our actual tips for properly handling negative reviews? Click here to keep reading!