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Career Advice

Dog Grooming Training: The Importance of Prep Work Before Styling – Part 1

As part of your dog grooming training, you’ll quickly discover that the work you do before any styling is just as important as the styling itself! Most dogs that walk into your shop won’t automatically be ready for a trim. They’ll need you to do some essential prep work first.

For instance, if a pup comes to you with matted fur, you won’t be able to safely cut or style their hair until those mats are first addressed and properly dealt with!

In Part One of our two-part series, we’ll start by looking at the types of prep work you’ll most commonly perform before any styling takes place. We’ll also examine why this work is so important, and how it can increase your chances of creating a successful grooming experience for your client AND their canine companions!

What is Prep Work?

In the world of grooming, dogs will rarely come to you 100% ready to hop on the table and immediately get a fabulous haircut. In reality, you’ll often need to perform certain tasks before any clipping or styling gets done.

Some dogs may have mats in their fur. Others may have dirty paws, or extremely long nails. At the start of every groom, it’s important for you to first assess the dog and see what needs to be taken care of before you break out the clippers.

Prep work actually makes up a large part of the grooming process!

Examples of Prep Work

The prep work required will vary from job to job. It really depends on the dog and their needs. Some examples of prep work you’ll frequently need to do include:

Note: Keep in mind that many dogs won’t require a fancy trim or style. Some will only ever come to you for prep work and small touch-ups. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds and Dalmatians, will usually only require prep work services, due to their types of fur.

How Prep Work Benefits You:

Simply put, prep work makes styling your client’s dog a LOT easier. Why make things harder for yourself when you don’t have to?

For instance, all groomers aspire to work in an efficient and timely manner. Now, I know what you’re already thinking: but isn’t prep work time-consuming?

Yes, sometimes it can be, because you’ll need to add some extra steps here and there. But putting time and effort into preparing a dog for styling will help you avoid setbacks later on.

For example, you’ll commonly need to take the time to carefully brush and bathe a dog before you can begin their haircut. That being said, brushing and bathing a dog is standard practice during many dog grooming appointments. So, you’d typically need to do these things anyway!

The thing is, it would actually prove a lot more time-consuming to struggle to clip a dog with matted, dirty fur. You’d very quickly need to do some hefty backtracking to get the job done properly.

So, approach every groom by thinking two steps ahead. Prep work allows you to preemptively handle all the parts of the styling process that could pose problems later on, if left unattended. This way, you won’t lose time later on during the groom.

How Prep Work Benefits Your Client:

Naturally, your clients’ main priorities will be the health and safety of their furry family members. They’re coming to YOU because they trust you to take good care of their dogs. This trust comes from a combination of your reputable dog grooming training and qualifications and your performance.

You’ll need to prove to clients that you’ll treat their dogs with consideration and high-quality expertise!

Any groomer who knows their stuff will understand the necessity of prep work. The more you prep a client’s dog for styling, the better the final results will be. Not to mention, you’ll be better able to guarantee the dog’s overall well-being. These are key elements to being a successful groomer and maintaining a positive reputation with your clientele!

How Prep Work Benefits the Dog:

Most importantly, prep work benefits the dog more than anyone else.

To start, prep work gives you an opportunity to examine them. Doing so may bring to light a medical condition or affliction that has previously gone unnoticed. For example, as you assess the dog, you may notice skin lesions, lumps, etc. Prep work is an excellent way to spot potentially dangerous maladies, so that you can bring them to your client’s attention.

Prep work helps you to put the dog’s safety first in many other, less extreme, ways as well. Here are some of the most common examples of why prep work is essential to the overall grooming process:

  • Brushing: Lowers the risk of hurting the dog, if their hair has mats or tangles. Trying to clip matted fur can result in cuts, nicks, or clipper burn.
  • Bathing: A dog’s fur should always be clean before clipping it. Dirty fur can lead to irritated skin, infections, etc. Not to mention, dirty hair can clog your clippers, thereby making your job more difficult!
  • Trimming the pads: This will lower the chances of the dog slipping and injuring themselves on your grooming table. Plus, it helps reduce the amount of dirt they’ll track into their owner’s home from outside. It’s a win-win!
  • Nail clipping, grinding, and filing: If a dog’s nails are too long, they can prevent him from standing properly. This can potentially cause the dog to fall on the grooming table or cause infection or breakage—both of which can be very painful. In time, extremely long nails can even cause the dog to develop bone deterioration in the feet.
  • Cleaning the ears: It’s very common for dogs to develop infections and other health concerns in their ears. All dogs must regularly get their ears cleaned. In terms of prep work, “non-shedding” dog breeds have ear hair that absolutely MUST be removed before they get bathed. Otherwise, they risk collecting dirty, tangling, and blocking the ear canal.

Want to learn more about the importance of prep work? Stay tuned for Part Two, where we’ll delve more deeply into specific steps and safety measures that are required when preparing your client’s dog for styling!

Start your dog grooming training today and get your professional career started in as little as 3-6 months! Enroll today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course!

How to Build Your Pet Grooming Business Website

One of the single easiest ways to doom your career is to not have a website up and running for your pet grooming business. You need a strong online presence in order to be seen!

Never put together your own site before? No worries! With the following Do’s and Don’ts list, you’ll have all the info you need to get started!

Do: Secure Your Domain Name

When first starting your pet grooming business, you came up with a name. Then you would have legally registered it, so that no one else has the right to use it. The same now needs to be done for your website domain!

Research into various website hosts platforms. This is basically the platform where your website will live and be put together. Once you’ve decided which host you wish to use, make sure that no other website already has your desired domain name registered.

If you’re good to go, lock down your domain name ASAP! If the name is already taken, go back to the drawing board and see what other variations you can play with that still use your pet grooming business’s name.

Don’t: Ignore Design Trends

There’s nothing endearing about clicking on a website, only to find that it looks archaic and outdated. Online design trends are forever changing. So, it’s important that you research into the common, popular trends and industry changes within the pet grooming world!

Pro tip: Many website building platforms will have templates that you can use to build your site. Most of these templates are free and follow current design trends. Templates are your friend!

Do: Know Your Brand

Your brand will be a major part of your business’s identity. If you don’t know what your brand is, how can you know what sort of impression your business will give off to clients?

The best way to start figuring out your professional brand is to ask yourself:

  • When my clients think of me and my business, what are some descriptors I want to come to mind?
  • If my client was to describe my business to someone else, what would I want them to say?
  • What is the overall mission/goal of my pet grooming business?
  • What feelings do I want my business to evoke in others?

Once you determine your brand, you’ll be able to start building SO much of your business around it. You’ll be stunned at how much starts falling into place once you have a solid brand as your foundation!

Don’t: Plagiarize Other Websites

Let’s be super clear here: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with referring to other websites as a source of inspiration. But there’s definitely a problem with ripping them off and stealing material for your own use.

Growing up, school drilled into our heads how bad plagiarism is. When it comes to building your pet grooming website, this is of no exception. Simply put, don’t do it.

“But what if I change a few of the words?”

No, don’t do it.

“But how about if I–?”

It’s best to just assume that no matter what, you should never do it.

The consequences can get pretty severe sometimes, especially if the other business were to find out. To give you an idea, there’s always the chance it can result in a lawsuit. At the very least, it could spell danger for your reputation in the industry. No matter how you slice it, it’s just not worth the risk.

By all means, get all the inspiration you need! Keep a journal and jot down notes of any ideas that come to mind when looking through other people’s websites. Just make sure to transform these ideas into something that’s completely your own.

In general, this is the safest way to approach ANY content you put onto the internet.

Do: Learn About SEO

Having a nice-looking website is a good start, but without a proper understanding of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), it can do little to actually get you any real visibility. Your website can only do so much if it isn’t ranking very high on platforms such as Google.

It’s worth it to do some research online and read up on SEO. Learn what it is, how it works, and what you can do to maximize it to your benefit. No, you don’t need to become some sort of SEO expert – but a general understanding can do wonders, and take your business website to a whole other level!

Don’t: Make Things Complicated

Remember what websites looked like back in the early 2000s? Everything was an overabundance of visual graphics, neon colors, barely legible text, and automatic music blasting from every page. We get it; the internet (on a global scale) was still feeling relatively fresh, so we all got a little too excited for our own good.

In this day and age, however, none of these things are a good look. They certainly don’t give the impression of a respectable, professional business. In fact, if you look at the most popular websites out there today, you’ll likely find that most have quite a lot in common! For example, they’ll probably have:

  • Black text on a white background
  • No more than 3-4 fonts
  • Consistency in font use, font size, and color schemes
  • A simple, one or two-column layout
  • A navigation bar at the top of the page, and a footer at the bottom
  • Limited use of scrolling banners
  • A clear use of headers, sub-headers, and body text
  • Images aligned with the text, in a way that makes sense
  • No automatic music (seriously, this is more likely to startle the viewer than impress them)

Do: Add Your Professional Portfolio

Your business website should contain very specific information that will be useful to any potential clients interested in your dog grooming services. This includes details like your contact information, grooming services, qualifications, prices, and more. Just as importantly, you should also include some of your professional portfolio.

By adding images of your past work to your website, you’re giving potential customers a way to physically see the high quality of your previous work. It’s one thing to simply tell them about your prior experience in the field. It’s a whole other ball game to show them visual proof of how awesome you are, and why they should hire you!

Having your portfolio available directly on your website is a guaranteed to way to book more clients for your pet grooming business!

Don’t: Showcase Just ANY Photo

With that being said, there is a standard for the types of photos you should include in your online portfolio. It can be all too easy to turn a good website bad by adding in the wrong types of images.

To avoid this rookie mistake, never use photos you don’t have the legal rights to. Don’t jam pack your website with any images that aren’t relevant to the goal of your business. Similarly, don’t use stock photos either. While they may depict an idea of the services you offer, they can also be very misleading to potential customers.

Try to only use images that broadcast YOUR work. Make sure that these pictures are in high definition, and look to be of professional quality. A high-quality portfolio will mean a high-quality pet grooming business in the eyes of your audience!

Want to learn how to properly market your pet grooming business services online? Read on for 4 helpful marketing tips!

How Your Pet Grooming Certification Will Prepare You for These 3 Dog Afflictions!

There’s more to being a dog groomer than simply brushing, clipping, and washing a dog. A big part of earning your pet grooming certification will be familiarizing yourself with common dog afflictions, and how to properly handle them.

Here, we’ll take a look at 3 of the most common afflictions you may encounter when working with your canine clients. Importantly, you’ll discover just how critical your pet grooming certification will be in preparing you for ANY of these scenarios!

What is an ‘Affliction’?

An affliction is anything that can happen to a dog that results in pain and injury. As a groomer, it won’t be uncommon for you to encounter some type of ailment befalling your client’s pooch. After all, for as lovable and wonderful as they are to work with, a dog’s curiosity can tend to get them into troublesome situations!

Maybe they’re excitable, and move a little too quickly under your scissors. Perhaps the soap looks like food in their eyes, and before you can stop them, they’ve taken a big bite. No matter how well-trained and cautious a groomer may be, there will be times when accidents will happen.

There may also be times where a client brings you their dog for a groom, and you notice an already existing affliction that the owner may not have noticed.

Regardless of how it happens, what matters most is how you deal with it.

Examples of Common Dog Afflictions

The nature of your job requires the use of various different tools. Some may be sharp, others may pose the risk of falling, etc. Obviously, your pet grooming certification and expert training will adequately equip you to operate as cautiously as you can at all times.

But as we mentioned above, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the most usual mishaps that can occur within a grooming environment…

1 – Sprains and Fractures

These types of afflictions can be pretty common. This is especially the case in older, overweight, or overly energetic dogs. If you don’t take proper care when operating and/or securing equipment such as crates, leashes, and grooming loops, your client’s dog can run the risk of spraining or fracturing something.

Typical Symptoms

  • Favoring one paw (or more than one paw) over others
  • Limping
  • Pulling away, vocalizing, or showing signs of aggression when the injured area is touched

Keep in mind that if a dog is limping or favoring a paw, it may not always be a sign of a sprain or fracture. For instance, he may have a cut between his toes, or a broken nail. This is why it’s important to always inspect the suspected injured area. This way, you can best determine what the source of his discomfort truly is!

Treatment

The rule of thumb here always is: if the dog appears to be in a great deal of pain, advise your client to consult a veterinarian. In the meantime, to ease the pain and potential swelling, ice or cold packs (always wrapped in a towel) may be applied to the injured area. You can do this while the dog is in your care, and/or you can suggest that their owner do this.

Note: NEVER apply heat to a newly injured area! This can inflame the injury and possibly make things worse. If heat is to be applied, it should be done later on in the healing process.

Should your client’s dog already be showing signs of a sprain or fracture when first brought to you, ask the client how long they’ve been showing these symptoms. If it’s been more than 24 hours, it’s likely best to reschedule the grooming appointment, so that the dog can be taken to a vet immediately.

If the dog sustains the injury during their appointment with you, always ensure to communicate this openly with your client. This is something they need to know!

2 – Ingestion of Toxins

The key to a dog’s heart is often times through food – and dogs will try to eat just about anything!

As a certified pet groomer, your work space is home to toxic products like cleaning supplies, pest control supplies, etc. You may have decorated the salon with certain types of plants. Maybe you’ve been fighting a cold, and have medication nearby. You’ll also often be bringing the dog into contact with shampoos, conditioners, flea treatments, etc.

Although the products you’ll use on a dog are specifically engineered to be safe, it doesn’t mean they can safely ingest them. If a dog swallows something he shouldn’t, this can be a potentially life-threatening matter!

Typical Symptoms

  • Lethargic and/or confused behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The severity of the symptoms can depend on how toxic the substance is, and how much has been ingested. Prolonged toxin ingestion can become so severe that the dog may begin passing blood in their urine, experiencing appetite loss, developing tremors, and even having a full-blown seizure.

Treatment

Should your client ever bring in a dog displaying signs of toxin ingestion, reschedule the grooming appointment and advise them to consult a veterinarian immediately!

If the dog is in your care at the time of toxin ingestion, the first step is to remain calm. If you panic, it’ll only make the situation worse. Start by ensuring that if there’s still anything in the dog’s mouth, you remove it right away. If necessary, you can also seek out your personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and eye-wear.

Locate a phone and call a professional for medical advice. You can contact a regular vet, a 24-hour emergency number, or (if located in North America) the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) hotline.

Tell them exactly what the dog has ingested, and they will be able to advise you of next step measures. This may involve safely inducing vomiting, or bringing the dog directly to the veterinarian.

3 – Wounds and Cuts

Working with sharp objects, it’s bound to happen that once in a while, a dog may get nicked. Don’t worry, this isn’t an automatic reflection of you being a poor groomer. This happens even to the best of groomers!

After all, you’re working with a living, breathing animal. Animals can sometime react unexpectedly, which can cause an accident. As we’ve said before, it’s all about how you respond to the situation that matters most.

Typical Symptoms

  • Recoiling in pain
  • Yelping or vocalizing that something has just hurt them
  • Blood

Treatment

Wounds and cuts can range from minor to severe, depending on how deep the injury is and where it’s located. Minor wounds don’t necessarily need to be seen by a veterinarian, so long as it’s dealt with right away, doesn’t risk infection, and doesn’t impose any fatal risk to the dog.

If the wound is bleeding, tend to it in a timely manner. If the blood flow is extremely light, apply direct pressure until it stops. Styptic powder, Vaseline, or a cold compress can also be applied to the wounded area, so long as bleeding is minor. Carefully clip away any hair immediately surrounding the affliction. You can then flush it out with a saline solution, or a diluted, non-stinging antiseptic.

If the wound is more serious, the dog may need to see a vet ASAP.

Regardless of the seriousness of the affliction, always make sure to tell your client. They may need to continue certain safety measures at home, or seek further medical assistance. At the very least, NOT telling them is a guaranteed way to put your business and reputation at risk.

Remember: your number one priority is always the safety and well-being of your client’s pooch. Your client needs to know that they can trust you. This is the key to a successful grooming career!

All of the above protocols are ones you will be thoroughly taught during your dog grooming course, as you earn your pet grooming certification. As you can see, ample understanding of dog afflictions – and how to correctly treat them – are critical to a successful career as a groomer!

This, of course, is only just the tip of the iceberg. As you work your way through your grooming training, you’ll discover plenty more common afflictions, along with proper knowledge for handling them. By the time you’re reading to enter the working world, you’ll be prepared for anything that may come your way!

Want to earn a DOUBLE pet grooming certification? Enroll today in QC’s leading international Dog Grooming Course, and receive our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE!

Why “Flooding” Can Hurt Your Pet Grooming Business

Imagine: you’re locked in a room with the one thing that scares you most. Your fight-of-flight instinct has kicked in, your anxiety is through the roof, and all you naturally want is to get out of there. Except you don’t have the key for the door, and you have no way of knowing when you’ll be let out. All you can do is stay there, while that thing that terrifies you inches closer, and put up with it.

Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it? If anything, this sounds like a total nightmare.

Believe it or not, this thought experiment forms the basic idea of what’s known as “flooding”. Flooding is a “technique” used by some to essentially try and cure a frightened dog. Notice how I put the word technique into quotations. That’s very much intentional.

As you’re about to see, respectable dog groomers (and even just people in general) consider flooding to be a legitimate training “technique” about as much as they’d consider kicking a disobedient dog to be one, too. That is to say, it’s not a proper technique at all.

In reality, flooding can be a very dangerous practice. It not only puts the dog itself at risk, it also poses a threat to other dogs nearby, other people, and even you!

So, if you’re a certified dog groomer, heed our warning. Never implement flooding as a practice within your pet grooming business. It could wind up destroying your entire reputation.

What is Flooding?

We looked at an example above, but let’s get a little more literal. Sometimes, you’re going to encounter clients who bring a difficult dog for you to groom. When I say difficult, I mean that for whatever reason, they’re not entirely willing to be there.

They may have anxiety, be frightened, or show aggression. For certain dogs, the main trigger for these negative emotions could be having clippers used on them. Maybe they weren’t desensitized to the clippers when they were a puppy. Maybe a prior incident caused an injury and they now have a phobia of the clippers.

Whatever the reason is, they’re now on edge, and their state might make it hard for you to properly groom them. So, what do you do?

The uneducated groomer might choose to enact the concept of flooding at this point. The idea behind flooding is that you take a dog who’s afraid of clippers, and literally clip them nonstop regardless of their reaction. Such a stressful situation will result in the dog’s senses becoming flooded (hence the term).

Once time has passed and nothing bad has happened, the scared dog will come to realize that the thing they fear (i.e. clippers) doesn’t actually pose them any harm. Therefore, they can relax, submit to their surroundings, and function optimally in that environment now.

This is the theory, anyway. In a perfect world, flooding might make sense. The thing is, in the REAL world, it doesn’t work like that. When a dog “submits” when being flooded, what’s actually happening is that they’ve just completely shut down. A flooded dog is incapable of learning. At best, the dog will “shut down” during that session and will have a worse reaction to the clippers on the next groom.

Unfortunately, the consequences of flooding can often be severe.

The Consequences of Flooding

Have you ever heard the saying that if you put any dog in a corner, no matter if he’s vicious or not, he’s going to bite back?

This is one of the primary concerns when it comes to flooding, but it’s far from the only danger.

Here are just some of questions you need to consider in the “scared of clippers” example above:

  • What if the scared dog acts on that fight-or-flight instinct, and lunges at you or the clippers themselves?
  • What if the dog tries to escape and ends up hanging themselves on the grooming loop?
  • What if someone tries to intervene to help you, only to get bitten in self-defense?
  • What if the other dogs in the room get triggered by the scared dog’s outburst?
  • What if the outburst causes damage to any of your pet grooming business’s equipment?
  • What if the scared dog’s coping mechanism to this unwanted situation is even more psychologically damaging for them?
  • Could it lead to prolonged health problems for that dog, such as heightened, chronic anxiety?

These are all viable concerns when it comes to the idea of flooding. They’ve happened before, and they’ll happen again. As this is the industry you’ve chosen to devote your career to, we’re willing to bet that the LAST thing you want is for any of your client’s dogs to be hurt, be it physically or even psychologically.

Flooding poses this risk.

Not to mention that if ANY of these outcomes were to come to fruition, this can ruin your pet grooming business and professional reputation beyond repair.

For starters, any injuries as a result of your decision to implement flooding could result in a potential lawsuit. Beyond that, though, you’re demonstrating a lack of education. You’d be essentially showing your clients that you don’t properly understand dog behavior, nor do you know the proper ways to address it.

Worse yet, they’d walk away with the belief that they can’t trust you to put their dog’s safety and needs first. This is the kind of impression that’s likely to spread like wildfire – and it makes sense. After all, would YOU want to put the life of your furry best friend in the hands of someone who’s proven themselves capable of such negligence?

Alternate Approaches

Let’s circle back to the original issue. If your client brings in a dog who’s triggered by the clippers and their emotional state makes grooming impossible, something will still need to be done. If not flooding, then what?

Luckily, there are plenty of other options available to you. For starters, you can rely on your dog behavior and temperament training that your accredited dog grooming course would have provided you. By being able to spot the right signs and signals, you can act immediately and find healthy ways to help defuse any negative situations before they even occur.

Maybe it’s a matter of getting the dog used to the presence of clippers slowly over several visits.  Maybe it’s a matter of taking more time with this specific dog, and stopping any time it starts to show signs of stress.  Maybe if he’s food motivated, you can gently coax him to accept the clippers while licking peanut butter off a spoon.

You can also communicate the dog’s needs with your client. As the industry expert, you can provide helpful guidance, tips, and general advice for things they can look further into once back at home. For instance, you can stress the importance and effectiveness of positive reinforcement training.

Depending on the severity of the dog’s trauma and/or behavior, rehabilitation under the guidance of trained professionals may be a possible recommendation, too. Most clients will be thrilled for this guidance and will happily participate in helping you help their dog!

These are all just examples, of course. The right approach will depend on the dog and their owner. The longer you’re around the dog, the better your understanding of him will be. You may not know the right course of action the first moment you meet him, but you’ll likely be much more informed by the end of the very first grooming session!

At the end of the day, always do your best to operate your pet grooming business with your client and their dog at the forefront of your mind. The safety of the pup is your most important priority. So long as you always act in a way that honors this, you – and your pet grooming business – will experience many successful years, with a long and happy list of clients!

Haven’t earned your dog groomer certification yet? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

5 Ways Pet Grooming School Teaches You to Understand Dog Behavior

As a groomer, the importance of properly understanding dog behavior cannot be stated enough. After all, your client is quite literally trusting you with their pet. It’s your job is to not only tend to little Fluffy and provide a service, but to do so within an environment that best supports her overall health and safety.

If you don’t understand dog behavior, there’s no way you can guarantee this. Rather, you’ll be grossly unprepared in the presence of anything other than a happy, cooperating pup.

If you’re thinking of becoming a professional groomer, you’re likely already researching into a pet grooming school that can provide you with adequate training, hands-on experience, and an accredited certification. This is definitely a smart move!

But don’t forget to make sure that said school also takes the time to teach you about dog behavior and temperament, too. Developing a thorough knowledge of both is what will truly help you thrive and have a successful career!

In case you need a little more convincing, let’s break down some of biggest ways pet grooming school can help you best understand what your furry client is feeling…

1 – You’ll learn common dog behaviors

A reputable pet grooming school will make sure you graduate from your program with a solid understanding of what a dog is trying to communicate to you in a given situation. Primarily, you’ll discover how to identify the differences between:

  • Natural behaviors (e.g. sitting down, barking, jumping up, etc.)
  • Reactive behaviors (e.g. growling, panting, piloerection, etc.)
  • Threatening behaviors (e.g. snarling, baring teeth, snapping, etc.)
  • Aggressive behaviors (e.g. lunging, biting, etc.)
  • Displacement behaviors (e.g. yawning, shaking, licking lips, etc.)
  • Avoidance behaviors (e.g. avoiding your gaze, ears pinned sideways or back, hiding, etc.)
  • Compulsive behaviors (e.g. pacing, chasing tail, chewing, etc.)

Your course will not only delve more deeply into what each of these behavior categories are; it’ll also teach you where it comes from. As a groomer, it’s not enough just to be able to know that a dog is behaving a certain way – you need to comprehend why.

2 – You’ll be taught dog learning theories

To build off what we just discussed, a key element to knowing why a dog behaves the way he does is to understand the ways in which he could have learned this behavior.

Dogs begin acquiring knowledge from a very young age. Just like with humans, their personal experiences often play a direct role in shaping how they do things. They also tend to heavily affect their reactions to the environment around them.

The different learning theories for training a dog can be broken down into types of “conditioning”. Pet grooming school will ensure to teach these to you! Two of the methods you’ll study up on are:

  • Classical/Pavlovian Conditioning – Using an unconditioned stimulus to evoke an unconditioned response, and then pairing it with a conditioned stimulus so that the dog learns to associate the two together
  • Operant Conditioning – Using positive and negative reinforcement as means to promote learning

In addition, you’ll also learn the pros and cons of these types of learning theories. For instance, while Operant Conditioning is useful if focusing on positive reinforcements, it can also be catastrophic if the opposite is the case.

Negative reinforcement can potentially lead to a nervous, aggressive dog – specifically if they experienced any type of violence, such as being hit by their owner.

I’m a firm believer that no dog is inherently a “bad dog”. Rather, I believe that some dogs have bad behaviors. The thing is, those behaviors came from somewhere, and it’s not really the dog’s fault.

As a professional groomer, you’re going to come into contact with dogs that exhibit bad behaviors.

It’s important that you keep in mind why they’re doing what they’re doing, and what the trigger for them may have been. This will better allow you to assess the situation and determine the best course of actions for you to take in response.

3 – You’ll discover useful teaching methods

No, your job as a groomer is not to train your clients’ dogs for them! But as the expert, you can help point your clients in the right direction. The way you become an expert in the first place?

That’s right: through pet grooming school! (Surprised? Didn’t think so.)

Luring, shaping, targeting, capturing, and modeling are all terms you’ll become well acquainted with. They’re also the most frequent teaching methods for dogs. Your grooming course will break down what each one is, and how to utilize them successfully.

In the event that you’re working on a dog with a few misguided habits, you can use it as an opportunity to try correcting that behavior while she is in your care. Afterwards, you can always provide some guidance to her owner, regarding any teaching tips and advice you recommend they try when at home.

4 – You’ll realize why ‘Dominance Theory’ doesn’t work

Ever seen the movie, Snow Dogs? Well, there’s a very memorable scene in which Cuba Gooding Jr. bites the alpha male’s ear, to assure his dominance as the pack leader. He does this because he was told to by a dog expert, essentially claiming it would make any unruly dog fall into line and follow his command.

In reality, what this character did was beyond stupid. Never try this. It can get you really, really hurt. Also, it doesn’t accomplish anything.

This is just one example of what is called the ‘Dominance Theory’. According to Dominance Theory, a dog will inherently misbehave because she is trying to assert herself as the alpha. The only way to teach them to obey you is to literally show them that YOU are the true alpha. Unfortunately, the measures taken are typically violent in nature.

A reputable pet grooming school will debunk this myth and reveal to you why this theory is in fact false. Just like with Operant Conditioning, this method of training will more often than not result in a dog frequently feels:

  • Scared
  • Threatened
  • Or aggressive

How does this directly affect you? Chances are, you’ll come across a fair share of dogs in the span of your career who have been trained by the Dominance Theory method. The way they’ve been raised by their owner may impact the way they act towards you.

Therefore, you need to know how to appropriately handle the situation, whether that’s finding the right way to calm the dog, or declining service altogether. How you handle it will be up to you – but you’ll be equipped to make that informed decision thanks to the education you received from pet grooming school.

5 – You’ll become a pro at reading a dog

If dogs could talk, your job would be a lot easier. Since they can’t, you’ll need to understand what signals to watch out for. They are the dog’s way of telling you how she’s feeling.

By being able to spot the right signs, you can cater to the dog’s needs. In some cases, you’ll even be able to diffuse a stressful situation before it even begins.

In particularly, pet grooming school will teach you all about calming signals. You’ll learn what they are, why a dog exhibits them, and even how you can use them to gain a dog’s trust!

You’ll also learn what’s known as the Five F’s:

  1. Fight
  2. Flight
  3. Freeze
  4. Faint
  5. Fool Around

Together, they encompass the five instinctive responses any dog can have to a situation. By gaining a mastery of the Five F’s, you’ll be better prepared to handle whatever unexpected scenario that may arise on the job!

Final thoughts

Of course, there is a LOT more valuable information about dog behavior… but then we’d be here all night! At the end of the day, the single greatest way to gain this knowledge is by enrolling in a pet grooming school. Only there can you receive training from dog grooming experts, and truly become an expert.

So, what are you waiting for? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course today, and graduate in as little as 3-6 months!

8 Tricks to Acing Your Dog Grooming Interview

So, you’ve just graduated from your dog grooming course and earned your professional certification… Congratulations! You’re now armed with all the knowledge, passion, and drive you’ll need to become an amazing dog groomer.

Now all you have to do now is get started! But this might sound easier said than done. The real question is: how do you become a dog groomer from here?

While many groomers choose to start their own businesses, others prefer the added security of working at an existing salon. Both are excellent options! That being said, working in a salon is especially great when you’re first starting out. A good dog grooming salon offers a more practical way to get your foot in the door.

Of course, that brings us to the scary part: you’ll first have to impress future bosses at an interview!

Preparing for a dog grooming interview is similar to interviewing for any other job, but there are a few key tips and tricks that will set you apart from the other groomers. Read on to discover what they are!

Dress to Impress

You probably already know that it’s always a good idea to show up to a job interview looking professional and put-together. However, there are some different guidelines you can use if you’re interviewing for a dog grooming position!

Keep in mind that, as a dog groomer, you’ll need to dress comfortably. There’s no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars for clothes that are going to be covered in dog hair! For a dog grooming interview, you should wear something that feels comfortable, without being too casual. For instance, unripped jeans are usually fine!

As a general rule, you should aim to be slightly dressier than the employees.

Show Your Passion

What’s the difference between a good dog groomer and a great one? Passion for the job!

Learning how to become a dog groomer will teach you what to do – but a genuine love of the craft can only come from within. When you love what you do, clients (and managers) will take notice.

A good dog groomer knows all the terms, handles the equipment well, and is good with clients. A great groomer knows the dogs by name, understands breed standards, and brings genuine happiness to their job!

During your interview, feel free to speak about your experience with dogs – even your family pets – and about how working as a groomer would make you feel.

Demonstrate Knowledge

With so many breeds and so many different kinds of clients, groomers need to know a LOT! When it comes to learning how to become a dog groomer, reputable grooming courses are the perfect first step to gaining that know-how.

Once you pair that with real-world experience, you’ve got a winning combination that any interviewer will appreciate!

Think about a few examples of dogs you’ve groomed, or classes you’ve taken, that you can share with your interviewer. Having stories like these are especially great if they demonstrate that you are flexible, caring, and hard-working.

After all, these are all traits perfectly suited to groomers!

Get Technical

One of the best ways to show off all that know-how you’ve gathered from your dog grooming course is by using industry terms to describe your work. For example, you may be asked:

  • Whether you have experience with nervous or aggressive dogs
  • If you know how to avoid clipper rash
  • The types of products or tools you would use in a certain situation, etc.

These are all ways for your interviewer to make sure you know your stuff. So, if you have the chance to go into detail, take full advantage of it. The more you discuss, and the more groomer terminology you properly use, the more the interviewer will see both your experience and expertise!

Come Prepared

Nearly every interview ends with the same question: Do you have any questions for ME?

Your answer should always, always be yes! Come to your interview with your inquiries on-hand. For instance, you can ask about:

  • The salon’s clients
  • The work environment
  • The day-to-day operation of the salon
  • Or anything else you’d like to know about

Remember: a job interview is a two-way street. You’re trying to decide whether you’d like to work there, just as much as they’re trying to see if you’d be a good fit!

It’s also a good idea to do some research on websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed beforehand. Often, previous applicants (and sometimes even current employees) will write about their interview experience.

This is especially great if you’re feeling nervous about the interview. You’ll be able to get a feel for what the experience will be like, and what you can expect to get out of it.

What Will They Ask?

It’s natural that before any job interview, you may have some nervousness about the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Here are a few of the most common question, along with a few tips to put your best answers forward:

  1. How do you avoid being bitten or scratched?
  • This question is really asking you to tell the interviewer about your manner with dogs. Have you been in situations with aggressive and/or nervous dogs before? Do you panic when the pressure is on, or calmly reassess the situation?
  1. What made you decide to be a dog groomer?
  • Here, the interviewer is looking to see your passion. Tell them all about how much you love animals, and the dog grooming industry in particular!
  1. How do you avoid injury to the dogs while grooming?”
  • The interviewer will need to know – for everyone’s sake – that you understand how to properly operate grooming tools. They’ll also want to see that you understand the best practices involved with them.

Stake it Out!

If you have a dog yourself, maybe you’re familiar with the salon because it’s your best friend’s salon of choice! If that’s the case, you already have an advantage: you’ve seen this specific environment before.

You may even have a general idea about how it works, and who the employees are there. While you shouldn’t expect special treatment, and should always keep things professional, this is often a great jumping-off point for your interview.

What to Avoid

Of course, no matter what the position is, there are a few things you should always avoid during an interview, too!

Interviewers will be on the lookout for people who:

  • Lack communication skills
  • Lack the dedication needed to become a dog groomer
  • Seem jittery around dogs
  • Don’t have a solid grasp of grooming terms, practices, tools, and general knowledge
  • Don’t demonstrate an understanding of animal behavior

This means no complaining about how badly behaved your dog is, or flinching away from the toy poodle being groomed during your interview!

As long as you can show the interviewer that you’re comfortable around dogs, know how to keep them (and yourself) safe, and understand the technical side of dog grooming, nailing your interview should be a piece of cake.

No matter how much schooling and training you get in your journey to become a dog groomer, it’ll always seem scary to jump into a new career! Trust us, we get it.

After all, dog grooming is all about people placing their trust in you to look after their best friends! No pressure or anything.

Thankfully, a little preparation can go a LONG way! When you combine the skills and knowledge you’ve learned through a dog grooming certification, with your own passion and professionalism, there’s no limit to what you can achieve in your grooming career!

If you’re ready to take the first step and become a dog groomer, click here to find out more about QC’s leading online grooming certification!

5 Ways to Get More Clients for Your Dog Grooming Business

With social distancing still in effect, your work flow may be a little slower than usual right now. But eventually, things are going to go back to normal. When that happens, plenty of pet owners are going to want to get their dogs groomed!

How can you capitalize on this so that you can hit the ground running, increase your bookings, and gain an even larger clientele than you had pre-pandemic?

Simple: use this time at home to start planning ahead! There are tons of great marketing strategies at your disposal; capable of increasing your business’s visibility and overall appeal. So, let’s look at a few of them.

This way, once work picks back up again, you can immediately begin booking more clients for your dog grooming business!

1. Create a Customer Referral Program

Even though we live in a technological age, never underestimate the power of good, old-fashioned word of mouth. There are plenty of potential customers out there who can be reached by leveraging the network of clients you currently have.

A Customer Referral Program is a relatively simple concept: current (or past) clients will recommend your services to people they know. If it results in a new client booking with you, the client who recommended your business receives some sort of reward.

What the reward entails is entirely up to you! It could be a discount on their next grooming appointment, a discount for products you sell as part of your business, a complimentary service, etc. The important thing is that it gives your current clients some sort of incentive to spread the word about your dog grooming business!

2. Develop Promotional Products, Contests, and Giveaways

It’s just a fact that people love free stuff. Who doesn’t, right? So, why not spin this in a way that brings more exposure to your dog grooming business?

One way you can do this is by producing your own line of promotional products that can be given to clients as a complimentary gift. Clients can receive them as a ‘thank you’ for purchasing your grooming services! Importantly, the item (whatever it is) will have your brand/logo clearly visible on them.

This merchandise doesn’t need to be anything overly fancy, either! Here are a few fun little examples of what they can be:

  • T-Shirts
  • Keychains
  • Drinkware
  • Reusable bags
  • Doggy loot bags

That being said, you can go as far as you want with this idea! For instance, if you have the budget, you can always expand on the t-shirt idea, and create multiple items of clothing articles that bare your business name/logo.

Another way you can promote your business through complimentary products is by holding contests and giveaways for your clients. For example, clients can be encouraged to share the contest/giveaway post across their social media, and then one of them will be selected at random and receive a free prize.

You, as the business owner, benefit from this marketing strategy because the more interested clients spread the word about the promo, the more exposure your dog grooming business is getting to the public.

Yes, when it comes to any sort of promotional product, you’re going to be investing money into something you’d be giving away for free. But as a result, your clients will likely use them (which could cause someone else to see it and then inquire about your business).

At the very least, it could serve as that little extra touch that elevates your client’s overall experience. This can make them far more likely to gush about your awesome dog grooming business to people they know… and this is NEVER a bad thing!

3. Improve Your Online Presence

Now, if you don’t already have a foundation for your online presence, this is where you should start. Build a professional website for your business, and create social media channels across various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

Because we live in such a tech-heavy age, having some sort of online presence is critical. Not many businesses these days can be overly successful without it.

If you’re at the beginning stages of your career, the importance of having a strong website, and at least one social media channel, cannot be stressed enough!

Should you already have these things set up already, it’s always worth it to revisit your marketing strategies, and see what can be improved upon. With regards to your website, comb through each page and ask yourself:

  • Do all the links still work?
  • Has everything been properly spell-checked?
  • Is all the information up-to-date and relevant?
  • Does my website accurately reflect my business’s branding?
  • Do my images look as professional as they could be?
  • Is there additional content I could/should be adding?
  • What else can I add to my site that would be beneficial?
    • Examples of this could be starting a blog, setting up an email campaign, adding a section for clients to book appointments online, etc.

For your social media, you should consider:

  • Do my social media channels consistently reflect my overall business brand?
  • Am I posting the right kinds of content?
  • Should I be posting more (or less) frequently?
  • Am I scheduling my posts to be published at optimal traffic times?
  • Am I interacting enough with my followers?
  • Am I consistently responding to comments, questions, and concerns in a timely fashion?
  • If not, what can I do to improve on this?
  • What other types of content could I focus on posting?
  • Are there other popular platforms that I should expand my social media presence onto?
  • Am I standing out from the competition?
  • If not, what could I do to achieve this?

As you can see, there is LOTS to consider when approaching your online marketing strategies. Similarly, there is always ample room to improve! Simply focusing on this alone will give you days’ (even weeks’) worth of work to focus on!

Note: You can take this one step further by offering any of these specialty treatments as a discounted or complimentary service for first-time clients, when they purchase a groom!

Offers geared towards first-time clients is another excellent marketing strategy to drum in new business!

5. Earn your dog grooming certification

This is DEFINITELY a way to help you stand out from the competition! Believe it or not, there are still plenty of places in the world that don’t actually require dog groomers to have any form of certification, licensing, or even training.

Honestly, this is crazy to us! Given that the very nature of your job involves being responsible for a dog’s well-being and safety, professional training and certification are absolutely things you should have.

Otherwise, how can you confident ensure for your client that their dog is in the safest possible hands?

Trust us: if a client has the option between booking with someone who has no formal background in grooming, versus a true expert who’s put in the time and effort to learn the craft, they will ALWAYS choose the latter.

Plus, if you’re passionate about your dog grooming business, you’ll want to be the best possible groomer you can be! The only tried-and-true, most fulfilling way you can do this is through accredited dog grooming courses.

So, what are you waiting for? QC Pet Studies’ leading online Dog Grooming Course will let you start your studies right now, from the comfort of your very own home!

By the time social distancing has been lifted, you could be armed with your very own International Dog Grooming Professional (IDGP) certification, and take the world of dog grooming by storm!

Keep reading for 5 MORE tips to bettering your dog grooming business and booking more clients!

How to Be a Dog Grooming Salon Manager

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 talks about her experience of becoming a dog groomer salon manager, and provides insight into the typical duties and requirements of this position!

It’s important to first make clear that this topic is heavily subjective. It can mean so many different things for different people! My personal experience as a dog grooming salon manager is exactly that: MY experience. What’s true for me may resonate with many others – but it also might not.

Something that all of us can probably agree on is that being a manager at a dog grooming salon can be great, but it also can be challenging. I’m here to share a little bit about what my roles are, and how I got this position at Off the Leash Inc.

A Little Background

I’ve been with Off the Leash Inc. for almost 3 years now. To me, that’s crazy, because time has just flown by! When I started at the shop, I was only its 2nd employee (not counting my boss). The shop was always steady, with grooming appointments coming and going. We also ran a little daycare program for pups, in the back of the building.

I started out in the doggy daycare. I loved playing with the dogs and hanging out. But I wanted to do MORE! I had goals of interacting with clients and helping with the actual grooming process. So I became a bather, and frequently helped my boss with bathing and prepping dogs.

My boss has been grooming for years. She showed me the ropes before I even considered getting my dog grooming certification.

By working more in the front-end of things, seeing clients, and interacting with their dogs, I got really familiar with many of our customers. They started trusting me more and more with their pets, and even started asking me to do their nails or bath them.

So when it came time to do my dog grooming certification and work with dogs for my video assignment submissions, I had plenty of options for different pups to use!

To be frank, there wasn’t really a specific moment where my boss, Kayla, sat me down and asked to be the manager. Over time, I’d gotten to know her really well. We have a lot of the same views and similar work ethics, so things just sort of fell into place.

We were starting to get new employees, and Kayla couldn’t always be at the shop. She realized that she trusted me enough to keep the place going when she wasn’t there. It was a mutual fit, for both parties.

I’m super fortunate to have this title, but I don’t see it as just ‘being the manager’. If the girls need anything, want to chat, ask something, or inquire about any type of situation, they always know they can come to me with anything. They don’t have to be nervous about talking to ‘the manager’.

Typical Duties

Being the manager of a grooming salon comes with responsibilities. To take you through a ‘typical day’ would be so hard because it is always different. Always! No 2 days are the same, and that’s what I love about it.

However, some of my standard managerial tasks include:

  • Talking to difficult/unhappy clients
  • Writing monthly emails for our clients
  • Approving time off/vacation requests and tracking sick leave
  • Constantly brainstorming ways to better the shop
  • Researching new products and grooming tools
  • Handling employee mishaps, conflict, etc.

Typically, these tasks are not always frequent, but they are recurring. With time and experience, you become more familiar (and better) at handling each challenge.

Dealing with Unhappy Clients

This responsibility in particular is a major part of being a salon manager. Always remember that you have to try and see the issue from their point of view. You’re the professional. To the best of your ability, you have to try and understand the client’s perspective, and then do what you can to make the situation better.

If, for instance, your client doesn’t like the grooming job you did, you can offer to fix it or give them a deal the next time they’re in. Even though they’re unhappy in the current moment, you’re still giving them incentive to continue doing business with you in the future.

Maybe their issue is with some other aspect of the salon, such as (in our case) the doggy daycare. Perhaps their dog got a scratch on them, which can be pretty common when dogs are playing together. In my personal experience, we would then offer to bath their dog for free, or something to that effect.

It all comes down to making the clients happy! That being said, clients also need to know that when it comes to animals, things sometimes just happen. Do what you can to appease the client, but also make sure that everyone stays realistic.

Social Marketing

Another important area that grooming salon managers need to focus on is the marketing practices we put in place for the shop. Marketing helps us get our name out there, bring in a larger clientele, and keep regular contact with our current customers.

One very common way of marketing your business is through social media.

For example, at Off the Leash Inc., we send out monthly emails to our clients. These emails consist of a bunch of things and various topics. They also change from month to month, to keep the news we’re providing current and fresh.

With these monthly emails, we aim to let clients know of any deals going on that month at the shop, if there’s a running promotion, new products for purchase, etc. We also let them know if there’s something special taking place that month in the world of dog care.

Last month, for instance, was dental awareness month. So we made sure to highlight that and the importance of taking care of a dog’s teeth!

Sometimes, we put a ‘Dog of the Month’ in our monthly email as well! We find this to be a fun little thing that the girls working in doggy daycare do for the pups and their owners!

As you can see, my duties and responsibilities as a dog grooming salon manager are endless. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have a blast at work and, hey, I’m surrounded by dogs all day! What could be better?

Do YOU want to work your way up to being a dog grooming salon manager, like Casey? Start by earning your dog grooming certification, and enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming Course today!

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!

Improve Your Dog Grooming Speed with These 10 Tips

As a professional dog groomer, there’s a LOT involved in your day-to-day responsibilities. With so many things to do, it can become all too easy to lose valuable time during a groom. What can you do to shave off a few precious minutes here and there, so you can devote that time to the things that really matter?

We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 tips to help you increase your grooming speed and efficiency, without sacrificing quality!

1. Know your grooming tools

This sounds like common knowledge, but let’s be fair: a groomer needs a lot of different tools to do their job. As a newbie, remembering what each one does and how to use them properly can be a bit tricky. This is why dog grooming classes are so essential! Not only does proper education thoroughly teach you what everything is, but you get hands-on training, too!

On top of dog grooming classes, another way to help your speed when unsure about your tools is to simply ask a colleague. If you work in a salon or with a team, remember: these people are always there to help!

2. Maintain your grooming tools

Once you know your tools inside and out, the next order of business is making sure you always take the best proper care of them. The greatest clippers in the world will still be useless if they’re unsanitary, rusted, or broken in any way. Ensure to clean your tools regularly, and inspect them often so you always know whenever something needs to be replaced.

3. Establish a routine for yourself

It’s all about repetition! Yes, not all grooming jobs will be the same, because not all dogs or breeds will require the same work. But it’s a proven fact that the more often you do something, the better you’ll become at it. Dog grooming classes will lay down the foundation of your knowledge in grooming techniques and different dog breeds.

Then, once you start getting hands-on experience in the professional world, you’ll begin picking up on what different things are required when working with a particular type of dog. Once you find an effective grooming routine that works for you, stick with it – maintaining that routine will only improve your skills AND your grooming speed!

4. Stay focused

On even a well-maintained dog, there can be a lot to do. But let’s just say you’re dealing with a client whose pooch really needs a proper cleaning and makeover. Your to-do list just got longer! Now you may find yourself getting flustered and losing track of what you’re doing.

The result is that you’ll find yourself ‘dancing’ around the grooming table; jumping from one thing to another in a disorderly fashion. If you find yourself in this position, you need to stop and take a breath. Center yourself and regain focus.

Work on one thing at a time, without becoming distracted and moving to something else before you’ve finished. The more organized your grooming process is, the less time it’ll eat up.

5. Be more systematic with your tools

Sometimes, when giving Fluffy a haircut, you may notice you have a tendency to switch around your blades. Like, a lot. The time it takes to constantly do this will add up fast! Instead, you can make the process much quicker if you stick to one blade, cover all the needed areas with it, and then move to a different blade once you’re all finished.

This practice obviously can’t be done in every area of the grooming process, but for the ones where it can, you’ll be amazed at how much faster it makes you!

6. When possible, bathe first

If you have a dog with really long hair that’s just going to be chopped off anyways, it may be faster to give him a bath before you do any pre-working. Another instance where you can bathe the dog first is if it’s already a short-haired breed.

Not to mention, clean fur is easier to work with in general. It’s less harsh on your grooming equipment, and much more sanitary. Using your blades on dirty hair can increase the dog’s chances of irritation, or worse, even infection. Nobody wants that!

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you work at a grooming salon, or have a team employed within your own business, don’t hesitate to ask for an extra body when necessary. Some dogs experience high anxiety at the groomers. Others may show signs of aggression.

Trying to groom a difficult dog will understandably take more time than working with one that’s laid back. Doing the job alone might make things more challenging – and definitely slower. Having another professional there to help keep the dog feeling safe, and perhaps to assist with the groom, is an excellent alternative.

8. Try not to be your own worst critic

When it comes to passing judgement, we’re always toughest on ourselves. One very common place where dog groomers lose time is hyper-focusing on every single detail and losing the ability to see the results objectively. You may find you have a common habit of finishing something, critiquing it too much, and then going back and trying to make it better.

To some degree, this type of self-discipline is great to have as a groomer. There will be times when you should go back in and touch things up. But in reality, there are probably things that are perfectly fine as is, and don’t need any more time or attention. Being too obsessive over being perfect 100% of the time is a habit that can really hurt your grooming speed overall.

9. Help teach your clients

Dog grooming classes help make you a certified expert in your field. You can use that knowledge to help educate your clients. No, we’re not expecting you to go overboard and run your own tutoring sessions. (Though, hey, if you want to, have at it!) But you’d be amazed how much easier – and quicker – your job can be when dogs come to you already in pretty good condition.

There’s a level of responsibility every owner has when it comes to maintaining their pup’s health. Based on the dog’s breed and needs, taking a few minutes to help their owner understand what they can (and should) be doing at home will mean that you don’t always have to start from ground zero every time they come back.

10. Always clean up at the end of the day

If you don’t, you’ll have no choice but to do it first thing the next day, which will set you back in your daily schedule. Not to mention, NOT cleaning up each day is highly unsanitary. But a tidy, sanitized work station and set of grooming tools at the end of each day will mean that your next day can get started right away!

Do you have any other tips for increasing your grooming speed? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course today and become a certified professional in 2020!