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Education

How to Groom a Poodle: A Crash Course

groom a poodle feature image

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

Grooming a Poodle: Breeding Standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Challenges of Grooming a Poodle

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

  • Kennel Clip
  • Bikini Clip
  • Modern Clip

The Tools You’ll Need

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

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

How to Groom a Poodle: A Walkthrough

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

The Face

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

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

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

groom a poodle female groomer trimming black poodle's coat

The Feet

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

The Tail

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

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

The Top Knot

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

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

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

white poodle with top knot

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

All About Double Coats

dogs with double coats feature image

If you’re lucky, your grooming career will allow you to interact with all types of dogs. From big and small, to prized show dogs to beloved family pets, and everything in-between – you’ll be getting up close and personal with more dog breeds than you can name.

While you likely know already that not all dog coats are the same, you might not fully understand the intricacies of dog coats. Perhaps you aren’t sure what the difference is between a single coat and a double coat. Maybe you aren’t sure which coats you’ll typically be working with throughout your career.

Luckily, we’re here to help!

Today, we’re going to be looking at the double coat. If you aren’t sure what a double coat is, how to groom it, or how to tell if the dog you’re working on has a double coat in the first place, read on to learn everything you need to know!

What is a Double Coat?

Broadly speaking, dogs’ coats can be divided into two categories: single and double coats. A single coat is pretty self-explanatory; it’s when a dog has just one layer of fur. You’ll find single coats on many breeds, such as:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Maltese
  • Poodles
  • Soft-coated wheaten terriers

A double coat, as you may have guessed, describes a dog with two layers of fur on their bodies. It’s important to know that there isn’t one particular type of fur that automatically indicates the presence of a double coat. Dogs can have curly, smooth, or wiry hair and still have either a single or double coat.

However, there are still clear ways to tell if a dog has a double coat. Double coats consist of a dense, short undercoat located beneath a top coat of longer fur (known as “guard hairs”).

Dogs with double coats may look very fluffy, like a Chow Chow, or wiry, like a Shiba Inu.

The Purpose of Double Coats

Double coats protect dogs from external elements. A double coat will provide a dog with better protection during particularly hot or cold weather, since the undercoat helps to regulate their temperatures.

As such, it’s typically a safe bet that a dog might have a double coat if their breed comes from a particularly hot or cold climate. For example, an Alaskan Husky would need to be protected from extreme cold.

So, if your dog grooming client were to bring a husky in for their appointment, you could guess – based on the breed alone – that you’ll be dealing with a double coat. (And you’d be correct!)

What Breeds Have Double Coats?

Many different breeds, both common and less-common, have double coats. In general, a dog will appear fluffier the thicker their base coat is. You’ll find this in:

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Chow Chows
  • Newfoundland dogs
  • Pomeranians
  • Great Pyrenees

Many terriers also have double coats. Keep in mind that these dogs’ top coats are usually wiry instead of fluffy. So, they’ll have a totally different look and feel than the dog breeds listed above. You’ll find wiry double coats in:

  • Cairn Terriers
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Parson Russel Terriers
  • Schnauzers

Dogs who were bred to work outdoors in the elements also regularly have double coats. This is because historically, their breeds have needed extra protection for long days at work. Some working dogs with double coats include:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Border Collies
  • German Shepherds
  • All breeds of Sheepdog

Grooming Considerations for Double Coats

Now that you understand how to identify a dog with a double coat, you’ll need to know how to groom one! The grooming process for a dog with a double coat often looks very different to that of a single-coated dog. While some double-coated dogs require extra grooming time and attention, others are much more low-maintenance.

The main difference between a single and double-coated dog is that the latter goes through what’s known as “coat blow.” This is the process of a double-coated dog transitioning between seasonal coats (e.g. preparing to cool down in the summer). The process of a dog blowing their coat involves large clumps of their undercoat shedding all at once. This will allow the dog to be more comfortable once the weather heats up – but it can be a pain for their owners!

The process of coat blow will need to be helped along by regular brushing. You can use a standard brush, or even specialized tools, such as an undercoat rake. The idea is to help remove all of the dog’s undercoat that’s become loose (but may be stuck in the overcoat).

Dogs can also benefit from more regular bathing while they’re blowing their coats. A lot of owners won’t know this, so as the trained expert, it’ll be your job to keep your clients informed. With your guidance, they’ll have a much clearer understanding of what they can do at home to help their dog.

Every day as a dog groomer, you’ll have the chance to get to know different kinds of dogs. Just like a job that introduces you to lots of different types of people, you’ll soon realize that all of them have individual personalities, opinions, and needs! Being able to identify a dog’s coat type is the first step towards ensuring that every dog – and every human – leaves the appointment feeling their best!

Learn even more about dog breeds, coats, and grooming techniques by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming Course today!

How to Deal with Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

dog torn apart couch due to separation anxiety

It’s always a great feeling to come home at the end of the day and have your dog rush up to you. Sometimes, it seems like no matter how long you’re away from home – be it five minutes or five hours – your dog is just as thrilled to see you and always ready to hang out!

If you’ve been working from home lately, a major perk you may have found is that you get to spend all day, every day with your furry best friend. What could possibly be better than taking breaks from your job to spend time with your pup? Plus, you get those sweet dog cuddles on demand!

But with more people working from home this year, some owners have noticed a change in their dogs’ behavior. A dog that used to barely look up from his spot on the couch when you leave is now whining, crying, and making a scene when you so much as glance at your front door.

So, what gives?

If this sounds familiar to you, your dog may be suffering from what’s known as “separation anxiety”. Thankfully, not all hope is lost! You can easily help her gain confidence and overcome separation anxiety with a bit of extra training – for the both of you!

dog staring out the window

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the result of a panic response in your dog when you leave them for a period of time. Some dogs experience this mildly. For example, think about that time you went out for the whole day and came back to discover your dog had destroyed a pillow.

Other dogs, however, experience it in a much more extreme capacity. Dogs with severe separation anxiety will see you leaving the room and react as if you’ve just left the country.

To put it simply: they aren’t happy when you aren’t around.

While it’s great that your dog loves spending time with you so much, it’s easy to see how separation anxiety can quickly become a problem. At some point, you do have to leave the house (even in 2020!). Helping your dog become more comfortable with that is important.

If you aren’t sure whether your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, think about their behavior. Here’s a good question to ask yourself… When you’re away from them, does your pooch do any of the following:

  • Have accidents in the house?
  • Pace back and forth endlessly?
  • Behave destructively (i.e. chewing furniture or clothing)?
  • Bark, whine, or howl excessively?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this is likely how your dog’s separation anxiety is manifesting itself.

dog staring out window

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Any dog can experience separation anxiety, but some breeds do seem to be more predisposed to the condition. For example, labs, shepherds, collies, spaniels, and pointers are working breeds. They’re “people-oriented” by nature, due to how they’ve been bred.

Historically, these dogs are used to always having someone around to tell them what to do. In that same breath, they’re also used to someone always being around to provide love and attention. This can make them especially prone to separation anxiety.

Dogs can be more delicate than we think! Many people believe that rescue dogs, or dogs with a history of abandonment and neglect, can suffer more strongly from separation anxiety. Your dog’s daily routine plays a role in it, too. If your dog is used to you being constantly around, he’ll be more anxious when you aren’t. Routines are important for dogs, so any big changes risk increasing separation anxiety.

You’ve probably been nervous when you go somewhere new and you don’t know what to expect. Well, dogs experience this too! Whether you’re taking them to the vet, doggy daycare, or to the groomer, your dog will almost definitely react to new situations. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to discover that their usually well-behaved dog starts to bark or act defensively at the grooming salon, for example.

Strategies for Separation Anxiety

Your dog will feel calmer if they have a safe space to hang out while you’re gone. If you’ve noticed that your dog’s separation anxiety spikes when you leave the house (and not, for example, when you leave them at the groomer’s or daycare), you can specifically try to make spaces in your house where they feel more comfortable.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends creating a special phrase or action that tells your dog that you’ll be back. Once your dog is used to hearing that phrase, they’ll better understand that you will return soon. This will hopefully help them to feel less anxious.

Some things, as you’ll quickly discover, won’t always work. For instance, crating a dog who isn’t used to being crated is a bad strategy for dealing with separation anxiety. That would just be another big routine change that’ll stress them out more!

Note: That being said, if you’re worried that your dog will wreak havoc upon your home in your absence, consider leaving them in a secure room. If possible, this room should have a window in it. Giving them safe toys and an item of clothing that smells like you can also provide comfort.

Training Yourself to Train Your Dog

Dogs love to follow the leader. So, you should always try to be the best leader you can be for your dog! An unexpected way to help a dog with separation anxiety is to enroll in a dog grooming course. When you practice your new skills on your dog, they’ll become used to the sensations they would experience while visiting the groomer. The sounds and experiences won’t be so different and scary. It can wind up making the appointment much easier!

Training as a dog groomer will also allow you to connect with your dog and be able to identify when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Once you understand how your dog is feeling, you’ll be able to more quickly and easily help them deal with that feeling in a positive way!

While separation anxiety can be stressful for everyone involved, it’s important to remember that your dog will follow your lead. Staying calm, cool, and collected while helping her learn the ins and outs of being by herself will go a long way toward lessening separation anxiety. Whether you’re heading out to run errands, or your dog has a date with the groomer – working on separation anxiety will mean that your dog will spend more time happy, confident, and content.

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course and get our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely free! 

How to Become a Dog Groomer When You’re Introverted

dog groomer cuddling with dog

Do you have a love of dogs, and dreams of revolving your professional career around them? Then you’re in luck! Dog grooming is not only an extremely rewarding career; it also happens to be a perfect path for those of us on the introverted side. Now, if you’re wondering how to become a dog groomer in the first place, never fear. We’ve got all the answers you’re looking for!

Let’s take a look at why dog grooming is such a great profession for introverts – and how you can earn your certification, plus start your own business, in a way that works best for YOU!

What’s an Introvert?

The biggest factor that sets introverts apart from extroverts is how they charge their internal battery. Extroverts thrive best in social settings. Their internal batteries tend to deplete when they go too long without human contact of some kind. Quite simply, introverts are the opposite. Their internal batteries charge from time spent alone, in their personal comfort zone.

Why is Dog Grooming Perfect for Introverts?

Of course, you’ll still be expected to interact with your (human) clients throughout the day. But these interactions will only make up a small percentage of your daily work! For the most part, your time will be spent with the pooches. This means minimal contact with people, and maximum contact with dogs!

dog groomer blow drying pug on grooming table

Could there be anything better?

Keep in mind that if you’re employed within a salon, you’ll also be surrounded by your fellow colleagues on a regular basis. However, for many introverts, this won’t be a problem. Friendships are often formed with ease in this kind of industry, so there will usually be at least one person around with whom you enjoy spending time.

Pro Tip: If you prefer to work on your own, or focus best on your job when it’s just you and your client’s dog, another option is to launch your very own grooming business! That way, you can be your own boss and create your optimal working environment.

How to Become a Dog Groomer in 4 Easy Steps

1 – Do Your Training Online!

These days, in-person schooling is still not entirely safe. Many aspiring students don’t want to risk their health for the sake of getting an education, and understandably so. Luckily, the same high-quality dog grooming education can be found online!

how to become a dog groomer - woman training from home on laptop

There are plenty of perks to online learning that particularly benefit the introverted. For example:

  • You don’t need to attend a physical classroom. You can work from the comfort of your own home!
  • You aren’t required to learn in the company of other students. Instead, it’ll just be you and your virtual tutor for the entire duration of the program!
  • You won’t be forced to adhere to set deadlines or schedules. Not everyone learns at the same pace, or has the free time needed to abide by strict due dates.
  • You’ll still get hands-on training. Just because the schooling is online, doesn’t mean you won’t still get plenty of practical experience. Gain real-life training by working on dogs you know and people you’re already comfortable with!

2 – Use the Internet to Network!

Once you’ve earned your certification, you’ll likely already have built the beginnings of your network; courtesy of the tutors, fellow students, and graduates in your school’s community. Going forward, the internet can also serve as a powerful tool to allow you to keep networking and expanding your connections!

two dogs cuddling on cushion

Establish a presence on social media. Follow and comment on the work of other groomers in your area, and even reach out via private messenger. Ask your friends and family to recommend your services online, and join all sorts of chat rooms, grooming groups, and forums.

3 – Start Your Own Dog Groomer Business!

We mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you happen to be an introverted dog groomer, why not be your own boss?

Set your own hours, choose which services you want to offer, and operate from wherever you choose! As a self-employed groomer with their own business, you’ll have tons of options as your disposal, such as:

  • Working out of your own home
  • Providing mobile grooming services and traveling to clients’ homes
  • Contracting your services to other businesses, salons, etc.

You’ll get to set all the boundaries and terms. This way, you can ensure that you’re always working under circumstances where you can best shine!

4 – Offer Virtual Services!

It goes without saying that if you want to be a successful dog groomer, you’re going to have to, you know, actually groom. This service can’t exactly be provided online. However, there are plenty of other related services that CAN.

From a business perspective, offering additional services is always going to be a plus (so long as the extra efforts don’t detract from the most important aspects of your business). Here are just a few ideas of virtual services you can offer, that are likely to increase your online presence and attract more clients:

  • Virtual consultations
  • Writing and/or vlogging for dog grooming companies, blogs, and publications
  • Start your OWN dog grooming blog and/or vlog
  • Become an authority on dog grooming on social media
  • Sell dog grooming products and/or tools online
  • Teach virtual dog grooming classes

For the common introvert, these are all awesome ways to continue growing your business, making a profit, and appealing to new clients – without ever depleting your internal battery!

close up of dog getting haircut from dog groomer

So, what are you waiting for? The world is your oyster, and it’s time for you to make the most of it by pursuing the career of your dreams!

Want to earn TWO professional certifications for the price of ONE? Learn how to be a dog groomer by enrolling in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and we’ll give you our First Aid for Groomers Course… absolutely FREE!

How Long Does It Take to Become a Dog Groomer?

I remember the day I finished University… It was 2013, and I was 21-years-old. I’d been a student for basically 95% of my life, and let me tell you, the final year of my post-secondary degree was brutal. I couldn’t wait to be done! After staying away for over 48 hours to cram for my final exam, and feeling like I wrote it in a zombified state, I walked out and made a decision: I was NEVER going back to school ever again!

Of course, as the years went on, I quickly realized that part of the problem was that I hadn’t actually gone to school for the thing I was most passionate about. That is what really makes all the difference, isn’t it? By the time this dawned on me, however, I was faced with a whole new dilemma…

With my 30s just around the corner, would I even want to have to devote 2-4 MORE years of my life to education? For many mature students, this is one of the largest roadblocks. You want that dream career, but in order to get it, you have to postpone it even longer first.

Maybe this is you, and all of this sounds little too familiar. Or, perhaps you’re that younger version of me who’s fresh out of high school, looking towards the future, and trying to decide what it is you want to do with your life. Either way, I have the same piece of advice, and it can be summed up in to 3 little words:

FOLLOW YOUR DREAM!

If you’re reading this, I assume you have an innate love of animals. In particular, dogs. I don’t blame you. Dogs are pretty much better than people in every single way, and no one can change my mind about that. I’m willing to go one step further and assume that because you’re reading this, you’ve dabbled with the idea of becoming a professional groomer and devoting your life’s work to this industry.

Let me just say upfront: this is an AWESOME idea! Getting to work with all sorts of dogs on a daily basis? Sounds like heaven to me.

Obviously, you understand that a proper education is critical for this type of job. While plenty of places don’t necessarily require you to have formal training, you know full well that you won’t be able to have a successful career without it. But therein lies what I’m willing to bet is one of the things probably holding you back: actually committing to this necessary education.

So, I’m going to let you in on an amazing secret… Are you ready? Here it is…

You can become a certified, professional dog groomer AND start booking clients in as little as 9-12 months.

Yeah, you heard me.

Now, there are admittedly certain factors that play into this estimated time frame – and it really all boils down to the type of grooming school you choose to attend. Some academies will have longer programs, while others can potentially have you graduating in even less time than one year.

The choice, ultimately, is yours.

So, how long does it take to become a dog groomer, really? Let’s take a look at your options!

Apprenticeship Programs

As we mentioned above, most places don’t enforce strict formal education in order for one to become a dog groomer. At most, you usually just need to have a high school diploma (or its equivalent). The good news is, this means you have plenty of different choices you can choose from, in terms of how you want to get your training.

One popular option is an Apprenticeship Program. Here, you’ll shadow an experienced groomer, and learn the ropes from under their knowledgeable wing. Opportunities for an apprenticeship can either be found through established businesses (i.e. Petco, PetSmart, etc.), or by approaching freelance groomers who run their own ships. Apprenticeship Programs typically last anywhere from 6-10 weeks in length.

One obvious perk is that your exposed to hands-on training, pretty much from the get-go. One downside is that you’re not so much learning all the theory and foundational knowledge you’d be taught from an actual course. It’s important to remember that while shadowing a seasoned dog groomer is undoubtedly useful, they’re not a trained instructor.

In-Person Grooming Classes

This is another popular option, and one that provides you with an actual education. The average in-person grooming course takes approximately one year (2 semesters) to finish, followed by further hands-on training in the field.

You’ll get to be tutored by professional who not only knows proper grooming, but knows how to teach it to you in a way you’ll understand. The brick-and-mortar environment also allows you to meet others aspiring groomers and develop alongside them. These peers can easily form the beginnings of your professional network.

There are some downsides though, too. For starters, in-person courses can sometimes get pretty expensive. You’re also forced to adhere to the school’s strict schedule and deadlines. If you have a busy schedule as it is, a full-time job, or a family to care for, in-person classes might not be flexible enough for your availability.

Of course, there’s also the elephant in the room to address: the global pandemic we’re currently in the middle of. Most schools are still closed down, or only offering virtual classes. While social distancing is still a thing, in-person dog grooming courses may not be the best choice right now.

Online Grooming Classes

We live in the age of online living, so it’s only natural that online learning has become a prevalent method of education in recent years. Not only are you provided with the exact same, high-quality schooling you would be in a brick-and-mortar setting; your studies are catered to YOUR needs.

Most online schools will allow you to work at your own pace, on your own time. You won’t be pressured by external deadlines, or even need to put yourself at risk of being exposed to COVID-19. You can maximize the time you’re already spending at home by earning a reputable certification AND the business knowledge needed to launch your very own grooming business.

What could be better?

Since your online dog grooming course will likely be self-paced, it’s really up to YOU how quickly you want to finish it. The students and graduates of QC Pet Studies, for example, have stated that by simply putting a few hours per week to their schoolwork, they were able to finish their grooming course in as little as 9-12 months.

If you’re looking for a more concrete idea of how many hours QC’s Dog Grooming Course takes to complete, the answer is roughly 80-130 hours. Again, this depends on how you choose to approach your studies, and the time you’ll take to practice and develop your skills before you complete each assignment.

Keep in mind that you have 2 full years to complete your QC program, so you can create a schedule that works best for you! You can find a full course outline here, which should help give you a better idea of the depth of the course and assignments.

Learn more about making the most of your online grooming course here!

If you only take ONE thing away from this article, I want it to be this: don’t put off your dreams any longer! Yes, 2020 has been a stressful year for all of us, but there’s no reason you can’t finish it on a high note and make it your year, all the same. End 2020 off right by kick-starting your dream career, becoming a true grooming expert, and booking your very first client!

How to Fail Your Dog Grooming Class in 5 Easy Steps!

They say that if done through a reputable school, online education is just as informative and valuable as its brick-and-mortar alternative. It stands to reason, then, that your online dog grooming class should be just as challenging, insightful, and rewarding as an in-person dog grooming class. Right?

Yes! The right school will provide you with the same high-quality training, regardless of whether it’s online or in a physical classroom. The key factor is what YOU’RE willing to put into your education.

Now it’s time to paws (heh) and be frank. For or those of you who are here to work hard, study, and truly learn, this isn’t the article for you. Nah, today we’re here to give a big shout out to everyone out there who thinks that since their dog grooming class is online, they can breeze through it with little to no effort.

If that happens to be you, then welcome – you’re going to love the tips we’re about to reveal to you! Because although there are plenty of ways to completely bomb your online dog grooming class, these 5 are especially effective.

5 Steps to Flunking (Majorly Hard) in Your Online Dog Grooming Class

Step 1: Pick an online dog grooming school at random

Sure, doing thorough research into online academies can help you determine which school is the best fit for you… But come on, who actually has time for that?

Don’t worry, we’re sure every school out there is totally legit. Not ONE of them will be a scammer, and they surely won’t be after nothing but your money. In fact, why even get hands-on experience in the first place? Plenty of online dog grooming classes out there can tell you everything you need to know with nothing but multiple-choice quizzes!

Those who try to tell you the importance of hands-on training are just spouting fake news! Feel free to simply practice what you think are the proper techniques over and over in your mind. You’ll be totally fine once you actually try your skills on a living, breathing animal.

Step 2: Ignore your course materials

All those extremely helpful instructional videos are just too tedious to have to watch in their entirety. Go ahead and skip through them, or just not watch them at all! Oh sure, they contain critical information that will help you build your skills and become a better dog groomer. But there’s also that new series on Netflix that’s calling your name, too.

Priorities, am I right!?

On the other hand, maybe you’re not a very big reader. It’s cool; you can learn everything you need to know by watching a few YouTube videos. The people there may not be reputable industry experts, but really, how hard can it be to give a dog a haircut?

Also – and I cannot stress this enough – if you DO decide to try your hand at the practical assignments, do NOT take your time! Throw meticulousness and precision out the window, and race against the clock. The final results may be horrific and the dog’s owner may be furious, but they should’ve known the risks involved when they agreed to let you practice on their pooch. Honestly, you can’t be held responsible for that!

Point is: the sooner you can get the groom done, the sooner you can submit your assignment. The real end goal of your dog grooming class is to get that precious certification. It’s totally, 100%, in NO way about the valuable educational experience and industry skills you’ll equip yourself with along the way.

Step 3: Realize that all dog breeds are the SAME

What’s this nonsense I hear about different dog breeds having different coats, requiring different grooming techniques, etc.? So long as it barks, it’s a dog. Their breed has absolutely no impact on how you should approach the grooming process.

So, when your dog grooming class is trying to teach you about different breeds and why they matter, a really effective method I recommend is covering your eyes and shouting, “LA LA LA LA LA,” at the top of your lungs.

Step 4: Disregard your professional grooming tools entirely

If you happened to have lucked out, and the random online dog grooming class you enrolled in happens to come from a trustworthy school, then you’ve likely been provided with your very own set of high-quality grooming tools. Esteemed dog grooming schools will ensure to teach you all about these tools, and how to operate them properly, throughout your course curriculum.

Don’t be fooled, though – you don’t actually need ‘em. Even though it’s extremely important that you do, there are also craftier, more practical alternatives.

For example, you can find everything you need to groom a dog already within your own home. Those massive scissors you keep in the kitchen drawer? Yep, good enough to cut dog hair! Your personal nail clippers, shampoo, and toothpaste? Boom, you’re good to go!

Yeah, your instructor will probably give you a bad grade for doing this. But don’t worry, they’re just wrong.

Step 5: Leave everything to the last minute

Time management is for nerds. You already have a love for dogs, and you already know how to hold a pair of clippers without stabbing yourself in the eye, so what’s the point in devoting any more of your time to actually studying – let alone at a proper pace?

The best online dog grooming classes will be taught by schools who understand the need for flexibility and self-paced learning. QC Pet Studies, for example, gives you a full 2 YEARS to complete your program, starting on the date when you enroll. During that time, though, there are no deadlines for any of your assignments, quizzes, or units.

You know what this means, right? A FREE PASS to do literally nothing until those 2 years are nearly up! Seriously, how sweet of a gig is that? You’d never be able to get away with that in a physical classroom! Plus, since online tutors probably don’t take their job as seriously as brick-and-mortar instructors, they’ll never be able to tell you difference!

Trust me, it’s cool. For real. Just leave everything until about a week before the final deadline, and then just cram super hard for a few days. With luck on your side, you’ll still be able to get a (barely) passable grade and graduate anyways!

Even if you start your career with little to no useful skills, you’ll easily be able to hide it from your future clients. They totally won’t be able to tell the difference between a great groom and an atrocious one.

Okay, let’s drop the charade…

I’m sure you all caught on pretty quickly that the ‘tips’ recommended in this article should in NO way be followed. Dog grooming should be taken seriously. It requires commitment, passion, self-discipline, and a willingness to properly learn the craft. If you’re truly dedicated to making this your long-term career, you won’t just want to be ‘good’. You’ll push yourself to be EXCEPTIONAL!

Do the necessary research, take your time, and find a well-respected school that suits you best. The honest truth is, so long as these criteria are met, it won’t matter if that grooming school is online or in-person. You’ll receive the same life-changing education, and be truly prepared to take the industry by storm.

It all boils down to what YOU’RE willing to put into it. So always make sure you put in your very best!

Until August 14th, get a DOUBLE certification through QC Pet Studies! Enroll in our internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course, and in addition to knocking $150 OFF your tuition, you’ll also get our First Aid for Groomers Course – absolutely free!

Dog Grooming Training – Part Two: The Importance of Brushing Before Styling

In Part One of our two-part series, we introduced the concept of prep work prior to styling. Specifically, we broke down the typical types of prep work you’ll perform (and why), as well as how it benefits you, your client, and their dog.

Today, let’s focus on a specific example of common prep work involved during the grooming process: brushing a dog. While there are many kinds of prep work, this one if of particular importance! After all, as we discussed in Part One, a lot of the prep work you do will be required regardless of whether a dog is getting trimmed or styled.

The Benefits of Brushing

Brushing a dog’s hair is vital to its overall well-being. In addition to removing dead, excess fur, it also:

  • Stimulates blood flow
  • Removes dirt and debris
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces shedding and the risk of mats
  • Allows for a shinier, healthy coat

How Often Should a Dog be Brushed?

That really depends on the breed. Most dog breeds should be brushed at least 2 times per week. More specifically:

  • Minimal to no hair should be brushed every other week
  • Hair that’s short and smooth should be brushed once a week
  • Hair that’s short and wiry, curly, or short and double should be brushed 2 times per week
  • Hair that’s long and silky, long and coarse, or long and double-coated should be brushed 3-4 times per week

Obviously, it’s not realistic to expect your client to bring their pooch to you on a weekly basis (although some are more than happy to). But by knowing this useful information, you can better advise your client so they can perform maintenance while at home.

When to Brush a Dog During a Grooming Appointment

If you intend to give your client’s dog a bath, make sure to brush him before and after he gets washed. Brushing him before a bath will remove a ton of excess hair and dirt, which can save you time. In the same breath, if the dog has mats and tangles when they come to you, you’ll want to deal with those before bath time. Otherwise, the tangles risk getting even worse!

Once you’ve finished bathing and drying him, perform the second brush. Because you already prepped the dog with an initial brushing, followed by a proper bath, this second brushing will be a much quicker process. The goal here is simply to remove any loosened hair, smooth out the fur and ensure there are no lingering knots.

If you intend to clip the dog’s hair and style it later on, brushing first is essential! Matted hair can clog your clippers, not to mention put the dog at risk!

Different Ways to Brush

The type of brush you use will be dependent on the dog’s coat and individual needs. Your professional training will get you well-versed in all the different types of brushes within your dog grooming kit, along with which are best suited for certain breeds.

Here are a few examples, though, of brushing methods you’ll regularly use:

1. Pat and Pull

This is optimal for detangling a dog’s coat without injuring the skin. For this method, you’ll rely on a slicker brush. If your client’s dog has a longer coat, your slicker brush may need to have extra-long bristles.

Using a good amount of pressure, pat the brush into the dog’s hair until it reaches his skin. This will allow the brush to access the dog’s undercoat. Then pull the brush out.

For optimal results, use the line method when brushing a dog. This is done by lifting pieces of the dog’s fur, so you can work through it in smaller, more precise sections.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you don’t use too much pressure when brushing a dog. You don’t want to aggravate the dog’s skin by giving him brush burn! The more hands-on experience you get, the better you’ll become at knowing the best pressure to use.

2. Combing

After you’ve finished brushing Fluffy, it’s time to grab a comb from your dog grooming kit. Go back in and pass it through the fur, to make sure you did a thorough job with the brushing.

Start with a wide-toothed comb, and if it easily passes through the hair without resistance, switch to a narrow comb with finer teeth. The goal is to be able to comb all of the fur, down to the skin, without hitting any tangles.

If you’re able to do that, you’ve done a mighty fine job!

3. Deshedding

Deshedding is an important step before you bust out your clippers, and especially before you attempt to style the fur. That being said, you’ll find that many clients will come to you solely for deshedding services. This is particularly common in the spring and fall, the two major shedding seasons.

There are a number of tools you can use in your dog grooming kit to help deshed your client’s pup. Most often, you’ll find that undercoat rakes and deshedding blades will best do the trick.

That being said, this is where it’s once again important to know your dog breeds! Certain deshedding tools shouldn’t be used on specific breeds. For example, you should NOT use a deshedding blade on breeds with long, curly coats, such as:

  • Pumis
  • Poodles
  • American or Irish Water Spaniels
  • Spanish or Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Curly-coated Retrievers
  • Etc.

Want to Learn More?

The single best way to learn all there is to know about grooming prep work and techniques is to enroll in dog grooming school and receive professional training from certified experts! After all, to be the best, you need to learn from the best!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course, and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

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!

Why First Aid Training is Essential in Dog Grooming Courses

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

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

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

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

What I Learned from QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Applying Your Training to a Real-World Environment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Valuable Information You’ll Learn

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

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

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

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

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

Happy grooming! 😊

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