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Education

How Do I Find the RIGHT Dog Grooming School Near Me?

Dog grooming school near me article, July 16 2021, Feature Image

If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you’ve decided to finally turn your dream of becoming a professional dog groomer into a reality. First of all, congratulations! You’ve just taken the most important step, so you should definitely be proud of yourself. But now you might be wondering: “Where should I get my certification training? How do I find the right dog grooming school near me?”

Here’s the good news: you’ve come to the right place! Today, that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss. So, find a comfy place to put your feet up. In less time than it’d take to watch one episode of your favorite show on Netflix, I’m going to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know in order to get your dream career started in the right direction!

The Importance of Dog Grooming School

In the world of professional dog grooming, you absolutely need to be a subject-matter expert. The only way to truly become a subject-matter expert is to get the necessary experience and credentials under their belt. Not only will dog grooming school give you this necessary skill-set; it’ll dramatically increase your chances of booking clients, since they’ll be better able to trust their precious dogs being left in your care.

Think of it this way: would you go get an operation performed on you by a guy whose medical “training” consisted solely of watching YouTube videos? Probably not.

(And if so, I definitely have some questions I need answered…)

The reality is, clients expect the same standard from the dog groomers they choose to pay and work with. After all, their dogs are more than just dogs – they’re beloved and valued members of the family. Thus, expectations will be high – and rightfully so. If a client ever has the choice between hiring a groomer with a professional certification, versus hiring a groomer without one, they will ALWAYS choose the person with training.

Trust me, your best bet for long-term success is to get a reputable certification.

Dog grooming school near me article, July 16 2021, in-post image

“So, How Can I Find the Right Dog Grooming School Near Me?”

Now that you understand why dog grooming school is so important, the next step is to decide which school you should be training with. Luckily, there are countless options at your disposal, both in terms of online and brick-and-mortar programs. But with so many choices, it can be easily to feel a little overwhelmed. With so much information available, how can you truly know which dog grooming school near you is the right fit?

Ultimately, it all boils down to you! What’s your preferred learning style/preferences? What are the goals you have for your career as a groomer?

Here are a few questions I recommend answering, in order to help you narrow down your educational needs:

  • Do you prefer to learn in a physical classroom? Or would you rather learn from the comfort of home?
  • How flexible is your schedule? Can you commit to set classroom hours every week? Or do you need more flexibility and would prefer to set your own study schedule?
  • What’s your budget for dog grooming school? Can you afford to pay the full tuition upfront, or would you benefit from a monthly payment plan?
  • What type of dog groomer do you want to be? For instance, do you want to work within an existing salon? Start your own business? Provide mobile services?
  • Is there a certain amount of time by which you’d prefer to graduate from dog grooming school and have your certification in hand?
  • Consider your short AND long-term career goals as a groomer. What would the dog grooming school’s training need to look like in order to help you achieve these goals?

By going through each question and answering them honestly, you’ll be able to make the first important decision: whether you want to attend a physical or an online dog grooming school.

In-Person Dog Grooming School

For some, brick-and-mortar schools are the only way to go. If you’re considering this route, all the power to you! If you put “dog grooming school near me” into any search engine, such as Google, you’ll be able to see which institutions are in or around your local area.

However, it’s important that you consider every aspect of this decision. One perk is that you’ll be surrounded by your peers, in addition to your instructor. Working alongside others – especially after a year and a half of isolation – is undoubtedly tempting. Moreover, some people prefer to abide by a strict, set schedule. If you thrive on routine, it’s easy to understand why in-person training would be so appealing to you.

That being said, there are also some downsides to consider as well. For starters, tuition for a brick-and-mortar school is typically much pricier than that of an online dog grooming school. A fair chunk of your money won’t be going towards you or your actual training. Rather, it’ll go towards helping the institution with overhead costs (i.e. building maintenance and staff salaries).

Secondly, you’ll need to complete your training at the same pace as everyone else. So, if you’d prefer to graduate in less than one year, but the course is exactly one year long, you’re basically out of luck. You’ll need to wait it out and stick to the pace of your peers.

Moreover, in-person schools offer a LOT less flexibility. For example, if you have an emergency and can’t make class that day? That’s unfortunate – but also too bad. What if you have a practical test schedule on the same day that your boss is asking you to come into work? Well, it’ll be on you to figure things out, compromise, and shift your schedule around.

In a nutshell, it’ll be your responsibility (and yours alone) to adjust to the school’s schedule – not the other way around.

What About an Online Dog Grooming School?

Depending on where you live, it can be tricky to find a high-quality dog grooming school near you. This is one of the major benefits of online schooling – you have a lot more options available to you, and all of them can be done entirely from the comfort of home!

If the COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we’re all capable of adapting our lives to the digital world. Distanced learning has been around – and a popular option – for years. But over the course of 2020 alone, it became the single most prominent form of education. We all quickly discovered that online learning offers the exact same high-quality education, but with a LOT more personalized, flexible, and comfortable experience.

No, you won’t be sitting in the same classroom as your peers or your instructor. This is a downside for some people. That being said, the right online dog grooming school will still provide many ways for you to connect and network with fellow students, graduates, tutors, etc. This way, the absence of physical interactions is barely noticed!

For example, QC Pet Studies is incredible active on social media, and many of our students and alumni have connected through there. Additionally, we also provide an Online Student Center that you have unlimited access to, even after you graduate. The latter has become especially popular, as the QC community is easily able to come together, ask questions, swap experiences, and give insightful industry advice.

Tuition, Pace, and Flexibility

Let’s revisit the 3 downsides we just looked at for brick-and-mortar dog grooming schools. The beauty of an online grooming school is that NONE of these apply!

Firstly, the cost of your training will be substantially cheaper with an online school. This is because there’s no physical campus to take care of or maintain. Furthermore, many online dog grooming schools – such as QC Pet Studies – will ensure to give you the most for your money. Practically everything you need will be included and provided to you within your course’s tuition fee. As a result, you won’t need to pay any additional costs for your course materials, a physical copy of your materials, your starter kit, shipping fees for those materials, etc.

Next, there’s the pace of online learning. With QC Pet Studies, for instance, our courses are 100% self-paced! From the day you enroll, you get 2 full years to completed your training. That said, you can use as little or as much of that time as you need. There are no deadlines for assignments, quizzes, or units. In fact, many of our graduates have found that by simply devoting 1-2 hours per week on their training, they were able to graduate and earn their internationally-recognized certification in less than 1 year.

I don’t know about you – but to me, this definitely sounds manageable for ANY schedule or lifestyle!

Lastly, online dog grooming school offers a level of flexibility you simply won’t be able to find anywhere else. Since there’s no pressure to travel to or attend in-person classes, you can complete all of your training from literally anywhere you want. Moreover, you can work on your studies at any time of the day.

Want to get some readings done in the middle of the night while in your jammies? You can do that! Feel like watching an instructional video while sitting in your car in-between errands? You can do that, too!

Hands-On Experience

And just because your training is online doesn’t mean you won’t still get all sorts of invaluable hands-on experience. QC’s Dog Grooming Course, for example, will have you performing real-life grooms on all sorts of dog breeds in every single unit!

Beautiful apricot pet labradoodle calmly going through hair cutting in grooming salon. Professional groomer carefully handle with dog.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

Now that you’re interested in exploring distance learning, it’s time to put on your detective hat and do some digging! My first recommendation would be to check out these 6 shady red flags to avoid when researching online dog grooming schools. Afterwards, feel free to check out this awesome review of QC Pet Studies by our very own graduate, April Costigan!

Got any questions or comments? Tell us in the comments below! And as always, thank you so much for reading. 🙂

Start your training with QC Pet Studies today and book your very first client in less than 1 year!

How Much Does Dog Grooming School Cost?

Dog grooming school cost article Feature Image, dog wearing graduation cap

So, you’ve decided to pursue your dream of working as a professional dog groomer. Congratulations! If you’re reading this article, it’s because you’re interested in starting your career on the best foot possible by getting properly trained and certified. Good call! Now the question is: will this training fit into your budget? How much does dog grooming school cost?

Well, that really depends on a few factors… So, let’s delve into them!

Cocker Spaniel getting groomed at salon

Picking the Right Dog Grooming School for YOU!

Before you enroll anywhere, it’s first important to decide which dog grooming school is truly the best match for you and your goals. So, ask yourself:

  • Do you want to pursue your training online or in-person?
  • Is it important for you to stay within a specific budget?
  • Do you already have your own grooming equipment or will you need equipment provided to you?
  • In how much time do you want to ideally graduate from your training and become certified?

Here are some helpful resources we strongly recommend reading over, to assist in finding the best dog grooming school for you:

How Much Does Dog Grooming School Cost?

In-Person Dog Grooming School

For some, in-person learning is the preferred option. If this is the case for you, all the power to you! Just be aware that brick and mortar schools, by rule of thumb, are typically more expensive than online schools. This is due to the fact that brick and mortars have additional overhead costs that get factored into your tuition, such as:

  • Building maintenance;
  • Providing equipment and/or food for students;
  • Maintaining onsite staff, etc.

If you wish to complete your dog grooming training in-person, the cost of your tuition will really depend on where it is you’d like to enroll. Since tuition varies from place to place, it’s difficult to narrow down an exact price point. However, here are 3 examples of brick and mortar dog grooming schools (and their tuition rates), as found during our research:

School #1

10-Week Training (Part 1) – Total Cost: Approx. $6,435
  • Tuition: $4600
  • Application Processing Fee: $200
  • Tool Kits: $1200 + HST
  • Dog Grooming Manual: $110 + HST
  • School Work Uniform: $50
  • Optional Fees (purchased as needed): $275
10-Week Training (Part 2) – Total Cost: Approx. $5,675
  • Tuition: $4600
  • Application Processing Fee: $200
  • Tool Kits: $600 + HST
  • Optional Fees (purchased as needed): $275

School #2

Six-Month Groom Tech (Level One) Training Program, Prerequisite for Dog Groomer Course – Total Cost: Approx. $1,960
  • Tuition: $900
  • Course Textbooks: 185
  • Toolkit: $875
10-Week Dog Grooming Course (Level 2) – Total Cost: Approx. $1,775
  • Tuition: $900
  • Toolkit: $875

School #3

500-Hour Dog Grooming Program – Total Cost: $12,300
  • Tuition: $10,800
  • Equipment and Books: $1,500

Online Dog Grooming School

If the COVID pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s that online schooling is truly the way of the future. Not only does it provide a uniquely attractive level of flexibility; it’s a lot more budget-friendly, too. No, you may not get the same type of learning environment, wherein you’re surrounded by fellow peers, as you would in a brick and mortar school. However, the right online grooming school will still give you the exact same, high-quality level of textbook, video, and hands-on training!

As discussed earlier, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to the tuition of online dog grooming school. Again, the cost will vary from school to school. So, make sure you do your research, shop around, and see what your options are! The beauty of online schooling is that you have a LOT more choices at your disposal, since location won’t limit you.

Plus, you’ll find that there are plenty of schools that provide you with your very own equipment – sometimes, included as part of the course tuition (and not as a separate fee)!

Based on our research, here are 3 examples of online dog grooming schools and their current tuition rates:

School #1

  • Tuition: $614
  • Self-paced certification program
  • Does not provide grooming tools/equipment
  • Does not provide physical copy of course textbooks/videos

School #2

  • Tuition $1250 USD
  • Self-paced diploma program
  • Does not provide grooming tools/equipment
  • Only ships physical course materials (by request) within North America

School #3

  • Tuition ranges from $3,999 USD to $6,195 USD, depending on payment arrangement and/or available discounts
  • Self-paced certification course
  • Includes 37-piece grooming kit
  • Includes Pet CPR and First Aid Certification (good for 2 years)

How Much Does Dog Grooming School Cost: QC Pet Studies

Here’s a fun fact: when it comes to online dog grooming schools, QC Pet Studies continuously ranks as one of the top favorites internationally! With a strong A+ ranking from the Better Business Bureau, self-paced training, and certifications you can proudly carry with you throughout your professional career, QC is known for turning dreams into a reality!

In terms of bang for your buck, we’ve meticulously designed our online training programs to give YOU as many benefits as possible – while still going easy on your budget. What do we mean by this? Well, let’s take a closer look…

  • QC Pet Studies’ tuition for our internationally-recognized Dog Grooming Course is $1998 USD.
  • However, you have a couple different options for how you can pay it!
  • If you choose to pay in full, we’ll knock $400 OFF the total price.
  • If you choose to pay through our monthly payment plan, you’ll need only pay a deposit of $99 at the time of enrollment, followed by 14 monthly payments of $128.50.
  • Furthermore, we offer monthly promotional discounts that can get you this course for even cheaper! For instance, until May 28th, 2021, our tuition for this course is $100 off!
  • You’ll also be able to get TWO certification courses for the price of ONE! All students who enroll in the Dog Grooming Course automatically receive our First Aid for Groomers Course at no additional cost!
  • As part of your tuition, we’ll also mail you a physical copy of your course materials and a comprehensive starter grooming kit!

Want to learn more about QC Pet Studies? Check out these awesome resources:

Dog grooming school cost last in-post image, dog groomer making kissy face at Dalmatian

Now that you have a better idea of how much dog grooming school costs, it’s time to put your game plan into action! Start your professional training today and make 2021 the year YOU become a certified dog groomer!

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

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

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

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

The Importance of First Aid Training

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

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

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

1 – Navigating Potential Hazards in a Grooming Salon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog on grooming table at salon

2 – Assessing and Preventing Risks

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

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

3 – Putting Together a Proper First Aid Kit

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

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

QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Training: Helpful Assignments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QC Pet Studies Graduate Feature: Alesha Stanley

QC Pet Studies Graduate Feature, Alesha Stanley, Feature Image
QC Pet Studies graduate, Alesha Stanley

Name: Alesha Stanley

Location: Weyburn, Saskatchewan

QC Pet Studies Courses you’ve taken:

Your Instagram: @aleshas_grooms

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am 21 years old and have been working with dogs for over four years. I love sports and the outdoors. Also, I love to travel and go on adventures!

When did you first know that you wanted dog grooming to become more than just a hobby?

When I started working at Off the Leash. They’re a dog grooming salon/doggy daycare. I was hired to work in the daycare, but I quickly realized that I was interested in grooming!

What’s your favorite dog breed that you love to groom and why?

I love grooming Schnauzers! They are one of my favorite breeds in general, but they’re so fun to groom because they all have such different features.

Alesha Stanley Portfolio Image 1

You’re currently employed with Fido’s Place. How has your experience been so far working as a groomer within their salon?

It has been awesome! I love my job and all of the two-legged (and four-legged) customers!

Do you have any plans to open up your own dog grooming business one day?

Probably not, no. I live in a little town, so there probably wouldn’t be enough business.

Why did you decide to pursue your dog grooming training online, rather than in-person?

At the time, two of my coworkers has taken the online Dog Grooming Course with QC Pet Studies. They suggested it to me! It was also cheaper and I could do my training at my own pace.

Alesha Stanley Portfolio Image 2

Ultimately, why did you decide to enroll with QC Pet Studies? What made QC stand out when compared to other online dog grooming schools?

I only looked at one other school, which was a brick-and-mortar school in my hometown. However, it was very expensive! I chose QC Pet Studies because it was affordable. Plus, as I mentioned, I already knew people who had trained with QC.

You’ve also graduated from QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course. In your own experience, why is First Aid training critical for any professional groomer?

There are SO many things that can go wrong during a groom – many of which are beyond your control. It’s important to have some sort of First Aid training in order to keep calm and do the best thing for the dog in every situation.

What was your favorite assignment from QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course and why?

I loved the Schnauzer Terrier assignment! They are just such cool dogs and so much fun to groom.

Alesha Stanley Portfolio Image 3

What was the hardest grooming technique you’ve encountered in your career so far? Is there a particular technique or skill you’re leaning to master right now?

I find grooming giant breeds (such as Newfies) with compacted coats to be really hard. It’s so time-consuming and rough on your body! I’m still learning the most time-efficient way to groom heavy-coated breeds like that.

Do you have any advice for aspiring groomers who are struggling to find dogs to practice on for their QC Pet Studies assignments? Where should they be looking, and how should they assure the owners that they’re going to take proper care of their pet?

I would try to reach out to people online. Post in local pet groups on Facebook and ask if anyone would be willing to let you use their pet for your QC Pet Studies assignments. Afterwards, see if those people are willing to write you a reference letter. This way, you can provide that letter to other, potentially nervous owners and help ease their concerns.

How do you think that QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course has prepared you to work in the field?

Yes! One of the biggest things was that I found the tutor feedback is very useful. That being said, I do wish a more in-depth explanation was offered sometimes. For example, I struggled at first with mixed breed dogs. I felt there wasn’t as much information as I would have liked, in terms of average pet trims on mixed breeds. But beyond that, QC Pet Studies definitely got me going in the right direction, which has benefitted my career!

Alesha Stanley Portfolio Image 4

What’s on the horizon for you and your dog grooming career in 2021?

I plan on continuing my work at Fido’s Place and hopefully extending our clientele. Also, I hope to become quicker so I can groom more dogs!

Inspired by Alesha’s journey? Start your OWN and get certified in less than one year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

The 3 Dog Haircut Styles My Clients Request Most

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

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

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

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

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

Dog haircut styles article, first in-post image

The 3 Most Requested Dog Haircut Styles

1. The Puppy Cut

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

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

Dog Haircut Styles: Puppy Cuts for Golden Doodles

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

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

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

Creating the Puppy Cut

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

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

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

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

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

2. The Summer Cut

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

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

Dog Haircut Styles: Creating the Summer Cut

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

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

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

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

3. Standard Breed Cuts

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

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

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

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

Dog Haircut Styles: Standard Breed Cut for Schnauzers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy grooming! 🙂

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

The 2 Hardest Dog Haircuts (and How to Master Them)

Want to become a master groomer? Then you’ll need to know how to do these two challenging dog haircuts! Luckily, April Costigan is here to help. April is a graduate of QC Pet Studies, having completed both the Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers courses. To learn more about April, check out her Graduate Feature here.

dog haircuts article april costigan mar 05 2021 in-post image april headshot

Now that I’ve started my own dog grooming business, I meet new people every day. Sometimes, I’m asked for my opinion on which kinds of dog haircuts are available. Clients will ask me, “What do YOU think would look good on a specific dog?”

Often, customers are coming to me with this inquiry because they themselves aren’t sure. For example, new dog owners might not know that their Cavapoo puppy – with their cute, fluffy coat – will grow out and become long, scraggly, and… well, not so cute.

As the professional, they’re relying on me tell them which dog haircuts are recommended. Moreover, it’s my responsibility to inform them how a good dog haircut needs to be maintained. This way, the pooch can retain that cuteness their owners fell in love with.

The 2 Hardest Dog Haircuts (In My Opinion)

There are a couple of dog haircuts that I’ve had to master because they’re requested often. In the beginning, I did find them to be tricky. But with practice, I have mastered them… and you can, too!

So, which two dog haircuts am I referring to?

The Teddy Bear Cut and the Shave, of course!

dog groomer cutting white dog's hair

1. The Teddy Bear Cut

Let’s talk about the Teddy Bear Cut first. In the “Pet Cuts” textbook found in Unit E, QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course does an excellent job of describing and breaking down this popular haircut.

In the ‘Full-Body Cuts’ section, the Teddy Bear Cut is discussed in detail. Here, you’ll learn what the standard is for this type of dog haircut, which is all illustrated through some really terrific photographs.

However, what the course doesn’t touch on is that a Teddy Bear Cut does not look the same on every dog. I had to learn that on my own, through real-world experience. The booklet also didn’t mention ear type and shape, or what to do with different kinds of ears in order to enhance this look.

That being said, the idea is the same for all Teddy Bear dog haircuts. This cut involves a full, round face, column-like legs, rounded feet, even coat length on the body, and a cleanly-scissored tail.

Keep in Mind…

coat type plays a huge role in how great the cut is going to look once you’re all done. Fluffy, wavy, or slightly curly coats look really cute. However, you must alter your expectations if you’re working with a dog that has a flat, silky coat.

They are still cute, yes. But with a flat, silky coat, I’ve experienced difficulty with this haircut. Particularly, in getting the dog’s head to look sweet and round. This is not necessarily because I cut the hair incorrectly. Rather, it’s because the dog held his ears funny. Thus, the top of the head looked like it had square angles. Alternately, it’s sometimes because the fine, flat hair just wants to lay flat. It’s stubborn and doesn’t want to hold the rounded look I’m trying to achieve.

Examples of Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts

Here are some examples of different ear types on three small dogs. When the hair is long, it can hold the ears down. You can see this in Kiwi’s Before Photo. It almost looks like she has very long ear leather. But once the hair is cut short, the ears bounce up. I think this looks very cute! My friend calls these bouncy ears “puppy ears”. This look gives Kiwi a more perky and inquisitive expression.

Kiwi before haircut
Kiwi after haircut

Let’s look at the next example. Here, both Reilly’s ear leather and ear hair is long. In this case, you can trim it to jaw length. This will give the dog’s face a more rounded, exaggerated look. In general it’s also a very cute look – although it is different.

Reilly before haircut
Reilly after haircut

In the last example, notice how Cheerio’s drop ears are lower on her head. They do not pop up like Kiwi’s did, even though the hair is cut short like Kiwi’s. Instead, Cheerio’s ears look more like sweet little ponytails. I could’ve placed bows on top of both ears to give her a little girl look. However, her owner likes a center bow.

Like the other Teddy Bear dog haircuts above, this look is very cute. Importantly, though, it’s unique to Cheerio.

Cheerio before haircut
Cheerio after haircut

Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts: Final Thoughts

It’s important that when choosing dog haircuts for clients, you take into consideration what their dog’s coat type is. You also need to factor in what kind of ears that dog has. Once you’ve identified both, you can master the Teddy Bear Cut and create a very cute look!

2. The Shave

The second dog haircut that I found difficult – but was able to master with time, patience, and experience – was the “Shave”. To be honest, I don’t really like this term. Here’s why: some of my clients have requested a shave, when what they really want is a short haircut that’s easy to maintain and lasts longer between grooming appointments.

For the purpose of this article, I’m talking about shaving a dog all the way down. I have a lot of experience with this particular dog haircut because I work in an animal shelter. We get lots of stray dogs in that are in terrible condition and the humane thing to do is to cut all of the matted, stinky, horrible hair off their bodies. This way, they can feel clean and comfortable again.

Keep in Mind…

While I love QC Pet Studies and all the wonderful lessons I’ve learned through their training, there’s more they could teach when it comes to the Shave. For instance, there are no instructional videos to illustrate this dog haircut, which would have been helpful. Moreover, the description offered in the booklets doesn’t really discuss the mechanics of completing a shave.

Page 18 of the “Pet Cuts” booklet is entitled, The Shave. But this section only discusses the misconceptions. It does not give actual instruction on how to shave a healthy dog. The course also doesn’t discuss how to complete a shave that would be necessary for a severely matted dog. Like me, you’ll likely need to learn these lessons on your own.

dog haircuts, the shave

Shaving a Matted Dog

It’s important to know that when dealing with a matted dog, you absolutely CANNOT complete the grooming prep requirements outlined in QC Pet Studies’ curriculum. Yes, you may be able to clean the dog’s ears, trim their toenails (if not hidden in mats), and complete a sanitary cut. But you will not be able to brush out a severely matted dog.

It would be cruel to even try, as doing so can potentially cause them a lot of pain. You also cannot bathe a severely matted dog before you shave it. It would be an exercise in futility. When it comes to a severely matted dog, you’ll need to shave them first.

I’m aware that this goes against the primary teachings of QC Pet Studies when it comes to completing all of your prep work first. But keep in mind that this recommendation works best under regular circumstances. Grooming a severely matted dog is an entirely different sort of process.

Executing “Shave” Dog Haircuts

Now that you know where you have to start, it’s time to know this: no matter how new and sharp your clipper blades are, they will NOT glide through a matted coat like butter. That’s just not going to happen. This will probably be one of the reasons why this particular dog haircut is going to challenge you.

If you’re dealing with a matted dog, their fur is going to be filthy. Parts of it will be closely matted to the skin. Because of this, the danger of injuring the dog is real. You won’t be able to quickly shave a dog with long, even strokes from the base of the skull to the base of the tail. Instead, it’s likely going to be a slow process.

Your strokes are going to be short. Your blades are going to get gummed up with hair and debris. You’ll have to clean and oil your blades frequently. Also, you’ll need to stop periodically so you can change blades. This will help prevent the dog from overheating or suffering a potential burn. You’ll also need to go over an area more than once in order to clip through big mats.

The Honest Truth

I won’t lie: shaving a dog all the way down – especially when they have matted fur – an exhausting process. This is especially true if you’re working on a large dog.

It’ll take time and patience. Your dog will get tired, and you’ll be challenged by their constant movement. After all, the dog won’t understand that their severe mats require time and patience. They won’t comprehend what you’re trying to accomplish. All they’ll know is that they’re extremely uncomfortable – especially as time passes on.

So, remember to give the dog frequent breaks and offer them water. This is a stressful event for a severely matted dog. It’s critical that you keep that in mind and approach the groom with kindness, patience, and understanding.

closeup of severely matted dog fur

After The Shave is Complete

Once you’ve gotten all of the ugly stuff off, you can complete the other prep items (if you weren’t able to complete them beforehand). Bathe and dry your client’s dog, and then take another look at the coat. Now will be the time to even out any spots that stick up or stand out.

Use your steel comb to fluff areas that need to be trimmed. Be sure to look at the dog from ALL angles! That way, you can trim off any long hairs that popped out during the bathing and drying process. Tricky areas to pay close attention to are the feet, armpits, groin area, and face. Take your time in these areas to ensure you obtain a nice, symmetrical look.

An Example of The Shave

Below is an example of a severely matted dog that came to me recently. Due to COVID-19, Dexter’s owner was unable to get him groomed. He also went 7 months without a bath. His owner eventually attempted to cut some of the mats off Dexter’s body. But they were unable to manage the legs, face, ears, and stomach.

Dexter weighs approximately 70 lbs. It took 4 hours to completely shave, bathe, and properly groom him. Dexter was tired and so was I. But in the end, our work together was worth it. Now he’s MUCH more comfortable now, thanks to me shaving him down to his “birthday suit”.

Dexter before haircut
Dexter after haircut

Food for Thought

In conclusion, QC Pet Studies‘ online schooling offers a lot of really terrific training and instruction. Through their guidance, you’ll learn all about a wide variety of different dog haircuts (among many other things). However, experience and exposure to different kinds of dogs – in different kinds of conditions – is how you will truly learn and perfect your skills.

Remember to always take your time, work carefully, and have some sort of grooming plan in mind. Your dogs and your clients will appreciate the attention to detail you give every pooch that comes to you for grooming!

Become a master of dog haircuts by enrolling in QC’s Dog Grooming Course today!

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

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

Dog grooming course student, Camille Torkornoo

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

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

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

The Most Important Lesson I Learned in Unit A Was…

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

Common Dog Grooming Risks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preventing Hearing Loss / Damage

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

Preventing Harmful Inhalation

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

Preventing Eye Injuries

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

Preventing Muscle / Joint Damage

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

Other Health and Safety Tips

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

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

Canine Anatomy

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

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

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

side profile of German Shepherd dog

Skincare and Esthetics

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

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

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

Dog Groomer vs. Veterinarian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Groom a Poodle: A Crash Course

groom a poodle feature image

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

Grooming a Poodle: Breeding Standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Challenges of Grooming a Poodle

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

  • Kennel Clip
  • Bikini Clip
  • Modern Clip

The Tools You’ll Need

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

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

How to Groom a Poodle: A Walkthrough

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

The Face

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

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

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

groom a poodle female groomer trimming black poodle's coat

The Feet

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

The Tail

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

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

The Top Knot

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

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

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

white poodle with top knot

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

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!