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Education

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!

5 Ways Pet Grooming School Teaches You to Understand Dog Behavior

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

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

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

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

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

1 – You’ll learn common dog behaviors

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

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

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

2 – You’ll be taught dog learning theories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 – You’ll discover useful teaching methods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Scared
  • Threatened
  • Or aggressive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

Beware These 6 Shady Signs When Looking into an Online Dog Grooming School!

So, you’re ready to turn your dream into a reality and earn your professional grooming certification. Congratulations are in order! You’ve chosen to embark on an exciting and unbelievably rewarding path. Yes, it will require hard work, time, and dedication. But we know you’re more than willing to give it your all!

Now, the next step is deciding which online dog grooming school you wish to get your education from. While you may be eager to get things started ASAP, we urge you not to jump the gun on this decision! There are plenty of legitimate, accredited institutions out there… But there are also even more frauds, whose only goal is to take your hard-earned money.

Without proper research, you could fall victim to a scam “school”. Therefore, it’s important to know which red flags to watch out for. Below are 6 shady signs that an online dog grooming school isn’t the real deal!

1. Their accreditation status is questionable (or non-existent)

Any authentic online dog grooming school worth its salt is going to be properly accredited – full stop.

To be accredited means that the institution is officially recognized by organizations for higher education. It provides a promise that the school follows a strict, ethical set of rules by which it operates. If an online dog grooming school is accredited, it’s like a stamp of approval to let you know it can be trusted.

On the other hand, not having this formal accreditation tells you the exact opposite. When researching an online dog grooming school, check its website to see if any accreditation is listed. If it isn’t, there’s your first warning. Legitimate schools are proud to share their legitimacy. Fake schools will do everything they can to hide it.

2. Be mindful of their reviews

Real schools have real students and graduates. These people will be encouraged to leave a review of their experience, or will choose to do so of their own accord. It’s difficult to find a legitimate online school that doesn’t have at least some reviews!

Here are 2 of the most common red flags to watch out for when checking out any online school’s reviews…

Bad reviews

This one’s fairly obvious. On the off chance that the school is on the level, it still doesn’t mean that it’s a good choice. If there are reviews, and they are overwhelmingly negative, avoid this school! It obviously doesn’t have a very promising reputation.

Suspicious reviews

You know how sometimes you can just tell that all of the reviews for a business are made up? It’s fairly common practice for scammers to fake their own reviews, in an attempt to make their business look genuine.

Unfortunately, they can sometimes be extremely convincing – which can make it tricky for you to be able to spot the fakes. Luckily, there are red flags you can look out for here, too. Here are some examples:

  • Certain words/phrases are repeated throughout more than one review
  • They all have terrible grammar and/or punctuation
  • Every review is short, and none go into real detail
  • Every review is overly positive, and none provide any sort of critique

PRO TIP: Real students of the school will leave reviews on Google, Facebook, or other online forums outside of the school’s control.  Some “schools” will post student reviews directly on their website, but take these with a grain of salt. They could easily be written by the school’s staff! Honest student reviews will also be found on other platforms.

3. You can’t contact anyone

Does their website provide any sort of Customer Support? Do they have an email you can write to, or a phone number you can call? Does anyone actually reply?

Taking it one step further: does this school have any social media pages? Do they have any online presence at all, beyond their website?

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, move onto a different online dog grooming school. Real online schools won’t make you jump through hoops just to speak with a living, breathing human being. If getting into contact with them is near impossible, it’s because they’re trying to hide something.

4. There’s no actual hands-on training

This one’s pretty straight-forward. How can you possibly learn to become an expert dog groomer if your education never requires you to groom a dog? Some things can be taught entirely through books and videos. Dog grooming is not one of them.

As such, authentic grooming courses will always ensure to incorporate real-world training into their curriculum. If you’re looking into an institute that specifically says there’s no hands-on grooming required, beware. This is a scam.

5. You can simply buy your certification

If an online dog grooming school is offering you a certification in exchange for something in return, such as a review, turn tail and run!

Likewise, be on the lookout for “schools” who will sell you your groomer certification for a standard lump sum of money, to be paid upfront – and without any schoolwork to be completed whatsoever.

Real talk: you will never be able to become a professional dog groomer this way. If you can purchase a certification without actually earning it, it’s not a real certification. You certainly won’t be doing yourself any favors, either!

6. It seems too good to be true

As the old saying goes: if it seems too good to be true, chances are it probably is.

Whether the schooling is done online or in-person, you’ve got to be realistic. Proper education requires hard work, time – and yes, some sort of financial investment. Any “school” that tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a big bag of BS.

When researching into an online dog grooming school, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are they promising an unrealistically short amount for you to earn your certification?
  • Is the curriculum ridiculously easy?
  • Is there very little schoolwork actually involved?
  • Is the tuition surprisingly low, compared to every other grooming school you’ve seen?

These are ALL huge red flags to avoid! If any online dog grooming school ticks off these boxes, it’s likely just a diploma mill in disguise. In other words? It, too, is a big, fat scam.

When researching into online dog grooming schools, the one thing we recommend above all else is to trust your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s likely because it isn’t. Follow your judgment, as well as your heart.

In the end, you’ll know when you’ve found the school that’s perfect for YOU! 😊

Ready to get started? Check out QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and discover all the amazing things you’ll learn!

How to Complete your Online Dog Grooming Classes Safely from Home

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

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

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

Studying at home

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

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

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

Completing your Assignments

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

1 – Quizzes and written assignments

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

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

2 – Case Studies

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

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

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

3 – Practical Assignments

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

Here are some ways to safely complete these assignments:

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

Finding dogs

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

These days, though, that can be risky.

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

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

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

Taking Care of Yourself

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

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

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

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

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

We’re all rooting for you!

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

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

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

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

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

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

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

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

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

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

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

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

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

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

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

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

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

happy dog portrait with yellow background

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

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

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of 2019

corgi puppy in owner's arms

Wow, 2019 felt like it went by in the blink of an eye! Let’s welcome 2020 by first taking a look back at your top 10 favorite articles over this past year.

It’s pretty impressive that this article made this year’s list, given that it was only published a couple weeks ago! But when you look at what it’s about, it’s easy to see why. Though entertainingly filled with satire, this article succeeds in driving home a very important message: it can be all too easy to destroy a good reputation. Avoid the 7 prime examples listed here, and you’ll ensure that your clients will only ever have the best things to say about you and your business!

female groomer trimming dog's hair

QC graduate and professional dog groomer, Casey Bechard, was on fire this year! Despite the fact that she only just received her grooming certification at the beginning of 2019, her career has quickly taken off and only gotten better ever since. Here, she lists some really fantastic goals that would – and did – strengthen her grooming career. Check them out, and don’t be shy to use some of those goals for yourself in 2020!

Let’s face it: big doggos are precious, but they can also be a little intimidating. Add to that the fact that a lot of your work as a groomer will be with small to medium-size breeds, and you might wind up feeling a little out of your element when a Saint Bernard or Rottweiler comes in for an appointment.

But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! Just like with smaller dogs, grooming larger breeds can become second-nature – you just need to know what to do! This article will equip you with 3 of the best tips to get you started!

No dog groomer can hope to be successful without sturdy and reliable equipment under their belt. However, even the best grooming kits can eventually become useless if not properly taken care of. If you’re guilty of committing any of these 6 mistakes, your grooming tools may be at risk! Keep your equipment pristine – and your reputation, solid – by avoiding these bad habits!

dog getting hair trimmed

QC Pet Studies loves to show off our talented students and graduates! After all, what’s more inspiring than to see someone who was in your very shoes go on to become successful in the field? Located all the way in New Zealand, Katie was first a graduate of QC Makeup Academy, having started her very own hair and makeup business.

Since then, she’s found a passion for grooming and turned to online dog grooming school. She’s taken both QC’s Dog Grooming Course and the First Aid for Groomers class. Driven by her love of animals, Katie’s dog grooming business now takes up the majority of her time – even being regularly booked up to 3 weeks in advance! Learn more about Katie’s journey, and remember: it can happen for you, too!

Casey’s back, with even more professional knowledge to share! This time, it’s her insight on what it’s really like to work in a dog grooming salon. While there are many pros, there are also challenges that you’ll have to adjust to and overcome. Here, Casey shares 3 of these obstacles. This article is definitely a helpful and insightful read, especially for anyone interested in working professionally within a salon setting!

Any person with basic canine education and a pair of trimmers can call themselves a dog groomer, but it takes a lot more than that to truly be a great one. From knowing your breeds, to proper handling and sanitation of equipment, this article provides you with 7 key tips to make yourself truly stand out from the competition in the dog grooming world.

golden lab getting bath

Let’s be real: dog odors are a nuisance. But aside from making sure that your pooch gets a regular bath, what can be done about the smells already living in your home? You’ll find the answer to that very question – and so much more – here in this article. Save your nose, and start reading!

Dogs are adorable. But dog hair? Not so much – especially when it seems permanently glued to all of your furniture and clothes! Sure, you can make sure to brush your pup regularly, but that isn’t enough! If you really want to get rid of all that pesky dog hair, your best bet is to check out (and then follow) these 6 invaluable tips.

On top of being a fountain of knowledge, we’ve already covered that Casey Bechard manages her very own grooming salon. Needless to say, she knows what she’s talking about! She also knows better than anyone how tricky it can be when first starting out as a groomer; particularly, the most common mistakes that can happen while you’re still learning the ropes.

Luckily, she’s compiled this list of the top 6 errors you may find yourself likely to make, so you’ll be able to avoid them! Definitely worth the read, and no surprise at all that this is 2019’s most popular Sniffin’ Around article!

groomer holding puppy

Who knows what articles will become most popular next year, but we’re excited to find out! Are there any topics you’d like to read in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to become a professional groomer in 2020? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course and start your journey today!

7 Best Dog Grooming Equipment for First Time Dog Owners

Owning your very own dog for the first time is super exciting – but also a bit scary. A living, breathing being, entirely dependent on you for its survival? Talk about pressure!

You’ll quickly come to find that the limitless affection you’ll feel from your pup and receive in return far outweighs any difficulties by a long shot. So long as you protect, love, and cherish your dog like a member of the family, you’ll make an A+ caregiver.

Part of learning how to do that, of course, is knowing how to take care of your dog’s physical and mental health. Doing so will keep your dog healthy, but will allow the two of you to bond. So you’re going to need to learn how to groom him and, more importantly, to make a regular habit of it.

Now, because you’re brand new to this dog-owning thing, you may not know where to start. Don’t worry! Just make sure you have the following items, and you’ll be golden… retriever!

happy golden retriever puppy

(Hah!)

Keep reading to learn about the 7 best dog grooming tools you’ll need as a first time pet owner!

1. Dog brush

Everyone and their grandma knows that dogs need to be brushed. Brushing helps to remove dead skin and hair, while also detangling any knots. Brushing also helps the body produce its natural oils. Since the bristles of the brush come into rhythmic contact with the skin, brushing also helps your dog’s overall blood flow. Simply put, brushing keeps him happy and healthy!

There’s a lot more to it than that, though. No matter what, you should always brush your dog at least weekly. But depending on the breed, you may need to brush him more, or less, frequently.

Breed will also affect the type of brush you’ll have to buy. A good all-purpose dog brush would be a slicker brush, but if you want to do the best job possible, you can use:

  • Grooming gloves – Useful for quick, surface brushes if your dog is a major shedder.
  • Combs – Fine-toothed combs work well on fine dog hair, whereas wide-toothed combs are for dogs with thick coats. Typically, medium-toothed combs are the standard choice.
  • Pin brush – Best used on single coat dogs with long hair.
  • Curry brush – Created for dogs with short hair.
  • Undercoat Rake – Ideal for the double-coated dog who sheds twice a year. Furminator FTW!
husky sitting next to its shed fur

2. Dog hair clippers and/or scissors

We wouldn’t expect someone who’s not a hairdresser to walk into a salon and start snipping away, so if you don’t feel comfortable with this grooming step, you can always turn to a professional dog groomer to trim your pooch’s hair.

If you do think you’re up for the task, you’re going to need some tools first. Clippers are the most common option. However some dogs, such as smooth-coated dogs, won’t need clipping. If he’s a breed with a wired coat, you can always hand-strip your dog as well. Normally this is done twice a year.

If you’re unsure what sort of clippers to use, you can always visit your local pet store and ask an expert. He or she can show you what’s in stock, and which clippers would be best for your dog.

Some northern breeds with thick fur, such as Huskies, or breeds with double coats, such as Golden Retrievers, should never be clipped. Clipping can permanently damage their coats. Check carefully to see if your pet’s fur should not be clipped.

Even if your dog doesn’t need regular trims, a good pair of scissors or a good quality trimmer comes in handy for removing mats/burs or for trimming the hair between the pads of the feet. Typically trimmers are safer for this type of work, but you can also use scissors if you have a calm pup and a steady hand!

3. Dog nail clippers & Styptic powder

Always use equipment designed for dogs. When it comes to nails, this is an absolute must.

If your dog has lots of energy energy and is full of zoomies, his nails might not need to be cut often. His activity will naturally wear the nails down. Less active and/or old dogs will need regular attention. Some examples of the different kinds of nail trimming tools are:

  • Claw-like/plier-like clippers
  • Scissor-like trimmers
  • Guillotine trimmers
  • Files

For puppies or dogs with small, delicate nails, we recommend the scissor-like trimmers.

Styptic powder is something every owner should have on-hand when trimming their dog’s nails. If you’re lucky, you’ll never need to use it! But if you’ve ever accidentally cut a quick without your trusty QuickStop handy, you’re well aware of the mess that can ensue.

Pro tip: Get your puppy used to regular nail trims from day one! Make a point to trim a few nails at least once per week, and use lots of treats! Your future self will thank you.

small dog getting nails clipped by pro groomer

4. Dog shampoo and conditioner

You don’t need to be a professional with a specially-made dog bathtub to wash your dog. Your regular bathtub will be fine – just make sure you have a lot of old towels ready, because you’ll need them!

As with all dog grooming equipment, you must use shampoo and conditioner designed for dogs. If you use the wrong stuff, your dog could experience skin irritation and even hair breakage. You’ll find many shampoos and conditioners made just for dogs. These won’t sting if they get into your pet’s eyes. When buying shampoo and conditioner, always look for those that are free of scents and dyes.

Dogs with medical conditions might require special types of shampoo. So if your dog has highly sensitive skin, is prone to allergies, or has regular skin infections, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a shampoo.

5. Dog toothpaste and toothbrush

Did you know that only approximately 8% of dog owners brush their pup’s teeth every day? What’s a bit more terrifying is that a whopping 43% of owners have never brushed their dog’s teeth. Imagine if you never brushed your teeth, or even if you skipped more than a day. You’d feel gross! So why should your dog have to go through that?

Lack of brushing can lead to dental disease, gum decay, tooth loss, and a world of pain! When it comes to your dog, make sure his teeth are well taken care of. Brush them at least every 2-3 days, but if you can do it more frequently, so much the better.

Human toothpaste will upset your dog’s stomach, so once again, make sure the product is made specifically for canines. You’ll be able to pick from countless options when it comes to flavor, organic options, etc. You’ll also be able to see which ones are vet-approved.

Doggy toothbrushes have angled bristles and are soft to the touch. Depending on your dog’s breed, he may benefit from a certain type of toothbrush. You may have to choose a brush that suits your dog’s needs. For instance, big dogs often need brushes with long handles, since you have to be able to go further into their mouths. On small breeds, though, you can use a finger brush.

dog licking toothpaste off toothbrush

6. Ear cleaning supplies

Another important but neglected part of dog grooming is regularly cleaning your dog’s ears. This is especially important in dogs with big/floppy ears! Remember: he can’t reach up and do it himself, and stuff will start building up in there. If it’s not properly remedied with regular grooming, he can suffer from ear infections thanks to wax, debris, humidity, etc.

Ear cleaning can be done by anyone. You must, however, be sure you are as gentle and careful as possible. Plenty of ear cleansers that vet-recommended and can be purchased in pet stores. These will rinse and clean out your dog’s ear canal. Once the gross stuff inside the ear is flushed out, you can use something soft and sanitary (like a cotton pad) to wipe it away. Don’t poke anything sharp into your pet’s ear!

If you want the job done as thoroughly as possible (e.g. using ear powder, plucking excess hair, etc.), then we strongly recommend either taking your dog to a professional. Alternately, another option would be to have formal training under your belt by taking a dog grooming course!

7. TREATS!

Come on – you couldn’t possibly think that we’d talk about the well-being of your pup without mentioning that you should spoil him with treats? Of course we’re going to say that!

While too much of a good thing can have its own negative consequences (e.g. chonky doggos), yummy treats are great tools for learning, rewarding good behavior, and just reminding your furry friend that he is, in fact, your best friend. You can buy treats at grocery stores, pet shops, bakeries, and even make your own!

Plus, treats can come in handy if you ever need to distract your dog long enough to get something done. Case in point: if your dog hates baths and refuses to sit still in the tub, put a little bit of peanut butter on the bathtub wall. Bam! Your dog will quite literally forget you exist, and you can finally scrub out all that dirt he rolled around in while digging up the neighbor’s garden.

woman cuddling puppy

Congrats again on becoming a new dog parent! We wish you and your new furever friend the happiest life together! Now that you know about the top seven grooming tools you’ll need, we have no doubt your dog will be well taken care of for years to come.

If you’re ever unsure, always remember that you can take him to a professional.

Or better yet, if you have the interest and the drive, that professional could very well be you! A good pet grooming school will allow you to become trained and certified on your own schedule and at affordable prices. You’ll also receive the equipment needed to complete the course and to launch your career. You could find yourself ready to start your dream job in less than a year!

Can you think of a better career than one where you’re around animals all day!

Want to start your professional dog grooming career? Enroll in QC Pet Study’s certified Dog Grooming course today!