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3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, Feature Image

As a professional groomer, you’ll sometimes hear dog grooming complaints from unhappy customers. That’s just a reality in this line of work! What’s important is how you choose to handle these complaints.

Luckily, QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, Casey Bechard, is here to help.

Today, Casey breaks down 3 common client complaints. Moreover, she’ll reveal the RIGHT way to respond to them. This way, you can properly mitigate the situation – and hopefully turn an unsatisfied client back into a happy one!

A Reality of The Job: Dog Grooming Complaints

I would be completely lying if I said I never, ever got one complaint from a client. And you know what? There’s absolutely no shame in getting one, because it will happen at some point or another throughout your career.

After all, we are human. We’re not perfect! Sometimes, I think clients forget that we make mistakes, same as everyone else. But one thing they don’t always know is that complaints can actually help us in the long run.

They really do, trust me. Personally speaking, I have grown SO much as a groomer because of what clients have said to me. If ever a dog grooming client voices a complaint, the key is not to simply shrug them off.

(Well, I mean, sometimes you will. It’ll depend on the nature of the complaint, of course.)

But for the most part, you need to embrace complaints and see them as constructive feedback. Only then can you use them as a way to better yourself.

Today, I’m going to discuss a few experiences I’ve personally had in my dog grooming career so far. Hopefully these experiences – and how I handled them – will help YOU if (or when) you run into a similar dilemma.

3 Dog Grooming Complaints and How to Handle Them Properly

Complaint #1: “You sent my dog home injured!”

This is a complaint that probably won’t be all that common for you, but you’ll more than likely hear it at least once. In this situation, the owner thinks that you’ve injured their dog during the grooming appointment.

For example, one time I groomed a Shih-Tzu pup, same as I’ve done many times before. There were absolutely no issues during the groom, nor where there any issues after it. In fact, the dog was happily running around while waiting for the owner to come back.

However, a few days later, the shop got an email from the owner. In it, they stated that I’d cut her dog by her private parts. Moreover, she was disappointed that no one had told her that her dog had this cut.

She also stated that she was going to be bringing her dog to the vet because she was in pain. I remember her asking in the email, “How did we not tell her, because clearly her dog was in pain?”

How I Handle This Complaint

So, when I had a minute, I simply started writing her back. I told her that I was sorry to hear about her dog and how uncomfortable she was. However, I stressed that if I had accidentally cut her dog during the groom (which I know I didn’t), I definitely would have let her know.

After all, that’s not something we try and keep from owners. On the contrary, we ensure to inform them of anything like that immediately. Afterwards, I went on to say that she was fine after the groom as well, as well as the fact that there were no issues present at that time whatsoever.

PRO TIP: Notice that I wrote in a very professional manner that I didn’t injure her dog. Furthermore, I made it clear that if ever I were to make such a mistake, I’d have admitted it and let her know. If you know you didn’t do anything wrong in a situation like this, stand up for yourself. Trust that you did the right thing.

The Aftermath

Not long after, I received another email back from my client. In it, she apologized and admitted that she figured out that it was all just razor burn. Her dog had been licking it raw and that’s why it looked worse than it was.

It actually worked out for the best, because I wasn’t aware that this dog got bad razor burn sometimes. As a result, I was able to add it into her file so I could be mindful of that next time.

So you see, if I had admitted to something I hadn’t done, this whole situation would have had a very different outcome. My client’s pup could’ve continued getting bad razor burn because I wouldn’t have known it was a potential issue.

My point is, there are ways to stand your ground and be nice about it! I get that she was upset in the first email. But as you see, all I had to do was explain my side of the story, along with what I’d seen, and it all turned out fine in the end.

Want to ensure you’re fully equipped to handle all possible injuries and/or emergencies on the job? Take your dog grooming skill-set to the next level by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ First Aid for Groomers Course!

Dog grooming complaints article, Aug 13 2021, in-post image 2

Complaint #2: “You didn’t groom my dog perfectly!”

Sometimes, you’ll have brand-new clients coming in for their very first dog grooming appointment with you. Now and then, some people may start going off about how the last groomer did this and that, and how unhappy they were.

As you can imagine, this can be quit intimidating. Some clients are looking for a PERFECT groom – and honestly, there isn’t one because it doesn’t exist. There are some people that you just can’t make happy. Such is life.

But as always, it’s still your job to try your best! So, listen to everything they’re saying. From there, approach the groom based on your understanding of what it is they want. If you have any questions or are unclear about something, don’t hesitate to ask!

Based on my personal experience, when these types of clients come to pick up their dog afterwards, they’ll gush about how cute it looks and how they like it. However, within a couple of days, our salon might get a call about how they actually hate the groom.

Despite their initial, positive reaction, it’s not, in fact, what they wanted.

(Sigh.)

How I Handle This Complaint

From here, I’d simply ask if there’s anything I can do to fix what they don’t like. Similarly, I’ll ask if there’s any additional info I should know this time around. This way, I can avoid doing it again the next time.

Believe it or not, a lot of time, that client will just wind up saying something along the lines of, “No, I just wanted to let you know.”

This is the point when I’ll say, “Okay, thanks for calling. If that’s everything, I must get back to my client (a.k.a. the dog I am grooming).” Then I’ll leave it at that.

Most the time, you won’t hear back again from a person that doesn’t like your cut. They’ll simply not return for future business. In this industry, get the odd person who seems to have something negative to say something about everything sometimes comes with the territory.

This is fine – but these are the types of customers I recommend shrugging off and not letting ruin your day. After all, there’s not much you can do about it after the fact. You did the best job you could, and you tried everything in your power to remedy the situation.

Ultimately, THAT’S what matters!

Tibetan terrier dog getting washed at dog wash in stainless steel bathtub, selective focus

Complaint #3: “You didn’t stop my dog’s shedding!”

With dog grooming, you not only give dogs haircut. You also groom bigger dogs that just need a good brushing. At my shop, we call this a de-shedding treatment.

We use special shampoo, brush the dog in the tub, blow-dry them, and then brush them even more once they’re all dry. Essentially, we’re getting all that extra dead undercoat off the pup.

But the thing is, they’ll most likely still be shedding a bit. After all, dogs shed. That never completely stops, and it’s just part of having a dog.

Plus, if it’s the dog’s first time getting the treatment done, it’ll most likely shed a bit more because their hair follicles aren’t used to the treatment. So, that’s definitely something to keep in mind, too.

How I Handle This Complaint

A surprising amount of clients will wind up complaining a few days later, after their dog has seen us. Why? Because they’re unhappy that their dog is still shedding.

Well, yes… They will continue to shed. Because they’re dogs.

The goal is to reduce the amount of shedding, so that it’s less than it was before the grooming appointment. However, it won’t stop it entirely. In the face of this kind of dog grooming complaint, I’ll simply tell the customer this.

Some of the time, they want us to re- brush their dog because they think it shouldn’t be shedding hair at all. Of course, I can do that – and I will, if that’s what they want. However, it’s still very important to try and instill in their minds the fact that their dog will continue shedding.

Simply put: that’s what their dog does when they have an undercoat. Clients will typically be a lot happier with grooming results once they have a realistic understanding of what to expect.

I hope this article can help you in the future, as you navigate your way around dog grooming client complaints. Just stick to your gut and believe in yourself. Tell the truth always, and above all else, just have fun grooming!

Become a professionally trained and certified dog grooming expert in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

A Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, Feature Image

Dream of a career in professional grooming? QC Pet Studies graduate, April Costigan, is here to show you what a day in the life of a dog groomer looks like! This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect!

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, April Costigan headshot

Breaking Down a Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer

The life of a dog groomer is very glamorous. It involves non-stop hobnobbing with famous people and money just falling out of our sequined bags. Also, the flash of the “puparazzi” cameras going off in our face is constant.

No, I’m just kidding! 😝

While it may not be that exciting, a day in the life of a dog groomer is still pretty adventurous – and definitely rewarding! I own my own business and have my own studio. As a result, I get to manage my own time. There’s a lot of work involved, though.

So, if you’re interested in knowing what it’s truly like to be a professional dog groomer, then let me tell you how a typical day goes for me!

The Start of My Day as a Dog Groomer

First Thing’s First…

Each morning, I check my schedule so I can prepare myself for what I’ll be doing that day. On an average day, I groom 5 dogs and work a 10-hour day. Some days, I’ll only groom 3 really big, hairy dogs, since those take longer. Other days, I can groom 6 really small dogs, so long as they don’t have complicated coats or requested cuts.

In the life of a dog groomer, it’s important to always prepare yourself for what’s to come. My grooming day begins at 7:00 a.m. Since I own my own studio, I arrange my schedule so that when one dog is arriving, the last one is departing. My day usually ends at 5:00 p.m. – and no, I do not take a lunch break. (Although that’s mostly just due to personal preference.)

Getting My Grooming Space Ready

Once I know what’s on my schedule for the day, I’ll prepare my grooming space. First, I lay out all the tools I’ll be needing; making sure I have plenty of shampoo prepared. I buy the big, concentrated gallon jugs and dilute the shampoo with water for the proper mixture.

Next, I get fresh water bowls ready and put my own dogs in a separate pen that’s just for them. They always like to be in the same area that I’m in, which keeps them happy and quiet.

Finally, I turn on some nice music. I tend to pick something that entertains me, but does not aggravate the dogs. Music adds a level of relaxation for me, which transfers to the dogs I work on. It’s really very pleasant!

Relaxed, sleeping dog listening to music through headphones

My First Client of the Day

I greet my first client at 7:00 a.m. If they are a new client, I have them sign a grooming contract. This grants me permission to groom their dog. Next, they fill out an additional form which gives me their name, address, and phone number. Moreover, this same form provides me with information about their dog, such as the contact details for their veterinarian (in case of an emergency).

Afterwards, we have a brief conversation about how they would like their dog groomed. Then the client departs and their dog stays with me. I always begin with a nice “before” picture of the dog and text it to my client. This is because I like for them to have a visual of their dog before he/she is groomed.

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, April portfolio 1

Starting with The Prep Work

We then get started with all the prep work first. For example. some of this work will include:

  • Trimming the dog’s toenails
  • Cleaning their ears
  • Trimming the hair out of the footpads
  • Completing a sanitary trim
  • Thoroughly brushing the dog out in order to remove any mats or debris stuck in the coat

After this, we head for the tub. I like to send a second photo to my client of their dog before or after the bath. Personally, I think it’s helpful to keep the client updated on where we’re currently at in the grooming process.

I like to make it extra cute, too. So, I sometimes wrap the dog in a towel and make her look extra snuggly. My clients love these types of photos. After all, who can resist those great, big eyes and soggy little face?!

April portfolio image 2

Once bath-time is over, it’s time to blow dry the dog by hand. Personally, I NEVER cage dry a dog. Instead, I take the time to ensure that all the curl is blown out of curly coats. Plus, I ensure all the extra hair is blown out of shedding coats.

Admittedly, this process can be quite messy! So, while I do this, I have my vacuum cleaner nearby. This way, I can quickly suck up extra hair that just keeps circulating around in the air during the blow drying process.

I like a clean shop, so I sometimes need to vacuum 8 times per day! While this may sound a bit tedious, it’s still critical. Maintaining a clean space is essential to staying healthy and being more efficient in my work.

The Styling Stage

Once dry, I start working on styling the dog’s coat. Importantly, I make sure to keep a close eye on the time. Each of my grooming packages have a set amount of time assigned to them. Thus, I must complete all my tasks in a timely manner. In my experience, I’ve found that most grooms take approximately 2 hours to complete.

After I’ve finished, I take a couple more photos. The first one is an “after” photo of the dog on the grooming table, in a similar position as the original “before” shot. This is so my client can see the drastic difference in how their dog looks after grooming, compared to how they looked at the start.

April portfolio image 5, after groom shot

The second photo I take is a “glamor shot”. I do this for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, many of my clients post their dog’s grooming experience on Facebook or other social media sites. I feel that if I provide them with a really cute photo, they’re more likely to use the one I took, instead of one that may not be as cute. Having my clients share my photos online, and reference my business and me, is free advertising!

Secondly, I like to have photos that I can use on my own website. I find that if I ask my clients if I can use their dog’s photo in an advertising campaign, many of them are so excited that they readily agree. It’s just good marketing. I mean, look at Hazel in the shot below. Can you believe how stinkin’ cute she is?!

Day in the life of a dog groomer article, Aug 06 2021, in-post image 6

I text these last two photos together, with a quick note that tells my client that their dog is ready. Rarely do I have a client that picks up a dog late. So, as one dog is departing, my next dog arrives.

Once the first client has paid their bill and picked up their dog, the next client has dropped their dog off. As soon as that client has filled out any necessary paperwork and has also departed, I’m ready to work on my next dog.

Moving Onto the Next Dog Groom

Before I actually start, I do take my own dogs out for a quick potty break. Of course, my client’s dog is welcome to come, too. Once everyone is back inside, I make sure to quickly clean my equipment. This way, my scissors, clipper blades, combs, and table are all sanitized and ready for the next groom. This only takes about 3-5 minutes, so be sure to take that time to clean your equipment between appointments!

I go through the above process about 5 times throughout my day, in order to accommodate my 5 dogs. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t take a lunch break. That said, when I let my dogs out for potty breaks, I do have a quick snack. After all, it’s important that I don’t get too hungry during the day!

At the End of My Day as a Dog Groomer…

…it’s time to do my administrative work. I’m running a legitimate, licensed business. As such, it’s critical that I always keep accurate books. I go to my office and enter new clients into my bookkeeping software. I’ll also create invoices for the clients of the day and record how they paid for their service (i.e. credit card, e-transfer, cash, check, etc.).

Next, I prepare any cash for deposit via an ATM machine. I make a bulk deposit once a week. All other forms of payment can be completed electronically. Moreover, once a month, I reconcile my checking account with the statement from the bank.

Near the end of my day, I’ll also make supply purchases online and record those purchases in my books as well. I pay my quarterly taxes for both State and Federal income taxes, and I try to stay on top of supply inventory needs for my studio.

Close up cropped image young woman calculating monthly expenses, managing budget, entering data in computer application, sitting at table full of papers, loan documents, invoices, utility bills.

And There You Have It: A Typical Day in the Life of a Dog Groomer!

That’s it – this is what a day in the life of a dog groomer looks like for me! 🙂

I won’t lie, i’s a lot of hard work. Sometimes, my back is aching by the end of my shift. My knees hurt from kneeling on the floor, in order to get the best angle for trimming little doggie necks. Usually, I have hair in my eyes.

However, I love EVERY minute of it! It’s my dream job, and I’m very happy that I get to have a career doing something I’m so passionate about. I love my doggy clients (and their humans are pretty awesome, too).

I hope YOU enjoy dog grooming as much as I do. After all, if you don’t, you’re not doing it right! 😉

Ready to start your journey? Become a professional dog groomer in less than 1 year by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

How to Build Your First Dog Grooming Starter Kit!

Dog grooming starter kit article, July 23 2021, Feature Image

New to the industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time? You’ve come to the right place! Join QC Pet Studies graduate and expert groomer, Casey Bechard, as she shares some tips and tricks to help you get started!

When you’re first starting out as a dog groomer, knowing which tools to use can be difficult. Personally, when I first began my career, I experimented with a lot of different tools. Over time, I found ones that I loved. On the other hand, I also found ones I didn’t love – and that wished I hadn’t spent money on.

So, if you’re brand-new to this industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time, you’re in luck. This blog is all about just that! As we dive in, just keep in mind that all of what I’m about to say is based on personal preference, as well as my own subjective experience. Some of the tools that’ve worked for me at the start might not work for you. Think of the following tips as something I hope can help you out – but don’t think of them as gospel.

Ultimately, what works best and gets the job done will be up to you and you alone!

Building My Dog Grooming Starter Kit: Tools I Like and Dislike

QC Pet Studies’ Grooming Kit

When you sign up for QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, they’ll actually send you a dog grooming starter kit to help you in your training. This kit (and its shipment) is included as part of your course tuition, which I found extremely helpful! Furthermore, this kit was very good for me because it gave me a good introduction to staple tools of the trade.

By practicing with QC’s tools, I could better decide whether or not they were the best fit for me – a.k.a. if I’d want to use them in my professional career or not. By extension, this kit also helped me decide what sorts of other tools I was interested in trying out.

There were definitely some tools provided in QC’s kit that I thoroughly enjoyed using. For example, I loved the thinners and the handheld clipper. In fact, to this day, I still use those thinners! However, I’ve had to invest in a new handheld clipper because I overused the other one.

QC Pet Studies dog grooming starter kit

Adding to My Dog Grooming Starter Kit

The rest of my most-used tools, I first ordered so I could give them a try. Hands-down, my most favorite comb in my kit is a Greyhound Comb. I’m completely OBSESSED with it and use it for every groom! (Speaking of which, I should probably get another one to add to my collection!)

Truth be told, I have so many combs in my grooming tool kit that I never use. Why? Because, in my opinion, none of them compare to this one. I also invested in 2 new pairs of curved scissors. They’re a bit bigger than the ones QC Pet Studies gave me, which I actually prefer. I’ve found that these larger ones do slicker work, and the length of the tool makes the scissoring go faster.

Other Personal Recommendations

If you only buy one tool for your dog grooming starter kit, though, then I recommend investing in a Chris Christensen Slicker Brush. You won’t regret it, I promise! These brushes are great for those curly-coated breeds. Moreover, they’re the absolute best at getting out knots.

I use mine every day and it’s worth the money! Now, I got the smaller size of the two (they come in either medium or large). But if you have the budget, I highly recommend buying the bigger one. I sure wish I did – and I definitely plan on purchasing it eventually! All of my other slicker brushes simply don’t compare to this one. Of course, I do use the other ones for certain looks I’m trying to achieve. But if I’m being totally honest, I mostly pick up my CC Slicker Brush 99% of the time!

Groomer brushing dog with Greyhound comb

A Tool You Can Skip in Your Dog Grooming Starter Kit

Ever heard of the Furminator brush? Chances are, anyone with a furry pet probably has. It’s quite a popular tool, particularly for pet owners to use at home. If you happen to be a fan of it, that’s awesome. I’m not here to knock it in any way. All I’m saying is that it’s not a tool I’d personally recommend for your dog grooming starter kit.

I’ve tried using it before and I’m just not a fan. Based on my experience, I found this brush to be way too sharp. As a result, it was all to easy to leave marks on the dogs and irritate their skin. A lot of times, if clients use that brush at home, they’ll come in complaining that their dogs have red marks and sores on their skin. I’ll ask what kind of brush they used at home. Almost always, it was the Furminator. So, I try to avoid this tool – and I tell my clients to do the same.

2 Tips to Keep in Mind

Firstly, if you have other groomers around you, try to see what tools they’re using on a regular basis. You can then go from there, try those tools for yourself, and see if you’d like to invest in them for your dog grooming starter kit. Importantly, I always recommend testing out a tool before putting too much money into it. So many times, I’ve seen groomers purchasing all these new, expensive tools without knowing if they like them or not. Lo and behold, they get them, try them out, and discover that they were nothing but a waste of money!

Secondly, if you’re ever unsure about a certain tool, read its online reviews before buying it. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful, and it’s prevented me from spending unnecessary cash a number of times. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to shop around! Look at a bunch of different websites in order to find better deals. Who knows, you might even find a better quality version of an item you’re interested in.

Having options is NEVER a bad thing!

Dog gets hair cut at Pet Spa Grooming Salon. Closeup of Dog. The dog is trimmed with scissors. Gray background. groomer concept

In Conclusion

As a professional groomer, having a mastery of the different tools you’re using on your clients’ pups is a MUST. Some brushes may be sharper and harsher than others. Certain scissors won’t do the same job as other scissors. If you’re grooming a dog that has lots of lumps and bumps, only the right tool will allow for a safe, careful result. My point is, it’s critical that you truly know what you’re doing and which tools to work with at all times.

I hope this blog will prove useful as you go forth and put together your dog grooming starter kit! If you use the tips I’ve provided above, I promise you won’t go wrong with the tools you’ve picked! I know it can be fun shopping for all the new and exciting gizmos and gadgets. Just remember that you won’t have everything you want (or need) overnight. That said, I promise you will get there. Have fun trying them out and I hope you can find some amazing tools!

Happy grooming!

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course and receive YOUR dog grooming starter kit in the mail in as little as 1-2 weeks!

5 Reasons Why Professional Training Will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

Dog groomer salary article, July 2 2021, Feature Image

Looking for ways to boost your dog groomer salary? If you haven’t done so already, this is your sign to get professional certification training!

Why will a proper grooming education better your business and help you increase your income? QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, April Costigan, is here to tell you! Read on to discover 5 critical reasons why you absolutely MUST get professionally certified!

Dog groomer salary article, July 02 2021, April Costigan headshot

Why I Became a Professional Dog Groomer

When I first contemplated learning more about grooming dogs professionally, I was working in an animal shelter. Each week, we took in a large number of stray dogs. Additionally, we also took in transferred dogs from other shelters, as well as relinquished dogs from families that could no longer care for them.

Many of these dogs arrived in the worst possible conditions! They’d have matted coats, or were just plain filthy. I quickly learned how to clean them up and make them more comfortable. Eventually, I began to wonder if I could perform these services professionally. But before I made any concrete decisions, I first wanted to know what a dog groomer salary actually looks like…

Researching The Dog Groomer Salary

I did a little online research, specific to my area. During this research, I discovered that there was a wide range of hourly rates – from minimum wage for bathers, to $17/hour for dog groomers working for large pet supply outlets.

Finding a specific dollar amount for a dog groomer salary proved rather difficult, as many locations were vague in their job descriptions. I then discovered that – at least in my area – the salary offered at boutique shops was based on how many dogs a groomer could complete in a day. That’s when I decided that if I wanted to pursue this career path (and I really did), I’d have to come up with a plan that would offer a sustainable income for me.

I wanted to know how I could do quality work and get paid a quality dog groomer salary. The answer was to obtain a legitimate grooming certification!

Cocker Spaniel getting groomed on grooming table

5 Reasons a Professional Certification will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need a certification?”

Well, I can give you FIVE excellent reasons why taking the time to learn how to properly groom a dog will allow you to be paid a much higher rate!

1. Trust

When you obtain a professional certification, you’ll be able to earn and retain new client business based on your advanced skill-set. For example, in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, you’ll discover SO much more about dog grooming that you already do. In less than a year, you’ll know everything you need in order to work at a professional standard… and have an internationally-recognized certification to add to your resume, too!

As a graduate of this course myself, I can tell you that it’s a truly outstanding training program. QC Pet Studies will prepare you to become a top-quality, reliable, and trustworthy groomer. After all, that’s the number one thing your clients will want from you: to know that you’re taking excellent care of their beloved dog.

Moreover, they’ll be able to trust that you’ll produce the look they actually want for their dog. Dog parents WILL pay a little higher rate for this level of confidence!

2. Dependability

With a certification under your belt, your clients will depend on you to groom their dog completely and efficiently. Furthermore, they’ll schedule their dog’s regular appointments in advance. As a result, happy clients will fill up your grooming calendar and make good use of your time. Satisfied repeat customers are key to increasing the dog groomer salary!

Dog groomer salary in-post image for article, groomer and owner tending to puppy getting groomed at salon

3. Referrals

When you have happy clients, they talk about you and your qualifications – including your reputable certification. In turn, when you produce awesome results and make their dog stand out at the dog park, that’s free advertising! Dog owners love to talk about their dogs.

By the same extension, when they have a groomer that they love, they’ll likely refer you to their friends and family. Speaking from experience, I get 40% of my new business from referrals alone. And of course, more bookings means a better dog groomer salary!

4. Certification Seal

When you graduate from QC Pet Studies, they’ll provide you with a physical copy of your internationally-recognized certification. But that’s not all! You’ll also get an electronic image of QC’s International Dog Grooming Professional seal, too. You can then showcase this certification seal on all your printed media, as well as your business website.

Nothing gives me more pride that to have this seal on my marketing materials!  It’s proof that I know what I’m doing, even if a person has never seen my work before. This little seal is a BIG deal and allows me to charge more for my work.  That equates to a larger dog groomer salary!

QC Pet Studies International Dog Grooming Professional IDGP certification seal

5. Advice and Recommendations

As a professional dog groomer, I am a resource for my clients. I’m regularly asked what can be done about itchy skin, dry coats, chapped noses or paws, and tear stains. These are just a few topics of information I like to be ready to answer questions about.

QC Pet Studies prepares you to become the “go-to” person when questions pop up about how to properly care for a dog’s coat. Your expertise will allow you to educate your clients the brushes they should be using at home, how often their dog should be brushed, how tear stains can be eliminated, etc.

Just keep in mind that I never give medical advice. As dog groomers, we’re qualified to do many things – but that’s not one of them. That being said, if I find that a dog has an ear infection, an injury to their paw, or a lump that wasn’t present the last time I groomed them, I immediately take a photo and send it to the owner. My clients appreciate that I’m always on the lookout for odd things they may not have noticed.

I adore these dogs, too. So, if I suggest that a visit to the vet may be in order, my clients know that it’s because I’m a caring and compassionate person. You see, it comes back to trust. My clients trust that I am working at the front-line of their dog’s health. People appreciate that and often give me tips for letting them know that something needs to be addressed.

While you can’t always rely on this as part of your dog groomer salary, it’s definitely a nice added perk to keep in mind!

Your Dog Groomer Salary: Conclusion

I could easily come up with five more reasons why professional training will boost your dog groomer salary, but I think I’ve made my point. If you want to be able to charge more for your work, then you must do really GREAT work.

The convenience of QC Pet Studies’ online training will catapult your dog grooming career! It’ll give you all the skills and information you need to get moving in the right direction. If you have a passion for dog grooming, then you can use that same drive to obtain professional training. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did it!

Volunteer getting kiss from dog at animal shelter

Bonus: Food for Thought

I still work part-time for the animal shelter, but its not because I have to. Rather, it’s because I want to. After all, even homeless dogs want to look and feel good. If you want to gain more experience and add to your portfolio, I highly suggest volunteering at a dog shelter. Offer your grooming services to the homeless dogs. No, there’s no money in it – but it’s very rewarding work!

The dogs you groom will be so grateful to you for spending quality time with them; doting on them, caring for them as individuals, and making them feel important. Many of them have not been loved for a long time, or have lost the ones that did love them. A lot of these dogs are heartbroken, scared, or just plain confused.

I know you are a compassionate person. You wouldn’t want to be a dog groomer if you weren’t! So, while you improve things for yourself, help a dog that needs you, too. You can make a world of difference for them!

Boost your dog groomer salary in as little as 9-12 months by getting trained and certified with QC Pet Studies!

3 Tips for Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, Feature Image

Dream of becoming a dog groomer? Make that dream a REALITY in 2021!

Today, QC Pet Studies student and owner of Mount Zion Kennels, Camille Torkornoo, breaks down 3 awesome tips to help you launch the career of your dreams!

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, Camille Torkornoo headshot

Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

Here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know: according to the Global Pet Market – Analysis By Type (Pet Food, Pet Care Products, Pet services), Pet Type, By Distribution Channel, By Region, (2021 Edition): Market Insights, Covid-19 Impact, Competition and Forecast (2021-2026), the global pet market was “valued at $223.54 billion” dollars USD in 2020! Moreover, of all the animals getting adopted last year, dogs were reported as being the most popular.

However, thanks to COVID, grooming services have faced a rather bumpy ride over the past year. With multiple waves and unexpected lockdowns, salons all over the globe went from open, to closed, to open again, etc. But here’s the good news: now that vaccines have been getting distributed, the chance of another lockdown is decreasing.

As a result, businesses everywhere have been able to re-open their doors. This time, hopefully for good!

What does this mean for YOU? Well, if you’ve been dreaming of becoming a dog groomer, now is the PERFECT time to turn that dream into a reality!

Why NOW Is the Perfect Time to Get Started

The adoption and sale of dogs saw a drastic increase over the course of 2020. But at the same time, many pet owners couldn’t always visit their local groomer. Now, however, we’re finally at a point where dog groomers likely won’t need to close their doors again. (Fingers crossed!) As more people continue to get fully vaccinated, and safety measures continue to be respected, this means that groomers will hopefully be able to run their businesses at full capacity soon.

And as for all those new dog owners who couldn’t get their pooches groomed during lockdown? They’re going to be racing to their local salons to book appointments ASAP!

Basically, this may very well be the best time to pursue your goals of becoming a dog groomer. Not only are grooming services in high demand – there are countless clients waiting to book with a groomer like you… and the industry is likely to remain this way for the foreseeable future!

Dog groomer brushing out small dog at salon

3 Tips for Becoming a Dog Groomer in 2021

So, now that you’ve decided to go for your dreams and make them happen, how should you get started? Where do you need to begin?

Luckily, I’ve got 3 awesome tips to help you take those important first steps!

Tip #1: Enroll in Online Grooming School!

The COVID-19 pandemic gave the majority of us a lot of extra time on our hands. You may very well still have that extra time. But eventually, that’ll be a thing of the past. So, why not take advantage of this by starting a new, exciting career before your schedule becomes hectic again? That way, once everything is officially back to normal, you can get paid to do what you’ve always wanted!

QC Pet Studies is an in-depth, online grooming school where you can get professionally trained and internationally-certified in less than one year. The beauty of this school is that you get the exact same hands-on training and textbook knowledge that you’d get in a physical classroom… Except you get to work from the comfort of home, and entirely at your preferred pace!

Moreover, as you progress through your training, you’ll get personalized feedback from their amazing tutors. These are people who are also real-working industry experts. When you graduate, you’ll become an official, designated dog groomer – with a proper certification to add to your resume!

Enrolling with QC and getting professionally trained is a great place to start your career. It’ll make your pathway to becoming a groomer much easier, as well as provide great opportunities along the way. Plus, having that certification will benefit your career in countless ways!

Keep in mind that I say all this from personal experience. After all, while I’m currently working as a professional dog groomer, I’m also a student of the craft. Right now, I’m working through two professional courses: Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers, both offered through QC Pet Studies.

Becoming a dog groomer article, June 18 2021, 2nd in-post image, groomer trimming Pomeranian's backside

Tip #2: Take Advantage of the Increased Number of Potential Clientele!

As we discussed earlier, many groomers had to close their doors in 2020. As a result, countless pets lost their groomers for long (and unexpected) periods of time. Plus, not all of the groomers who closed their doors last year have decided to re-open them. This means that there are more than a few dog owners who are on the hunt for a new groomer to tend to their furry family member!

Moreover, many people also got new puppies during the lockdowns. Those puppies only add to the large number of dogs who need a new groomer in 2021.

Since there’s now an overwhelmingly high volume of existing clients desperately trying to get back on their grooming schedule, a lot of shops are unable to take on new clients at this time. In fact, plenty of groomers are actually completely booked for the next 2+ years!

You can take advantage of this by becoming a dog groomer! Chances are good that you could easily take on a full clientele, consisting of several different breed types, to help you expand your skill-set as a groomer and gain experience in the field. One place where you can start is to find friends and family who can’t get their dogs to a groomer. If you do a great job, they’ll probably tell their friends and family about your services. Pretty soon, you can have all sorts of clients through word-of-mouth alone!

Tip #3: Find a Mentor and/or Do an Apprenticeship!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: there are SO many pets that need groomers, and grooming shops are overwhelmed right now. So, another option at your disposal is to look into applying to be a groomer or an apprentice at a local shop in your area!

Many grooming shops are currently understaffed; facing difficulty in meeting the high demand of clients in need. As a result, they’re actively looking to bring on new groomers, trainees, and/or bathers. I would actually say that a bathing position would be the best place to start out in a grooming shop! After all, bathing and prep work is the foundation of every great groom.

If you learn to master that part, it makes the grooming part a lot easier – as well as faster to learn!

The hands of a young girl are carefully washed by a red dog in a white bath. The German Spitz owner thoroughly washes the wool

Do YOU have any other tips to add to this list? What advice would you give to someone who dreams of becoming a dog groomer in 2021?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Thanks so much for reading! 💕

Becoming a dog groomer has never been easier! Enroll with QC Pet Studies today and earn your professional certification in as little as 9-12 months!

How to Master the Teddy Bear Cut

Teddy Bear Cut article, June 11 2021, Feature Image

If you want to be a successful dog groomer, you’re going to need to know the Teddy Bear Cut. But if you’re new to this haircut style, don’t worry! QC Pet Studies alumnus, April Costigan, is here to break down everything you need to know to get started!

Teddy Bear Cut article, June 11 2021, April Costigan headshot

Introduction to The Teddy Bear Cut

The Teddy Bear Cut is one of the cutest cuts – as well as one of the most requested. It features a rounded face, with a short clip to the body and legs, and rounded feet. Depending on the density of the coat, longer hair may be left on the legs if the coat is thin. This will help give the cut a more balanced look. Sometimes, especially on older dogs, the coat is thinner on the body and thicker on the legs. Thus, it may be necessary to compensate for these differences.

QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming certification course features this cut in their “Pet Cuts” booklet. Here, you get very thorough instructions on how to achieve a pristine Teddy Bear Cut. I personally refer to this booklet from time to time – specifically, when I have questions while working on a dog that has coat challenges, such as the ones mentioned above.

Achieving The Teddy Bear Cut

Prep Work

To achieve the perfect Teddy Bear Cut, make sure you have completed all of the prep work first. This includes:

  • Trimming the dog’s nails;
  • Trimming the paw pads;
  • Performing a complete sanitary cut;
  • Cleaning the ears;
  • Bathing the dog
  • And drying them afterwards.

When drying, make sure to blow out as much curl as possible (if you ‘re working with a curly coat). This is an important step in order to attain the look you want, which is an even coat length on the dog. Then choose a comb that’ll give you the length of coat your client prefers.

Pomeranian on grooming table before hair cut

Clipping the Coat

Once the dog is completely dry, you can begin clipping the coat. Start at the base of the skull and run your clippers down the topline, to the tail. Next, clip the hips and beneath the tail. I like to clip both rear legs on the outside and the inside, before clipping the sides of the body. Personally, I feel this gives me a better opportunity to ensure an even length all over. It’s my personal preference.

Once the dog’s hips and legs are complete, I then move to the sides. Once that’s completed, I proceed to the neck, shoulders, front legs, and chest. Complete the body and legs by giving the dog nice, rounded feet. You can do this using your rounded shears.

Don’t forget to fluff the fur between the toes! This way, you can trim off any really long hairs and blend them into the tops of the rounded feet. After this, use your metal comb to fluff the fur all over the body and legs. During this part of the process, you can also trim off any stray or uneven areas using your blending shears. I like to use my rounded shears and my blending shears to blend the sides into the underside of the body. I’ve found that this gives the dog a nice, rounded shape.

Want to see a visual breakdown of each of the above steps? QC Pet Studies‘ self-paced training outlines and demonstrates the entire process in their instructional video, as well as in their reference booklet!

Teddy Bear Cut, pomeranian with rounded face haircut

Creating The Teddy Bear Face

Once you’ve blended and shaped the body, legs, and feet, it’s time to complete the Teddy Bear face! The face should be rounded and full when looking at it from the front. This includes the top of the head, sides of the cheeks, and the hair on the chin (a.k.a. the “beard”).  When combined together, all of these elements give the appearance of the soft, rounded Teddy Bear Cut.

To reveal expressive eyes, first comb the hair on the top of the head forward. Using your straight scissors, rest them on the bridge of the dog’s nose. Then, with your scissors angled straight up, make the cut level with the stop. Trim the hairs on the top of the nose, close to the eyes. This will remove any hairs that could obstruct the dog’s vision and detract from the desired expressive look.

Fun fact: trimming out tear-stained hairs will also brighten the eyes! So, trim back any long or scraggly hair that may appear on the outside of the eyes. If these are left, it gives the dog a sad, droopy expression… and that’s not what we’re looking for!

I like to use my rounded scissors to shape the cheeks and jaw. Next, I blend the jawline into the base of the ears. Using my blending shears, I make a smooth transition from the head into the neck. Fluff the hair periodically on the head and face to ensure you can trim off any scraggly hairs that disrupt the rounded look. Remember: you’re trying to achieve a rounded, symmetrical shape!

Trimming the top of the muzzle should be done with curved scissors and blended into the beard. Finally, blend the back of the neck by tilting the dog’s head forward and using your rounded scissors (or your blending shears) to create a slight arch that blends into the body.

Watch Me Create a Teddy Bear Cut!

I’ve filmed a video of me completing a Teddy Bear Cut on Riley, a dog of one of my regular clients. I do apologize for the quality – this was my first time at videoing an entire groom. However, I hope you find it helpful all the same!

Enroll with QC Pet Studies

QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course will prepare you to master the Teddy Bear Cut by introducing you to each element via written instruction. You’ll also have access to an excellent video tutorial by QC tutor, Lisa Day.

As a student, you’ll have this access to all video tutorials FOREVER! As a result, you can refer back to your training materials anytime you need them. Plus, when you first enroll, you receive a physical copy of your course materials, too. I found it awesome to have these at my fingertips for quick access!

Working with dogs and making them beautiful is a fun and exciting career. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Good luck to you!

Learn to master the Teddy Bear Cut (as well as a wide variety of other popular dog haircuts) by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

10 Dog Grooming Interview Questions and How to Answer Them!

Dog grooming interview questions article Feature Image

What sort of dog grooming interview questions might you get asked when looking for employment? QC Pet Studies graduate, April Costigan, is here to reveal commonly asked questions… and how to answer them! To learn more about April, check out her Graduate Feature here.

From Graduate to Professional Groomer

Congratulations! You’ve completed the QC Pet Studies Dog Grooming Course and are now ready to begin your new, exciting career as a dog groomer. Your next challenge will be to look for employment. Thus, you’re likely preparing yourself for all the possible dog grooming questions you’ll be asked during your interview.

This article is intended to help you understand what to expect during the interview process. I’ll let you in on the common questions employers will ask – and what’s more, how you should answer them! After all, it’s important to make a good impression during your interview. So, allow me to help you!

Here are 10 dog grooming interview questions that you may encounter. Have a friend ask you the questions, and do your best to answer them thoughtfully and completely.

Dog grooming interview questions article in-post image 1, groomer clipping hair around dog's ear

10 Dog Grooming Interview Questions to Anticipate

Question 1: “What are your qualifications working with and/or grooming dogs?”

This interview question gives you the PERFECT opportunity to tell the interviewer that you’ve completed the comprehensive Dog Grooming Course offered by QC Pet Studies. Feel free to share your experiences with the dogs you worked on while completing your assignments!

Just remember to keep your answer brief but thorough. You may be inclined to answer this question with, “I’ve had dogs all my life and I just love them.” However, try to avoid saying this in your interview. There are millions of dog owners who have had dogs their whole life, but that doesn’t make them qualified to groom them.

Question 2: “Are you comfortable grooming cats?”

I’ll admit, this is a tricky question to be included in a set of dog grooming interview questions. As you know, QC Pet Studies’ curriculum does not include cat grooming lessons. However, many dog grooming establishments DO include grooming for cats. As such, it’s a viable business segment.

Personally, I do not groom cats. Don’t get me wrong – I like them and I have one. But for my own business, I do not offer grooming services for cats. So for an interview question like this, my answer would be “no”. This doesn’t mean this has to be the answer for you, though!

Ask yourself if you want to be able to say yes to this question. Just be careful committing to something you’ve never done before. Grooming cats is very different from grooming dogs, and you must know what you’re doing in order to do a good job.

Importantly, don’t make it seem like you have prior experience if you actually don’t. Because if you say yes to this question during an interview and then get the job, you could find yourself suddenly asked to groom a cat when you don’t know what you’re doing. Moreover, you could wind up solely grooming cats – and not dogs, like you were hoping.

So, think about this carefully and prepare your answer so it aligns with your career goals. If you do want to groom cats, ask the interviewer if there would be a training opportunity for you within the organization. Just because you don’t know how to do it now, doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Expressing your interest in learning will help you to make a good impression!

Cat getting groomed at salon

Question 3: “Have you taken a First Aid Course for dogs?”

Well, aren’t you in luck? This is a dog grooming interview question you can answer with a heartfelt, “YES!”

QC Pet Studies offers an excellent First Aid program that you get 100% FREE once you’ve enrolled in the Dog Grooming Course. Thanks to this training, you’ll be able to answer a wide variety of questions related to this topic with confidence! The interviewer might ask you to give specific examples of the kind of aid you can provide during an emergency. So, be sure to review your First Aid for Groomers lesson guide to refresh your skills prior to your interview!

Question 4: “Do you have a favorite type of dog you’d like to work with?”

In terms of dog grooming interview questions, this is one that may come up as part of the pre-interview chit chat. The employer could be asking this because they’re interested in learning more about you personally. Kind of like how they might ask what you like to do in your spare time, etc.

Personally, I love grooming small dogs (e.g. Poodles, Maltese, Yorkies, Terriers, etc.). The trimming and shaping details when working with smaller breeds are like an artform to me. I love it! However, there are some days when I also enjoy deshedding a really large, hairy dog. I find it peaceful and Zen-like.

When I see I have a big dog on my schedule, I am almost giddy at the thought of just being one with the dog. Large dogs tend to love being brushed. Furthermore, if they’re a natural breed that doesn’t require a lot of trimming, the groom will mostly consist of standard prep work, followed by brushing, bathing, and drying. This doesn’t require a lot of brain power, so I can just focus my attention on making the grooming session fun for the dog. It also helps that I get lots of sloppy dog kisses during these sessions!

So, how should YOU answer this dog grooming interview question? Just be honest! Tell them what you really enjoy. They might respond by telling you their own favorite breed. Before you know it, you’ll have established a rapport with your interviewer. Sharing a common interest is key to a good interview!

Groomer hugging dog

Question 5: “Can you read dog body language? Can you identify anxiety, agitation, or calming behaviors?”

Being able to read a dog’s body language is a significant skill that all groomers must develop. This is not something that you can learn in a day, but it is something that can be acquired over time. QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course offers two powerful lessons on this topic: Dog Temperaments and Dog Behavior.

These are two areas that should definitely be reviewed and practiced regularly. If you’re new to grooming and handling dogs, be sure to talk openly to your interviewer about your current skill-set. Mention that you’ve studied dog behavior and practice your ability to read body language. The employer will appreciate your candid response.

Question 6: “What would you do if you were grooming a dog that moves around a lot, doesn’t want their paws held, or hates being dried?”

This is one of those dog grooming interview questions that’s meant to test you. The employer wants to know if you are PATIENT. Thanks to your professional training, you’ve had a chance to work with a few dogs during your practicum exercises. As such, you know that not all dogs hold still while you groom them.

Some are very fidgety; moving the entire time you’re trimming them. This can complicate certain haircuts (such as the Teddy Bear Cut, for example) if the dog resists you trimming around their eyes or mouth. Similarly, some dogs hate the drying process. They bark, snap at the dryer, or try to get away from the noise that’s scaring them. Other dogs absolutely hate having their nails trimmed. They will not allow you to hold their paws. In some cases, they may even become mouthy in an attempt to get you to let them go.

Talk about your techniques to manage these types of dogs. All groomers develop their own way of managing these tricky canines. Just be sure to include patience in your response. Patience is essential when it comes to successful dog grooming.

Groomer drying big dog at salon after bath

Question 7: “How would you handle a demanding – or in some cases, lazy – pet parent?”

My friend (and fellow groomer) gave me this question – and it’s a perfect one to anticipate during any grooming interview process. Throughout your career, you’ll encounter a wide variety of dogs and dog temperaments. But this is also true for people, too.

There are just as many peculiar people out there as there are peculiar dogs. Some people have high expectations of the groom, but do not respect your time or effort in order to achieve their expectations. Others are lazy, won’t brush their dog at home, and will only bring them in once their fur has become a matted mess. Shockingly, they’ll expect you to brush out every single mat and magically save the desired, long coat – even though they do nothing at home to maintain it.

This can be a challenge when running a dog grooming business (or working for one). I recommend being very clear with the client on what you can accomplish during the allotted time. If needed, explain politely why something may not be possible. I find that if you handle the situation this way, the client will be more likely to accept a realistic result.

Moreover, you can educate clients on proper at-home care. Encourage them to work with you to care for their dog! This can help reduce the number of mats in the coat. If you do this consistently and kindly, your client just might start participating in maintaining the desired coat length/health.

Question 8: “What are your career goals as a dog groomer?”

Have you thought about this already? Do you have plans to open your own shop some day? Or do you want to groom in a large retail space where there are already lots of people and activity?

Have some fun with this dog grooming interview question! Let your imagination run free. This question is not meant to pin you down to one job forever. Rather, it’s meant to give the employer a feel for how dedicated you are to this field of work.

Up-close of dog grooming scissors

Question 9: “Do you own your own dog grooming equipment?”

It is my understanding that most shops will require you to own and maintain your own equipment. However, this might not be the case everywhere, as I imagine it can vary from place to place. Some salons may offer some temporary tools for you to use until you can obtain your own.

Luckily, the starter kit that you received with your QC Pet Studies course materials should be adequate to allow you to answer “yes” to this question.  Once you get hired, you can build on your tool kit as you discover additional equipment that you’d like to have.

Question 10: “Do you have a proper dog grooming license?”

The state of Colorado (where I live) requires that all groomers possess a PACFA License. This license allows a groomer to work at three separate grooming shops per license. For me, I need a PACFA License to own and operate my own business.

Keep in mind that the qualifications vary from city to city. Some places requires groomers to have a license, a license and a certification, or simply a reputable certification. Take the time to research the licensing requirements in your state, country, and municipality.

If you have one already, you are ready to be hired! If you need to obtain one, it could take a few weeks for the application to be processed – which may cause to miss out on a job opportunity.

Want to learn more about the differences between a dog grooming license vs. certification? Click here!

Pug getting shaved down by groomer at salon

I hope you’ve found this information helpful! Now you’ll be ready to rock any and all dog grooming interview questions that come your way!

Just remember to relax and believe in yourself. You have the proper training, you have the desire, and you have the will to be successful. I wish you good luck in your future interviews and hope that you find the perfect position for you!

Prepare for your dog grooming interview questions by first getting professionally trained and certified with QC Pet Studies! Click here to enroll today, and graduate in less than one year!

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!

Working in a Dog Grooming Salon: 3 Critical Safety Tips

dog grooming article, Apr 1 2021, Feature Image

Dog grooming professional, April Costigan, is a graduate of QC Pet Studies. To learn more about April, check out her Graduate Feature here.

Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the workplace is always the highest priority for a successful operation. In the world of dog grooming, this is especially true. Working with a wide variety of dog breeds means working with a wide variety of personalities, temperaments, and behaviors.

QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course

As part of QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, there is an excellent section called, Personal Health and Safety. This section thoroughly discusses how to keep yourself healthy and safe while working as a groomer. Although I’ve already graduated and am now working in the professional world, I still keep this particular booklet handy for easy reference.

The Personal Health and Safety booklet includes vital information regarding safety in a grooming environment. It talks about the significance of personal safety equipment – including those medical-grade masks that we’ve all become accustomed to wearing, thanks to COVID-19.  Not only do these masks provide protection from airborne pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria; they’re key to keeping hair, dander, and dust out of your lungs.

QC’s tutorial further discusses clean air, toxic cleaning products, and even shampoos that contain toxins. (You know, the ones intended to kill fleas and ticks.) The Lesson Guide is one of my favorite course materials to reference from time to time, as it also gives advice and suggestions on how to protect your hearing and keep your body physically fit for grooming.

My Top 3 Safety Tips When Working in a Dog Grooming Salon

The following are tips and tricks that I have established and utilize in my own shop…

1 – Technique

Most groomers develop their own style while working with dogs. They might adopt positive techniques that help benefit them, the dog, and their overall performance. For instance, I know one dog groomer who hums the entire time she grooms. She finds that it keeps her focused. Plus, she says it calms her dogs.

Personally, I cannot carry a tune to save my life. As such, I do not hum to my dogs. However, I do speak in a calm, low voice when the dog on my table seems anxious or nervous. This mostly happens when trimming nails or dealing with difficult mats. I am gentle but persistent when completing these tasks.

On the flip-side, there are also techniques that groomers can adopt that are not all that safe. At a large retail store, for example, I observed a groomer who would force an animal into submission in order to trim their nails. I found this alarming! In my opinion, that sort of technique isn’t necessary. In the dog grooming industry, there’s no room for a bully. Not to mention, this groomer will always run the risk of the dog reacting in self-defense and becoming aggressive.

Whenever I deal with a fussy dog who hates getting his nailed trimmed, I’ll employ patience. First, I’ll trim as many nails as the dog will allow before getting too upset. Then I’ll simply change to a different, more soothing task for the time being, such as brushing or ear cleaning. Once the dog has sufficiently settled down, I can trim a few more and return to the more soothing task whenever necessary.

Proper technique and etiquette may take longer, but it’ll always be worth it in the end. It’s also the path that will keep all parties involved the safest.

dog getting paws brushed by groomer in salon

2 – Preventing Bites

As a dog grooming expert, there will be times where your client’s dog will attempt to bite you. This just comes with the territory of working in this field. The risk is real, so you must be able to anticipate when a dog becomes so agitated that they may try to bite you.

In this kind of situation, muzzling the dog may be the only choice. The Groomer’s Toolkit lesson, taught by QC Pet Studies, does a great job in talking about a variety of tools you’ll be using in the workplace. Muzzles and E-collars are discussed on page 28. Keeping a First Aid kit on-hand is also a must! Personally, I’ve had to crack open the bandages on more than one occasion.

To drive this tip home, I’ll tell you a little story…

Story Time!

I once had a client named Spike. He was adopted from the shelter I work at, and he’s known for being a very nice dog. However, Spike had a traumatic history. As a result, he would turn into a biting dog whenever he became insecure.

He had bitten several people in his lifetime. In fact, I’ve seen this in action myself. He even gave me a very superficial bite when we first met. During his time at the shelter, we became good friends. Eventually, I was the only one who could successfully fit him for a muzzle when he needed medical care (which was often, as he had some medical issues).

When he finally left the shelter as a foster dog, he became a regular client of mine. Whenever he came to my home studio, I’d take some extra precautions to protect myself from what I fondly called, “Spike bites”.

April's homemade grooming glove for Spike
Spike wearing muzzle at dog groomer's
Spike after dog grooming appointment

Preventing “Spike Bites” in My Dog Grooming Salon

First, I purchased a muzzle that would fit him comfortably. I only used it when it was absolutely necessary, which was during nail trims. He actually loved to be groomed and was an easy dog to work with – once you got past the nail trim.

Secondly, I made myself my own bite-proof gloves. I bought a pair of scuba-diving gloves and cut the thumb and ring finger off. The fabric that wetsuits and scuba gloves are made of is very strong. So strong, in fact, that Spike could not penetrate it. And trust me, he tried more than once!

By cutting the thumb and ring finger off, I was able to easily use my scissors when trimming around Spike’s face. Sadly, sweet Spike has passed on, due to his medical issues. But I will always be grateful for the lessons he taught me about preventing bites. I still actually call my gloves, “Spike’s Gloves”, so I won’t ever forget him.

3 – Fire Safety

Every business, home, and maintained structure has fire prevention strategies.  It’s just part of our world. In a dog grooming salon, this is no different. Ensuring that you are prepared for a fire emergency is essential!

Of course, we all hope that we’ll never experience this sort of problem. But if you aren’t prepared for one and one actually occurs, it will have devastating results. There is a lot of electrical equipment in a dog grooming shop. Common examples are clippers, dryers, laundry equipment, vacuums, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and maybe even radios.

I safeguard my workspace by regularly checking cords, electrical outlets, and the equipment for any wear and tear or fire-causing mediums. Furthermore, there are no flammable liquids kept in my studio. For that added bit of extra precaution, I also keep TWO fire extinguishers available in my work areas. If you plan to do the same, just make sure that they’re easy to reach in the event of an emergency.

PRO TIP: Have a Planned Escape Route in Your Dog Grooming Salon!

In my dog grooming salon, I also have more than one planned escape route, as well as a system for getting my dogs to safety. Please note that having a fire extinguisher and knowing how to use it are two completely different things. To ensure that you’re truly ready, I suggest having a mock-fire emergency.

When I did this, I used a dog named Barney as my test dog. I had him in the tub. We then ran through a couple different scenarios involving a fire emergency. This way, I could make sure I knew how to get him out of the tub and run him to safety before attempting to use the fire extinguisher.

Dog next to fire extinguisher
April's floorplan for grooming salon

A wet, shampoo-soaked dog is a lot better than a deceased dog. I even pretended that I didn’t know how to use the extinguisher! This way a very great training exercise. In particular, this taught me how to keep calm and use every precious second to read the directions and follow them through. In a real emergency, it’s important to keep a cool head. Being able to do things carefully and quickly could be the very thing that saves your life.

There is no harm in practicing your plan and refining it when you find better ways to respond in an emergency. It’s my opinion that if I expect the unexpected, I’ll be better prepared to handle any emergency.

Psst! Did you head? When you enroll in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, we’ll give you our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE!

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves for ALL Beginners!

dog grooming must-haves blog article camille mar 12 2021 feature image

Want to start a career in dog grooming? QC Pet Studies student, Camille Torkornoo, is here to reveal 5 dog grooming must-haves to get you started! Camille’s business, Mount Zion Kennels, specializes in grooming and breeding standard Poodles. Learn more about Camille by reading her Student Feature!

dog grooming must-haves article camille mar 12 2021 headshot

In the world of dog grooming, there are A LOT of different tools used for different purposes. It can be challenging to know which tools you should invest in when starting out.

Maybe you’re interested in becoming a dog groomer, or maybe you just want to learn how to groom your own pet at home. Either way, here are my Top 5 dog grooming must-haves for ALL beginners!

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves

1. Combs

The very first dog grooming must-have for ALL beginners are combs. Combs are one of the most essential tools for the job! They come in many different lengths and sizes. For this reason, it can feel a bit tricky deciding which one to get when starting your career.

If you’re new to dog grooming, I recommend a basic steel comb with fine-coarse teeth. This type of comb should do just fine when starting out. It can be used to find matted spots and comb them out. Plus, you can use it comb out the hair before cutting or scissoring it. I find this kind of comb give dogs a nice fluffy finish to their groom, when used correctly!

2. Slicker Brushes

Like with combs, there are many different kinds of brushes. When deciding which kind to get when starting out, a slicker brush is the way to go! Slicker brushes are definitely one of the top dog grooming must-haves! They can be used for fluffing and brushing out coats. Plus, they work like a charm for de-matting heavily tangled coats!

groomer brushing dog with slicker brush

3. Nail Care Tools

Dog grooming isn’t just limited to cutting and styling hair. Nail maintenance is also an essential part of it! You can’t trim a dog’s nails without the proper tools. So, you’ll need a good pair of basic nail clippers.

Medium-sized nail clippers work well for most dogs. But for really big breeds with thick nails, a large-sized pair would work better. You’ll also want to invest in a nail grinder. Nail grinders will smooth out the nails after they’ve been clipped. Not to mention, they’ll get you a bit closer to the quick without cutting it and making the dog bleed.

When it comes to nail maintenance, styptic powder is another essential dog grooming must-have. If you accidently clip a dog’s nail too far and expose the quick, you can put some styptic powder on it to make the bleeding stop.

4. Clippers

We can’t talk about dog grooming must-haves without mentioning a good pair of clippers! There are a few different kinds, but the best ones for a beginner would be a pair of 5-in-1 clippers.

These clippers have an adjustable blade. Another perk is that they don’t tend to get hot as quickly as detachable blade clippers do! Since they’re not very expensive, this staple tool is also affordable for any budget. They make the perfect addition to your dog grooming kit when just starting out!

5-in-1 clippers are perfect for trimming faces, feet, ears, and paw pads. You can even use them for light bodywork on pretty much any dog. They’re a lot quieter and don’t vibrate as much as detachable blade clippers do. I find this great, especially when working on sensitive dogs and puppies.

dog grooming shaving dog with clippers

5. Shears

The last dog grooming must-have for all beginners is a good set of shears! Shears are also known as grooming scissors. Scissor work will complete every groom you do – and you can’t accomplish that without a good set a grooming shears.

There are quite a few kinds of shears, coming in all different lengths and styles. It can prove to be a difficult choice when selecting a pair to start out with. But don’t worry, I’m here to help! Here are 3 types of shears I recommend for all brand-new dog groomers:

#1 – Straight Shears

You’ll want to start by investing in is a good pair straight shears. Straight shears are used for creating nice, straight lines on any breed of dog. They’re the standard pair of shears used for every groom!

#2 – Curved Shears

The second kind you’ll want to get is a good quality pair of curved shears. Curved shears are perfect for cutting rounded edges on topknots, legs, and tails. They are definitely a must-have, especially if you’re working with Poodles and/or Poodle mixes on a regular basis!

#3 – Thinning Shears

The last kind you’ll want to get are a pair of thinning shears. Thinning shears have toothed blades. As a result, they only take off a fraction of the hair when you cut it. Thinning shears create a smoother look and they’re great for blending hair.

If you mess up when using straight or curved shears, you can use you pair of thinning shears to blend and hide the faulty cut. Plus, they’re great for working on double coated breeds. These are truly are a dog grooming must-have!

dog grooming must-haves shears

Choosing Shears: Food for Thought

Here are some other things to take into consideration when getting your set of shears:

  • You don’t want them to be too short, but you don’t want them too long either.
  • A good length to start out with would be 6 or 7 inches.
  • You also don’t need the most expensive pair out there – but you do want to invest in some good quality ones.
  • Good quality shears should have a sharp edge that’ll stay sharp. This will allow you to provide nice, clean cuts to your grooms and create a great finished look.

Now That You Know The 5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves…

…go forth and take the industry by storm! You’ve got this! 🙂

Set your career up for success by getting professionally trained and certified in less than one year. Enroll with QC Pet Studies today!