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How the Pandemic Has Affected My Dog Grooming Career

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 how COVID-19 has affected her dog grooming career.

What a time we are living in right now! I hope this blog posts finds everyone safe and healthy. I feel honored to be sharing my story of how the world today is affecting my dog grooming career.

I’ll start by sharing what it was like at the start of all this. Then I’ll touch on how I was feeling before going back to work, as well as how things are going now.

Closing the Shop

When COVID-19 really started making waves, my boss and I were hesitant about closing the shop. But it also unfortunately made sense. Once the world was declared to be in a pandemic and social distancing started happening, business really slowed down.

To put this into perspective, I was down to grooming maybe 3 dogs a day – and that was considered a good day!

Going through that was kind of scary. We were all thinking, “Is this it? What if we never get busy again? If we close, how many clients will I lose?

Things like that were constantly going through my head. But ultimately, I think people were just scared; scared to leave their house and scared of going to a public place. Getting their dogs groomed was probably the last thing on their minds, and I can totally get that.

So when we decided to close, we weren’t sure for how long or what that would look like. In total, we were closed for just over a month. When our city decided to reopen businesses, that’s when we decided it was time for us to resume our services as well.

At that point, I was getting messages from people asking if we were open, as well as clients requesting that I go to their place to groom their dogs. So, it felt like the right time to open our doors again. You would not believe the response we had when we decided to reopen again!

All of our clients are amazing; they wanted to book with us right away. We were booked for nearly 3 weeks in advance! To me, that’s mind-blowing. I think the pandemic caused many of our clients to really take notice of what we go through as groomers.

When they couldn’t turn to us, people were trying to groom their dogs themselves while at home. I think a lot of them didn’t actually know how hard it would be. In a way, it’s almost as if some people now have a greater appreciation for groomers.

It was also great that everyone was really understanding and cooperative when it came to the safety protocols we set in place for the shop. Things went very smoothly once we opened again.

My point is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, folks!

Getting Back At It

It was so weird getting back to a working environment after being forced to take that time off. For starters, everything looked a little different than before. We now had less staff, everything was by appointment only, and our daycare services were remaining closed.

Don’t get me wrong – we were busy and work was good.

But one thing that bothered me (or rather, made me sad) was that some of our best clients wound up turning to other groomers while we’d been closed. While I absolutely get that their dogs needed the service, it was still a disappointing blow.

This was especially the case when I saw that a lot of them were going onto social media and raving about how great this other place was. Many claimed that they were set on a new groomer. That definitely hurt, and we were all pretty bummed about it. We care about our clients, after all, and grow bonds with them and their dogs!

But we just had to keep focused on the clients that were continuing to support us. Those are the ones that matter and need our focus. Plus, we got a lot of new clients as well, which is great!

Worried About the Dogs

This was another concern. Being closed for as long as we were, we were scared to see what shape some of the dogs coming to us would look like. Some of our worries were:

  • Would the dog be matted to the skin?
  • Would they have only a few mats, or would they be in surprisingly great condition?
  • Will it take me longer than an hour and 15 minutes to get the job done?
  • Will I be falling behind a lot?

I think not knowing what to except with every dog coming in was definitely the hardest part. Personally, I absolutely HATE falling behind in my working day. Achieving excellent results in a timely fashion is very important to most groomers.

That being said, that sort of thing was out of our control. We needed to be able to adapt – and together, as a team, we did! My fellow groomers and I were always helping each other out when we needed it. If we noticed someone falling behind on a groom, we’d ask if they needed a hand, or if they wanted their next dog bathed.

Little things like that go a long way! It’s so important to have good people to work with, especially during difficult times. You can’t always do everything yourself. Having an extra set of hands can really turn a bad situation around.

Did this whole pandemic bring its fair share of ups and its downs? Oh, for sure. It was scary not knowing what the future looked like, but getting back into the swing of things really helped with my confidence, too.

If nothing else, it served as a reminder of how the grooming community always steps up and supports one another. We all banded together to try and make things better. Because really, everyone was in the same boat. We were ALL along for the ride!

Client Love

Like I’ve said before, our clients are amazing! They never fail to make us feel appreciated. We were getting extra tips, donuts, coffees, and sorts all other treats. Why? Because we love what we do, and they see that in the quality of our work.

In reality, if you think you’re failing or not doing well enough as a groomer, your clients and co-workers all have your back. Throughout COVID-19, there’s been a lot of uncertainty and confusion. Many of us have wondered at least once, “What do I do now?”

But when people were messaging me when we weren’t even open, asking for advice? That really gave me hope. It made me realize that pandemic or no pandemic, people are still going to need to have their dogs groomed. It’s really as simple as that.

Since we’ve re-opened, we’ve been SO busy! It’s been over 2 months now, and we’re just starting to see it slow down, and turn back into what our normal summers have looked like in the past. It’s a welcoming reminder that as crazy as the world’s been this year, we will eventually go back to how things once were. This difficult time won’t last forever.

Above all else, my hope for you is that no matter how hard things get in your dog grooming career (or even just in the world itself), you”ll try to always look on the bright side of things. Believe me, holding onto hope is the very thing that will always get you through the dark days. ❤️

In Hindsight…

When I think back on these past several months, it was definitely the not knowing that scared me the most. But once we got back to work, and I saw just how awesome our clients were to us, all that worry was gone.

Yeah, there have been a few bumps in the road along the way. I’ve had a few tired days. Ultimately, though, when I see all those clients going home happy, their pup freshly groomed in their arms… That’s always enough to put a smile on my face!

Why not maximize your time at home right now by earning your certification and kick-starting your OWN dog grooming career? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work 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!

How to Be a Dog Grooming Salon Manager

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she talks about her experience of becoming a dog groomer salon manager, and provides insight into the typical duties and requirements of this position!

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

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

A Little Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Typical Duties

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

However, some of my standard managerial tasks include:

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

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

Dealing with Unhappy Clients

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

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

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

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

Social Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My 4 New Year Resolutions for My Dog Grooming Career

dogs in party hats, celebrating New Year's

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she talks all about her dog grooming career resolutions for 2020.

Now that the New Year has arrived, there’s always that, ‘what are my resolutions going to possibly be!?’ crisis. It happens to the best of us! Whether it’s with regards to your personal life or work life, it’s always at the back of your mind. For me, my New Year resolutions will focus on my business.

My dog grooming career this past year was challenging, but very rewarding at the same time. Looking back on the resolutions I made in 2019, I can admit that some weren’t seen through. So I think I’ll make a point to carry that unfinished business into this coming year (with new goals, too, of course)!

4. Take on New Challenges

I always love a new challenge! But this year, I believe I can take on more. It will be a good test of all that patience I first had at the start of my grooming career. Having good patience when you’re grooming a dog is honestly so important! Dogs know when your patience is running thin, I swear. Trust me, they won’t waste a second before they’re trying to test you for everything you’ve got.

Personally, I don’t mind working with a dog that doesn’t like to be groomed. The end result is either going to be successful, or you’ll see areas where you know you can do better next time. But no matter what, whenever I finish working with a dog, regardless of how it went, I see that as a win in my books.

Taking on dogs that are a bit of a challenge and working with them, however the job may turn out, is one of my goals this coming year.

3. Taking on New Tasks as a Manager

Being the manager at Off the Leash Pet Grooming has been so rewarding; I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be in this position! That being said, I also feel like I could be doing more with this title at the shop.

brown and white pomchi getting teeth brushed with finger brush

I want to start being more involved in the managerial side of things, and I don’t mean just being in charge when the boss is away. For example, I’d love to make monthly newsletters to feature new items and new perks around the shop. I would also love to start introducing our store’s employees, because I believe that our customers would love to know who’s taking care of their dogs all day. I have ideas and I’m ready to use them!

I also think it would be important to focus on up-scaling our social media presence, since it’s a huge way to not only keep contact with past clients, but create contact with potentially new ones. If people are tagging your business account and posting about you, it catches other people’s eyes.

Social media provides opportunity for growth. This even goes for my own Instagram account, which I use to promote the dog grooming work I do independently. I tag my friends or people that I know in my post, and they sometimes share it or make their own posts. This is a big deal because it can lead to new followers, or even just bring in traffic to your page.

2. Move the Salon to a New Location

I put this one on my resolutions last year, but it just wasn’t in the cards at the time. This year, however, it’ll be happening. I am so excited! Finding a new building for our business that’s both located in the right area and set up for what we need is hard to find, but we’re working on it.

Hopefully in the next couple of months, we’ll find something we love, so we can move on in! Our space right now is just too small for what we do on a regular basis. Our number of staff increased quite a bit in 2019, so it’s time!

groomer petting old golden retriever

1. Always Keep Learning

I love this resolution because it will never get old. You can literally never stop learning, no matter what your occupation is. Learning is everything, especially when you’re first working towards becoming a certified dog groomer!

I love learning new things, especially when you’ve been doing something for so long and it’s your passion. Going to conferences, watching videos on YouTube, getting new books, talking to other groomers – there are always new ways to learn. You just have to find them!

With grooming, people’s grooming techniques can vary drastically. Just by watching someone or talking to them about their process, you can learn so much but about their grooming approach, their preferred tools, how they deal with difficult dogs, etc. I can’t wait to further my learning in this very challenging, but rewarding, career.

Now that I have put some of my New Year’s resolutions out there, I challenge you all do to the same! Always keep them in the back of your mind when working. They can be anything you desire. Don’t limit yourself, either! I didn’t just focus on grooming; I also want to aim to be a better manager, and explore how my whole team can benefit from trying new things! Just go for it!

Happy New Year, and happy grooming!

There are plenty of negative myths about online dog grooming school that are just plain FALSE. Let’s do the world a favor and debunk 5 of them

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!