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Grooming

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2 Hardest Dog Haircuts (In My Opinion)

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

So, which two dog haircuts am I referring to?

The Teddy Bear Cut and the Shave, of course!

dog groomer cutting white dog's hair

1. The Teddy Bear Cut

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

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

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

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

Keep in Mind…

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

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

Examples of Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts

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

Kiwi before haircut
Kiwi after haircut

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

Reilly before haircut
Reilly after haircut

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

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

Cheerio before haircut
Cheerio after haircut

Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts: Final Thoughts

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

2. The Shave

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

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

Keep in Mind…

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

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

dog haircuts, the shave

Shaving a Matted Dog

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

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

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

Executing “Shave” Dog Haircuts

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

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

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

The Honest Truth

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

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

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

closeup of severely matted dog fur

After The Shave is Complete

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

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

An Example of The Shave

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

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

Dexter before haircut
Dexter after haircut

Food for Thought

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

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

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

How to Groom a Poodle: A Crash Course

groom a poodle feature image

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

Grooming a Poodle: Breeding Standards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Challenges of Grooming a Poodle

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

  • Kennel Clip
  • Bikini Clip
  • Modern Clip

The Tools You’ll Need

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

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

How to Groom a Poodle: A Walkthrough

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

The Face

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

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

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

groom a poodle female groomer trimming black poodle's coat

The Feet

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

The Tail

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

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

The Top Knot

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

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

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

white poodle with top knot

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

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Blogs of 2020

QC Pet Studies corgi wearing glasses, sitting at table and looking at laptop

2020 has been a wild ride from start to finish. We’ve all experienced extreme highs and lows, learned how to adapt to the world’s new normal, and rediscovered the importance of human connection. For QC Pet Studies students and grads, 2020 was also a year devoted to pursuing a dream career in dog grooming, earning professional certifications, and launching new businesses!

We here at QC Pet Studies couldn’t be prouder of how hard our students and alumni have been working, and wish them nothing but the absolute best in the New Year.

With 2021 right around the corner, let’s take a moment now to look back and count down your top 10 favorite Sniffin’ Around blog articles over the last 12 months!

woman sitting on couch, looking at laptop, with dog next to her

Your 10 Favorite QC Pet Studies Blog Articles of 2020

Starting a business is one thing – but keeping it sustained and successful is an entirely different story! So, what measures should you take to elevate your dog grooming business so that it attracts even more clients, bookings, and exposure?

QC Pet Studies offers 5 easy options at your disposal… so don’t wait a second longer to find out what they are!

In our opinion, some of the best movies in cinematic history are ones with a dog in a leading role. (Other than I Am Legend. We’re still mad about that one scene.) So, what are some of the most popular breeds to hit the big screen? Even more importantly, what are the grooming requirements for these breeds?

You’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Do you want to become a professional dog groomer, but don’t know for sure just how long it’ll take you to complete your training? Here, we break down the typical process and average length of time it takes to become a dog groomer, based on whether you a) do an apprenticeship, b) attend in-person grooming classes, or c) earn your certification online (such as with QC Pet Studies).

Given the nature of your job, there are certain risks that are taken each time your client’s dog is placed into your care. Only by being professionally trained can you adequately prepare yourself to handle these hazards, in the event that something ever unexpectedly goes wrong.

Read on as we break down 5 of the most common dog hazards in the workplace, and how to successfully prevent them!

Part of being a great groomer is your ability to achieve high-quality results in an efficient amount of time. Improving your speed takes practice, but there are plenty of other tricks that can help you along the way! From knowing your tools to establishing a systematic routine – keep reading as we reveal 10 tips that will make you a faster groomer without sacrificing the quality of your work.

Not everyone wishes to own their own business, and that’s okay! For many groomers, the dream is to become employed within an existing salon. If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck because in this article, we break down 8 interview tips that are guaranteed to get you hired!

While a reputable grooming education from QC Pet Studies will teach you most of what you need to know, some things can only be learned through real-world experience. Whether it’s dealing with a dissatisfied customer or a business “best practice” that just won’t seem to work for you – here are 3 realities to being a dog groomer that your courses won’t teach you.

What’s interesting about this article is that it was written prior to the international outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, it goes without saying that our original projections might not have exactly come to fruition for everyone. However, there are still many groomers all over the world who were able to make a good income – even amidst the pandemic.

How accurate were our projections, compared to what YOU made in 2020? Let us know in the comments below!

woman wearing face mask and high-fiving dog at home

Once grooming practices everywhere started getting the green light to re-open, the question on everyone’s mind was: How can I run my business safely? If you’re thinking of launching your own dog grooming business in 2021, this article is definitely for you.

Read on as we reveal 6 key strategies that will help you implement social distancing protocols, drastically reduce exposure to the virus, and increase your chances of staying in business during the pandemic!

Those who are serious about a professional career in dog grooming want to be as prepared as humanly possible. So, it comes as no surprise to us that this article was the most popular one of 2020!

While being a groomer is remarkably enjoyable, it’s also not just fun and games. Thanks to the equipment you’re working with, the different dogs you’ll encounter, and being on your feet all day, the job also comes with very serious health concerns.

If you dream of being a dog groomer, this is one of the best articles you can possibly read. This way, you can begin your new career knowing EXACTLY what to expect – and what you can do to prevent an occupational health hazard!

small dog licking water while being bathed by groomer

Everyone here at QC Pet Studies would like to thank each and every person who has taken the time to read Sniffin’ Around’s blog articles this past year. We hope they have been informative, insightful, and fun! Stay tuned for even more awesome content to come in 2021!

Kick off the New Year by pursuing the career you’ve always wanted! Enroll in QC’s Dog Grooming Course today!

Is Dog Grooming Hard?

is dog grooming hard - poodle before and after grooming

When you find something you want to do for the rest of your life, you ask yourself a lot of questions: Can I really do this? Will I be successful? How do I get to where I want to be? How long will it take to get there?

You may also be asking yourself, “How hard will it be to become a success in my industry?”

This is especially true when you’re thinking of embarking on a journey to become a professional dog groomer. Between finding new clients, dealing with anxious or aggressive dogs, and learning the skills you’ll need to be the best groomer you can be, you’ll be faced with many challenges along the way.

But if you’re wondering if you have what it takes to face those challenges, we’ll break it down for you here and now. This way, you can make the right choice for you and your future career.

Is Dog Grooming Hard?

Like anything, dog grooming comes with its own unique challenges. That being said, it isn’t hard once you fully understand the skills required. From pet First Aid, to the specific grooming requirements for different breeds and fur types, there’s a lot to consider when you’re first starting out!

Dog grooming is also a career that relies on word of mouth marketing. Once you do a great job on one client’s furry friend, you may find that all of their (human) friends are calling you up for their own appointments. You’ll need to have a “hustle” attitude if you’re starting your own business. Be prepared to work hard for each and every client at the beginning of your career.

Of course, working for an existing groomer or in a salon has its own challenges, too. You’ll have less control over who your clients are, so you may have to be prepared to work with many different types of dogs from the get-go.

dog grooming, washing dog’s face

Get Prepared

One way to make sure you’re fully prepared to handle your new career as a dog groomer is by taking a great dog grooming course! Understanding every aspect of the dog grooming industry won’t just make you better at your job – it’ll also make you much more confident as you begin your career. With the help of a reputable grooming school, you’ll acquire all of the tools you’ll need to work with a wide variety of dogs and dog owners.

Understanding dog First Aid is another great way to feel more secure and comfortable in your new working environment. If you’re worried that dog grooming will be a hard career, one of the best things you can do is prepare as much as you can BEFORE that first official client walks through the door!

Am I Suited to a Career in Dog Grooming?

While there are challenges that come with dog grooming, it’s also an exciting, rewarding, and fun career that many people dream of having. If your idea of a perfect day involves spending a lot of time with dogs of all shapes and sizes, you’re probably on the right track to becoming a good dog groomer.

However, there are a few things that make all the difference between being a good dog groomer and being a great one. If you know for a fact that you possess any of the following traits, then you just might be in the perfect spot to begin a career that suits you very well!

Dog grooming expert cutting nails of small dog on grooming table

Communication

You don’t have to be a total extrovert to be successful as a dog groomer. But knowing how to communicate with your clients (both human and canine) will make a big difference in customer satisfaction. Understand what you do as a dog groomer and be prepared to explain it – in detail – to concerned dog-parents.

For example, you know what a “puppy cut” is on a particular breed… but does your client?

Organization

Whether you’re starting your own business or working for an existing one, keeping organized will make your days much less stressful. The last thing you want is to get ready for a busy day, only to realize that you’ve booked two clients for the same time slot! To avoid disappointing both your clients and yourself, you should make every effort to be extremely organized.

Confidence

Dogs know when you’re uneasy, and people do, too. Would you trust your dog with a groomer who didn’t act like she knew what she was doing? It’s completely normal to feel some jitters as you begin a new job (or even as you take on new responsibilities at a job you’ve had for years). But trust yourself and your knowledge!

Challenges of Dog Grooming

Like we’ve said, dog grooming can come with pretty specific challenges. How many other careers count “trampled by puppies” as an occupational hazard?

While there are so many rewards to becoming a dog groomer, you’ll also have to grapple with some of the less-great aspects of the job. This includes things like occupational health hazards. If you’re worried about what you’ll face as a dog groomer, look no further!

Dog grooming professional giving Spanish water dog a bath

Difficult Behavior

Even if all your clients insist that their dogs are beautiful, gentle creatures who would never hurt a fly, it’s hard to tell what a dog will actually do when faced with a new and scary situation. You’ll have to go into your career as a dog groomer prepared to deal with anxious, even aggressive dogs. Mor importantly, you’ll need to know how to protect yourself and them.

Difficult Clients

In almost any client-facing career, you’ll find more than one person behaving much worse than any of dogs you might come across! They might be insisting on heavy discounts. Perhaps they’re ignoring your shop rules, or trying to convince you to fit them in last-minute. Whatever the situation, always be prepared to professionally (and confidently) shut down any bad behavior from clients.

Erratic Schedules

Sure, you can often set your own hours as a dog groomer, but you may find that the most profitable hours don’t fit into a standard Monday to Friday model. Clients are usually busy, and really appreciate being able to take their dog to you after work or on weekends.

Rewards of Dog Grooming

Now, about those rewards we were talking about! If you’ve read about all the challenges you’ll face as a dog groomer and you feel better than ever about your career choice, you can start dreaming about all the great things that come with it!

Shih Tzu being brushed in dog grooming salon

Career Growth

People love to spoil their dogs! Taking them to the groomer is one way they love to do it. The dog grooming field is only continuing to grow. We guarantee that you’ll be able to see your hard work pay off when your career begins to take off.

Starting Your Own Business

If you decide to start your own business, you’ll have achieved the dream of millions of people around the world. Being your own boss and setting your own hours gives you a great deal of freedom.

Working with Dogs

This is probably the main reward! Most people interested in dog grooming as a career get into the field because they love dogs. Thankfully, you will actually spend a great deal of your day getting to hang out with pups of all shapes and sizes!

Whenever you start something new, you’re bound to feel nervous. You might even feel like your new career is going to be too hard for you to handle. But if you’re prepared, and you know exactly what you’re getting into, you’ll be able to handle pretty much whatever the job throws at you!

What are some challenges you’ve faced as a dog groomer? What do you love about your job? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Become a certified groomer in less than one year! Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course today!

El Paso Requires Dog Groomer Certification as of January 1st

For dog lovers such as ourselves, thinking of the worst-case scenario can be a difficult thing to do. But all the same, it needs to be done. There are countless groomers out there who have never gotten professionally trained or earned their dog groomer certification. While most of the time, this doesn’t have catastrophic consequences – it also sometimes does.

This should be common sense. As a dog groomer, you’re working with potentially dangerous tools. Your client is quite literally putting their pet’s safety into your hands. Without a proper dog groomer certification – and the level of training that comes with it – mistakes can all too easily be made. When the wrong mistake is made, a trip to the groomer can quickly become fatal.

Such was the case this past August, when an ill-equipped dog groomer in El Paso, Texas, caused a 16-week-old Shi Poo puppy named Luccas to lose his life.

What Caused This Deadly Incident?

Leobardo Nava was a dog groomer for Happy Paws Dog Grooming. He also didn’t have a dog groomer certification or any specialized training. While handling his client’s puppy (known as Luccas), Nava allegedly grabbed Luccas by the neck in an aggressive manner. Afterwards, Luccas demonstrated signs of pain when he tried to walk. He was unable to eat or drink anything upon returning home. The poor pup died not long after.

Upon investigation, it was determined by police officials that Luccas’ lungs were “full of blood” and that he’d died of a “pulmonary edema, caused by the stress of the accident”.

The Aftermath

Nava was swiftly arrested and charged with one count of Cruelty to Animals under Texas law. Happy Paws Dog Grooming of El Paso – who had suspiciously demanded that Luccas’ owners pay for their appointment in cash, and ‘couldn’t print [them] a receipt’ – has since closed their doors and taken down their Facebook page.

The real aftermath, however, is the change in legislation that El Paso is now putting into place. Prior to this incident, people were not required to obtain special training or obtain a dog groomer certification in order to get licensed. However, this will no longer be the case come 2021.

Starting January 1st, anyone in El Paso who wishes to be a dog groomer will be required to get reputable training. It will also become mandatory to obtain a dog groomer certification in order to become licensed and work professionally. Furthermore, this new legislation will require grooming shop owners to conduct thorough background checks on any potential hires.

Council also voted to “expand restrictions on the use of dog restraints” and implement a certain set of standards regarding animal care within grooming businesses.

We, for one, think it’s about time.

Why A Dog Groomer Certification Should Be Mandatory

In a perfect world, ALL aspiring groomers would need to obtain a reputable dog groomer certification before entering the industry. Calling yourself a dog groomer doesn’t automatically make you one. This is a profession that relies heavily on subject-matter expertise. It requires knowledge that can only be obtained through proper training and education.

Think of it this way: you wouldn’t hand a self-proclaimed ‘Doctor’ a scalpel if you knew they’d never been to medical school, would you?

(We seriously hope the answer to this is “no”.)

As a groomer, your job involves dealing with another living, breathing life. It cannot be stressed enough that only those who know exactly what they’re doing should be allowed to have this level of responsibility. Otherwise, disaster can occur at any second, regardless of how prepared you think you are.

It’s probably safe to assume that you want to be a dog groomer because you love dogs. If so, then you owe it to them to be as prepared as possible!

10 Reasons You Should Earn Your Dog Groomer Certification Through QC Pet Studies

It’s difficult to narrow down all the reasons why you should pursue your professional training through QC, but we’ll do our best! Here are 10 of the best perks you’ll find when you enroll in our Dog Grooming Course:

  1. The program is 100% self-paced and you get a full 2 years to complete your course!
  2. Your classes are online, so you can train from anywhere in the world!
  3. As part of your course, you’ll be provided with your very own set of professional grooming tools!
  4. When you enroll in this course, we’ll give you our First Aid for Groomers Course – absolutely FREE!
  5. Complete hands-on assignments that will give you ample field practice!
  6. Learn everything there is to know about dog behavior, grooming techniques, breed requirements, products and tools, and so much more!
  7. Receive extensive business training so you can launch your very own company after graduating!
  8. Receive an International Dog Grooming Professional (IDGP) certification plus a First Aid for Groomers certificate upon completion of your courses!
  9. QC’s tutors are Certified Master Groomers with decades of experience in the industry!
  10. You’ll be training at a school that has been pioneering the e-learning experience since 1984 and holds an A+ ranking from the Better Business Bureau!

Do YOU agree that all groomers should need to have a dog groomer certification in order to legally work? Tell us why or why not in the comments below!

This Black Friday, get $200 OFF your tuition when you enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course!

Mobile Dog Grooming Career: Pros and Cons

woman's dog grooming career - driving in van with black lab in passenger seat

Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to complete your dog grooming training and earn your professional certification. Now you’re ready to break into the industry, start your dog grooming career, and launch your very own business. At this point, the most important question becomes: what type of business do you want to run?

Mobile grooming has gained more and more popularity over the years, and with good reason. This growing sector of the industry could be the right path for you! Of course, you’ll need to do your research before making any decisions.

Let’s break down what a mobile groomer does, and then delve into some of the common pros and cons related to this profession.

What is Mobile Dog Grooming?

In a nutshell, mobile dog grooming is when you – the groomer – physically travel to the clients’ homes for their appointments. You might invest in a van or truck big enough to house and transport your mini salon. Another popular option is to bring your grooming equipment into the client’s home, where you can groom the dog in its own environment.

The Pros and Cons of a Mobile Dog Grooming Career

In order to decide if a career in mobile dog grooming is right for you, you’ll need to carefully consider all of the factors that influence this profession. Here are some of the most common pros and cons that you’ll come across as a mobile groomer…

Pro: It’s the most convenient option for your clients!

For starters, mobile services present a major perk for clients! They won’t even need to leave their homes in order to reap the benefits of your services. This is definitely something that can set you apart from other competitors in your area.

Mobile grooming can be convenient for you, too! Not to mention, the fact that you’ll need to work with less equipment will teach you to become craftier in your approach to grooming.

Con: You’ll need to work long hours.

As a mobile groomer, you’ll usually be flying solo. You only have two hands (we assume), and that means you can only work on one dog at a time. If you want your dog grooming career and business to make a serious profit, you’ll need to work extended hours on a regular basis. This way, you can fit more appointments into your daily schedule.

If this isn’t an appealing or realistic option for you, mobile dog grooming might not be the best career choice.

Pro: It’s remarkably cost-effective!

When you work in a salon, part of your paycheck will go towards covering the overhead costs associated with running that establishment. Similarly, when you operate your own business out of a physical location, you’ll encounter all sorts of additional expenses that you’ll need to budget for and pay out of your profits. But a mobile dog grooming career doesn’t work the same way!

Yes, the initial start-up cost will likely be high for a mobile business. After all, you’ll need to have a reliable vehicle, set up your mobile grooming station and invest in your tools and products. But once those costs are out of the way, maintaining your mobile grooming business will be a LOT less expensive than operating a physical salon.

You’ll have a smaller workplace to manage and you’ll need less equipment, so your business overheads will be much more cost-friendly.

Con: You may need to turn down certain clients.

Money can quickly become tight for a mobile groomer if you continuously take on jobs that don’t actually turn a profit for you. At times, you may be required to pick and choose the appointments you book. This could mean turning down potential clients to accommodate others who are willing to pay more.

For example, full-service grooms have higher rates than individual services because they require more work on your part.  As such, these kinds of appointments would be more favorable for your business than substantially cheaper, a la carte requests.

Pro: You’ll have a much LARGER clientele in general!

Think about it. You’ll increase your chances of booking more clients by offering to come directly to them and your mobile flexibility allows you to travel to clients in other towns and cities. This is a unique perk that you simply can’t offer if you work in a physical salon!

Whether you live in a small town, or simply want to give yourself that extra edge in a larger, competitive city, mobile dog grooming is definitely going to allow you to reach out to more clients.

Con: Travel, maintenance, and expansion considerations

Although a career in mobile dog grooming is cost-effective compared to running a brick-and-mortar salon, you’ll still need to take several expenses into consideration. For instance, you’ll need to budget for expenses related to traveling, such as vehicle maintenance, gas, meals, etc.

relaxed border collie lying next to owner in van

Similarly, you would need to spend more money if you ever decided to grow your business. After all, you can only fit so many people in your vehicle. If you want to expand and eventually hire a team, you’ll need to buy more vehicles. Then you’ll also need to factor in the travel and maintenance costs associated with those vehicles.

Pro: You’ll get to work with happier, less-stressed dogs!

Some dogs are perfectly happy to visit the salon, but others can get extremely anxious and stressed. By grooming them in (or near) their own homes, they’ll likely be much more relaxed and receptive to your efforts. Working with a happy dog will make your job much more enjoyable in general, and it will also help the groom to go by with far fewer hiccups. This is always a major plus!

So… IS a Mobile Dog Grooming Career Right for You?

As the saying goes, “The grass is always greener where you water it”. Whether you are a mobile groomer, operate out of your own salon, or are employed within a salon, you’ll run into ups and downs in any job. That’s just life!

jack russel terrier puppy looking up at camera from outside of van

Ultimately, a big part of your success will depend on how you choose to approach your dog grooming career. While mobile grooming may come with its own unique set of challenges, it also offers extremely rewarding benefits.

So long as you go into this career path with as much preparation and training as possible, and you maintain a focused work ethic, you’re going to do just fine!

Haven’t gotten professional training yet? QC Pet Studies can help you earn your certification and launch your dog grooming career in as little as 9-12 months! Click here to learn more!