Category

Grooming

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!

Choosing Clippers for your Dog Grooming Kit

Dog grooming clippers & shears

Your professional dog grooming kit contains all the tools of the trade. Brushes, combs, shears, and of course, clippers. Professional dog grooming clippers are extremely important to any dog groomer. It’s one of those tools you’ll use every day. You want the best quality clippers you can find. Poor quality clippers can make your job harder, and can even cause injury to your furry client. Ouch!

So how do you choose the right clippers for your dog grooming kit? Turns out, it’s not a one-size-fits-all tool. Let’s go over the criteria to choosing the perfect professional grooming clippers.

Are human-grade clippers good enough?

Nope. While you can buy clippers made for human beards or hair at most drugstores, these should not be used for grooming dogs. For starters, human clippers are often not strong enough to handle coarse dog fur, especially on dogs with thick undercoats. Sure, they’ll do the job, but they’ll often pull at the dog’s fur, causing discomfort at best and injury at most.

If you’re going to groom dogs, you need clippers that are made for that purpose. It’s worth the investment.

Corded or cordless?

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Cordless Clippers

The obvious benefit to cordless clippers is the versatility. You can easily groom a dog in any environment without having to worry about a power source, or about a cord getting in your way. Most groomers start their training and career with high quality cordless clippers.

On a full charge, cordless clippers should be able to handle a full groom on just about any dog. However, as they lose their charge, cordless clippers will slow down and become less powerful. And unless you have cordless clippers where you can switch out the battery, you might have to recharge your clippers mid-groom. This is far from ideal if you’re working in a busy salon where keeping to a schedule is important.

Cordless clippers are best for:

  • Student Groomers
  • Groomers working out of other people’s homes or other remote locations
  • Head/foot grooms

Corded Clippers

Corded clippers tend to be the clipper of choice for most groomers in a salon. When well maintained, a good set of corded clippers will last you years. Many professional groomers believe these are well worth the investment.

In most cases, groomers will keep their cordless clippers for simple tasks that require extra maneuverability (like trimming paws) but break out the corded clippers when it comes to trimming the dog’s body. Especially when it comes to grooming larger dogs, corded clippers are up to the task!

Corded clippers are best for:

  • Groomers working in busy salons
  • Full-body grooms
  • Grooming large or thick-coated dogs

As part of your online dog grooming course, you’re provided with top-quality cordless clippers in your dog grooming kit. These will be more than adequate to complete all your grooming assignments and practice your craft! As you launch your grooming career and start taking on more and more clients, you’ll probably want to invest in a good set of corded clippers.

Dog grooming clippers & shears

What’s in a brand?

Are brand name clippers really worth the extra money? Yes and no. Sometimes you can find less expensive clippers of unknown brands that are just as good as the top brands!

But buyer beware. If you don’t know where your clippers come from, you can’t be assured of the quality of the materials. This can lead to dangerous circumstances, especially if they are manufactured outside of your country. Similarly, clippers from unknown brands might be calibrated differently than what you’re used to. If the teeth are set wider or the attachment combs are of different lengths, you’ll have to re-learn how to use them in a way that doesn’t cause injury.

Since you’re working on a living being with your clippers, our recommendation is to always go with a brand you know and trust for your clipping needs. That’s why QC’s dog grooming kit comes with top-of-the line WAHL cordless clippers. We suggest you do the same!

Comb attachments vs. adjustable clippers

You need to be able to cut hair at different pre-set lengths. This means either getting adjustable clippers, or getting attachment combs for your clippers. It’s the final big decision you’ll have to make in choosing your clippers.

Comb attachments

Most clipper brands will have universal comb attachments that fit most models of clippers. These are usually between 5 and 10 different sizes depending on the brand, and come in different colors for easier identification/use. Comb attachments are sturdy and can last a lifetime. However, they can also be lost and they can be difficult to purchase as one-offs. Meaning, if you lose one size you might be forced to buy the entire set.

Comb attachments are better for groomers who:

  • Don’t travel with their grooming kit
  • Have multiple clippers of the same brand
  • Plan on purchasing new clippers of the same brand in the future

Adjustable clippers

Some brands offer clippers with a built-in height adjustment. These clippers have an extra dial near the blade that you can adjust to various pre-set lengths. It’s the equivalent of choosing a comb attachment. These can be extremely convenient for the groomer on-the-go or for a grooming salon/environment where space is at a premium. On the down side, more moving parts on your clippers mean more chances of a piece breaking. If the height adjustment on your clippers breaks, you’ll need to purchase brand new clippers.

Adjustable clippers are better for groomers who:

  • Travel often with their grooming kit
  • Are prone to losing spare parts
  • Work in a confined space

By following this guide and choosing the best clippers for your style of professional dog grooming, you’re sure to build a strong dog grooming kit that will help launch a successful career!

Interested in becoming a professional dog groomer? QC’s online grooming course comes with a grooming kit including top-of-the-line clippers to get you started on the right foot!

Dog Haircuts 101: Breaking Down the Basics

As a professional groomer, you’re going to be responsible for countless dog haircuts over the course of your career. With the proper training and education, you can make Fluffy look her very best! Without it, though, your client’s dog can walk out looking like a bit of a train-wreck (to put it nicely).

Don’t worry, though, we’ve got you covered! Let’s break down the basic elements you absolutely need to do about dog haircuts. As a bonus, we’ll even reveal to you the #1 secret to becoming a clipper-wielding wizard!

Knowing the Right Dog Haircuts for the Right Breeds

When you have your client consultation, you’ll be able to learn more about their dog and ask the right questions to best determine what haircut would be the best fit. Sometimes it has to do with the breed; other times, it’s the dog’s health, lifestyle, and/or coat condition you need to factor in. And of course, sometimes it just boils down to your client’s preferences!

With time and experience, you’ll be able to look at a dog, know exactly which questions to ask, and confidently know the types of haircut to recommend.

What’s in a Name?

Because there are tons of different dog haircuts, there are tons of different haircut names. While many of them are undeniably cute (such as the “teddy bear” haircut or the “bikini cut”), they’re admittedly a bit ambiguous.

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t really a “one size fits all” way to do any single cut. A client can walk into a salon in one city and ask for a teddy bear cut, and get one thing. But another client on the other side of the world can ask for the same haircut and get different results. It really depends on region, the groomer’s expertise, and the individual’s preferences.

If your client requests a particular haircut, your best bet is to discuss it with them first and make sure they understand what you’d be doing, and how that haircut will look at the end. It’s a good idea to keep pictures of standard cuts on hand, to make sure the owner’s vision matches your own! This way, everyone’s on the same page. You can ensure that your client’s expectations are aligned with the realistic outcome.

Different Kinds of Dog Haircuts

Full-Body Cuts

Full-body dog haircuts define a dog’s overall look, since they alter the length of the coat on the face, body, legs, and tail. Some popular full-body cuts include:

  • The teddy bear cut
  • The shave
  • The kennel cut
  • The lamb cut
  • The poodle cut
  • The sporting cut
  • The bikini cut

Head Cuts

Clients may come in and in terms of a trim, request nothing but a head cut. Alternately, you may be pressed for time during the appointment. Either way, if a haircut is requested, tending to the dog’s face is always a priority. That is, after all, the part of the dog’s body where your client tends to focus on most in day-to-day life!

The goal with all head cuts is to choose a style that attractively enhances the dog’s natural expression and head shape. For dogs with long hair, it’s also a safety measure to clear out any unwanted fur that’s shielding their eyes and impeding their vision. Just make sure to take extra care and precaution when using any of your grooming tools near a dog’s face. It’s a very sensitive area, after all!

Common head cuts you’ll perform throughout your career will include:

  • The clean face
  • The topknot
  • Tipped ears

Foot Cuts

Too much hair on a dog’s feet and pads can lead to decreased traction, in addition to an increase of tangling. Foot cuts help to prevent this, as well as help keep the dog’s feet cleaner overall! Your dog grooming training will help you differentiate the different kinds of dog breeds, and how those breeds determine the ideal shape and appearance of the foot.

The clean foot and the round foot, for example, are both standard foot cuts you’ll come across.

Hygiene Cuts

These type of dog haircuts are usually needed when hair needs to be removed from a specific area on the body, in order to keep the dog healthy and clean. Here are a few examples of different hygiene cuts, and why they’re needed:

  • The maternity cut – performed on pregnant dogs, and done by shaving the dog’s belly from the armpits to the groin. This particular cut exposes her nipples to her pups, while also ensuring that the area remains clean while she is nursing.
  • The sanitary cut – involves trimming the hair around the dog’s genitalia, to prevent urine, feces, and other unwanted debris from getting tangled in the fur.
  • The T-cut – involves gently clipping the hair under the dog’s armpits, followed by a line straight down the stomach (forming the letter ‘T’). These areas are often forgotten by owners when brushing, and can be prone to matting. The T-cut prevents this, allowing the dog to be more comfortable.

The Secret to Becoming a Clipper-Wielding Wizard is…

Getting proper training, of course!

(Really, are you at all surprised by this answer?)

An education in dog grooming is an excellent way to stay ahead of the competition and impress your clients. Even more importantly, it strengthens YOUR skill-set and makes you the best dog groomer you can be!

After all, in this industry, it’s not enough to simply love dogs. You absolutely have to know what you’re doing, too! When you have both of these things, there’ll be nothing that can stop you!

From dog haircuts, to behavior and temperament, to proper grooming techniques – QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course will turn you into a true expert! Enroll today and start your dream career!

Dog Grooming Training – Part Two: The Importance of Brushing Before Styling

In Part One of our two-part series, we introduced the concept of prep work prior to styling. Specifically, we broke down the typical types of prep work you’ll perform (and why), as well as how it benefits you, your client, and their dog.

Today, let’s focus on a specific example of common prep work involved during the grooming process: brushing a dog. While there are many kinds of prep work, this one if of particular importance! After all, as we discussed in Part One, a lot of the prep work you do will be required regardless of whether a dog is getting trimmed or styled.

The Benefits of Brushing

Brushing a dog’s hair is vital to its overall well-being. In addition to removing dead, excess fur, it also:

  • Stimulates blood flow
  • Removes dirt and debris
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Reduces shedding and the risk of mats
  • Allows for a shinier, healthy coat

How Often Should a Dog be Brushed?

That really depends on the breed. Most dog breeds should be brushed at least 2 times per week. More specifically:

  • Minimal to no hair should be brushed every other week
  • Hair that’s short and smooth should be brushed once a week
  • Hair that’s short and wiry, curly, or short and double should be brushed 2 times per week
  • Hair that’s long and silky, long and coarse, or long and double-coated should be brushed 3-4 times per week

Obviously, it’s not realistic to expect your client to bring their pooch to you on a weekly basis (although some are more than happy to). But by knowing this useful information, you can better advise your client so they can perform maintenance while at home.

When to Brush a Dog During a Grooming Appointment

If you intend to give your client’s dog a bath, make sure to brush him before and after he gets washed. Brushing him before a bath will remove a ton of excess hair and dirt, which can save you time. In the same breath, if the dog has mats and tangles when they come to you, you’ll want to deal with those before bath time. Otherwise, the tangles risk getting even worse!

Once you’ve finished bathing and drying him, perform the second brush. Because you already prepped the dog with an initial brushing, followed by a proper bath, this second brushing will be a much quicker process. The goal here is simply to remove any loosened hair, smooth out the fur and ensure there are no lingering knots.

If you intend to clip the dog’s hair and style it later on, brushing first is essential! Matted hair can clog your clippers, not to mention put the dog at risk!

Different Ways to Brush

The type of brush you use will be dependent on the dog’s coat and individual needs. Your professional training will get you well-versed in all the different types of brushes within your dog grooming kit, along with which are best suited for certain breeds.

Here are a few examples, though, of brushing methods you’ll regularly use:

1. Pat and Pull

This is optimal for detangling a dog’s coat without injuring the skin. For this method, you’ll rely on a slicker brush. If your client’s dog has a longer coat, your slicker brush may need to have extra-long bristles.

Using a good amount of pressure, pat the brush into the dog’s hair until it reaches his skin. This will allow the brush to access the dog’s undercoat. Then pull the brush out.

For optimal results, use the line method when brushing a dog. This is done by lifting pieces of the dog’s fur, so you can work through it in smaller, more precise sections.

Pro Tip: Make sure that you don’t use too much pressure when brushing a dog. You don’t want to aggravate the dog’s skin by giving him brush burn! The more hands-on experience you get, the better you’ll become at knowing the best pressure to use.

2. Combing

After you’ve finished brushing Fluffy, it’s time to grab a comb from your dog grooming kit. Go back in and pass it through the fur, to make sure you did a thorough job with the brushing.

Start with a wide-toothed comb, and if it easily passes through the hair without resistance, switch to a narrow comb with finer teeth. The goal is to be able to comb all of the fur, down to the skin, without hitting any tangles.

If you’re able to do that, you’ve done a mighty fine job!

3. Deshedding

Deshedding is an important step before you bust out your clippers, and especially before you attempt to style the fur. That being said, you’ll find that many clients will come to you solely for deshedding services. This is particularly common in the spring and fall, the two major shedding seasons.

There are a number of tools you can use in your dog grooming kit to help deshed your client’s pup. Most often, you’ll find that undercoat rakes and deshedding blades will best do the trick.

That being said, this is where it’s once again important to know your dog breeds! Certain deshedding tools shouldn’t be used on specific breeds. For example, you should NOT use a deshedding blade on breeds with long, curly coats, such as:

  • Pumis
  • Poodles
  • American or Irish Water Spaniels
  • Spanish or Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Curly-coated Retrievers
  • Etc.

Want to Learn More?

The single best way to learn all there is to know about grooming prep work and techniques is to enroll in dog grooming school and receive professional training from certified experts! After all, to be the best, you need to learn from the best!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course, and get certified in as little as 3-6 months!

Dog Grooming Training: The Importance of Prep Work Before Styling – Part 1

As part of your dog grooming training, you’ll quickly discover that the work you do before any styling is just as important as the styling itself! Most dogs that walk into your shop won’t automatically be ready for a trim. They’ll need you to do some essential prep work first.

For instance, if a pup comes to you with matted fur, you won’t be able to safely cut or style their hair until those mats are first addressed and properly dealt with!

In Part One of our two-part series, we’ll start by looking at the types of prep work you’ll most commonly perform before any styling takes place. We’ll also examine why this work is so important, and how it can increase your chances of creating a successful grooming experience for your client AND their canine companions!

What is Prep Work?

In the world of grooming, dogs will rarely come to you 100% ready to hop on the table and immediately get a fabulous haircut. In reality, you’ll often need to perform certain tasks before any clipping or styling gets done.

Some dogs may have mats in their fur. Others may have dirty paws, or extremely long nails. At the start of every groom, it’s important for you to first assess the dog and see what needs to be taken care of before you break out the clippers.

Prep work actually makes up a large part of the grooming process!

Examples of Prep Work

The prep work required will vary from job to job. It really depends on the dog and their needs. Some examples of prep work you’ll frequently need to do include:

Note: Keep in mind that many dogs won’t require a fancy trim or style. Some will only ever come to you for prep work and small touch-ups. Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds and Dalmatians, will usually only require prep work services, due to their types of fur.

How Prep Work Benefits You:

Simply put, prep work makes styling your client’s dog a LOT easier. Why make things harder for yourself when you don’t have to?

For instance, all groomers aspire to work in an efficient and timely manner. Now, I know what you’re already thinking: but isn’t prep work time-consuming?

Yes, sometimes it can be, because you’ll need to add some extra steps here and there. But putting time and effort into preparing a dog for styling will help you avoid setbacks later on.

For example, you’ll commonly need to take the time to carefully brush and bathe a dog before you can begin their haircut. That being said, brushing and bathing a dog is standard practice during many dog grooming appointments. So, you’d typically need to do these things anyway!

The thing is, it would actually prove a lot more time-consuming to struggle to clip a dog with matted, dirty fur. You’d very quickly need to do some hefty backtracking to get the job done properly.

So, approach every groom by thinking two steps ahead. Prep work allows you to preemptively handle all the parts of the styling process that could pose problems later on, if left unattended. This way, you won’t lose time later on during the groom.

How Prep Work Benefits Your Client:

Naturally, your clients’ main priorities will be the health and safety of their furry family members. They’re coming to YOU because they trust you to take good care of their dogs. This trust comes from a combination of your reputable dog grooming training and qualifications and your performance.

You’ll need to prove to clients that you’ll treat their dogs with consideration and high-quality expertise!

Any groomer who knows their stuff will understand the necessity of prep work. The more you prep a client’s dog for styling, the better the final results will be. Not to mention, you’ll be better able to guarantee the dog’s overall well-being. These are key elements to being a successful groomer and maintaining a positive reputation with your clientele!

How Prep Work Benefits the Dog:

Most importantly, prep work benefits the dog more than anyone else.

To start, prep work gives you an opportunity to examine them. Doing so may bring to light a medical condition or affliction that has previously gone unnoticed. For example, as you assess the dog, you may notice skin lesions, lumps, etc. Prep work is an excellent way to spot potentially dangerous maladies, so that you can bring them to your client’s attention.

Prep work helps you to put the dog’s safety first in many other, less extreme, ways as well. Here are some of the most common examples of why prep work is essential to the overall grooming process:

  • Brushing: Lowers the risk of hurting the dog, if their hair has mats or tangles. Trying to clip matted fur can result in cuts, nicks, or clipper burn.
  • Bathing: A dog’s fur should always be clean before clipping it. Dirty fur can lead to irritated skin, infections, etc. Not to mention, dirty hair can clog your clippers, thereby making your job more difficult!
  • Trimming the pads: This will lower the chances of the dog slipping and injuring themselves on your grooming table. Plus, it helps reduce the amount of dirt they’ll track into their owner’s home from outside. It’s a win-win!
  • Nail clipping, grinding, and filing: If a dog’s nails are too long, they can prevent him from standing properly. This can potentially cause the dog to fall on the grooming table or cause infection or breakage—both of which can be very painful. In time, extremely long nails can even cause the dog to develop bone deterioration in the feet.
  • Cleaning the ears: It’s very common for dogs to develop infections and other health concerns in their ears. All dogs must regularly get their ears cleaned. In terms of prep work, “non-shedding” dog breeds have ear hair that absolutely MUST be removed before they get bathed. Otherwise, they risk collecting dirty, tangling, and blocking the ear canal.

Want to learn more about the importance of prep work? Stay tuned for Part Two, where we’ll delve more deeply into specific steps and safety measures that are required when preparing your client’s dog for styling!

Start your dog grooming training today and get your professional career started in as little as 3-6 months! Enroll today in QC’s internationally-leading online Dog Grooming Course!