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Health and Safety

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!

My Dog Grooming Career: 3 Common Salon Hazards

dog grooming career woman giving poodle a haircut
QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she draws on her own dog grooming career experience to reveal 3 of the most common hazards you’ll face in a salon – and how to navigate them properly!

As most of you know (or will come to know), a dog grooming career isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, obstacles are thrown your way and you have to be smart about how you deal with them. Before you start grooming in a professional setting, it’s important that you first have the knowledge necessary to spot and avoid hazards. This way, you can keep yourself, your client’s dog, and others in your salon safe.

In this blog, I discuss a few of the most common hazards you may come across in a dog grooming salon. These hazards may be relevant to dogs or people – but all the same, they’re critical to know as you begin your dog grooming career!

3 Common Salon Hazards You’ll Encounter Throughout Your Dog Grooming Career

1 – Rising Tables and Elevated Tubs

Rising tables and elevated tubs are two of the most common things used in our salon. You might be thinking: Why are they a hazard? Well, if not used properly for the type of dog you are grooming, it can put you and the dog in a potentially dangerous situation.

Rising Tables

We use rising tables for two primary purposes. Firstly, we groom our clients’ dogs on them. However, we also use rising tables to dry dogs, too. This piece of equipment is not so much an issue when grooming the dogs, but it can be when we dry them.

If the dog doesn’t like the high velocity dryer, they’ll often try to get away from it. This means they’re now attempting to get OFF the table. The problem is, rising tables have a loop that goes around the dog’s neck and is meant to keep them in place.

I’m sure you can see where the huge hazard lies: the dog can tip the table, fly off the edge, and accidentally hang themselves or break their neck.

This is where proper training makes all the difference in your dog grooming career. You need to know how to read your client’s dog. This way, you’ll be able to best determine whether you should dry them on the table or on the floor. This can prevent a potentially disastrous situation!

If it’s a big dog and/or you’re in doubt about which option to choose, I usually start drying them on the ground and see how they do. I’ll then try to move them up to the table if I see that they’re okay.

Elevated Tubs

When it comes to elevated tubs, the simple path is for your client’s dog to get in and out using the steps connected directly to the tub. But with some dogs, that’s not always the case. Some like to leap out of the tub at a moment’s notice. This could be a hazard because they’re wet, thereby causing water to fly everywhere.

You might be trying to gently help them out of the tub, but sometimes they’ll catch you off guard and want to do it their way. In other scenarios, your client’s dog may actually require help, for one reason or another (i.e. they’re scared of the water, they have limited mobility, etc.). If you feel you can’t safely remove them from the tub on your own, never hesitate to ask for help from your colleagues.

2 – Kennel Dryers

I’m not sure if a lot of salons use kennel dryers, but we use them at our salon when dogs are still damp. Throughout my dog grooming career, I’ve heard good and bad things about kennel dryers. That being said, we’ve never had an issue ourselves.

But it’s important to remember that you always need to monitor the dog while kennel dryers are being used on them. They could overheat, which is never good. Additionally, if the dryer is blowing on one area of their body for too long, the dog can easily get burned.

With equipment such as this, it’s always important to keep a watchful eye on the situation.

I’m not saying you have to sit by the kennel 24/7 just so you can watch them. Rather, it’s simply a matter of peeping in on them if you’re walking by or have a break. Even if I didn’t groom the dog myself, I’ll look out for them either way.

Pro Tip: Extra caution must be taken for certain breeds, such as with pugs, frenchies, etc. Some dog breeds come with irregular breathing patterns and/or health issues, and a kennel dryer can make them worse. I don’t usually put those breeds in a kennel with the dryer if I don’t have to.

3 – Wet Floors

Okay, this one might seem like a silly hazard to be wary of in the work place, but it’s up there on my list for a reason!

In your dog grooming career, you’ll often be working with water. You’ll regularly be bathing dogs, disinfecting surfaces and equipment, and mopping floors. These things can all make for a slippery mess, which can be a potential danger for you, your co-workers, customers, and even the dogs.

In my own dog grooming career, I’ve had times where I’ve slipped on wet floors. In fact, I’ve had to change my runners for that very reason. I’ve also heard stories about dogs hurting themselves by running on wet floors. Just hearing stories like that makes me want to be very careful about big, wet spots on the floors of my own salon.

I would hate for something to happen to one of our furry clients! After grooming bigger dogs especially, you’ll most likely find me sweeping up around the tub and table area; getting it ready and safe to use for the next person.

As you can see, there are plenty of potential hazards in a dog grooming salon – and I only covered 3 of them! You absolutely must be aware of them, and be capable of reading a situation before it becomes a problem.

Have safety check-lists and cleaning lists as well. Make sure everyone working is on the same page, so you’re not throwing anyone into a situation they have no idea how to handle. Above all else, make sure YOU’RE as prepared as possible by getting professional training at the start of your dog grooming career!

Be safe and happy grooming!

Start your dog grooming career in as little as 3-6 months by enrolling in QC Pet Studies’ 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!

3 Signs You’re Burning Out as a Professional Dog Groomer (and What to Do About It)

pup on couch, looking at window

While anyone can experience burnout, some jobs have a higher rate of burnout than others. Dog grooming is one of these jobs. While highly rewarding, it’s also a high-stress job – especially when you’re running your own dog groomer business

Burnout can be crippling. In serious cases, it can take months or even years to fully recover. But if you’re able to recognize the signs early, and take proper steps to address it, you can help minimize the effects of burnout and get back to work!

Let’s go over the top signs that you might be burning out as a dog groomer, and what you can do about it.

1: You’re physically and emotionally fatigued.

One of the telltale signs of burnout is exhaustion, in every sense of the word. 

Physically, you feel worn out. You don’t have energy for things that used to be easy to do. You probably have trouble sleeping. Perhaps you’re starting to sleep too much or you have symptoms of insomnia (i.e. trouble falling asleep, waking up often during the night, etc.).  

Odds are, your eating habits will change. You might experience loss of appetite and find yourself skipping meals. You might also feel other physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal pain, headaches, difficulty breathing, and more. You’ll probably notice you get sick more often, too.

Important Note: Never write off sudden, new physical symptoms as burnout. If you suddenly start experiencing physical pain of any sort, you should consult with your doctor right away!

Emotionally, you might start experiencing increased anxiety. You’ll find yourself worrying more than usual, often about things you can’t control or that didn’t bother you before. You might also become more edgy with your dog groomer clients, coworkers, friends, and even family.

You could also start experiencing symptoms of depression. Common feelings associated with depression include hopelessness, guilt, irritability, or other (more serious) symptoms. You might suddenly find that you now have a shorter temper. Perhaps you’re feeling more irritable; prone to angry outbursts, both at work and at home.

2: You start disengaging.

As burnout progresses, you’ll probably start detaching from what normally brings you joy. You might find yourself waking up every morning and dreading going to work. Out of what feels like nowhere, being a dog groomer may no longer feel as fulfilling as it used to for you, and so you could begin to respond negatively to your job environment.

As your symptoms worsen, you could even find yourself avoiding other activities that used to make you happy. Hanging out with friends/family, or indulging in your favorite hobby, might begin to feel very overwhelming or emotionally taxing. As a result, you might start to isolate yourself more from others. Socializing becomes a chore you try to avoid. People around you start to notice that you have a more negative general outlook on life. 

It might be hard to notice these signs yourself, so it’s important to listen to people around you! Despite what your burnout is telling you, they do care about you!

disengaged woman in work meeting

3: It starts affecting your dog groomer work.

In the early stages of burnout, your work might go largely unaffected. Your mental and physical health will suffer, but you might still be able to perform at work; hiding your symptoms from your colleagues or employers. However, as your burnout becomes more persistent, your work will start to suffer.

Your detachment and emotional exhaustion will spill into your dog groomer career, and you’ll begin losing focus. You’ll start getting more and more irritable, and care less about the quality of your work. You might start skipping entire workdays, without giving proper notice to your employer or clients. As a dog groomer, you could even start treating your furry clients poorly.

What To Do About It

If you start experiencing the start of burnout, there are some steps you can take to help you climb out of the hole before you’re in too deep!

circles with moods

Don’t ignore the signs.

You might not experience every single thing on this list. But you’ll probably notice that something feels “off” at the start. You may notice your habits changing and you don’t know why. It’s important that you pay attention to what your body is telling you!

Admit to yourself that you’re starting to burn out.

Unfortunately, mental health issues are too often stigmatized and dismissed.  You’re not “weak” or “crazy” if you’re burning out. Ignoring or denying it won’t make the problem go away.

Eat healthy and drink water.

When you’re stressed and busy, it’s easy to start neglecting these basic things. Take a step back and return to basics: lots of fresh fruits, veggies, and water. It’s amazing how these small changes can make a big difference!

woman drinking glass of water

Build solid sleep habits.

Set a regular bedtime routine and stick to it! Remove electronics from your room and get proper sleep. There are certain apps that can help you fall asleep if you experience insomnia. I’ve been using one for a month now and it really does help!

Get some exercise.

Once you’re eating and sleeping right, try getting into a light exercise routine. It doesn’t need to be intense! A 30-minute walk every day can do wonders for your mental health – and your dog will love you for it, too!

As a dog groomer, don’t be afraid to reduce your workload.

If you can afford to, consider cutting back on your work hours a bit. I know this can be scary at first as a dog groomer, because it means you don’t have as much money coming in. But if you don’t cut back now, you might be forced to stop working entirely later.

Take a vacation.

It doesn’t have to be a week on a private island somewhere! Even a few days away from work can make a difference, as long as you use them to do something fun. Go for a hike outside the city, check out your local art scene, or just re-read your favorite book. Sometimes, our minds need that mental break. If you have paid vacation days, make sure you use them. If you’re self-employed, plan ahead to take a few days off now and again!

Get professional help.

Look, sometimes you can take all the right steps and still struggle with burnout. That doesn’t make you a failure! We all need a little extra help sometimes. Consulting with a professional to develop proper stress management techniques (or just to talk about what’s stressing you out) can help immensely!

Burnout is a serious condition and should be treated as such. As a dog groomer, you work in a fast-paced, high-stress environment that you can’t always control. Your furry clients can sometimes be unpredictable and a little frustrating.

But you owe it to your clients to be in good mental health when taking care of their beloved pets! Addressing burnout early on doesn’t only make sense on a personal level – it makes sense on a professional one as well!

Did you know that dog groomer classes can actually help improve your mental health? Keep reading here to discover why!

How the Pandemic Has Affected My Dog Grooming Career

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses how COVID-19 has affected her dog grooming career.

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

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

Closing the Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Back At It

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

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

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

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

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

Worried About the Dogs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Client Love

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

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

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

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

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

In Hindsight…

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

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

Why not maximize your time at home right now by earning your certification and kick-starting your OWN dog grooming career? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

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!

How Your Pet Grooming Certification Will Prepare You for These 3 Dog Afflictions!

There’s more to being a dog groomer than simply brushing, clipping, and washing a dog. A big part of earning your pet grooming certification will be familiarizing yourself with common dog afflictions, and how to properly handle them.

Here, we’ll take a look at 3 of the most common afflictions you may encounter when working with your canine clients. Importantly, you’ll discover just how critical your pet grooming certification will be in preparing you for ANY of these scenarios!

What is an ‘Affliction’?

An affliction is anything that can happen to a dog that results in pain and injury. As a groomer, it won’t be uncommon for you to encounter some type of ailment befalling your client’s pooch. After all, for as lovable and wonderful as they are to work with, a dog’s curiosity can tend to get them into troublesome situations!

Maybe they’re excitable, and move a little too quickly under your scissors. Perhaps the soap looks like food in their eyes, and before you can stop them, they’ve taken a big bite. No matter how well-trained and cautious a groomer may be, there will be times when accidents will happen.

There may also be times where a client brings you their dog for a groom, and you notice an already existing affliction that the owner may not have noticed.

Regardless of how it happens, what matters most is how you deal with it.

Examples of Common Dog Afflictions

The nature of your job requires the use of various different tools. Some may be sharp, others may pose the risk of falling, etc. Obviously, your pet grooming certification and expert training will adequately equip you to operate as cautiously as you can at all times.

But as we mentioned above, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the most usual mishaps that can occur within a grooming environment…

1 – Sprains and Fractures

These types of afflictions can be pretty common. This is especially the case in older, overweight, or overly energetic dogs. If you don’t take proper care when operating and/or securing equipment such as crates, leashes, and grooming loops, your client’s dog can run the risk of spraining or fracturing something.

Typical Symptoms

  • Favoring one paw (or more than one paw) over others
  • Limping
  • Pulling away, vocalizing, or showing signs of aggression when the injured area is touched

Keep in mind that if a dog is limping or favoring a paw, it may not always be a sign of a sprain or fracture. For instance, he may have a cut between his toes, or a broken nail. This is why it’s important to always inspect the suspected injured area. This way, you can best determine what the source of his discomfort truly is!

Treatment

The rule of thumb here always is: if the dog appears to be in a great deal of pain, advise your client to consult a veterinarian. In the meantime, to ease the pain and potential swelling, ice or cold packs (always wrapped in a towel) may be applied to the injured area. You can do this while the dog is in your care, and/or you can suggest that their owner do this.

Note: NEVER apply heat to a newly injured area! This can inflame the injury and possibly make things worse. If heat is to be applied, it should be done later on in the healing process.

Should your client’s dog already be showing signs of a sprain or fracture when first brought to you, ask the client how long they’ve been showing these symptoms. If it’s been more than 24 hours, it’s likely best to reschedule the grooming appointment, so that the dog can be taken to a vet immediately.

If the dog sustains the injury during their appointment with you, always ensure to communicate this openly with your client. This is something they need to know!

2 – Ingestion of Toxins

The key to a dog’s heart is often times through food – and dogs will try to eat just about anything!

As a certified pet groomer, your work space is home to toxic products like cleaning supplies, pest control supplies, etc. You may have decorated the salon with certain types of plants. Maybe you’ve been fighting a cold, and have medication nearby. You’ll also often be bringing the dog into contact with shampoos, conditioners, flea treatments, etc.

Although the products you’ll use on a dog are specifically engineered to be safe, it doesn’t mean they can safely ingest them. If a dog swallows something he shouldn’t, this can be a potentially life-threatening matter!

Typical Symptoms

  • Lethargic and/or confused behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The severity of the symptoms can depend on how toxic the substance is, and how much has been ingested. Prolonged toxin ingestion can become so severe that the dog may begin passing blood in their urine, experiencing appetite loss, developing tremors, and even having a full-blown seizure.

Treatment

Should your client ever bring in a dog displaying signs of toxin ingestion, reschedule the grooming appointment and advise them to consult a veterinarian immediately!

If the dog is in your care at the time of toxin ingestion, the first step is to remain calm. If you panic, it’ll only make the situation worse. Start by ensuring that if there’s still anything in the dog’s mouth, you remove it right away. If necessary, you can also seek out your personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves and eye-wear.

Locate a phone and call a professional for medical advice. You can contact a regular vet, a 24-hour emergency number, or (if located in North America) the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) hotline.

Tell them exactly what the dog has ingested, and they will be able to advise you of next step measures. This may involve safely inducing vomiting, or bringing the dog directly to the veterinarian.

3 – Wounds and Cuts

Working with sharp objects, it’s bound to happen that once in a while, a dog may get nicked. Don’t worry, this isn’t an automatic reflection of you being a poor groomer. This happens even to the best of groomers!

After all, you’re working with a living, breathing animal. Animals can sometime react unexpectedly, which can cause an accident. As we’ve said before, it’s all about how you respond to the situation that matters most.

Typical Symptoms

  • Recoiling in pain
  • Yelping or vocalizing that something has just hurt them
  • Blood

Treatment

Wounds and cuts can range from minor to severe, depending on how deep the injury is and where it’s located. Minor wounds don’t necessarily need to be seen by a veterinarian, so long as it’s dealt with right away, doesn’t risk infection, and doesn’t impose any fatal risk to the dog.

If the wound is bleeding, tend to it in a timely manner. If the blood flow is extremely light, apply direct pressure until it stops. Styptic powder, Vaseline, or a cold compress can also be applied to the wounded area, so long as bleeding is minor. Carefully clip away any hair immediately surrounding the affliction. You can then flush it out with a saline solution, or a diluted, non-stinging antiseptic.

If the wound is more serious, the dog may need to see a vet ASAP.

Regardless of the seriousness of the affliction, always make sure to tell your client. They may need to continue certain safety measures at home, or seek further medical assistance. At the very least, NOT telling them is a guaranteed way to put your business and reputation at risk.

Remember: your number one priority is always the safety and well-being of your client’s pooch. Your client needs to know that they can trust you. This is the key to a successful grooming career!

All of the above protocols are ones you will be thoroughly taught during your dog grooming course, as you earn your pet grooming certification. As you can see, ample understanding of dog afflictions – and how to correctly treat them – are critical to a successful career as a groomer!

This, of course, is only just the tip of the iceberg. As you work your way through your grooming training, you’ll discover plenty more common afflictions, along with proper knowledge for handling them. By the time you’re reading to enter the working world, you’ll be prepared for anything that may come your way!

Want to earn a DOUBLE pet grooming certification? Enroll today in QC’s leading international Dog Grooming Course, and receive our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely FREE!

Why “Flooding” Can Hurt Your Pet Grooming Business

Imagine: you’re locked in a room with the one thing that scares you most. Your fight-of-flight instinct has kicked in, your anxiety is through the roof, and all you naturally want is to get out of there. Except you don’t have the key for the door, and you have no way of knowing when you’ll be let out. All you can do is stay there, while that thing that terrifies you inches closer, and put up with it.

Doesn’t sound very pleasant, does it? If anything, this sounds like a total nightmare.

Believe it or not, this thought experiment forms the basic idea of what’s known as “flooding”. Flooding is a “technique” used by some to essentially try and cure a frightened dog. Notice how I put the word technique into quotations. That’s very much intentional.

As you’re about to see, respectable dog groomers (and even just people in general) consider flooding to be a legitimate training “technique” about as much as they’d consider kicking a disobedient dog to be one, too. That is to say, it’s not a proper technique at all.

In reality, flooding can be a very dangerous practice. It not only puts the dog itself at risk, it also poses a threat to other dogs nearby, other people, and even you!

So, if you’re a certified dog groomer, heed our warning. Never implement flooding as a practice within your pet grooming business. It could wind up destroying your entire reputation.

What is Flooding?

We looked at an example above, but let’s get a little more literal. Sometimes, you’re going to encounter clients who bring a difficult dog for you to groom. When I say difficult, I mean that for whatever reason, they’re not entirely willing to be there.

They may have anxiety, be frightened, or show aggression. For certain dogs, the main trigger for these negative emotions could be having clippers used on them. Maybe they weren’t desensitized to the clippers when they were a puppy. Maybe a prior incident caused an injury and they now have a phobia of the clippers.

Whatever the reason is, they’re now on edge, and their state might make it hard for you to properly groom them. So, what do you do?

The uneducated groomer might choose to enact the concept of flooding at this point. The idea behind flooding is that you take a dog who’s afraid of clippers, and literally clip them nonstop regardless of their reaction. Such a stressful situation will result in the dog’s senses becoming flooded (hence the term).

Once time has passed and nothing bad has happened, the scared dog will come to realize that the thing they fear (i.e. clippers) doesn’t actually pose them any harm. Therefore, they can relax, submit to their surroundings, and function optimally in that environment now.

This is the theory, anyway. In a perfect world, flooding might make sense. The thing is, in the REAL world, it doesn’t work like that. When a dog “submits” when being flooded, what’s actually happening is that they’ve just completely shut down. A flooded dog is incapable of learning. At best, the dog will “shut down” during that session and will have a worse reaction to the clippers on the next groom.

Unfortunately, the consequences of flooding can often be severe.

The Consequences of Flooding

Have you ever heard the saying that if you put any dog in a corner, no matter if he’s vicious or not, he’s going to bite back?

This is one of the primary concerns when it comes to flooding, but it’s far from the only danger.

Here are just some of questions you need to consider in the “scared of clippers” example above:

  • What if the scared dog acts on that fight-or-flight instinct, and lunges at you or the clippers themselves?
  • What if the dog tries to escape and ends up hanging themselves on the grooming loop?
  • What if someone tries to intervene to help you, only to get bitten in self-defense?
  • What if the other dogs in the room get triggered by the scared dog’s outburst?
  • What if the outburst causes damage to any of your pet grooming business’s equipment?
  • What if the scared dog’s coping mechanism to this unwanted situation is even more psychologically damaging for them?
  • Could it lead to prolonged health problems for that dog, such as heightened, chronic anxiety?

These are all viable concerns when it comes to the idea of flooding. They’ve happened before, and they’ll happen again. As this is the industry you’ve chosen to devote your career to, we’re willing to bet that the LAST thing you want is for any of your client’s dogs to be hurt, be it physically or even psychologically.

Flooding poses this risk.

Not to mention that if ANY of these outcomes were to come to fruition, this can ruin your pet grooming business and professional reputation beyond repair.

For starters, any injuries as a result of your decision to implement flooding could result in a potential lawsuit. Beyond that, though, you’re demonstrating a lack of education. You’d be essentially showing your clients that you don’t properly understand dog behavior, nor do you know the proper ways to address it.

Worse yet, they’d walk away with the belief that they can’t trust you to put their dog’s safety and needs first. This is the kind of impression that’s likely to spread like wildfire – and it makes sense. After all, would YOU want to put the life of your furry best friend in the hands of someone who’s proven themselves capable of such negligence?

Alternate Approaches

Let’s circle back to the original issue. If your client brings in a dog who’s triggered by the clippers and their emotional state makes grooming impossible, something will still need to be done. If not flooding, then what?

Luckily, there are plenty of other options available to you. For starters, you can rely on your dog behavior and temperament training that your accredited dog grooming course would have provided you. By being able to spot the right signs and signals, you can act immediately and find healthy ways to help defuse any negative situations before they even occur.

Maybe it’s a matter of getting the dog used to the presence of clippers slowly over several visits.  Maybe it’s a matter of taking more time with this specific dog, and stopping any time it starts to show signs of stress.  Maybe if he’s food motivated, you can gently coax him to accept the clippers while licking peanut butter off a spoon.

You can also communicate the dog’s needs with your client. As the industry expert, you can provide helpful guidance, tips, and general advice for things they can look further into once back at home. For instance, you can stress the importance and effectiveness of positive reinforcement training.

Depending on the severity of the dog’s trauma and/or behavior, rehabilitation under the guidance of trained professionals may be a possible recommendation, too. Most clients will be thrilled for this guidance and will happily participate in helping you help their dog!

These are all just examples, of course. The right approach will depend on the dog and their owner. The longer you’re around the dog, the better your understanding of him will be. You may not know the right course of action the first moment you meet him, but you’ll likely be much more informed by the end of the very first grooming session!

At the end of the day, always do your best to operate your pet grooming business with your client and their dog at the forefront of your mind. The safety of the pup is your most important priority. So long as you always act in a way that honors this, you – and your pet grooming business – will experience many successful years, with a long and happy list of clients!

Haven’t earned your dog groomer certification yet? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and be ready to work in as little as 3-6 months!

Dog Grooming Classes Will Help You Avoid These 4 Rookie Mistakes!

Every serious profession has a learning curve. It’s inevitable that you’re going to make mistakes as you’re launching your dog grooming business. But when you’re working in the service industry, there are plenty of mistakes that could ruin your career.

Doubly so when you’re also working on living creatures.

Just to be clear: everyone makes mistakes. No one is going to expect you to be perfect all the time, and never mess up. Mistakes are healthy, as they help teach you to grow! However, there are many mistakes that can be avoided through proper training and education.

So, while you’re almost certainly going to have a few hiccups here and there at the start your career, you can at least avoid career-ruining mistakes by taking an accredited grooming course.

Here are some examples of rookie mistakes you’ll learn to avoid during your dog grooming classes…

1: Endangering a Dog’s Health

It shouldn’t come as a shocker that an inexperienced and uneducated dog groomer will be way more likely to commit mistakes that can seriously endanger a dog’s health. Your grooming course will spend its entire curriculum teaching you how to groom dogs safely.

Your training will include:

  • How to choose the proper grooming tools and products for a dog’s grooming needs
  • Proper techniques so that you use your tools and products safely
  • How to identify different medical conditions that might affect how you groom the dog
  • How to restrain a dog properly and safely during a groom to prevent injuries
  • Canine behavior training, so that you can identify the first signs of stress in your furry client
  • First Aid techniques that will prepare you to appropriately deal with any medical conditions that arise during the groom
  • How to safely manage having multiple dogs/animals in the same grooming environment
  • And much more!

There’s way more to grooming a dog than just grabbing a pair of shears and going to town. Throughout each step of the process, there’s a right way and a wrong way to work on the dog.

The wrong way can lead to a disaster. Sadly, this is one of the biggest and most common rookie mistakes when you’re uneducated.

2: Endangering your OWN Health

Dog grooming classes won’t just teach you how to look after the dog’s health and safety during a groom. Your own health and safety are just as important!

Sure, almost anyone can hold a pair of clippers in their hands. But do you know the proper way of holding those clippers, so you don’t develop wrist problems in a few years? How about how to effectively lift a dog without hurting your back?

More importantly, do you know how to handle difficult dogs so that you don’t end up with a nasty bite? We talked about behavior above, with regards to avoiding any injuries for the dog. However, understanding dog behavior is just as important when it comes to ensuring you don’t get injured yourself!

A stressed dog is a dangerous dog. When pushed too far, even the most well-behaved dog can resort to thrashing, jumping, lunging, and even biting.  Uneducated dog groomers often claim they’re experts on dog behavior, simply because they have dogs themselves.

(Or worse, because they’ve watched a few episodes of The Dog Whisperer on TV.)

These are often the same groomers who will push a dog way beyond his tolerance threshold, and claim to be “teaching” the dog in the process. It’s not uncommon for these people to proudly (and foolishly) wear their bite scars like badges of honor.

When you take a dog grooming class, you’ll learn just how wrong and dangerous this mindset is. Instead, you’ll come to understand how to identify the earliest signs of stress in a dog, so you can properly diffuse any situation. You’ll specifically learn techniques and tools you can use with the most difficult dogs.

And guess what? “Flooding” ISN’T one of those techniques!

3: Making Every Dog Look Like They’ve Been in a Fight with a Lawnmower

With a good pair of clippers and enough patience, anyone can shave a dog down to the skin. But actually grooming a dog to breed specifications, or according to what its owners want?

That takes a LOT of skill and proper technique!

Without proper education, would you even know what the standard breed cut of a Schnauzer is? How about the right technique to ensure you get an even cut on a Yorkie’s face? Would you be able to achieve a proper teddy bear cut?

It’s easier than you think to screw up and make a Golden Retriever look like he got his tail caught in a door. The reason clients bring their pups to you is because you’re supposed to be the expert who can groom their dog in a manner that they can’t do themselves.

You owe it to your clients to actually know what you’re doing.

4: Not Running Your Business

This is actually a VERY common rookie mistake in most animal-related businesses. When you’re passionate about what you do, spending time running your business can feel like you’re taking time away from doing your job.

In theory, we get it.

But in reality, you’re expected as business owner to dedicate the time and resources needed to make sure your business is actually successful. Dog grooming classes will teach you the most effective way to do this, and how you can streamline that time.

During your studies, you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important to develop a solid business plan (and how to do it)
  • How to name your business in a way that will appeal to potential clients
  • How to set your prices so that your business is profitable, yet still competitive
  • How to market your services so you gain enough clients to stay afloat
  • When and how to effectively hire employees
  • How to grow your business by expanding your network
  • How to set up a proper professional grooming salon
  • Why you should have a website and maintain it, even if you have a solid client base
  • How to deal with difficult clients, without compromising your reputation
  • How to increase your standing in the industry, allowing you to charge more for your services
  • And more.

Ultimately, this is the difference between being a part-time dog groomer out of your home, and actually building a successful career. Assuming that you want a career where you work full-time, make a good salary, and can take a vacation once in a while, then you need to know how to run an actual business!

There are tons of mistakes dog grooming rookies can make when first starting out. By getting educated before you launch your career, you’ll at least be able to avoid making the biggest and costliest ones.

Instead, the only mistakes you make will be the ones allowing you to grow and truly hone your craft!

Ready to start your dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course today, and be certified in as little as 3-6 months!

Why First Aid Training is Essential in Dog Grooming Courses

QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. Today, she discusses the importance of First Aid training for groomers, and how it’s helped her as a grooming salon manager!

When it comes to grooming dogs, there is so much more you need to know then simply bathing, brushing, clipping, etc. It’s just as important that you properly understand the dog’s health, and that you know how to spot the signs that indicate they might be at risk.

There are a lot of things that could go wrong, especially when grooming certain types of dogs. Please know, I’m not writing this to scare anyone! Rather, the point I wish to make is that it’s always beneficial to have First Aid training as a certified groomer.

The single best way to acquire this knowledge is through your dog grooming courses! As a graduate of QC’s First Aid for Groomers Course, I’m going to share a little bit about what you’ll learn in this program. I’ll also touch on some of the things I took away from it, and have since applied in real-world situations, as part of my daily job in a grooming salon.

What I Learned from QC Pet Studies’ First Aid Course

As some of you may know, when you sign up for the QC’s Dog Grooming Course, you’re also provided with the First Aid for Groomers Course at no charge! Now, you’re probably thinking: how am I supposed to learn First Aid on a dog through an ONLINE course?

I mean, yeah, I thought the same thing. This is an understandable question to have. But the videos and course texts you receive demonstrate the theories, techniques, and practices in an incredibly thorough way. So long as you pay proper attention to your studies, there is no doubt that you will learn everything you need to know!

Above all else, what I took away from my First Aid training was that there are many things that can potentially go wrong. This is particularly the case when grooming certain dogs. However, the majority of these risks can be avoided, if you know how to read the dog’s behavior and body language.

If a dog is in distress of any kind, he’ll exhibit signs that indicate this. Trust me, once you know what to look out for, it won’t be hard to detect when something bad might be about to happen. This way, you can react accordingly and minimize the chance for there to be negative consequences.

For example: if a dog were to about to experience a seizure, and you had NO idea it was about to happen, the situation could easily become life-or-death for that dog. On the other hand, if you’ve taken dog grooming courses and First Aid training, you’ll be able to anticipate the situation and handle it in a way that keeps your furry client safe!

In the 2 years that I’ve been grooming professionally, I have only ever seen 1 dog seize on the table. In that case, it took place when we were using the high velocity dryer. A lot of dogs will undergo high stress when this dryer is being used – so this is one step in the grooming process that you should be on HIGH alert for.

In my experience, I’ve also noticed that another potentially dangerous factor to be mindful about is accidentally cutting or scratching the dog with your tools. Similarly, you need to pay attention and make sure they don’t become overheated and/or dehydrated.

Your First Aid training (and dog grooming courses in general) will guide you through proper grooming techniques and etiquette. This way, you’ll lower your chances of accidentally injuring the dog, and will know what body language to look out for in the event that they experience distress.

Remember: once your client’s dog is in your care, everything that happens to him is YOUR responsibility! Knowing First Aid can really help in difficult situations.

Applying Your Training to a Real-World Environment

Whenever a dog first comes to see me, I will inspect him and gather as much information as I can. My goal is to figure out:

  • What his ‘normal’ disposition/behavior is
  • If he is in good health and in good condition

You’ll also need to know if he has any underlying conditions, health problems, or injuries. The best way to obtain this information is by asking the owner directly, before the appointment begins. If something happens to occur while grooming the dog, and he incurs an injury of any kind that wasn’t there before (e.g. a nick, a rash, etc.), ensure to let the owner know as soon as they arrive to pick up their pup.

If you come across anything worrisome or potentially problematic, let them know of this, too. Even if it’s not that big of a deal presently, it could be something that grows worse if left unattended.

At the end of the day, every single client wants to make sure that their dog is in good hands. Being thorough, mindful, and honest is a guaranteed way to let them know they are!

A lot of times, people go into dog grooming not really knowing what to actually expect. Your dog grooming courses and First Aid training will help prepare you. They’ll help you come to find that some dogs have bad skin and fur; others have infected ears or mouths. Every dog is different – I can’t stress this enough!

You will always use what you learn in a First Aid Course, even if you don’t know it. I’m always checking the dog’s gums to make sure they’re breathing well, or giving them water if they’re panting. If a dog seems super stressed out, I’ll pause the groom and give him a break. After a while, these little habits will become as second-nature to you as breathing.

We all want what’s best for the dogs we are handling! Not to mention that if this is truly your passion, you’ll forever be wanting to learn more when it comes to dog grooming – and even just dogs in general!

Personally, I love learning about dogs that have skin issues. I don’t know why this fascinates me, but if I see a dog with itchy or flaky skin, I always become overwhelmed with the desire to treat it with a good bath and moisturizing shampoo.

The fact that I can rely on the information I gathered from my dog grooming courses and First Aid training, and apply it to my career on a regular basis, is incredibly rewarding to me!

Other Valuable Information You’ll Learn

Another critical thing you’ll learn in your First Aid training is how to make an emergency plan. You’ll learn to gather and utilize important network contacts. Vets and animal poison control are two resources you absolutely MUST have on-hand at all times. Make sure you have this information in a safe spot, where everyone working there can access it with ease.

You’ll also become an expert at checking a dog’s vitals. This includes:

  • Checking to see if the gums are healthy
  • Making sure his capillary refills are normal
  • Keeping track of his respiratory rate
  • Ensuring he has a healthy pulse
  • Noting the size/state of his pupils
  • And much more!

These are all fantastic things to know! In an industry such as this one, it’s the little things – and the smallest efforts you make – that go a long way and leave a lasting impression on your clients.

It’s definitely worth it to learn about the health of dogs, and get the most out of your dog grooming courses. I hope that you continue learning things as time goes on, and never fail to be amazed at the new information always around every corner. I truly believe that there is ALWAYS something new to learn in this career!

Happy grooming! 😊

Ready to build off your dog grooming courses and earn your First Aid training? Enroll today in QC’s leading online First Aid for Groomers Course!