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The 3 Dog Haircut Styles My Clients Request Most

Dog haircut styles article, Apr 9 2021, Feature Image, Corgi getting haircut at groomers

What are some of the most common dog haircut styles you’ll be expected to know? QC Pet Studies graduate, Casey Bechard, reveals the Top 3 cuts her clients request the most! Casey works as a full-time dog groomer and shop manager at Off The Leash Pet Grooming in Regina, Canada. She is an alumnus of QC’s Dog Grooming and First Aid for Groomers courses.

Today, I’m going to share with you the 3 dog haircut styles that my clients here in Regina, Saskatchewan, request most from me. It’s important to keep in mind that popular dog haircuts can vary from location to location. However, what this article can do is show you a few of the styles your potential clients might request and how to give them what they want.

The following list is in no particular order. It’s also worth mentioning that while these 3 cuts are requested the most often, they do not make up the majority of my time while working in the salon.

With that in mind, let’s jump into it and take a look at puppy cuts, summer cuts, and breed-standard cuts!

Dog haircut styles article, first in-post image

The 3 Most Requested Dog Haircut Styles

1. The Puppy Cut

There’s no single industry standard that defines a “puppy cut“. In general grooming terms, this dog haircut style is basically when the hair is trimmed to the same, even length all over the body. What people consider to be a puppy cut can vary based on location, breed knowledge, and personal preference.

In my own experience, a “puppy cut” in my salon is literally when clients bring their puppies in for their first groom – and want them to look like a puppy for as long as possible.

Dog Haircut Styles: Puppy Cuts for Golden Doodles

Typically, when clients request this particular cut, I use an E guard comb all over the dog’s body. I tend to do this cut a lot on Golden Doodle pups. I have a lot of clients with that breed and they always love their dogs’ coats. For this reason, they want to keep them for as long as possible.

As groomers, we know how much maintenance it takes to keep a Golden Doodle’s coat mat-free. So, I start by walking the client through what I’m going to be doing during the appointment. Next, I explain the at-home maintenance that will be required on their part between grooms. After that, I advise them to come back in about 4-6 weeks, depending on how much they brush at home and take care of the fresh groom.

We’re the subject-matter experts, so it’s important to make sure ours clients are properly educated whenever possible. This is why I also show my clients the types of brushes they can use and how to use them correctly. I go into this level of depth because a lot of clients (especially ones with new puppies) don’t yet understand the amount of work needed to keep their dogs’ coats healthy and maintained.

Creating the Puppy Cut

To achieve this dog haircut style, you’ll first need to bathe and dry the pup. Depending on the dog, you might also need to use conditioner or detangling spray. The trick with a puppy cut is to get the dog super dry first. There should not be a wet spot anywhere on them!

Remember: a lot of dogs don’t like the high velocity dryer. So, you might need to bank a bit more time for this step. Once drying is complete, do a thorough job of brushing them. Next, begin shaving them with your e-comb. Regular brushing throughout the grooming process is key when it comes to achieving a puppy cut. Brushing helps make everything look neater and allows you to see if there are spots you’ve missed. This way, you can go over it again.

After you’ve finished shaving the dog, the next important step is to scissor the legs. I achieve this with curved scissors and a regular comb. First, comb out all the legs. Secondly, scissor off any excess hair. The head and face areas are where clients might ask you to get more specific. For example, they could want their pooch to have a beard, shorter-looking ears, etc.

This is just one reason why it’s important to have a consultation prior to the groom. Be specific with your questions so you can have a good understand of what your client wants. Ultimately, people mostly just want their dogs to look cute. But they also want it done in a certain way.

When it comes to the face and head, I tend to use thinners. I clean out the pup’s eye area and then make the head round, while keeping it proportionate to the body. Afterwards, I clean up the chin (if my client does not want a beard) and the top of the head.

2. The Summer Cut

When it comes to dog haircut styles, the “summer cut” is probably the most common one I do. Simply put, this kind of cut involves trimming the hair shorter to the body (about 1-2 inches long, on average). This way, the dog will be cooler during the hot summer months.

Sometimes, clients will come in and say, “I want my dog short everywhere!” In this case, the summer cut is my go-to!

Dog Haircut Styles: Creating the Summer Cut

Once the dog is dry, bring it to your table and brush them out really well. This is especially important if they have a curly coat on their body, legs, head, and neck. Once that’s done, you can achieve this cut using a 2 guard comb on your blade. This way, even though the hair will be short, it’ll still leave enough to protect the dog’s skin from the sun.

When the clipper work is done, you can begin shaving the armpits and sanitary areas. Don’t forget about the hair between their eyes. For this spot, you can use a hand-held clipper for safety and close precision. Once toy tend to the paw pads and nail areas, you can then start scissoring the legs and shaping them up a bit.

Once the legs are finished, you’ll finally move onto the dog’s head. Scissoring work there will mostly consist of cleaning up any unwanted hairs that are falling in their eyes and mouth. Personally, I use my thinners for this part of the job. Sometimes, I’ll switch to my scissors if I need to trim up the ears or tail.

And just like that, presto – you’re finished with your summer cut!

3. Standard Breed Cuts

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes, clients want a cut that best represents their dog’s breed. Of all the dog haircut styles listed in this article, I deal with this one the least.

But when a client does request it, I almost always refer back to what I learned through my QC Pet Studies training. In Unit G of QC’s Dog Grooming Course, there’s an entire booklet devoted to interpreting and working with breed standards. This is what I look back on, as well as the instructional videos of tutors demonstrating the different cuts.

Most of the time, I do breed standard haircut styles for Golden Retrievers and Schnauzers. When working with Golden Retrievers, you’ll mostly be brushing out their coats and doing a little bit of trimming on their furnishing parts. Basically, you just want everything to look like it’s flowing together nicely.

For me, it also helps that Golden Retrievers are one of my FAVORITE breeds to groom! They are such sweet dogs. It’s like they know how beautiful they look afterwards. Watching them happily prance around after the appointment is always a highlight of my day.

Dog Haircut Styles: Standard Breed Cut for Schnauzers

For a Schnauzer, the standard breed style is your typical skirt, beard, and eyebrow cut. Fun fact: I actually had to work with this breed for one of my hands-on assignments in school. I vividly remember the dog… and the mark I got doing on my assignment.

To this day, I still groom that dog. But my mark, on the other hand, I try to forget. I’m just kidding – while it wasn’t very good, it did push me to become better. I really had to practice that cut because, for me, figuring out where to place the skirt was difficult. So, I practiced every chance I could on Schnauzers. I want to say that I’ve now got it down to a T. But hey, if the owners like it, that’s all that matters! 😉

To achieve the skirt, start by shaving the back of the dog. A #4 blade should do the trick. To know where the skirt starts, look to where the ribs are on the dog. Start shaving just below that area. I find that this is a prime spot to start my skirt. Just make sure to shave around the bum area, as well as a little lower on the chest.

To maintain the skirt, comb through it thoroughly and then trim it up with scissors. The most important part of the skirt is making sure it’s not matted at ALL. Once that’s finished, move onto the head and the ears. They should be the same length as the body hair. The one exception is the eyebrows and beard, which should be left long for the time being.

Next, clean up between the eyes with your thinners. Once this is done, you’ll be ready to tackle the Schnauzer’s face. First, brush the eyebrows forward and then grab your scissors. Put them on an angle, with the tip of the scissor pointing away from the dog. From there, you’ll trim the brows.

Remember: they shouldn’t be falling in the dog’s eyes. But they should still be a good length, so it looks like there are eyebrows. When you move onto the beard, start by combing through it. Hold the muzzle and trim it up a bit with scissors. Bam, you have a Schnauzer cut that’s true to the breed standard style!

I know this blog was a little lengthy, so I thank you for sticking around ’till the end. I loved writing this one! My goal for you now is to keep on practicing. Master each and every dog haircut style to the best of your ability. If I can do it, so can you!

Happy grooming! 🙂

Learn more about dog haircut styles and how to master them by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves for ALL Beginners!

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

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

dog grooming must-haves article camille mar 12 2021 headshot

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

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

5 Dog Grooming Must-Haves

1. Combs

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

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

2. Slicker Brushes

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

groomer brushing dog with slicker brush

3. Nail Care Tools

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

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

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

4. Clippers

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

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

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

dog grooming shaving dog with clippers

5. Shears

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

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

#1 – Straight Shears

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

#2 – Curved Shears

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

#3 – Thinning Shears

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

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

dog grooming must-haves shears

Choosing Shears: Food for Thought

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 2 Hardest Dog Haircuts (In My Opinion)

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

So, which two dog haircuts am I referring to?

The Teddy Bear Cut and the Shave, of course!

dog groomer cutting white dog's hair

1. The Teddy Bear Cut

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

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

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

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

Keep in Mind…

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

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

Examples of Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts

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

Kiwi before haircut
Kiwi after haircut

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

Reilly before haircut
Reilly after haircut

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

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

Cheerio before haircut
Cheerio after haircut

Teddy Bear Dog Haircuts: Final Thoughts

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

2. The Shave

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

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

Keep in Mind…

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

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

dog haircuts, the shave

Shaving a Matted Dog

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

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

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

Executing “Shave” Dog Haircuts

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

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

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

The Honest Truth

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

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

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

closeup of severely matted dog fur

After The Shave is Complete

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

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

An Example of The Shave

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

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

Dexter before haircut
Dexter after haircut

Food for Thought

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

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

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

How to Deal with Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

dog torn apart couch due to separation anxiety

It’s always a great feeling to come home at the end of the day and have your dog rush up to you. Sometimes, it seems like no matter how long you’re away from home – be it five minutes or five hours – your dog is just as thrilled to see you and always ready to hang out!

If you’ve been working from home lately, a major perk you may have found is that you get to spend all day, every day with your furry best friend. What could possibly be better than taking breaks from your job to spend time with your pup? Plus, you get those sweet dog cuddles on demand!

But with more people working from home this year, some owners have noticed a change in their dogs’ behavior. A dog that used to barely look up from his spot on the couch when you leave is now whining, crying, and making a scene when you so much as glance at your front door.

So, what gives?

If this sounds familiar to you, your dog may be suffering from what’s known as “separation anxiety”. Thankfully, not all hope is lost! You can easily help her gain confidence and overcome separation anxiety with a bit of extra training – for the both of you!

dog staring out the window

What is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the result of a panic response in your dog when you leave them for a period of time. Some dogs experience this mildly. For example, think about that time you went out for the whole day and came back to discover your dog had destroyed a pillow.

Other dogs, however, experience it in a much more extreme capacity. Dogs with severe separation anxiety will see you leaving the room and react as if you’ve just left the country.

To put it simply: they aren’t happy when you aren’t around.

While it’s great that your dog loves spending time with you so much, it’s easy to see how separation anxiety can quickly become a problem. At some point, you do have to leave the house (even in 2020!). Helping your dog become more comfortable with that is important.

If you aren’t sure whether your dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, think about their behavior. Here’s a good question to ask yourself… When you’re away from them, does your pooch do any of the following:

  • Have accidents in the house?
  • Pace back and forth endlessly?
  • Behave destructively (i.e. chewing furniture or clothing)?
  • Bark, whine, or howl excessively?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this is likely how your dog’s separation anxiety is manifesting itself.

dog staring out window

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Dogs?

Any dog can experience separation anxiety, but some breeds do seem to be more predisposed to the condition. For example, labs, shepherds, collies, spaniels, and pointers are working breeds. They’re “people-oriented” by nature, due to how they’ve been bred.

Historically, these dogs are used to always having someone around to tell them what to do. In that same breath, they’re also used to someone always being around to provide love and attention. This can make them especially prone to separation anxiety.

Dogs can be more delicate than we think! Many people believe that rescue dogs, or dogs with a history of abandonment and neglect, can suffer more strongly from separation anxiety. Your dog’s daily routine plays a role in it, too. If your dog is used to you being constantly around, he’ll be more anxious when you aren’t. Routines are important for dogs, so any big changes risk increasing separation anxiety.

You’ve probably been nervous when you go somewhere new and you don’t know what to expect. Well, dogs experience this too! Whether you’re taking them to the vet, doggy daycare, or to the groomer, your dog will almost definitely react to new situations. It’s not uncommon for dog owners to discover that their usually well-behaved dog starts to bark or act defensively at the grooming salon, for example.

Strategies for Separation Anxiety

Your dog will feel calmer if they have a safe space to hang out while you’re gone. If you’ve noticed that your dog’s separation anxiety spikes when you leave the house (and not, for example, when you leave them at the groomer’s or daycare), you can specifically try to make spaces in your house where they feel more comfortable.

The Humane Society of the United States recommends creating a special phrase or action that tells your dog that you’ll be back. Once your dog is used to hearing that phrase, they’ll better understand that you will return soon. This will hopefully help them to feel less anxious.

Some things, as you’ll quickly discover, won’t always work. For instance, crating a dog who isn’t used to being crated is a bad strategy for dealing with separation anxiety. That would just be another big routine change that’ll stress them out more!

Note: That being said, if you’re worried that your dog will wreak havoc upon your home in your absence, consider leaving them in a secure room. If possible, this room should have a window in it. Giving them safe toys and an item of clothing that smells like you can also provide comfort.

Training Yourself to Train Your Dog

Dogs love to follow the leader. So, you should always try to be the best leader you can be for your dog! An unexpected way to help a dog with separation anxiety is to enroll in a dog grooming course. When you practice your new skills on your dog, they’ll become used to the sensations they would experience while visiting the groomer. The sounds and experiences won’t be so different and scary. It can wind up making the appointment much easier!

Training as a dog groomer will also allow you to connect with your dog and be able to identify when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Once you understand how your dog is feeling, you’ll be able to more quickly and easily help them deal with that feeling in a positive way!

While separation anxiety can be stressful for everyone involved, it’s important to remember that your dog will follow your lead. Staying calm, cool, and collected while helping her learn the ins and outs of being by herself will go a long way toward lessening separation anxiety. Whether you’re heading out to run errands, or your dog has a date with the groomer – working on separation anxiety will mean that your dog will spend more time happy, confident, and content.

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course and get our First Aid for Groomers Course absolutely free! 

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!

8 Tricks to Acing Your Dog Grooming Interview

So, you’ve just graduated from your dog grooming course and earned your professional certification… Congratulations! You’re now armed with all the knowledge, passion, and drive you’ll need to become an amazing dog groomer.

Now all you have to do now is get started! But this might sound easier said than done. The real question is: how do you become a dog groomer from here?

While many groomers choose to start their own businesses, others prefer the added security of working at an existing salon. Both are excellent options! That being said, working in a salon is especially great when you’re first starting out. A good dog grooming salon offers a more practical way to get your foot in the door.

Of course, that brings us to the scary part: you’ll first have to impress future bosses at an interview!

Preparing for a dog grooming interview is similar to interviewing for any other job, but there are a few key tips and tricks that will set you apart from the other groomers. Read on to discover what they are!

Dress to Impress

You probably already know that it’s always a good idea to show up to a job interview looking professional and put-together. However, there are some different guidelines you can use if you’re interviewing for a dog grooming position!

Keep in mind that, as a dog groomer, you’ll need to dress comfortably. There’s no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars for clothes that are going to be covered in dog hair! For a dog grooming interview, you should wear something that feels comfortable, without being too casual. For instance, unripped jeans are usually fine!

As a general rule, you should aim to be slightly dressier than the employees.

Show Your Passion

What’s the difference between a good dog groomer and a great one? Passion for the job!

Learning how to become a dog groomer will teach you what to do – but a genuine love of the craft can only come from within. When you love what you do, clients (and managers) will take notice.

A good dog groomer knows all the terms, handles the equipment well, and is good with clients. A great groomer knows the dogs by name, understands breed standards, and brings genuine happiness to their job!

During your interview, feel free to speak about your experience with dogs – even your family pets – and about how working as a groomer would make you feel.

Demonstrate Knowledge

With so many breeds and so many different kinds of clients, groomers need to know a LOT! When it comes to learning how to become a dog groomer, reputable grooming courses are the perfect first step to gaining that know-how.

Once you pair that with real-world experience, you’ve got a winning combination that any interviewer will appreciate!

Think about a few examples of dogs you’ve groomed, or classes you’ve taken, that you can share with your interviewer. Having stories like these are especially great if they demonstrate that you are flexible, caring, and hard-working.

After all, these are all traits perfectly suited to groomers!

Get Technical

One of the best ways to show off all that know-how you’ve gathered from your dog grooming course is by using industry terms to describe your work. For example, you may be asked:

  • Whether you have experience with nervous or aggressive dogs
  • If you know how to avoid clipper rash
  • The types of products or tools you would use in a certain situation, etc.

These are all ways for your interviewer to make sure you know your stuff. So, if you have the chance to go into detail, take full advantage of it. The more you discuss, and the more groomer terminology you properly use, the more the interviewer will see both your experience and expertise!

Come Prepared

Nearly every interview ends with the same question: Do you have any questions for ME?

Your answer should always, always be yes! Come to your interview with your inquiries on-hand. For instance, you can ask about:

  • The salon’s clients
  • The work environment
  • The day-to-day operation of the salon
  • Or anything else you’d like to know about

Remember: a job interview is a two-way street. You’re trying to decide whether you’d like to work there, just as much as they’re trying to see if you’d be a good fit!

It’s also a good idea to do some research on websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed beforehand. Often, previous applicants (and sometimes even current employees) will write about their interview experience.

This is especially great if you’re feeling nervous about the interview. You’ll be able to get a feel for what the experience will be like, and what you can expect to get out of it.

What Will They Ask?

It’s natural that before any job interview, you may have some nervousness about the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!

Here are a few of the most common question, along with a few tips to put your best answers forward:

  1. How do you avoid being bitten or scratched?
  • This question is really asking you to tell the interviewer about your manner with dogs. Have you been in situations with aggressive and/or nervous dogs before? Do you panic when the pressure is on, or calmly reassess the situation?
  1. What made you decide to be a dog groomer?
  • Here, the interviewer is looking to see your passion. Tell them all about how much you love animals, and the dog grooming industry in particular!
  1. How do you avoid injury to the dogs while grooming?”
  • The interviewer will need to know – for everyone’s sake – that you understand how to properly operate grooming tools. They’ll also want to see that you understand the best practices involved with them.

Stake it Out!

If you have a dog yourself, maybe you’re familiar with the salon because it’s your best friend’s salon of choice! If that’s the case, you already have an advantage: you’ve seen this specific environment before.

You may even have a general idea about how it works, and who the employees are there. While you shouldn’t expect special treatment, and should always keep things professional, this is often a great jumping-off point for your interview.

What to Avoid

Of course, no matter what the position is, there are a few things you should always avoid during an interview, too!

Interviewers will be on the lookout for people who:

  • Lack communication skills
  • Lack the dedication needed to become a dog groomer
  • Seem jittery around dogs
  • Don’t have a solid grasp of grooming terms, practices, tools, and general knowledge
  • Don’t demonstrate an understanding of animal behavior

This means no complaining about how badly behaved your dog is, or flinching away from the toy poodle being groomed during your interview!

As long as you can show the interviewer that you’re comfortable around dogs, know how to keep them (and yourself) safe, and understand the technical side of dog grooming, nailing your interview should be a piece of cake.

No matter how much schooling and training you get in your journey to become a dog groomer, it’ll always seem scary to jump into a new career! Trust us, we get it.

After all, dog grooming is all about people placing their trust in you to look after their best friends! No pressure or anything.

Thankfully, a little preparation can go a LONG way! When you combine the skills and knowledge you’ve learned through a dog grooming certification, with your own passion and professionalism, there’s no limit to what you can achieve in your grooming career!

If you’re ready to take the first step and become a dog groomer, click here to find out more about QC’s leading online grooming certification!

Prepare Your Dog for Spring with These 6 Tips!

Spring is here! While many people tend to think of spring cleaning at this time of the year, another thing that’s just as important is preparing your dog for the change in weather. Chances are, in light of everything currently happening with the COVID-19 crisis, you’re spending a lot more time at home these days.

This means you have even more time with your favorite pup(s)! You can maximize this time by utilizing the following tips. That way, you and your dog will be fully prepared for the spring season ahead!

Get ready to brush… a LOT!

Most dogs are about to say goodbye to their winter coats, which means shedding time is upon us. Not only do you want to remove all this excess fur from your pooch, so that he doesn’t overheat with the rising temperatures – you also want to avoid your home turning into a hairy mess!

In general, brushing your dog on a regular basis produces positive results and plenty of health benefits! For starters, it keeps the coat smooth and shiny, and also helps stimulate your dog’s blood flow. Not to mentions, grooming a dog creates a special bonding experience between you two.

There is quite literally no downside to brushing your dog!

De-shedding him can sometimes require certain tools, such as blades and rakes. Depending on the breed, you might need to hand strip. No matter how you’re brushing and de-shedding your dog, just make sure to watch out for matts and other tangles!

Make sure you understand which tool(s) to use, and how to apply proper technique. This article is very helpful in walking you through the basics of brushing.

Make sure your yard is safe

After a long and arduous winter, it’s also important to check that your backyard is completely safe for your pooch to go play in. For instance, you’ll want to make sure that there are no holes in your fence that he can potentially escape from.

You should also check around the grass for any unexpected holes. The last thing you want is for your dog to accidentally twist anything and/or injure its leg.

If plants have a tendency to grow in your backyard, or you have a green thumb, there are also specific types of greenery that you absolutely need to avoid. Certain plants are toxic to dogs, such as:

  • Lilies
  • Tulips
  • Ivy
  • Daffodils
  • And more!

The same goes for specific types of herbs and vegetables. If you’re growing your own garden, things like onions, rhubarb, and tomatoes either need to be sealed off from your dog, or avoided altogether.

For a more comprehensive list, here’s an article detailing 50 dangerous garden plants for dogs!

Pro tip: Should your dog manage to chew or eat any of these poisonous plants, seek veterinary assistance immediately.

Take lots of walks together!

For most dogs, a walk is one of their absolutely favorite things. Now that the weather is getting better, they should absolutely be taken outside and able to enjoy it more! Just like with humans, fresh air is extremely beneficial for a dog’s overall health.

Fresh air not only helps purify the body and boost the immune system, it also helps stimulate a healthy appetite! Not to mention, a dog’s daily walk can often be the main source of exercise.

Exercise for any pup is vital to their health. In addition to giving them a chance to stretch their legs and get the blood flowing, walking outdoors can also provide soothing relief to any nerve pain they may be experiencing.

Plus, going on a walk allows a dog to be, well, a dog. There’s a whole world out there of new and exciting smells, tastes, and sights – and your dog wants to experience them ALL.

While a walk may sometimes be the last thing you feel like doing after a long day, it can often be one of the highlights of your dog’s day.

That alone makes it more than worth it.

Note: This being said, if your dog is old, overweight, or has any sort of medical condition, make sure you keep the walks low-intensity at first. While it may be tempting during the first beautiful weekend of the season to take Santa’s Little Helper on a 5-mile hike, it could also lead to injuries if your dog is not in the proper shape. Tailor his walks to what will best suit HIS needs and capabilities.

Get ready for pest season

One downside to the arrival of nicer weather is that it also means the arrival of all those pesky bugs that disappeared during the winter. When it comes to your dog, the most common bugs to watch out for are fleas, ticks, and heartworms.

If Cujo isn’t currently up-to-date on his vaccinations, that’s a critical place to start. Beyond that, there are other preventative measures you can take. Some steps you can take include:

  • Preventative medication
    • Note: Make sure to consult your veterinarian to find out which medication would be best!
  • Bathe your dog on a regular basis
  • Clean your home often – such as by vacuuming the floors, shaking out your cushions and pillows, and washing all bedding (including your dog’s)
  • And much more!

Should your dog fall victim to a flea or tick infestation, this article has some ready good advice about how to handle it.

Schedule an appointment with the vet

It’s recommended that you take your dog to the vet at least once a year. Springtime is the perfect opportunity to do this! During this appointment, you can make sure your dog’s vaccines are all current, as well as ensure he gets a full checkup.

That being said, we also fully understand that there’s currently a pandemic going on. Some hard-hit areas may have strict stay-at-home policies. You may also not be in such a place, but simply don’t want to risk exposing yourself to any unwanted germs by going out if you don’t absolutely need to.

If so, we totally get it, and that’s okay! Should you not be able to go out right now, or don’t feel comfortable in doing so, it’s totally okay to wait until things go back to normal to take Fluffy to see his vet.

So long as he’s in good health, his legally-mandated vaccines are up-to-date, and he isn’t displaying any alarming symptoms or health concerns, this routine checkup doesn’t have to happen right now.

Don’t do a 180 on your pet

The thing about this COVID-19 crisis is that so many of us have no choice but to be at home right now. While this is a huge change for us, it’s also a big change for your dog.

He’s likely not used to having you home so much, and he can’t exactly comprehend WHY his best friend is suddenly around all the time for endless snuggles and attention.

All he knows is that he loves it.

In a dog’s world, his owner is not just his best friend – his owner is his everything. The longer this situation continues, the more your pup will get used to having you around all the time.

Of course, while this is happening, you should definitely be taking full advantage of it. Cuddle, play, and interact with your dog as much as you can. It’s good for you and him, both physically and mentally.

But with that in mind, remember the impact it can have once life inevitably returns back to normal. Because it WILL; there’s no doubt about that. When that time comes, you’ll understandably be excited to get out of the house, socialize with friends, and get back to work.

But remember: your dog won’t understand why just as suddenly, you went from always being there, to not being home for long periods at a time.

While this shouldn’t necessarily stop you from living your life, be mindful of the fact that your abrupt absence can also have its own affect on your dog’s mental health.

So, when the day arrives that it’s safe to go back outside, and the world goes back to normal, just make sure you don’t do a complete 180 on your pooch. Even if it requires a little bit of effort, always ensure to make time for him.

Even just one minute with you is his favorite time in the world.

Can you think of other helpful ways to help prepare your dog for spring? Let us know in the comments!

Want to become an expert at grooming a dog? Enroll today in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming Course, and turn it into a professional career!

Improve Your Dog Grooming Speed with These 10 Tips

As a professional dog groomer, there’s a LOT involved in your day-to-day responsibilities. With so many things to do, it can become all too easy to lose valuable time during a groom. What can you do to shave off a few precious minutes here and there, so you can devote that time to the things that really matter?

We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 tips to help you increase your grooming speed and efficiency, without sacrificing quality!

1. Know your grooming tools

This sounds like common knowledge, but let’s be fair: a groomer needs a lot of different tools to do their job. As a newbie, remembering what each one does and how to use them properly can be a bit tricky. This is why dog grooming classes are so essential! Not only does proper education thoroughly teach you what everything is, but you get hands-on training, too!

On top of dog grooming classes, another way to help your speed when unsure about your tools is to simply ask a colleague. If you work in a salon or with a team, remember: these people are always there to help!

2. Maintain your grooming tools

Once you know your tools inside and out, the next order of business is making sure you always take the best proper care of them. The greatest clippers in the world will still be useless if they’re unsanitary, rusted, or broken in any way. Ensure to clean your tools regularly, and inspect them often so you always know whenever something needs to be replaced.

3. Establish a routine for yourself

It’s all about repetition! Yes, not all grooming jobs will be the same, because not all dogs or breeds will require the same work. But it’s a proven fact that the more often you do something, the better you’ll become at it. Dog grooming classes will lay down the foundation of your knowledge in grooming techniques and different dog breeds.

Then, once you start getting hands-on experience in the professional world, you’ll begin picking up on what different things are required when working with a particular type of dog. Once you find an effective grooming routine that works for you, stick with it – maintaining that routine will only improve your skills AND your grooming speed!

4. Stay focused

On even a well-maintained dog, there can be a lot to do. But let’s just say you’re dealing with a client whose pooch really needs a proper cleaning and makeover. Your to-do list just got longer! Now you may find yourself getting flustered and losing track of what you’re doing.

The result is that you’ll find yourself ‘dancing’ around the grooming table; jumping from one thing to another in a disorderly fashion. If you find yourself in this position, you need to stop and take a breath. Center yourself and regain focus.

Work on one thing at a time, without becoming distracted and moving to something else before you’ve finished. The more organized your grooming process is, the less time it’ll eat up.

5. Be more systematic with your tools

Sometimes, when giving Fluffy a haircut, you may notice you have a tendency to switch around your blades. Like, a lot. The time it takes to constantly do this will add up fast! Instead, you can make the process much quicker if you stick to one blade, cover all the needed areas with it, and then move to a different blade once you’re all finished.

This practice obviously can’t be done in every area of the grooming process, but for the ones where it can, you’ll be amazed at how much faster it makes you!

6. When possible, bathe first

If you have a dog with really long hair that’s just going to be chopped off anyways, it may be faster to give him a bath before you do any pre-working. Another instance where you can bathe the dog first is if it’s already a short-haired breed.

Not to mention, clean fur is easier to work with in general. It’s less harsh on your grooming equipment, and much more sanitary. Using your blades on dirty hair can increase the dog’s chances of irritation, or worse, even infection. Nobody wants that!

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you work at a grooming salon, or have a team employed within your own business, don’t hesitate to ask for an extra body when necessary. Some dogs experience high anxiety at the groomers. Others may show signs of aggression.

Trying to groom a difficult dog will understandably take more time than working with one that’s laid back. Doing the job alone might make things more challenging – and definitely slower. Having another professional there to help keep the dog feeling safe, and perhaps to assist with the groom, is an excellent alternative.

8. Try not to be your own worst critic

When it comes to passing judgement, we’re always toughest on ourselves. One very common place where dog groomers lose time is hyper-focusing on every single detail and losing the ability to see the results objectively. You may find you have a common habit of finishing something, critiquing it too much, and then going back and trying to make it better.

To some degree, this type of self-discipline is great to have as a groomer. There will be times when you should go back in and touch things up. But in reality, there are probably things that are perfectly fine as is, and don’t need any more time or attention. Being too obsessive over being perfect 100% of the time is a habit that can really hurt your grooming speed overall.

9. Help teach your clients

Dog grooming classes help make you a certified expert in your field. You can use that knowledge to help educate your clients. No, we’re not expecting you to go overboard and run your own tutoring sessions. (Though, hey, if you want to, have at it!) But you’d be amazed how much easier – and quicker – your job can be when dogs come to you already in pretty good condition.

There’s a level of responsibility every owner has when it comes to maintaining their pup’s health. Based on the dog’s breed and needs, taking a few minutes to help their owner understand what they can (and should) be doing at home will mean that you don’t always have to start from ground zero every time they come back.

10. Always clean up at the end of the day

If you don’t, you’ll have no choice but to do it first thing the next day, which will set you back in your daily schedule. Not to mention, NOT cleaning up each day is highly unsanitary. But a tidy, sanitized work station and set of grooming tools at the end of each day will mean that your next day can get started right away!

Do you have any other tips for increasing your grooming speed? Let us know in the comments!

Interested in dog grooming classes? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course today and become a certified professional in 2020!

Popular Movie Dog Breeds and How to Groom Them

With the 2020 Academy Awards behind us, we thought it would be fun to take a look at our favorite big screen dogs, and of course, how to keep them well-groomed!

1 – Golden Retriever

golden retriever portrait photo out in grass

Whether it’s Buddy from Air Bud, Shadow from Homeward Bound, or the Full House/Fuller House dogs, a golden retriever is a naturally great choice for a movie dog. They’re typically aloof and eager to please, which makes them a pleasure to train and work with.

Even more convenient, a golden retriever’s shape and coloring is pretty standard. This means that it’s relatively easy to have 4 to 5 similar-looking dogs on set to play one single role.

How to Groom:

Goldens love water, not to mention mud! Their thick and long double-coat makes them the kings (or queens) of shedding. Because of this, regular baths and brushing are an absolute must. De-shedding tools will also be your best friend. However, beyond regular maintenance, golden retrievers don’t require much in the ways of grooming. Some light clipping/shaping of their fur for the movies certainly won’t hurt them. Just don’t shave them down!

2 – Chihuahua

Bruiser from Legally Blonde is one of my favorite movie dogs of all time. From Bruiser to the three Beverley Hills Chihuahua movies, the chihuahua has become a reliable Hollywood dog. Their small size and biting personality (heh) make them a great choice to complement a quirky lead character in any movie. Despite popular opinion, the Chihuahua is a highly intelligent and trainable dog. Just lay a blanket on the ground for sits and downs – the floor is cold and dirty!

How to Groom:

Chihuahuas are an easy groom. Their short, soft coats don’t require tons of maintenance. Just a quick bath/dry, a nail trim, and an ear cleaning should be all that’s needed. They are known, however, to have particularly delicate skin and are prone to allergies. That’s why it’s important to pick a mild or hypoallergenic shampoo for these sensitive pups.

3 – Labrador Retriever

labrador retriever dog walking in park

Honestly, there are too many labs that have starred in cinema history to list them all here. Marley & Me and Old Yeller are probably the most popular ones, both played by yellow labs. Labs are faithful, happy-go-lucky pups who are always ready for a party. They’re another breed that makes it easy to have several animals playing the same character, since so many can tend to look strikingly alike.

How to Groom:

We’re starting to see another pattern here: Hollywood picking dogs that are easy to groom! Like Goldens and Chihuahuas, a lab’s grooming routine is pretty straight-forward. No clipping or shears are required; just a bath/brush to get all that extra fur out, as well as regular nail trims, and you’re good to go!

4 – Belgian Malinois (Belgian Shepherd)

The Malinois was not a very well-known breed to the masses until the past decade or so. They became fairly popular when the 2015 Hollywood hit, Max, hit the big screen. While they’re amazingly intelligent dogs, they’re admittedly NOT a great family pet in a lot of cases.

Malinois are bred to work. If you’ve ever seen one of those internet videos where dogs are scaling walls or walking tightropes while blindfolded, odds are that was a Malinois. In most homes, they get bored and are highly destructive. They can become neurotic and aggressive if not properly trained or stimulated, and that’s a lot of work with this headstrong breed!

The sad truth is, an alarming amount of Malinois who are adopted as family pets are put down or rehomed for behavioral issues before they’re two years old. This has become such a problem that most Malinois breeders don’t sell their dogs as pets at all.

As actors, however, Malinois are a dream to work with! They’re fearless and eager to do any job, whether that’s pretending to be an attack dog, or performing complex dog stunts for a big scene. Name a trick, and you can teach a Malinois to execute it!

How to Groom:

A Malinois’s grooming requirements is similar to that of a German Shepherd’s. That is to say, they shed like the devil and can get fairly stinky. This being the case, regular bathing, blowing, and brushing is crucial. But like all other dogs on this list so far, they don’t require tons of grooming beyond the basics.

5 – Cairn Terrier

carin terrier dog sitting in grass

Not many people know what a Cairn Terrier is these days. That is, until you reference Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Then EVERYONE knows this breed! Cairn terriers are spirited little things that can be a joy to work with. Sadly, they haven’t been featured in many Hollywood hits since the 1939 classic, but Toto will always hold a special place in our hearts. ❤️️

How to Groom:

This is the first Hollywood dog on our list that has a fair amount of grooming involved. (Hey, maybe that’s why they haven’t been used much in more recent movies!) As a wire-coated breed, the Cairn Terrier requires regular stripping to keep their coat healthy and their skin happy. A maintenance trim every month or two is also recommended, to keep the classic haircut in check!

6 – Saint Bernard

It’s Beethoven!

That movie was a staple in every millennial’s VHS collection growing up. Admit it, you’ve seen, too. To this day, at least once per week when I’m walking my Saint Bernard, a car slows down and the driver will shout at us, “Hi Beethoven!”

(Not even kidding. It’s weird.)

Saint Bernards are amazing dogs. They’re loyal and protective of their owner(s) and family. But at the same time, they love everyone, and just want to sit on your feet and cuddle. If that knocks you over? Well, that’s an invitation for more kisses! Our point is, they’re sweethearts.

You don’t see them much in Hollywood anymore though, and that’s probably because of the size (bigger dog = bigger pains) and their relatively short life-span in comparison to their smaller doggy cousins.

How to Groom:

There are long and short-coated Saint Bernards. Either variation requires about the same type of grooming. Thorough, regular brushing is a must – especially for the long-haired Saints, since they’re more prone to matting. This big, floppy-eared beast is prone to ear infections, so regular ear cleanings are advised. Finally, and importantly, this is not a dog that you should leave to “air dry”. There is a lot of very thick fur on this dog, so you want to blow dry them after a bath. This will ensure healthy skin under that coat!

Do YOU have a favorite Hollywood dog or breed that we didn’t cover today? Let us know in the comments!

Want to take grooming courses so you can learn how to groom professionally? Enroll in QC’s leading dog grooming course today, and become certified in 2020!

5 Little Known Factors That Can Help Your Dog Grooming Business

female groomer hugging scared collie

Dog grooming businesses are booming just about everywhere, but ensuring that your business prospers for the long run is a lengthy and challenging process. You’ll always need to be on the lookout for more dog grooming clients and ways to expand your business, and the reality is, not all of these things can be learned in dog grooming school. Some things will require a bit of “real world” experience.

Luckily, we’ve got 5 easy ways for you to up your game and book more clients. Great news: most of these take little to no effort and WILL have lasting results!

female dog groomer grooming a small, curly breed

1: A Website

Okay, so this one might not exactly be a secret, but it’s seriously surprising how many dog groomers don’t bother to have a website. Frankly, a Facebook Business Page is not a substitute for a professional, independent website!

We’re living in a world where every person has the Internet in their pocket. 1 in 4 homes have at least one smart speaker! Our point is, like it or not, your online presence matters. Your website, your branding, your portfolio, and your social media channels – they all matter.  If you don’t have these, there’s a huge market out there that you’re just not reaching.

But if you don’t at least have a website, you’re making this entrepreneurial thing WAY harder on yourself than is necessary…and being a business owner is tough enough!

Most people assume that setting up a website is complicated, but it actually doesn’t have to be hard at all! You can create a simple site using tools like Squarespace or Wix in just a day or two – no graphic designers or web developers needed! These services are very inexpensive, too, which is a nice bonus!

2: Online Scheduling

So you have a website. Now what?

Well, people are going to use your website to see your services and prices, as well as find your contact information. But ask yourself this: What if clients didn’t have to call you to book a grooming appointment in the first place? What if appointments could be made directly from your website?

Just think about how many people you know who absolutely loathe making phone calls. These people are more likely to opt for text or email instead, if available to them. Plus, online booking can often be done much faster than over the phone.

Think about it: what if your grooming business were to be the only local business that spares people the anxiety of making that dreaded phone call?

On your website, you could have a simple “appointment request” form, where people can request appointment slots with your company. You can then follow-up with the client directly to confirm the appointment. This takes very little effort to set up with most website builders, and can add immense value to your business.

female groomer bathing dog

Just be sure that you stay on top of the requests and keep yourself organized. The last thing you want to do is forget about them! Also, make sure to set realistic expectations with the client as to what will happen when they click “submit” on that online form. How long will it typically take for you to read and respond to their form? You can let them know an approximate wait time for a reply, either on the form itself, or as a disclaimer once it’s been submitted.

Pro tip: If you want to get REALLY fancy, you can set up online scheduling software and integrate it with your website. This way, clients can actually see your schedule and book specific appointment slots that are most convenient for them. There are tons of apps and different software out there that do this, though keep in mind the good ones aren’t free.

3: Listing Your Specialties

Think about the types of dog owners who might be skeptical about going to a dog groomer. It could be a good idea to dedicate a few pages on your website addressing their concerns before they even mention them!

REMEMBER: A lot of clients won’t bother calling your business to ask about their concerns. The more questions you can preemptively answer on your website itself, the more impressive you and your business will be. Therefore, the more clients you’ll secure!

Here are a few examples that come to mind:

  • First-time dog owners might be worried about booking their first appointment. Explain exactly what they can expect when they book a grooming appointment (and what their pooch can expect, too).
  • Puppy visits are often scary for dog owners! This is especially the case with experienced dog owners who understand how crucial it is to make every experience a positive one! A page on your website explaining how you introduce puppies to the grooming experience can lead to more bookings and life-long customers!
  • Owners of reactive dogs are always worried about environments such as grooming salons. A web-page dedicated to reactive dog owners will do loads to assuage their concerns. You can explain how you care specifically for reactive dogs, what special techniques/tools you use, and more.
  • Something bad might happen to their dog while in your care. While First Aid Training for groomers isn’t mandatory, we feel it should be. It’s incredibly useful, and is one of the top things that will make your clients feel at ease when trusting you with the safety of a member of their family!

Animal Shelters and Foster groups also need groomers. This is often an under-served, but important section of the dog community. Think about offering special prices or unique services for shelter dogs and foster dogs. Display it proudly on your website! Not only will this give your business some serious karma points, but rescues and shelters are extremely likely to recommend services they use themselves.

skiddish young dog next to owner

4: Register your Business with Google

Have you ever used Google to search for a business or service near you? If you haven’t, you’re in the minority (and frankly, you should try it – it’s a great tool!). When you want to compete and make your business stand out, you can’t ignore Google’s importance in terms of reaching customers.

Creating a Google Business Profile is free and helps customers find you. Using your address, business hours, etc., Google can quickly serve up your business information if potential customers search for things like, “Dog grooming near me”, or “how much does dog grooming cost?”, etc.

You can also customize your Google business listing to allow customers to call you directly from your listing, visit your website, and even book appointments (see point #2 above)!

To get started, just go to Google and search for: “Google My Business”.

5: Show customers you care!

People are suckers for heartfelt stories about animals. Just think about the last Internet video that made you cry. Odds are it had something to do with a neglected dog finding a new home, or a cat being reunited with its owner. Maybe a dog happily tippy-tapping with his new favorite toy!

You work with animals every day, which gives you amazing opportunities to have a seriously WICKED Social Media strategy. Most groomers don’t bother to use this to their advantage. But the fact is, it’s the perfect place for you to excel and get your name out there!

Share ‘before and after’ photos of all your furry clients on social media. Make a ‘photo release’ part of your client onboarding process. Most customers will be happy for you to post photos of their babies! (But of course, some customers will ask you not to, so make sure you always respect those requests for privacy purposes.)

female groomer giving dog teddy bear cut

If you offer special services to shelter animals or rescue dogs, for example, take some time to make a little video montage of that dog’s journey. Think about how you’d react to seeing a video of a scared shelter dog going into a salon so it can get pampered up. Imagine how touching and absolutely heart-warming it would be to see the dog feeling so much better afterward.

Not only will your business benefit from the publicity, odds are your video will help that dog get adopted, too. Win-Win!

There are lots of creative ways you can boost your business. Don’t be afraid to try out new things and see what works!

Interested in launching a dog grooming business, but not sure where to start? QC’s Online Dog Grooming Course comes with full business training that will set you up for success!