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Tips and Tricks

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!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of the Last Decade

happy girl cuddling Pomeranian in grass

Happy New Year, everyone!

As we embark on a brand new decade, let’s first take a look back at your favorite Sniffin’ Around blog articles from the past 10 years.

girl high-fiving golden lab puppy

There are tons of clippers out there, and a bunch of custom blades to accompany them. As a professional groomer, it’s important to know your way around your clippers. The wrong blades can cause uneven cuts (at best) or seriously injure the dog (at worst)!

Should you go for steel or ceramic blades? What size is best for your dog?  Are 5-in-1 blades any good?  How should you maintain your blades?  We have the answers to all these questions and more in this highly informative article.

Ask any professional groomer, and they’ll tell you that the teddy bear cut is a groomer’s bread and butter. It’s definitely a style you’ll have to practice and master before you can launch your dog grooming business. QC’s online dog grooming course has an extensive breakdown of this very important cut. In this popular post, you can get a sneak peek into the course video where QC tutor, Lisa Day, takes you on a step-by-step overview of the teddy bear cut!

Becoming a professional dog groomer takes patience and dedication. But it doesn’t have to be a complicated process! Back in 2017, we outlined the 6 simple steps that anyone can follow in order to achieve their goal of becoming a dog groomer. These steps are just as relevant today! So why not work these 6 steps into your New Year’s resolution, and become a dog groomer in 2020!

As a professional dog groomer, keeping a dog’s coat healthy is the responsibility at the very core of your job description. Different coat types have very different needs. For example, double coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved. Wire coated dogs need to be stripped. Smooth coated dogs have more sensitive skin. Using the wrong technique or tool on a dog can cause a lot of damage to their coat!

But it’s not always easy to identify a dog’s coat type, especially if you’re dealing with a mixed breed. So use these four tricks to properly identify your furry client’s coat, so you can give him the groom he deserves.

pomeranian with teddy bear hair cut

Now there’s an important question if you’re looking to start a career as a dog groomer! Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, because any state/province can set its own regulations. But this post will guide you through finding out the basics: from what exactly a dog grooming license is, to how to find out if you need one where you work.

I guess licenses are just on your minds a lot!

Lots of people use the terms “certification” and “license” interchangeably. But they are, in fact, two completely different items. Whether it’s required or not, a certification is always a good idea for any serious dog groomer. It’s a proof of competency that you can show to potential clients. If you’re “certified”, then you’ve been trained to groom dogs safely.

Read the full article for more information on the differences between licenses and certifications, how to find out what you need, and how to obtain them.

Frankly, I was surprised this article wasn’t number one on this list. “How much money will I make as a dog groomer?” is one of the most important questions people ask before deciding whether they want to launch their grooming career!

Of course, your actual salary will vary based on your location. But this article does a great job of breaking down the criteria that will affect your grooming salary, including the types of services you offer and your years of experience. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the numbers a little for inflation (the article was published in 2017, after all), but the overall information is still highly relevant today!

happy golden retriever in bath with bath products

Let’s face it: there are perfectly valid reasons why someone might not be suited to being a dog groomer.  It’s a wonderful career for the right person. But it can also be your own personal hell if you start a grooming career without thinking through the down sides of the job.

If you’re on the fence about whether you want to become a professional dog groomer, consider these 8 reasons why the profession might not be the best fit for you.

Okay, so maybe this is why #4 wasn’t closer to the bottom of the list. Here’s another article that’s a must-read before you decide to become a professional dog groomer! This article outlines additional start-up costs for your dog grooming business. It also gives you a ballpark range that you can expect for your salary, once your business is up and running. Want some tips to increase that base salary? We’ve got you covered there, too.

Cheers to the #1 most popular dog grooming article of the past decade (WOW)!

As a professional groomer, there are a few haircuts you’ll encounter over and over again. Yes, the teddy bear cut is going to be number one by far – but there’s also the poodle cut, the lamb cut, the kennel cut, and more. This article demonstrates 7 dog haircuts you’ll encounter countless times over the course of your grooming career.

happy dog portrait with yellow background

Are there any articles you’d like to see covered in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to turn your dreams into reality, and start your dog grooming career? Enroll in QC’s leading online Dog Grooming course today!

QC Pet Studies’ Top 10 Dog Grooming Articles of 2019

corgi puppy in owner's arms

Wow, 2019 felt like it went by in the blink of an eye! Let’s welcome 2020 by first taking a look back at your top 10 favorite articles over this past year.

It’s pretty impressive that this article made this year’s list, given that it was only published a couple weeks ago! But when you look at what it’s about, it’s easy to see why. Though entertainingly filled with satire, this article succeeds in driving home a very important message: it can be all too easy to destroy a good reputation. Avoid the 7 prime examples listed here, and you’ll ensure that your clients will only ever have the best things to say about you and your business!

female groomer trimming dog's hair

QC graduate and professional dog groomer, Casey Bechard, was on fire this year! Despite the fact that she only just received her grooming certification at the beginning of 2019, her career has quickly taken off and only gotten better ever since. Here, she lists some really fantastic goals that would – and did – strengthen her grooming career. Check them out, and don’t be shy to use some of those goals for yourself in 2020!

Let’s face it: big doggos are precious, but they can also be a little intimidating. Add to that the fact that a lot of your work as a groomer will be with small to medium-size breeds, and you might wind up feeling a little out of your element when a Saint Bernard or Rottweiler comes in for an appointment.

But it doesn’t need to be overwhelming! Just like with smaller dogs, grooming larger breeds can become second-nature – you just need to know what to do! This article will equip you with 3 of the best tips to get you started!

No dog groomer can hope to be successful without sturdy and reliable equipment under their belt. However, even the best grooming kits can eventually become useless if not properly taken care of. If you’re guilty of committing any of these 6 mistakes, your grooming tools may be at risk! Keep your equipment pristine – and your reputation, solid – by avoiding these bad habits!

dog getting hair trimmed

QC Pet Studies loves to show off our talented students and graduates! After all, what’s more inspiring than to see someone who was in your very shoes go on to become successful in the field? Located all the way in New Zealand, Katie was first a graduate of QC Makeup Academy, having started her very own hair and makeup business.

Since then, she’s found a passion for grooming and turned to online dog grooming school. She’s taken both QC’s Dog Grooming Course and the First Aid for Groomers class. Driven by her love of animals, Katie’s dog grooming business now takes up the majority of her time – even being regularly booked up to 3 weeks in advance! Learn more about Katie’s journey, and remember: it can happen for you, too!

Casey’s back, with even more professional knowledge to share! This time, it’s her insight on what it’s really like to work in a dog grooming salon. While there are many pros, there are also challenges that you’ll have to adjust to and overcome. Here, Casey shares 3 of these obstacles. This article is definitely a helpful and insightful read, especially for anyone interested in working professionally within a salon setting!

Any person with basic canine education and a pair of trimmers can call themselves a dog groomer, but it takes a lot more than that to truly be a great one. From knowing your breeds, to proper handling and sanitation of equipment, this article provides you with 7 key tips to make yourself truly stand out from the competition in the dog grooming world.

golden lab getting bath

Let’s be real: dog odors are a nuisance. But aside from making sure that your pooch gets a regular bath, what can be done about the smells already living in your home? You’ll find the answer to that very question – and so much more – here in this article. Save your nose, and start reading!

Dogs are adorable. But dog hair? Not so much – especially when it seems permanently glued to all of your furniture and clothes! Sure, you can make sure to brush your pup regularly, but that isn’t enough! If you really want to get rid of all that pesky dog hair, your best bet is to check out (and then follow) these 6 invaluable tips.

On top of being a fountain of knowledge, we’ve already covered that Casey Bechard manages her very own grooming salon. Needless to say, she knows what she’s talking about! She also knows better than anyone how tricky it can be when first starting out as a groomer; particularly, the most common mistakes that can happen while you’re still learning the ropes.

Luckily, she’s compiled this list of the top 6 errors you may find yourself likely to make, so you’ll be able to avoid them! Definitely worth the read, and no surprise at all that this is 2019’s most popular Sniffin’ Around article!

groomer holding puppy

Who knows what articles will become most popular next year, but we’re excited to find out! Are there any topics you’d like to read in 2020? Let us know in the comments!

Ready to become a professional groomer in 2020? Enroll in QC’s leading Dog Grooming course and start your journey today!

6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe during the Holidays

adorable dog photobombing family christmas photo
two golden retrievers and a chihuahua wearing reindeer antlers

The holidays are upon us; a special time of year for the whole family, including our four-legged family members. It’s also a time of year when many dogs end up at the emergency vet or in animal shelters! Here are some ways you can help keep Fido safe this holiday season.

1: Dogs are for life, NOT just for Christmas

Let’s start with the most common mistake many owners make: getting a new puppy as a Christmas present. Too often, these puppies end up abandoned before they’ve even reached their first birthday. Never buy an animal unless you’re prepared and willing to be in it for the long-haul. Please ensure you’ve thought hard on it and weighed all the pros and cons before adopting a puppy/dog as a Christmas gift, especially for a young child. Some things to consider are:

  • A child will be excited at first, but will likely not keep up with a dog’s care and training. This isn’t the dog’s fault! He can’t learn if you don’t teach him.
  • Puppies will grow! Plenty of people seem to only want the novelty of having a tiny, cute pup that everyone will swoon over. But the moment he gets bigger, and maybe doesn’t look quite as adorable anymore, the shine is gone and now he’s no longer wanted. On top of that, the number of people who adopt large breed dogs and then give them up as soon as they “grow too big” is astounding.
  • Dogs need constant care! A dog without adequate mental and physical exercise will become destructive. Again, that’s the owner’s fault. You’d become restless, too, if you were always bored out of your mind, with nothing to do. Your pooch is no different!
  • Giving up a dog is almost certainly a death sentence. If you adopt a dog with even the slightest thought that “if it doesn’t work out, you can get rid of it”, please don’t adopt him. Turn around, and go invest in a goldfish. The sad truth is, giving up an adopted dog may sentence him to a place that could spell the end for him if he doesn’t immediately get adopted again. Not to mention that the older a dog get, the worse his chances are at getting a second chance.

Remember: dogs are not commodities! If you’re not 1,000% committed to caring for him for the next 10+ years, get a stuffed animal instead. At least they won’t pee on the carpet.

2: Watch for open doors

The holidays are filled with comings and goings. If your pooch is known for bolting out the door as soon as it opens, pay special attention to your dog when family and friends are visiting! It only takes a split second for a pooch to sprint for an exit. It’s easy for this to happen while everyone’s saying “hi” and hugging at the front door.

small dog running in snow

If you’re worried about this happening, keep Rover behind another barrier while the front door is open. This could be a baby gate, a crate, or just in a separate room.

3: Be careful with food!

Holiday feasts can be a treat for Fluffy, too. There’s nothing wrong with giving her a little piece of turkey meat or some mashed potatoes as a special Christmas treat. But many holiday favorites can be dangerous to dogs, specifically:

  • Turkey bones – they can splinter and cause severe internal damage or intestinal blockage. Meat is okay, bones are not.
  • Onions, garlic, grapes and raisins, most seeds, etc. – these can be very toxic to dogs. Be sure you know what kind of food is safe for your dogs to eat.
  • Anything sweetened with artificial sweetenersthese can be lethal to dogs. Be very careful with the desserts, and make sure Fluffy doesn’t sneak a bite!

Keep in mind that guests often don’t know what’s safe for a dog to eat and what isn’t. A lot of the time, they’ll want to spoil your dog. If you can’t trust your guests not to accidentally poison your dog, it’s probably safer to her (or your guests, if you’d prefer) in a separate room while the food is out.

4: Be careful with the not-food!

Dogs aren’t exactly as discerning as we are when it comes to putting stuff in their mouths. Scented Christmas decorations like candles and other knick-knacks can be just tempting as a juicy turkey leg. I once had a golden retriever eat a bag of beeswax tealight candles. That was a fun trip to the emergency vet…

brown dog about to eat christmas tree ball ornament

Similarly, tree ornaments can be tempting toys for dogs. For larger dogs, the tree itself can make for an alluring target. Interactive Christmas toys, like your singing and dancing snowman, should probably be kept on a high shelf.

Christmas presents also probably shouldn’t be kept under a tree, i.e. at nose-level. Dogs will be eager to play with boxes and/or eat them. At best, you’ll end up with slobbery presents. At worst, you’ll end up with a hefty vet bill for emergency surgery to remove little Timmy’s legos from your dog’s tummy.

Note: If your dog does make a buffet out of your tree, decorations, or presents, call the vet or emergency vet immediately. Don’t risk your dog’s life by using a ‘wait-and-see’ approach!

5: Plan for office closures

Many pet care professionals are closed, or have reduced hours, between Christmas and New Years. Be sure these closures won’t affect your pet’s care by taking the following precautions:

  • Book your regular grooming appointment several weeks ahead of time
  • Buy extra dog food so you don’t run out on Christmas day
  • Consult with your veterinarian if your dog is under regular care for chronic conditions. Ensure you have enough medication to get you through the holidays, if your vet’s office will be closed.

6: Be mindful of stressed-out doggos

While the holidays can be a great time for us to visit family and friends, or have large groups of people over, this can be extremely stressful for many dogs.  A dog under stress can be unpredictable. Even the most gentle soul can become reactive, and hurt themselves (or someone else) if they’re put under enough stress.

scared small pup in owner's arms

Here are a few tips to give you and your pooch the best chances at an incident-free holiday season:

  • If entertaining at home, pay close attention to your dog’s body language, and look for signs of stress. Provide them a safe space to escape the noise and crowds if they need to. This is especially important if there are children present!
  • If visiting someone else’s house with your dog, the same rules apply. Bring a crate with you so you can put your dog somewhere safe, if needed. If you know your dog doesn’t do well with large gatherings, other dogs, or children, it might be safer to leave him at home.
  • If travelling without your dog, use a reputable kennel or pet sitter while you’re gone. If a friend is watching your dog during the holidays, be sure she’s well aware of your dog’s needs and how to best provide them – especially if she’s having people over for Christmas, too.
  • Keep in mind that holidays are the busiest dog park days. People bring their pooches out to “tire them out” before larger gatherings. This means that parks are crowded with dogs who are over-stimulated, and very likely don’t have too good of manners. At this time of the year, it might not be the best space for your furry friend.
  • Give your dog some TLC in an environment that’s comfortable for them. We totally get it: things are crazy during the holidays, and everyone already wants all of your time as it is. But with all the hustle and bustle, your best boy is going to miss you, too! Don’t forget to make some time for him when you can – even if it’s just for a few minutes to give him a cuddle, throw around his favorite toy, or brush his fur to keep him looking his best. Grooming a dog helps to stimulate his blood flow, which keeps him healthy, both in body and spirit!
man walking his happy dog in the snow

All these points are particularly important for puppies and senior dogs alike. Remember that puppies go through several fear-imprint periods while they’re growing up. A traumatic experience can cause life-long anxiety issues. Senior dogs, on the other hand, become much less tolerant as they age. So even if old Rex used to be fine with kids pulling his tail back in his youth, it doesn’t mean you should let your 1-year-old niece do that this Christmas.

(But also as a side note, don’t let kids pull on a dog’s tail in the first place. This hurts the dog and can cause them to reflexively react with aggression, which could put the child in danger. It’s basically a lose-lose situation for everyone involved!)

All in all, the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take time off work and spend it with your loved ones. With the right precautions, your pupper will enjoy this time as much as you do!

How else can grooming a dog be beneficial to you? By making it your career in 2020! Enroll in QC’s leading online dog grooming course today!

7 Easy Ways to Tank your Dog Grooming Business Reputation

happy dog surrounded by paper mess

You’ve worked hard to establish your dog grooming business. You have a great space and a solid base of recurring clients. You’re booked every day. Life is good! But where’s the fun in that? Tanking your reputation will make running your business a lot more challenging, and that’s the real test for any true entrepreneur, isn’t it? If you’re looking to completely ruin your dog grooming business’ reputation, here are some sure-fire ways to get it done!

1. Triple your prices overnight

You have a solid client base, so logically it’s now time to make them pay through the nose for your services. Most business owners would incrementally increase their prices over time. But not you! Your clients should expect that you’ll jack up your prices once they see how talented you are.

Extra points: Don’t tell your clients your prices have increased until after you hand them their bill, then argue with them when they complain that a nail trim shouldn’t cost $100. If they refuse to pay, threaten legal action! Heck, why stop there? Record them with your phone and post it to YouTube so the whole world can see how unreasonable they’re being!

dog dressed as robber sitting in a suitcase full of money

2. Overbook, then rush through appointments

You’re a talented dog groomer and your business is in high demand. Time to work on your speed game so that you can cram more bookings into a standard workday! Most groomers would hire other professionals to help out with their booming business, but what a waste of resources that would be!

Why hire a brusher/bather if you can just give Rover a quick rinse in the tub, spray him down with a doggy cologne, quickly smooth down the top coat, put a bow on his head, and move to the next dog? Time is money, and cutting corners is your best friend! No need for a thorough bath, rinse, and brush.  Rover will smell good enough when his owners pick him up, so they’ll never know. By the time they get home and see the mess of a dog underneath the bow, it’ll be their problem to deal with!

3. Start using the wrong tools

If your dog grooming clippers break, there’s no need to replace them. Just head down to the drug store and buy a cheap beard trimmer. It’s basically the same thing, right? Who cares if it’s nowhere near powerful enough, ends up ripping clumps of fur out, or cutting the dog’s pads while you trim their paws!

Run out of your fancy dog shampoo? Use whatever you have in the bathroom at home. Forget that your own shampoo isn’t formulated for dogs and will irritate their skin. They’ll still get “clean” with that shampoo, and their skin will eventually heal.

(Probably. Fingers crossed.)

Can’t find your grooming shears? Grab any old pair of scissors from your office. Sure, they’re not nearly sharp enough; they’ll cause uneven cuts and will tug at the dog’s fur with every snip, making them extremely uncomfortable. It’s not like it’ll cause permanent damage.

The bottom line: no need to inconvenience yourself or invest in good tools. Dogs are resilient – they’ll survive.

(…Maybe.)

woman shrugging

4. Listen to the owner’s wishes, even though you know better

Shave a golden retriever for the summer because “he’ll get too hot”? Sure, no problem.

Put a senior dog with a heart condition through a full groom, even though there’s a chance he’ll end up at the emergency vet (or worse)? Yes, sir. Not a problem, sir. After all, the owner has a party tonight and Bella needs to look her best, health concerns be damned.

You can also totally use an oatmeal shampoo on a dog with a history of yeast infections, because the owner read on the internet that it’s good for itchy skin. What do you mean, ‘improper etiquette’? Meh, it’s not your job to advocate for the dog or educate the owner. Who cares if Fluffernutter ends up with a crazy skin infection a few days later? That’s not your fault, you were just following orders!

5. Store personal client information in an unsecured forum

Who needs privacy? Your customer’s contact information, emergency contacts, credit card numbers, etc. don’t need to be secured. Just write them all in that one messy notebook you leave on the front desk, completely open and in plain sight. Better yet, store all that information on an unsecured spreadsheet, and then email it to yourself for good measure. If someone happens to steal or hack your clients’ information, you’re innocent! Securing information is HARD and you’re BUSY. It’s not like you could easily use encrypted software to properly store sensitive data or anything.

Bonus points: When your clients’ information does get hacked, deny all responsibility and blame the victim. They never explicitly told you to not keep their credit card number and expiry date on a post-it note. What are you, a mind reader?

small dog dressed up as a mind reader

6. All aboard the gossip train!

OMG, have you seen the way Debbie looked this morning when she dropped off her poodle for a groom? Baggy sweats and puffy eyes like she’s been crying all night… Must be trouble in paradise!

Your clients, staff, and vendors are going to love the new you when you loosen that tongue and gossip with them about other clients! It’s not like they’ll expect you to be professional and refrain from spreading rumors or butting into people’s lives. Yeah, you’re there to groom their dogs, but what’s a little gossip to go along with it? Dinner and a show! If Debbie didn’t want you to gossip about her, maybe she shouldn’t so obviously have problems at home.

It’s not like everyone will wonder if you’re also gossiping about them behind their backs, too, right?

7. Start fights with online reviewers

How DARE someone criticize your business by leaving a horrible review! She’s really going to get uppity about you injuring her dog during a routine groom and then lying about it? Real mature. Doesn’t she know how difficult it is to run a business these days?

You’ll show her! You’ll reply to her so-called “honest” review by attacking her personally, calling her names, poking fun at her appearance, and using racial slurs for good measure. Since you have her contact info, you can always dox her if you really want to get revenge. You’ll find out who her employer is and you’ll send a complaint to her boss. You’ll find her social media friends and spread rumors to turn them against her, too.  She tried to ruin your business, and now she must PAY!

Bonus Points: Find out where she lives and show up at her house to attack her in person. A stalking charge is a great way to seal the deal on a ruined reputation. You might even make the news – yay for free publicity!

beautiful groomer holding dog in salon

All kidding aside, it’s easy to damage your dog grooming business’ fragile reputation by making careless mistakes, or just not thinking ahead to the consequences of doing things “the easy way”. As a business owner, it’s worth taking precautions to safeguard your reputation whenever you can. Remaining professional at all times, and following the business tips provided in your dog grooming course business training unit, will help you gain a spotless reputation that will follow you throughout your career!

Want to hear our actual tips for properly handling negative reviews? Click here to keep reading!

7 Best Dog Grooming Equipment for First Time Dog Owners

wet dog wrapped in towel next to bath products

Owning your very own dog for the first time is super exciting – but also a bit scary. A living, breathing being, entirely dependent on you for its survival? Talk about pressure!

You’ll quickly come to find that the limitless affection you’ll feel from your pup and receive in return far outweighs any difficulties by a long shot. So long as you protect, love, and cherish your dog like a member of the family, you’ll make an A+ caregiver.

Part of learning how to do that, of course, is knowing how to take care of your dog’s physical and mental health. Doing so will keep your dog healthy, but will allow the two of you to bond. So you’re going to need to learn how to groom him and, more importantly, to make a regular habit of it.

Now, because you’re brand new to this dog-owning thing, you may not know where to start. Don’t worry! Just make sure you have the following items, and you’ll be golden… retriever!

happy golden retriever puppy

(Hah!)

Keep reading to learn about the 7 best dog grooming tools you’ll need as a first time pet owner!

1. Dog brush

Everyone and their grandma knows that dogs need to be brushed. Brushing helps to remove dead skin and hair, while also detangling any knots. Brushing also helps the body produce its natural oils. Since the bristles of the brush come into rhythmic contact with the skin, brushing also helps your dog’s overall blood flow. Simply put, brushing keeps him happy and healthy!

There’s a lot more to it than that, though. No matter what, you should always brush your dog at least weekly. But depending on the breed, you may need to brush him more, or less, frequently.

Breed will also affect the type of brush you’ll have to buy. A good all-purpose dog brush would be a slicker brush, but if you want to do the best job possible, you can use:

  • Grooming gloves – Useful for quick, surface brushes if your dog is a major shedder.
  • Combs – Fine-toothed combs work well on fine dog hair, whereas wide-toothed combs are for dogs with thick coats. Typically, medium-toothed combs are the standard choice.
  • Pin brush – Best used on single coat dogs with long hair.
  • Curry brush – Created for dogs with short hair.
  • Undercoat Rake – Ideal for the double-coated dog who sheds twice a year. Furminator FTW!
husky sitting next to its shed fur

2. Dog hair clippers and/or scissors

We wouldn’t expect someone who’s not a hairdresser to walk into a salon and start snipping away, so if you don’t feel comfortable with this grooming step, you can always turn to a professional dog groomer to trim your pooch’s hair.

If you do think you’re up for the task, you’re going to need some tools first. Clippers are the most common option. However some dogs, such as smooth-coated dogs, won’t need clipping. If he’s a breed with a wired coat, you can always hand-strip your dog as well. Normally this is done twice a year.

If you’re unsure what sort of clippers to use, you can always visit your local pet store and ask an expert. He or she can show you what’s in stock, and which clippers would be best for your dog.

Some northern breeds with thick fur, such as Huskies, or breeds with double coats, such as Golden Retrievers, should never be clipped. Clipping can permanently damage their coats. Check carefully to see if your pet’s fur should not be clipped.

Even if your dog doesn’t need regular trims, a good pair of scissors or a good quality trimmer comes in handy for removing mats/burs or for trimming the hair between the pads of the feet. Typically trimmers are safer for this type of work, but you can also use scissors if you have a calm pup and a steady hand!

3. Dog nail clippers & Styptic powder

Always use equipment designed for dogs. When it comes to nails, this is an absolute must.

If your dog has lots of energy energy and is full of zoomies, his nails might not need to be cut often. His activity will naturally wear the nails down. Less active and/or old dogs will need regular attention. Some examples of the different kinds of nail trimming tools are:

  • Claw-like/plier-like clippers
  • Scissor-like trimmers
  • Guillotine trimmers
  • Files

For puppies or dogs with small, delicate nails, we recommend the scissor-like trimmers.

Styptic powder is something every owner should have on-hand when trimming their dog’s nails. If you’re lucky, you’ll never need to use it! But if you’ve ever accidentally cut a quick without your trusty QuickStop handy, you’re well aware of the mess that can ensue.

Pro tip: Get your puppy used to regular nail trims from day one! Make a point to trim a few nails at least once per week, and use lots of treats! Your future self will thank you.

small dog getting nails clipped by pro groomer

4. Dog shampoo and conditioner

You don’t need to be a professional with a specially-made dog bathtub to wash your dog. Your regular bathtub will be fine – just make sure you have a lot of old towels ready, because you’ll need them!

As with all dog grooming equipment, you must use shampoo and conditioner designed for dogs. If you use the wrong stuff, your dog could experience skin irritation and even hair breakage. You’ll find many shampoos and conditioners made just for dogs. These won’t sting if they get into your pet’s eyes. When buying shampoo and conditioner, always look for those that are free of scents and dyes.

Dogs with medical conditions might require special types of shampoo. So if your dog has highly sensitive skin, is prone to allergies, or has regular skin infections, it’s a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before choosing a shampoo.

5. Dog toothpaste and toothbrush

Did you know that only approximately 8% of dog owners brush their pup’s teeth every day? What’s a bit more terrifying is that a whopping 43% of owners have never brushed their dog’s teeth. Imagine if you never brushed your teeth, or even if you skipped more than a day. You’d feel gross! So why should your dog have to go through that?

Lack of brushing can lead to dental disease, gum decay, tooth loss, and a world of pain! When it comes to your dog, make sure his teeth are well taken care of. Brush them at least every 2-3 days, but if you can do it more frequently, so much the better.

Human toothpaste will upset your dog’s stomach, so once again, make sure the product is made specifically for canines. You’ll be able to pick from countless options when it comes to flavor, organic options, etc. You’ll also be able to see which ones are vet-approved.

Doggy toothbrushes have angled bristles and are soft to the touch. Depending on your dog’s breed, he may benefit from a certain type of toothbrush. You may have to choose a brush that suits your dog’s needs. For instance, big dogs often need brushes with long handles, since you have to be able to go further into their mouths. On small breeds, though, you can use a finger brush.

dog licking toothpaste off toothbrush

6. Ear cleaning supplies

Another important but neglected part of dog grooming is regularly cleaning your dog’s ears. This is especially important in dogs with big/floppy ears! Remember: he can’t reach up and do it himself, and stuff will start building up in there. If it’s not properly remedied with regular grooming, he can suffer from ear infections thanks to wax, debris, humidity, etc.

Ear cleaning can be done by anyone. You must, however, be sure you are as gentle and careful as possible. Plenty of ear cleansers that vet-recommended and can be purchased in pet stores. These will rinse and clean out your dog’s ear canal. Once the gross stuff inside the ear is flushed out, you can use something soft and sanitary (like a cotton pad) to wipe it away. Don’t poke anything sharp into your pet’s ear!

If you want the job done as thoroughly as possible (e.g. using ear powder, plucking excess hair, etc.), then we strongly recommend either taking your dog to a professional. Alternately, another option would be to have formal training under your belt by taking a dog grooming course!

7. TREATS!

Come on – you couldn’t possibly think that we’d talk about the well-being of your pup without mentioning that you should spoil him with treats? Of course we’re going to say that!

While too much of a good thing can have its own negative consequences (e.g. chonky doggos), yummy treats are great tools for learning, rewarding good behavior, and just reminding your furry friend that he is, in fact, your best friend. You can buy treats at grocery stores, pet shops, bakeries, and even make your own!

Plus, treats can come in handy if you ever need to distract your dog long enough to get something done. Case in point: if your dog hates baths and refuses to sit still in the tub, put a little bit of peanut butter on the bathtub wall. Bam! Your dog will quite literally forget you exist, and you can finally scrub out all that dirt he rolled around in while digging up the neighbor’s garden.

woman cuddling puppy

Congrats again on becoming a new dog parent! We wish you and your new furever friend the happiest life together! Now that you know about the top seven grooming tools you’ll need, we have no doubt your dog will be well taken care of for years to come.

If you’re ever unsure, always remember that you can take him to a professional.

Or better yet, if you have the interest and the drive, that professional could very well be you! A good pet grooming school will allow you to become trained and certified on your own schedule and at affordable prices. You’ll also receive the equipment needed to complete the course and to launch your career. You could find yourself ready to start your dream job in less than a year!

Can you think of a better career than one where you’re around animals all day!

Want to start your professional dog grooming career? Enroll in QC Pet Study’s certified Dog Grooming course today!