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Tips and Tricks

How to Build Your First Dog Grooming Starter Kit!

Dog grooming starter kit article, July 23 2021, Feature Image

New to the industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time? You’ve come to the right place! Join QC Pet Studies graduate and expert groomer, Casey Bechard, as she shares some tips and tricks to help you get started!

When you’re first starting out as a dog groomer, knowing which tools to use can be difficult. Personally, when I first began my career, I experimented with a lot of different tools. Over time, I found ones that I loved. On the other hand, I also found ones I didn’t love – and that wished I hadn’t spent money on.

So, if you’re brand-new to this industry and putting together your dog grooming starter kit for the first time, you’re in luck. This blog is all about just that! As we dive in, just keep in mind that all of what I’m about to say is based on personal preference, as well as my own subjective experience. Some of the tools that’ve worked for me at the start might not work for you. Think of the following tips as something I hope can help you out – but don’t think of them as gospel.

Ultimately, what works best and gets the job done will be up to you and you alone!

Building My Dog Grooming Starter Kit: Tools I Like and Dislike

QC Pet Studies’ Grooming Kit

When you sign up for QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, they’ll actually send you a dog grooming starter kit to help you in your training. This kit (and its shipment) is included as part of your course tuition, which I found extremely helpful! Furthermore, this kit was very good for me because it gave me a good introduction to staple tools of the trade.

By practicing with QC’s tools, I could better decide whether or not they were the best fit for me – a.k.a. if I’d want to use them in my professional career or not. By extension, this kit also helped me decide what sorts of other tools I was interested in trying out.

There were definitely some tools provided in QC’s kit that I thoroughly enjoyed using. For example, I loved the thinners and the handheld clipper. In fact, to this day, I still use those thinners! However, I’ve had to invest in a new handheld clipper because I overused the other one.

QC Pet Studies dog grooming starter kit

Adding to My Dog Grooming Starter Kit

The rest of my most-used tools, I first ordered so I could give them a try. Hands-down, my most favorite comb in my kit is a Greyhound Comb. I’m completely OBSESSED with it and use it for every groom! (Speaking of which, I should probably get another one to add to my collection!)

Truth be told, I have so many combs in my grooming tool kit that I never use. Why? Because, in my opinion, none of them compare to this one. I also invested in 2 new pairs of curved scissors. They’re a bit bigger than the ones QC Pet Studies gave me, which I actually prefer. I’ve found that these larger ones do slicker work, and the length of the tool makes the scissoring go faster.

Other Personal Recommendations

If you only buy one tool for your dog grooming starter kit, though, then I recommend investing in a Chris Christensen Slicker Brush. You won’t regret it, I promise! These brushes are great for those curly-coated breeds. Moreover, they’re the absolute best at getting out knots.

I use mine every day and it’s worth the money! Now, I got the smaller size of the two (they come in either medium or large). But if you have the budget, I highly recommend buying the bigger one. I sure wish I did – and I definitely plan on purchasing it eventually! All of my other slicker brushes simply don’t compare to this one. Of course, I do use the other ones for certain looks I’m trying to achieve. But if I’m being totally honest, I mostly pick up my CC Slicker Brush 99% of the time!

Groomer brushing dog with Greyhound comb

A Tool You Can Skip in Your Dog Grooming Starter Kit

Ever heard of the Furminator brush? Chances are, anyone with a furry pet probably has. It’s quite a popular tool, particularly for pet owners to use at home. If you happen to be a fan of it, that’s awesome. I’m not here to knock it in any way. All I’m saying is that it’s not a tool I’d personally recommend for your dog grooming starter kit.

I’ve tried using it before and I’m just not a fan. Based on my experience, I found this brush to be way too sharp. As a result, it was all to easy to leave marks on the dogs and irritate their skin. A lot of times, if clients use that brush at home, they’ll come in complaining that their dogs have red marks and sores on their skin. I’ll ask what kind of brush they used at home. Almost always, it was the Furminator. So, I try to avoid this tool – and I tell my clients to do the same.

2 Tips to Keep in Mind

Firstly, if you have other groomers around you, try to see what tools they’re using on a regular basis. You can then go from there, try those tools for yourself, and see if you’d like to invest in them for your dog grooming starter kit. Importantly, I always recommend testing out a tool before putting too much money into it. So many times, I’ve seen groomers purchasing all these new, expensive tools without knowing if they like them or not. Lo and behold, they get them, try them out, and discover that they were nothing but a waste of money!

Secondly, if you’re ever unsure about a certain tool, read its online reviews before buying it. I’ve found this to be extremely helpful, and it’s prevented me from spending unnecessary cash a number of times. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to shop around! Look at a bunch of different websites in order to find better deals. Who knows, you might even find a better quality version of an item you’re interested in.

Having options is NEVER a bad thing!

Dog gets hair cut at Pet Spa Grooming Salon. Closeup of Dog. The dog is trimmed with scissors. Gray background. groomer concept

In Conclusion

As a professional groomer, having a mastery of the different tools you’re using on your clients’ pups is a MUST. Some brushes may be sharper and harsher than others. Certain scissors won’t do the same job as other scissors. If you’re grooming a dog that has lots of lumps and bumps, only the right tool will allow for a safe, careful result. My point is, it’s critical that you truly know what you’re doing and which tools to work with at all times.

I hope this blog will prove useful as you go forth and put together your dog grooming starter kit! If you use the tips I’ve provided above, I promise you won’t go wrong with the tools you’ve picked! I know it can be fun shopping for all the new and exciting gizmos and gadgets. Just remember that you won’t have everything you want (or need) overnight. That said, I promise you will get there. Have fun trying them out and I hope you can find some amazing tools!

Happy grooming!

Enroll in QC Pet Studies’ self-paced, online Dog Grooming Course and receive YOUR dog grooming starter kit in the mail in as little as 1-2 weeks!

5 Reasons Why Professional Training Will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

Dog groomer salary article, July 2 2021, Feature Image

Looking for ways to boost your dog groomer salary? If you haven’t done so already, this is your sign to get professional certification training!

Why will a proper grooming education better your business and help you increase your income? QC Pet Studies graduate and industry expert, April Costigan, is here to tell you! Read on to discover 5 critical reasons why you absolutely MUST get professionally certified!

Dog groomer salary article, July 02 2021, April Costigan headshot

Why I Became a Professional Dog Groomer

When I first contemplated learning more about grooming dogs professionally, I was working in an animal shelter. Each week, we took in a large number of stray dogs. Additionally, we also took in transferred dogs from other shelters, as well as relinquished dogs from families that could no longer care for them.

Many of these dogs arrived in the worst possible conditions! They’d have matted coats, or were just plain filthy. I quickly learned how to clean them up and make them more comfortable. Eventually, I began to wonder if I could perform these services professionally. But before I made any concrete decisions, I first wanted to know what a dog groomer salary actually looks like…

Researching The Dog Groomer Salary

I did a little online research, specific to my area. During this research, I discovered that there was a wide range of hourly rates – from minimum wage for bathers, to $17/hour for dog groomers working for large pet supply outlets.

Finding a specific dollar amount for a dog groomer salary proved rather difficult, as many locations were vague in their job descriptions. I then discovered that – at least in my area – the salary offered at boutique shops was based on how many dogs a groomer could complete in a day. That’s when I decided that if I wanted to pursue this career path (and I really did), I’d have to come up with a plan that would offer a sustainable income for me.

I wanted to know how I could do quality work and get paid a quality dog groomer salary. The answer was to obtain a legitimate grooming certification!

Cocker Spaniel getting groomed on grooming table

5 Reasons a Professional Certification will Boost Your Dog Groomer Salary

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need a certification?”

Well, I can give you FIVE excellent reasons why taking the time to learn how to properly groom a dog will allow you to be paid a much higher rate!

1. Trust

When you obtain a professional certification, you’ll be able to earn and retain new client business based on your advanced skill-set. For example, in QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course, you’ll discover SO much more about dog grooming that you already do. In less than a year, you’ll know everything you need in order to work at a professional standard… and have an internationally-recognized certification to add to your resume, too!

As a graduate of this course myself, I can tell you that it’s a truly outstanding training program. QC Pet Studies will prepare you to become a top-quality, reliable, and trustworthy groomer. After all, that’s the number one thing your clients will want from you: to know that you’re taking excellent care of their beloved dog.

Moreover, they’ll be able to trust that you’ll produce the look they actually want for their dog. Dog parents WILL pay a little higher rate for this level of confidence!

2. Dependability

With a certification under your belt, your clients will depend on you to groom their dog completely and efficiently. Furthermore, they’ll schedule their dog’s regular appointments in advance. As a result, happy clients will fill up your grooming calendar and make good use of your time. Satisfied repeat customers are key to increasing the dog groomer salary!

Dog groomer salary in-post image for article, groomer and owner tending to puppy getting groomed at salon

3. Referrals

When you have happy clients, they talk about you and your qualifications – including your reputable certification. In turn, when you produce awesome results and make their dog stand out at the dog park, that’s free advertising! Dog owners love to talk about their dogs.

By the same extension, when they have a groomer that they love, they’ll likely refer you to their friends and family. Speaking from experience, I get 40% of my new business from referrals alone. And of course, more bookings means a better dog groomer salary!

4. Certification Seal

When you graduate from QC Pet Studies, they’ll provide you with a physical copy of your internationally-recognized certification. But that’s not all! You’ll also get an electronic image of QC’s International Dog Grooming Professional seal, too. You can then showcase this certification seal on all your printed media, as well as your business website.

Nothing gives me more pride that to have this seal on my marketing materials!  It’s proof that I know what I’m doing, even if a person has never seen my work before. This little seal is a BIG deal and allows me to charge more for my work.  That equates to a larger dog groomer salary!

QC Pet Studies International Dog Grooming Professional IDGP certification seal

5. Advice and Recommendations

As a professional dog groomer, I am a resource for my clients. I’m regularly asked what can be done about itchy skin, dry coats, chapped noses or paws, and tear stains. These are just a few topics of information I like to be ready to answer questions about.

QC Pet Studies prepares you to become the “go-to” person when questions pop up about how to properly care for a dog’s coat. Your expertise will allow you to educate your clients the brushes they should be using at home, how often their dog should be brushed, how tear stains can be eliminated, etc.

Just keep in mind that I never give medical advice. As dog groomers, we’re qualified to do many things – but that’s not one of them. That being said, if I find that a dog has an ear infection, an injury to their paw, or a lump that wasn’t present the last time I groomed them, I immediately take a photo and send it to the owner. My clients appreciate that I’m always on the lookout for odd things they may not have noticed.

I adore these dogs, too. So, if I suggest that a visit to the vet may be in order, my clients know that it’s because I’m a caring and compassionate person. You see, it comes back to trust. My clients trust that I am working at the front-line of their dog’s health. People appreciate that and often give me tips for letting them know that something needs to be addressed.

While you can’t always rely on this as part of your dog groomer salary, it’s definitely a nice added perk to keep in mind!

Your Dog Groomer Salary: Conclusion

I could easily come up with five more reasons why professional training will boost your dog groomer salary, but I think I’ve made my point. If you want to be able to charge more for your work, then you must do really GREAT work.

The convenience of QC Pet Studies’ online training will catapult your dog grooming career! It’ll give you all the skills and information you need to get moving in the right direction. If you have a passion for dog grooming, then you can use that same drive to obtain professional training. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did it!

Volunteer getting kiss from dog at animal shelter

Bonus: Food for Thought

I still work part-time for the animal shelter, but its not because I have to. Rather, it’s because I want to. After all, even homeless dogs want to look and feel good. If you want to gain more experience and add to your portfolio, I highly suggest volunteering at a dog shelter. Offer your grooming services to the homeless dogs. No, there’s no money in it – but it’s very rewarding work!

The dogs you groom will be so grateful to you for spending quality time with them; doting on them, caring for them as individuals, and making them feel important. Many of them have not been loved for a long time, or have lost the ones that did love them. A lot of these dogs are heartbroken, scared, or just plain confused.

I know you are a compassionate person. You wouldn’t want to be a dog groomer if you weren’t! So, while you improve things for yourself, help a dog that needs you, too. You can make a world of difference for them!

Boost your dog groomer salary in as little as 9-12 months by getting trained and certified with QC Pet Studies!

How to Master the Teddy Bear Cut

Teddy Bear Cut article, June 11 2021, Feature Image

If you want to be a successful dog groomer, you’re going to need to know the Teddy Bear Cut. But if you’re new to this haircut style, don’t worry! QC Pet Studies alumnus, April Costigan, is here to break down everything you need to know to get started!

Teddy Bear Cut article, June 11 2021, April Costigan headshot

Introduction to The Teddy Bear Cut

The Teddy Bear Cut is one of the cutest cuts – as well as one of the most requested. It features a rounded face, with a short clip to the body and legs, and rounded feet. Depending on the density of the coat, longer hair may be left on the legs if the coat is thin. This will help give the cut a more balanced look. Sometimes, especially on older dogs, the coat is thinner on the body and thicker on the legs. Thus, it may be necessary to compensate for these differences.

QC Pet Studies’ online Dog Grooming certification course features this cut in their “Pet Cuts” booklet. Here, you get very thorough instructions on how to achieve a pristine Teddy Bear Cut. I personally refer to this booklet from time to time – specifically, when I have questions while working on a dog that has coat challenges, such as the ones mentioned above.

Achieving The Teddy Bear Cut

Prep Work

To achieve the perfect Teddy Bear Cut, make sure you have completed all of the prep work first. This includes:

  • Trimming the dog’s nails;
  • Trimming the paw pads;
  • Performing a complete sanitary cut;
  • Cleaning the ears;
  • Bathing the dog
  • And drying them afterwards.

When drying, make sure to blow out as much curl as possible (if you ‘re working with a curly coat). This is an important step in order to attain the look you want, which is an even coat length on the dog. Then choose a comb that’ll give you the length of coat your client prefers.

Pomeranian on grooming table before hair cut

Clipping the Coat

Once the dog is completely dry, you can begin clipping the coat. Start at the base of the skull and run your clippers down the topline, to the tail. Next, clip the hips and beneath the tail. I like to clip both rear legs on the outside and the inside, before clipping the sides of the body. Personally, I feel this gives me a better opportunity to ensure an even length all over. It’s my personal preference.

Once the dog’s hips and legs are complete, I then move to the sides. Once that’s completed, I proceed to the neck, shoulders, front legs, and chest. Complete the body and legs by giving the dog nice, rounded feet. You can do this using your rounded shears.

Don’t forget to fluff the fur between the toes! This way, you can trim off any really long hairs and blend them into the tops of the rounded feet. After this, use your metal comb to fluff the fur all over the body and legs. During this part of the process, you can also trim off any stray or uneven areas using your blending shears. I like to use my rounded shears and my blending shears to blend the sides into the underside of the body. I’ve found that this gives the dog a nice, rounded shape.

Want to see a visual breakdown of each of the above steps? QC Pet Studies‘ self-paced training outlines and demonstrates the entire process in their instructional video, as well as in their reference booklet!

Teddy Bear Cut, pomeranian with rounded face haircut

Creating The Teddy Bear Face

Once you’ve blended and shaped the body, legs, and feet, it’s time to complete the Teddy Bear face! The face should be rounded and full when looking at it from the front. This includes the top of the head, sides of the cheeks, and the hair on the chin (a.k.a. the “beard”).  When combined together, all of these elements give the appearance of the soft, rounded Teddy Bear Cut.

To reveal expressive eyes, first comb the hair on the top of the head forward. Using your straight scissors, rest them on the bridge of the dog’s nose. Then, with your scissors angled straight up, make the cut level with the stop. Trim the hairs on the top of the nose, close to the eyes. This will remove any hairs that could obstruct the dog’s vision and detract from the desired expressive look.

Fun fact: trimming out tear-stained hairs will also brighten the eyes! So, trim back any long or scraggly hair that may appear on the outside of the eyes. If these are left, it gives the dog a sad, droopy expression… and that’s not what we’re looking for!

I like to use my rounded scissors to shape the cheeks and jaw. Next, I blend the jawline into the base of the ears. Using my blending shears, I make a smooth transition from the head into the neck. Fluff the hair periodically on the head and face to ensure you can trim off any scraggly hairs that disrupt the rounded look. Remember: you’re trying to achieve a rounded, symmetrical shape!

Trimming the top of the muzzle should be done with curved scissors and blended into the beard. Finally, blend the back of the neck by tilting the dog’s head forward and using your rounded scissors (or your blending shears) to create a slight arch that blends into the body.

Watch Me Create a Teddy Bear Cut!

I’ve filmed a video of me completing a Teddy Bear Cut on Riley, a dog of one of my regular clients. I do apologize for the quality – this was my first time at videoing an entire groom. However, I hope you find it helpful all the same!

Enroll with QC Pet Studies

QC Pet Studies’ Dog Grooming Course will prepare you to master the Teddy Bear Cut by introducing you to each element via written instruction. You’ll also have access to an excellent video tutorial by QC tutor, Lisa Day.

As a student, you’ll have this access to all video tutorials FOREVER! As a result, you can refer back to your training materials anytime you need them. Plus, when you first enroll, you receive a physical copy of your course materials, too. I found it awesome to have these at my fingertips for quick access!

Working with dogs and making them beautiful is a fun and exciting career. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Good luck to you!

Learn to master the Teddy Bear Cut (as well as a wide variety of other popular dog haircuts) by enrolling with QC Pet Studies today!

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!