Even if you pay for Dog Grooming School…you Can’t be A Groomer if….


The trim is a 'Town and Country'.  I wanted to do a classic 'Dutch', but the owner was a retired groomer , herself, and this was what she wanted.  Note the balance, that her pants are not 'falling off'.

The trim is a ‘Town and Country’. I wanted to do a classic ‘Dutch’, but the owner was a retired groomer , herself, and this was what she wanted. Note the balance, that her pants are not ‘falling off’.

This is making me a little ill.  I am finding more and more  people  are going to dog grooming schools, even though they have never even brushed their own dogs, or offered to help bathe dogs at a charity dog wash.  They are  choosing this because they want to ‘work with animals’, but never bothered to learn anything about dog training, animal behavior, or the breeds. They are doing this because they don’t know what to do with their lives, so this idea is as good as any.  They take business away from the rest of us. They injure dogs. They make all of us look like dimwits.  So, if you’ve come across this blog and are thinking of  paying to learn to groom let me tell you this:

1.There is more money in TEACHING DOG GROOMING than in actually grooming…which is why so many people start schools.  yes, there are some state regulation  or vocational schools, but  they are hardly enforced unless the regulators get a lot of complaints.  let the buyer (of vocational education) beware!

2.  If you are afraid of getting bitten, or don’t want to learn to humanely   be in control of the dog, this is not for you.  I rarely get bit, but it does happen…mostly  by scared dogs, rarely by  outright mean dogs.  In fact, there are very few mean dogs.  Most have been put in a position of being in control by a weak or stupid owner, and the dogs don’t know what to do.

3.  The dog’s neck is very sensitive.  Next to the nose, genitals, and  eyes, the most sensitive part of the body. This is why we use collars.  You will find a lot of owners using harnesses, which give you  almost no control over a dog so it’s important for you to be confident and know how to control the dog;

4.Dogs HATE being patted on the head.  They tolerate it, but it is demeaning and not rewarding.  They like their chests patted, and their ears rubbed;

5.  Making eye contact is not staring a dog down.  It’s not being aggressive, it’s communicating that you want interaction;

6.  Your confidence in handling will calm down a scared dog;

7.  If the dog has a name, use it.  That’s social communication, too.  Shocking the number of pet store  or grooming managers don’t know the name of the dog they want you to groom.    It’s disrespectful to the dog;

8.  The floor is the dog’s territory.  You are at a disadvantage if you  groom the dog on the floor.  Maybe you’ve trained your dogs at home, but this won’t work for the pets you groom every few weeks.  This is why we have grooming tables, It’s not just for you to save your back, but to change the dynamic and have the dog in your court;

9.  Try not to hurt the dog, but you have to win the battle if there is going to be a struggle.  Put your hands on the dog’s withers (shoulders), behind the neck. This lets the dog know you are superior.  It’s often calming. I ask people who  hold a dog for me to do toenails to  put a hand on the withers, but they often try to embrace the dog. That doesn’t work;

10.  If the dog is resistant to brushing, it might be a 2 person job for a while: one to brush,  one to help restrain the dog (and this is why we use grooming arms and nooses—it’s a third arm);

11.  For the long-haired, drape coated dog, it’s best to teach them to lie down, but for the double coated or clipped dogs,  there is no reason for the dog  to NOT stand on the table.  A  word about the Groomer’s Helper :  Yes, some dogs are spinners, but my experience, over 40 years, has been that less than 1% of the dogs  will be that active on the table that they have to be double tied.  If you have to use the groomer’s helper on every dog, there is something wrong.  It’s either your method of communication with the dog, or your clientele.  I can see  shelter dogs or even farm dogs resisting being handled, but if all your client dogs are pet dogs and spoiled—I hope you are charging for it.  These dogs will take longer to groom;

12. Biters:  I groom a few dogs who don’t like me. A couple are brain damaged.  Some have been hurt by a groomer.  I use plastic basket muzzles.  The dog can still open his mouth and he won’t panic if he can’t hyperventilate. But what about the brachycephalic (Bulldog type) with no muzzle to put a muzzle on?  That’s always a 2 person job:  1 to  hold a towel over the dog’s head, the other to cut toenails. or clean ears.  Why owners allow a dog to be so resistant and out of control for routine grooming is beyond me, but if they’d rather  be irresponsible, they have to pay for it, too.

13. You have chosen a profession that deals with people’s pets.  Think about how you feel about your own pets. Think about your children.  If you don’t have the  capacity, for any reason, to control most dogs, and shape their behavior so you can groom the average pet dog in about an hour, you will never make a living at this.  You are not going to learn everything you need to know about dogs in a class, or from a book. most of us learn from each other.  You need to associate with  hobbyists and fanciers who  show and train dogs.  These are the people who will mentor yu once yu ar graduated from class.

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