We are often asked, “Does it take talent to be a dog groomer?” The short answer is yes, some people do have a natural talent for grooming or even working with human hair, but anyone can be taught “how” to groom a dog. There are certain stages in the process, there are certain procedures to perform, and there are particular ways to hold your tools and how to hold the dog that make the job much easier. It is a skill that develops and comes easier with practice. The average person can learn these skills and master the techniques required for the occupation, and go on to have very rewarding careers.
Rewarding has a different meaning for each person. If polled, most professional groomers define themselves as being very caring individuals and simply enjoy the hands on, one to one communication they have with the dogs. It can be very therapeutic to many, which stems from their deep love of animals. Others find great satisfaction in being able to make dogs more comfortable by cleaning and beautifying them. Most dogs leave dancing and prancing back to their owners and that’s a very rewarding part of the day, which brings a smile to everyone’s face! Lastly, let’s not forget the wet “Thank You” kisses that are a bonus to the day!!
But, there’s more to it than all of the above. So, what constitutes a good dog groomer?
1. Understanding and Compassion
The majority of the dog-clients are a joy to work with. They enjoy their baths, being dried, clipped and primped. As in all occupations there can, however, be an occasional challenge. The well-trained groomer is prepared physically and emotionally to work through these incidents. Having an understanding and compassionate attitude is required throughout each grooming session.
2. Being Well Educated
Proper grooming skills are required and should be learned in a systematic process. Dog groomers know how to detect many different health issues that can involve the skin, ears, eyes, teeth, nails and paws. They know about common parasites such as the tick and flea and are able to report back to the owner about them informing them on what they did to rid of them from the dog and what the pet owner can do to eliminate them in the dog’s home environment.
3. Adequate Communication Skills
Being able to communicate well with the pet owner is important. As a professional groomer he or she knows how to examine the condition of the dogs’ coat with the owner. From that exam they can openly discuss together about the best haircut or trim that will be appropriate for that particular instance.
4. Using Sound Judgment and Being Adaptable
When working, for example, on a very matted dog or perhaps one that has handicaps the groomer will be required to use good judgment skills and realize that compromise is required in certain situations. It can’t always be just ‘ one way’ for each dog, so adapting is occasionally needed.
5. Being Physically Able
It is obvious you should not be in this occupation if you have allergies to dogs. Grooming involves bending and lifting, so someone with bone conditions or muscular problems should determine what limitations they will be required to make. Weight restrictions for lifting (such as 30lb dogs and under) or quantity per day are all important considerations for those with these limitations.
While these characteristics are found in nearly all great groomers you shouldn’t be discouraged if you are missing some of them. Characteristics 1-4 can be developed with the proper training, resources and practice. The team here at Learn To Groom has decades of combined dog grooming experience and can help you become a successful and talented groomer. Purchasing our comprehensive dog grooming training kit can help you build a solid foundation.