Ever Wondered About Becoming A Groomer?
Here are some things you should think about, or may not have known.
1. There is such a thing as grooming school and much like human hairstyling school costs money and is generally full time. I consider a thorough course to be six months in length and even after graduating you will be green. This is the most comprehensive method of learning to groom and in my opinion the best. You may be able to get a job bathing dogs and gradually learn to groom but it is unlikely and you would be very lucky! Other ways people learn are online or through books/videos. Personally, I would not recommend these methods of learning.
2. No matter what you do, you can not make everyone happy, but you must always try. There is only one thing customer satisfaction is second to and that is animal safety. Sometimes, you will have to choose: “Do I try to de-mat this dog to avoid being scolded by the owner even though I know it raises the risk of injury?”. Even if you are an experienced groomer, sometimes it is not possible to do what the customer requests. Unless they are willing to do a week-long condition and slow de-matting, a severely matted pet must be shaved for his/her own comfort and safety. Most people are understanding when you explain the increased risk of harm, but some people are not so receptive. I have said the words “If I were to attempt what you’re asking, with the condition he is in, he would get injured” and her response was “Not even a little bit?”
3. Bites and poop are not the worst part of grooming! For me, the emotional tolls are much harder. Sometimes pets will be so matted, they scream while you shave them and their owners don’t care. Sometimes, you will try your best to do what the owner wants and they will tell you you are useless. And sometimes, all too often, your beloved clients will be put down.
4. Patience may be the most important thing in grooming. Even a normally patient person will be tested if training to become a groomer and many people do quit in the process. Aside from trying to do exactly what the owner wants based on a few words, while holding sharp scissors near a wiggling dog, you must also keep your cool every time you are bitten. The best reaction is no reaction even if the dog is biting, screaming, barking or trying to jump off the table. You must calmly continue to let them know you will not be affected and I have seen groomers cry in sheer frustration.
5. If you’re not too scared yet, it is important to know that despite all this, grooming is very rewarding. You may not be the most respected professional, but you have warm relationships with longterm clients and incredible moments with animals. You will have slowly earned the trust of a terrified dog, melting when she finally wags her tail at you. You will have the gratitude of an older lady, if for nothing else than for listening to her. You will have seen the most intense love that someone can have for their pet and will be so grateful just for having been near it. You will get covered in pee and swollen with bites, but you will know that you helped him feel better, even if he didn’t exactly appreciate it.