How to Become a Dog Groomer

Do you love brushing your dog’s hair and make sure he’s clean and always looking good? Then you may be the right person to become a dog groomer!

As more people adopt dogs, more people also want to keep them clean and tidy. But they lack the skills, knowledge, time, and tools to do so. This means there’s a great need for dog groomers and you can be one of them!

What Do Dog Groomers Do?

As the name suggests, a dog groomer’s job is to groom dogs. But there’s more to dog grooming than only taking care of their clients’ dogs’ appearance. Dog groomers also have other important tasks at hand.

Dog grooming is not only about knowing how to give baths, cut, and style a dog’s fur. That’s an important part of the job! But there are also other skills that are essential for you to be a successful dog groomer.

As a dog groomer, you need to have good communication and interpersonal skills. Don’t forget you’ll still have to deal with other people – dog owners. 

You need to be able to discuss and understand your client’s request for how they want their dog to look. Besides you also have to gather any information about the dog’s health. It’s possible that they have a skin problem that you need to watch out for and use specific products because of it.

You also need to be the type of person that pays attention to detail. Besides needing to style the fur flawlessly, you also need to keep an eye out for any skin problems and report them to the dog’s owner.

As with anything that involves dogs, you need to be patient. You may run into some dogs that don’t like something about the grooming routine – bathing, combing, etc. So you need to be patient and know how to calm a dog to not make matters worse.

As a dog groomer, you’ll be able to work in a wide variety of places. From pet store chains to kennels, shelters or veterinary facilities. You can even work or own a small business or boutique groomer or even work at the dog owner’s home.

But before you can start working as a dog groomer, you need to learn how to actually groom a dog.


Dog Grooming Training

Believe it or not, there still isn’t a license for dog grooming. But you do need to have a high school diploma and it does help you to become a certified dog groomer.

You don’t need to have any formal education to become a dog groomer and there are several ways to become one. You can choose from:

  • Taking an online course
  • Going to dog grooming school
  • Learning on the job

Yes, I know it sounds weird. Learning how to groom a dog on an online course? It’s a great way to get started! Don’t forget that dog grooming is not just cutting and clipping. You need to know what you’re doing and there’s a lot of theoretical knowledge that goes into dog grooming.

One of my favorite online course platforms is Udemy. Check out their online courses on dog grooming.

If you’re ready to go all-in and go to dog grooming school, check out the National Dog Groomer Association of America. They offer in-person certification training courses and workshops. From breeds to patterns, they have different types of courses they offer. At the end of each workshop, you can test with a live dog to get the certification.

What most dog groomers do is go with the third option and learn on the job through apprenticeship. Even dog groomers that go to dog grooming school say that that’s actually where you become a dog groomer, by practicing it.

A few things you’ll need to learn to become a dog groomer are:

  • A dog’s anatomy, a breed’s history, and their common grooming styles
  • All the techniques used in dog grooming. From stripping to thinning, and carding and what tools you need to use
  • And, finally, patterns. Do you know how there’s an art to cutting human hair? You need to part it here and there? It follows a logic, almost mathematical. With dog breeds, it’s exactly the same and each dog breed has its own pattern.

How Much Do Dog Groomers Earn?

Of course, I’m not able to tell you exactly how much you’re going to earn as a dog groomer. How much you can earn depends on several factors. It depends on where you’re located, how much experience you have, what business are you working for, etc.

So you have a reference, at the moment I’m writing this post, the average salary for a dog groomer in the US is $33,173 per year. But salaries can range from $14,000 to $87,000 per year.

One Last Friendly Warning

I can’t finish this post without giving you a warning.

Sure dog grooming can seem like you’re spending all your day with happy, healthy, and friendly pups. But be aware that there are some horror stories out there. I’ve read stories about dogs that were brought to groomers in horrible health conditions.

Throughout my research, I even ran into a story about a dog dying in the groomer’s arms.

I hate to end this post on a bad note but I do feel like you should be aware of this if you’re thinking of becoming a dog groomer.

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