I was recently lucky enough to be able to interview Lesley, a dog grooming salon owner in Australia. It is very informative interview that provides a perfect read for anyone interested in taking up the profession of dog grooming as well as for dog owners looking to do their own grooming.
The answers are also very helpful for dog owners who take their puppy or dog to a professional grooming salon.
Interview with the Salon Owner & Staff from Brighton Dog Groomers
You can find details about the Brighton Dog Groomers Salon at the end of this interview.
- Dog Grooming Courses Online is a website that receives a lot of visitors who are thinking of becoming a dog groomer. What qualifications do they currently need in Queensland, Australia, to work as a groomer?
There are no compulsory qualifications required in Queensland at present. However, there are various ways of getting a start in the grooming industry:
- Certificate 3 Companion Animal Attendant.
- On the job training.
You start with Hydro-bathing, then Groomers Assistant, then pre-clipping, Hygiene Clipping, finally Finish and Style Clips.
- Online grooming courses.
- Some Salons offer training.
Usually you need to live at least 10 kilometres from the Salon as they don’t want to train competition.
The cost is usually $6000 – $10,000 for a 6 to 10 week course.
Be aware that some of these Salons have been known to use the trainee as a hydro-bather and Grooming Assistant for the majority of the course.
Get a training plan before you part with your money.
- What council regulations do dog groomers need to meet?
Usual workplace health and safety regulations apply. As there are Hydro-baths involved you will need to register as a Water Efficient Operator; contact your local council.
- What range of salary could someone working as a dog groomer in Australia reasonably expect?
As Far as I know most salons offer from $16.00 – $27.00 per hour depending on age and experience.
- Could you tell us about how you became a dog groomer?
Did you do a course or take an apprenticeship or was it on-the-job training? How long did the course/training take?
I have bred Old English Sheepdogs since 1978, which is when my first OESD had her first litter. I always scissored and clipped them myself. As for my staff:
Gael – Paid $5,500 for a 6 week course at a grooming Salon that had a training school. She is now working as a Groomer while learning the breed and style clips.
Joana – Did certificate 3 at TAFE, while working on Saturdays at a local Salon doing the hydro-bathing and brushing. After completing the course (6 months, full time) she did grooming at the same salon, with the owner training Joana on the finishing, breed and style clips. It was 3 months before she was grooming to finishing standard.
- Many readers ask about the pros and cons of working as a dog groomer. Do you have any advice for them?
I am a Salon Owner, not a professionally trained groomer. I would suggest that you get a job as a hydro-bather or groomers assistant, and see if you like the work environment.
Some Salons do a complete groom in an hour, that is a pre-clip, hydro, blow dry, finish clip, with the nails clipped, ears plucked and cleaned. For some dogs it is very traumatising, as they are not used to being treated so roughly. Dogs at some salons are physically restrained, by 2 or more people, while they are yelping. This can be very distressing if you love animals. Therefore you need to check out what your working environment will be like. Not all Salons are profit based. And there are some very good and kind dog groomers around.
Also a frightened dog is not a naughty dog, if a dog is frightened or distressed it needs calm gentle reassurance, the ‘clip’ can be spread out with a bath and tidy, clipping the hygiene areas, pads, tidying the face, then having a break with some fun time.
- Are there any other tips you have for want-to-be dog groomers and/or for dog owners doing their own grooming?
If a home groomer then you could follow our orientation to grooming programme:
Brush your dog, clean the eyes and ears, turn the clippers on (without the blade) and hold against the dog’s body, for short times only, 2-3 seconds, using calm gentle re-assurance. Turn them on and off putting against various parts of the body and legs. The dog does not have to stand still; the object is to get the dog used to the sound and feel of the clippers.
Do not distress the dog, have a break and do it again, repeat as often as needed until your dog is no longer frightened of the clippers.
Remove some of the hair from between the pads, pluck some of the hair out of the ears. The object of the exercise is to familiarise your dog with the tools used and the handling required.
- You mentioned that you offer a free puppy orientation appointment showing owners how to care for and groom their new puppy or dog (great idea by the way!!). Are there any other salon services that you would like to highlight for prospective customers?
We have great success in our Salon using this technique.
At the moment, we have a 10 month old Shoodle here just finished his clip. He came for his orientation at 17 weeks, a long clip with comb attachment at 18 weeks. He is a pleasure to groom and has great fun in the salon playing with the other dogs.
We use the same kind of technique with other dogs who have previously been traumatised, and needed a muzzle for grooming on their first visit (or 3).
Thanks so much Lesley for such an informative interview!!
~ DGCO with Guest Dog Grooming Staff ~