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Interview with a Dog Grooming Trainer

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Here is a very interesting interview with a Dog Care and Grooming Trainer. The questions are based on queries expressed by many visitors to PamperingDogs.com. So, regardless of whether you are a dog owner wishing to do your own grooming or someone wanting to start a career as a dog groomer, I am sure you will find the answers very informative.

A Dog Care & Grooming Trainer

Dog grooming workshops were run by Puppy Care Education from 2004. In that time over a thousand students had been taught the bas­­ic knowledge and skills needed to begin clipping their own dogs easily and safely. The classes are no longer running. (You can find the rest of this most interesting bio at the end of the following interview.)

  1.  Could you tell us about your dog grooming workshops? 
    Our workshops were a good introduction to the skills needed. They provided a basic knowledge of grooming equipment and its correct use and care as well as the importance of correct dog washing and drying and most importantly the correct technique to use to clip smoothly and evenly.

    We also covered ear care and plucking, nail clipping and expressing anal glands. It was a broad basic introduction that would benefit anyone. We had people go from our workshops to running their own mobile dog grooming businesses. Mobile groomers here mainly wash dogs and generally will only clip dogs off short all over.

    We covered the bare essentials of scissoring and looked in brief at some styling points relevant for the students in the class. Most importantly students got to use electric clippers on the dog I brought to class so they learnt the feel of clipping and overcame the fear many have that they will hurt their dog.

    Owners were the primary focus of our workshops. Many people who came though went away after a fun day, talking dogs, with a new respect for what their groomer does. Many left happy to keep paying them.

  2. Are your dog grooming classes face-to-face?
    Our workshops were all face to face with live dogs for hands on practice. Classes were limited to nine participants for the Basic Dog Grooming Workshop and to five for the Stage 2 session where students could bring their own dog and clip it under supervision. This is where students would learn more about styling for their own breed.

    We did also run private classes at times, which were for one or two students only.

  3. How long are the dog grooming workshops?
    The Basic Dog Grooming workshop was 3.5 hours which sounds short, but it was intense the whole time, with lots of hands on. It also is what suited my students who were busy people, generally women from 25 to 60, who preferred not to commit to more than a long morning – we ran 9.30 a.m. to 1 p.m. usually on a Saturday or Sunday. The Stage 2, or Clipping class, was 1.5 or 2 hours and ran in the afternoon so it was all fresh in their minds. They woulld have someone drop their dog off or go home and pick it up between classes.
    What amazed me still is that many students left the stage 2 class with a dog that looked close to what it would look like coming out of the salon of the average groomer.

    (This is the type of activity that you can expect from most face-to-face workshops.)

  4. Many of our readers are thinking of becoming dog groomers. What qualifications do they currently need in Australia (N.S.W.) to work as groomers?
    Anyone can set up as a dog groomer here, at least at the time of writing this article. You will however need to have public liability and other insurances, which are expensive.

  5. What council regulations do dog groomers need to adhere to?
    There are council regulations about where you can operate a business and about the disposal of water and wastes etc, which will vary depending on your area and local regulations etc.

  6. Many readers ask about the pros and cons of working as a dog groomer. Do you have any advice for them?
    It’s a job you will love or hate. I know people who have been dog groomers for over 20 years and love it. But it is a hot, sweaty job where you get hair in all parts of your body.

    I do not work as a salon groomer full time and would not enjoy it, partly as I do not handle chemicals, such as shampoos, well. I am primarily a trainer, and love doing that and sharing knowledge with others who love their dogs. I do clip a few dogs in people’s homes though, where I often chat to owners while I work and the dogs are small, clean and reasonably well behaved and I thoroughly enjoy that.

  7. What range of salary could someone working as a dog groomer in Australia reasonably expect?
    No idea on salaries as I do not run a salon. If you are a good groomer and have good business skills you will develop a good business, but it is now a very competitive area here and where five years ago almost any one could start up and do well as long as they provided a reasonable service it’s now become a lot more competitive. In my workshops I do hear of groomers closing.

    It is also important to remember that here it is a seasonal business where groomers are very busy in summer and much quieter in winter.

    [Interviewer: You can obtain up-to-date information about dog groomer salaries here.]

  8. Are there any other tips you have for want-to-be dog groomers and/or for dog owners doing their own grooming?
    It’s all about practicing so you clip easily and smoothly, and learning to see how a dog looks. Go to dog shows and see dogs looking immaculately groomed – in my experience the best groomers come from the show world.

    If you are grooming your own dog or dogs, enjoy it, make it quality time you share together, not a battle or a chore. Then it’s a real win-win. And there is nothing nicer than seeing your dog looking really good and knowing you did it!

  9. How can people sign up for your workshops if they live in the area?
    All enrolments, except for private classes, are done through the community colleges we teach at. These are located in Sydney on the Central Coast and in Newcastle.

BIO: My background is dog showing and I have owned and bred Chinese Crested dogs since 1989. It took me years to learn to clip my own dogs, partly as the first powderpuff I had didn’t want me to clip him, the classic wriggling protester, and also because no matter how many times people told me what to do to clip a dog no one ever actually set the whole thing out and explained it in a simple way or showed me. Eventually I did learn though. And I made all the mistakes that people make when learning by themselves.

To be sure I did know what I was talking about when I started teaching. I also did time in a friend’s salon where I learnt a huge amount about the finer points of clipping and some styling tricks. I also learnt that all groomers have their own ways of doing things.

In 2009 we began to publish dog e-books on care and grooming and different breeds. Our first books were reissues of the operations manuals written by Howell Award winning author, and fellow Chinese Crested owner, Amy Fernandez. We now also produce our own books.

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