Thinking of getting into grooming...

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your dog. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your dog's hygiene needs.


I have my own- reasons.
Barked: Wed Sep 3, '08 3:43pm PST 
So I'm a hairstylist, but I find that dealing with people's hair is great. But I don't enjoy doing mens hair. Nor do I care too much for most chemical services.

My primary interest is cutting hair.

I love dogs and animals in general so I'd love to do anymal grooming...My question is: How do you get into it? Do you go to school or do you apprentice? Can either be done?

What do you think about the atmosphere of where you work, or where you started out?

Were you a hairstylist before?

Does everyone start out as a bather?

ANy other info would be great! big grin

Barked: Wed Sep 3, '08 4:13pm PST 
I have been a groomer for 25 years. I went to a questionable grooming school and then was trained properly by a salon that saw that I truly was interested and worth their time. It took me years to perfect my skills. I would imagine having experience with hair cutting would help but dog grooming is totally different. I have enjoyed my job and love the dogs but I wish I had gone into some other field. The money I make after so many years of grooming is nothing compared to most other professions and I work hard for every penny. I have never had my own shop (by choice) and may have done better financially but that comes with alot of problems. I do not wish scare you out of doing something you might love doing but keep in mind the hard work, bad benefits, very few sick or vacation days and low income. The benefit is that working with dogs all day is probably better than alot of people. I have also been very lucky to have great co workers. Good Luck (I would be careful of any deals from the chain pet stores offering to send you to school-I hear you can become an indetured servant)

I have my own- reasons.
Barked: Wed Sep 3, '08 4:19pm PST 
I've been a servant soooo long in hair salons! =(

Webster's- Icing on the- Cake-

Barked: Wed Sep 3, '08 4:27pm PST 
I'm a mobile groomer...have been for 2 years and I make a very good living, I make more money than my husband and he is a senior system analyst (computers). I make my own hours, set my own prices and am my own boss. I've been grooming for 5 years. I started as a bather at a corporate shop, then attended their "school". After being there for a couple of years I went to work for another mobile groomer and found that I loved it, so eventually went out on my own. I have not stopped my education. I go to as many seminars/grooming shows as I can, have started competing, and try to learn from all other groomers. There's so much to learn.

I was not a hair stylist, but I do know a couple of groomers that were. They agree that dog grooming is nothing like being a hair stylist. Cutting of the hair is just a small part of it. There's the cutting of nails, sometimes expressing of anal glands, cleaning and plucking of ears, etc. You have to be a trainer, behaviorist, customer service rep, and be able to physically handle difficult parts of the job. All dogs just don't stand there, and not all of them are very cooperative. You have to know/learn how to work with thhem without becoming frustrated, or comprimising their safety.

People become groomers in a variety of ways. Some go to accredited grooming schools, some learn by becoming an apprentice, some take online courses, and sadly, some have no training and just call themselves a groomer.

You may not start out making good money, but you really are unlimited depending on what you are willing to put into it.

I personally can't imagine doing anything else.

Eat, play,- sleep...life is- good!
Barked: Thu Sep 4, '08 5:58am PST 
I have been grooming for almost 20 years. I started as a bather for a show breeder, bought some equipment and books and began grooming in my home by offering cheap ($15 bath and clip!) service for the opportunity to practice on others dogs. My first dog took 8 hours and it was a toy poodle! I guess I had what it takes, because within 2 years I was offered space on the military base we were stationed at to have a grooming shop. I had 25 regulars in no time. Now I have a shop in the basement of my house where I have been grooming for the last 16 years. I am in the process of retiring from the business now, but at one point I had over 40 regular customers and groomed 3-5 dogs a day 5 days a week. It is hard work, doesn't make you rich, but the personal satisfaction and pride of a well-done dog is priceless! I still have a couple of customers that absolutely refuse to take their dogs to another groomer. I never had formal training. Grooming is a business, but more than that it is an art. Take your time, start slow and see if it is truly what you love and if you have the knack for it. Don't buy more than just the basic tools at first, you can expand later. As far as being a hairstylist, forget that...I am terrified to cut people hair and my sister is a master hair stylist that grooms her own cocker spaniel and drives me nuts because I see the mediocre results! Another word of advice...don't "go by the book" on haircuts, always be sure to consider the needs and wants of the owner as well as the personality of the dog you are grooming. Go for it and good luck!
Jade- Alexandria

Dont mess with- me, I'm- chihuahua!
Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 8:45am PST 
Your best bet if you really want to do this is to start at a Corp by becoming a bather, going to their groom school, and living out the conrtact. once the contract is over stay or leave. I left.

You can try to apprentence, but its hard to find someone that will actaully do it. They have to make money too so don't usually have the time to teach.

You can also pay pay 3K to go to a "private" school, but the one here in Vegas doesn't teach you anything. I'm working with a girl now that went to this "school". They threw a dog at her and had her shave it the first day, and thats all they did there. Shave and more shaves. They were money makers not designers.

As far as the few comments on this trade not making much money- I make more then my boyfriend and makes $30/hr at his job. I average a gross income of 600-800 dollars a WEEK. If you only do 3-4 dogs a day of course your not going to make anything. I average 6-8 dogs a day. It all really depends on where you live and the general prices are in your area. I live in Las Vegas, so we make bank here.

October - breast cancer- awareness
Barked: Sun Sep 7, '08 3:37pm PST 
I used to be a stylist/cosmetology teacher in my former life, bol, but that was many many moons ago!

I do feel that it has helped me some in my grooming career, but let me tell ya, it's nothing like doing human's hair. At least you can tell the human to sit still!

Don't want to bring you down or disuede you from doing something, but you need to know the bad as well as the good.

Dogs move when your grooming them and most don't realize they are supposed to be still. It's very taxing at times, especially when you are trying to do precise work like around the eyes or genitals. They also BITE YOU, pee on you, poop, and ummmm excrete other bodily fluids on you. The twirl, roll, jerk, push, pull, it's difficult to say the least. It's very physical work and can take a toll on your body, so if you are on the more mature side, be prepared to wake up aching all over some days.

Now that I've said all that, let me tell you, I've never been happier in my life! Yeah, that's right, it's just something about smelling like dogs that makes my life smile I've done many things in my 50 years, but I can no longer see myself doing anything else til the day I lay down for the last time.

OH, I learned grooming privately as an apprentice, merely by accident I might add. I was hired as a kennel tech and one thing lead to another, WA-LA I was grooming. I now own my own Spa, work alone, and am a happy clam. I make enough to support my family and keep the bills paid, so I guess that's all I can ask for. I guess the way you learn is not as important as that you learn it the right way. Being an animal lover, you are one step ahead of the game because you will always have the comfort and safety of the pet first and foremost in your mind/heart.
Lucy & Holly- - JRT & Rattie

Barked: Fri Sep 12, '08 12:39am PST 
I went to a grooming school, but after I graduated I wasn't able to find a job (the few that were advertising wanted 2+ years experience) plus I graduated the end of December, which is one of the slowest times for groomers. I really wanted to open my own salon at home eventually anyway, but I had hoped to work for another groomer to gain more experience first. When that didn't happen I just decided to open my own salon. I worked at my previous job (CPA) office through tax season while my husband remodeled our garage into my salon, and I officially opened the 1st of May this year. I had put up a web site as soon as I graduated with my opening date, and was so surprised at how many calls I got right away from customers finding me online! I was pretty busy all summer, but now Sept. has been pretty slow so far. I do have some "regulars" now coming every 6-8 weeks, and I know it will pick up again for the holidays. So far it has all been even more than I'd hoped for... and best of all... all of my clients have been 100% happy (so far) and has been such a huge boost to my confidence... since I was very afraid starting out without more experience. I can't tell you how happy I am with how things have gone for me... and I can finally say I LOVE what I do for a living!! cheer

If you are able to find a very experienced groomer that is willing to teach you, I think you can learn just as much that way, especially if there isn't a school close to where you live.

Wishing you all the best! big grin