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What skills do I need to be a Dog Groomer


What skills do you need to be a dog groomer

As a person with a built in knowledge from childhood about animals you have a big advantage your personality has developed to know whether or not Dogs and other animals are to your liking some people love animals

but as handlers or to work with animals just don’t have the natural ability

You need to be not just passionate about dogs but know how to understand them as well it’s like growing up saying I want to be a Doctor because I want to help people but faint at the site of blood

As a child you may have had a dog but were you really involved with everything to do with that dogs life or was he just the pet and television was more interesting

As people our careers and opportunities to develop skills along the way can see us into many industries

Dog Grooming is more than a Certificate to say you can groom a dog however you may have learnt the skills of Customer Service Scissors and clippers how to use the tools Dogs Anatomy hair types and these skills are important breeds and behavior and have a no fear instinct.

In working in different fields in the animal industry I have met a lot of textbook know everything  and nothing practical and the real hands on farmer, who never had a qualification and can turn even a Doberman into a Sheep dog now that’s skill where did they learn to communicate with animals like that it comes from within.

A Dog Grooming School can teach you skills but the patience initiative instinct and high tolerance for people come from within that cannot be taught at any school you either have it or you don’t

but in saying that some groomers work well in a salon as a team player but have no idea how to get a dog to love a bath that hates water and won’t try to take the time to learn the dog and that’s the key ingredient

learn the dog you’re working with their personality traits likes and dislike being able to coordinate people and animals is an instinctive skill as an analytical thinker.

If there is a basic ability it is easier to learn a skill faster and gain skills and capabilities to match the tasks to be performed.

A Successful Groomer will have experience with handling understanding behavior and how to interact with aggression what type of aggression is manageable also you must able to detect parasite skin conditions Scabies mange and the symptoms of Zoonosis parasites infestation and behavioural changes this is not for the groomer to diagnose but to inspect the dog before the bath begins.

If a person calls and gives a story about their dogs nails are really long the dog bites and is in pain I would recommend they go to a vet

why because these are the signs of danger to the groomer or the dog and the owner with not the right handling it could end up bad so not all groomers will take on something their not equipped for

Experience in your background Dog Showing is a big advantage Vet Nursing, Kennel assistant, Dog training, Obedience, Agility training, understanding breed types conformation what’s correct and what’s a fault. in the breed.

People Skills Customer Service

People skills and communication are important skills to be able to word things right and to understand exactly what the owner wants they have an image in their minds of what the final hair cut on their dog would please them.


Short all over OK  so it is ! But this may not be what they meant, you may take too much off the ears or face or give poodle feet and trying to explain the knots in the ears that’s not what they were expecting so good communication between the groomer and the owner is very important. 

Dogs Condition and health check up to date inoculations and vaccinations 

Coat condition and skin condition healthy or not healthy should you inform the owner yes early detection can prevent major infestation or illness later 

Your Duties will be bathing are you gentle or rough handed are you good at massage can you handle a soapy dog and a brush and keep the dog in the bath all at the same time

Can you calm a frantic panting dog that’s scratching up the wall of the bath to get out yes you can this is a practice of knowing when and how to react and how to hold and what to say and how quick to get that dog out of the bath and calmed down and of course all clean & dry

Other duties include

Blow drying high velocity dryers

Checking for parasites coat conditions skin conditions

De tangle hair remove knots Nail Clipping anal Glands ears brushing teeth

Hygiene clips and body clips Grooming tools & maintenance care Cleaning

Then there’s the Retail side Customer service, Administration


We are not all born to just know how to handle situations in life we learn through Action and Reaction of a string of consequences by going to a Grooming school taking in all that they teach you will bring you a very rewarding career it will have it’s down days just like any other profession but that’s all a part of learning


I can confidently groom a dog outside of a salon inside I am a bundle of nerves and I stress more than a shaking chihuahua on a cold day why because it’s pressure to perform

In the show ring with a 38 kg German Shepherd dog and I weighed not much more we could glide around the ring at a small home town show and do well

put us in a championship and my dog turned into a pacing Greyhound and I was worn out before we even got to the second round so I used to get someone else to handle him at the champ shows and he made me proud every time.

know your comfort zone and then grow out of it

A small salon 1 2 people not a problem large salon 20 dogs 3 apprentices not me so know what feels comfortable and your supervisor trusts your skills and education if it feels right trust your instincts

Being confident in yourself and having knowledge is power the more knowledge you can learn and apply the world is your oyster.

Dog Grooming isn’t a job that you take on a second job light-hearted and it’s a no brainer job well news for you

Everyday will have a different challenge not all customers are the same and not all dogs are a delight to see

it will come to Oh no here comes Bobby Joe, Ok we know the drill ! lets smile 🙂 and get on with it and then there’s the

Oh cool here’s comes my favorite dog” and your insides are jumping for joy and this dog just loves you and the owner is so proud and loves you as their groomer

Physical Fitness

As a groomer you will need to have strong arms and wrists you will use muscles you didn’t even know you had in your neck and back you need strong legs for standing for long periods of time

You need to be physically fit most salons have air conditioning but there are some homes and trailers that get really hot so be prepared for the heat the smocks can get hot and long pants in the summer you will melt and yes the kilos melt away too.

There’s no way to explain sweaty body hair in your face dry mouth and sticky and itchy its a yuk feeling and you have 5 hours to go so be prepared and take a face cloth clean towel and wear a face mask if you need too.

Hygiene in a salon first impressions count taking in a Resume take a good look around and see if its where you can see yourself working if it feels right good luck relax it’s not a competition but it can be a very competitive world.

From Experience in many situations I look forward to your comments what skills helped you when you decided to become a Dog Groomer.

Critical Skills and Abilities for those hoping to work with Dogs

Understanding Obedience commands and response of the dog

Behavior  submission Aggression fear Dominance, body language general expressions,   

Recognising signs of illness, Skin Conditions, Disease, first Aid, paying attention to the physical well being and health changes in character and mood of the dogs they work with 

Understanding anatomy of the healthy dog 

Different Breeds and the conformation breed standards set by any kennel club of their country 

knowledge of  Grooming tools and equipment and how to use them

Good Communication skills to convey information to dog owners and other Animal professionals.

A willingness to advance in studies towards their chosen career to work with Dogs 

What can set us back is the money to start and to get the education we need    money to come up with Oz Study and some Government agencies can assist student loans, fund raising, 

The higher the cost of the education can lead to a higher income later these suggested courses What would be the best dog grooming course ‎ for a starter if you would like to advertise your Grooming School or know of a grooming school you can recommend to others please leave a comment below 

We have covered natural instincts taught abilities education critical skills qualifications physical fitness that attributes to what is required to be a Dog Groomer this should give you some idea if it is for you or not you can always chose other paths to enter into a career with Dogs.

Training Companion dogs, Police dog handler, Army soldier dogs/Service Dogs, Veteran assistant dog training, Volunteer, Vet Nursing Pet sitter, boarding, kennels Security dogs Council Animal Control, long term sitter for persons working overseas.

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A passionate Dog person with a background in Animal Care, Vet nursing, Security Dog Handling, Boarding Kennels RSPCA Volunteering, Dog training Pet sitting Dog Grooming teaching people how to groom their own dogs and now creating a website dedicated to Dog Grooming


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