become a dog groomer

What does a Dog Groomer do?

Dog Groomers are focused on a pet’s appearance. They typically groom a variety of dogs which may include cutting, trimming, shampooing, and styling fur, clipping nails, and cleaning ears. Most dog groomers work in kennels, pet stores, or private grooming businesses. They should have patient, good communication, and physical stamina, due to the demands grooming requires.

How to Become A Dog Groomer

become a dog groomer

Employers usually prefer that you have a high school diploma, however there are usually no other formal education requirements. Other employers may like a candidate that has experience working with animals such as animal care taker, vet technician, or kennel attendant can also expose you to a variety of grooming methods, There is not one way in how to become a dog groomer, these are just suggestions.

Most groomers gain experience on-the-job or have the option to obtain a certification through various state approved grooming schools. On-the-job, they learn various dog grooming techniques under supervision of a seasoned employee or manager. Training can last up to two months.

A variety of state approved schools do offer training programs, however they are not required, but could potentially give those seeking employment an edge over other candidates. These programs vary in length and training methods, but should always include the basics of grooming. Make sure you do you research prior, due to most programs being unregulated. If you find an online program, ensure they have practical experience included as well. This is hands on experience that will ensure you have the skills to be successful.

The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers a National Certified Master Groomer (NCMG) program certification. The NCMG certification (link opens in a new window) involves a variety of written and practical skills tests for several breed groups. The American Kennel Club also offers a Safe Grooming Program certification as it believes (https://www.akc.org/products-services/akc-safe-grooming-program/) (link opens in a new window) as it believes that “grooming safety should be a top priority and is a genuine concern.”

Job Description of A Dog Groomer

A dog groomer’s main responsibility is taking care of a dog’s fur and nails. They also style each dog’s coat per their owner’s preference yet may make breed-specific recommendations. Safe handling of pets is a key component in this profession. Not all pets like bathing or being handled by strangers. A dog groomer brushes or combs out mats before the bath, making it easier to lather the dog with shampoo. They clean the dog’s ears to remove wax or dirt buildup and check for signs of infection. They also cut or file nails using a dremel tool or nail clippers pending on what the pet owner wants or dog tolerates. Other duties may include running registers, checking in costumers, and brings dogs back to kennels while waiting for their turn. Dog groomers are usually employed at retail chain pet stores or with a smaller private pet grooming businesses.

This career can be physically demanding as groomers are often bending when bathing dogs, lifting dogs, and standing on their feet. It is also essential that they have a patient and a calm demeanor so the dogs being groomed remain calm. Dog groomers can be exposed to bites, cuts, or physical strain while handling dogs during the grooming process.

Teacher Resources

The American Kennel Club has free teacher resources for grades K-12 (link opens in a new tab). These resources include professional learning for teachers to include using dogs in the classroom as reading buddies, how dogs visiting your classroom can benefit your students, and book studies.

Career Article References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Animal Care and Service Workers. Personal care and service occupations.