Dog groomers play a key role in helping dogs stay clean and healthy. While a handful of dog owners may be quite capable of grooming their dogs, many simply need more time or patience. And that is where dog groomers come in.
Moreover, dog groomers often have advanced and more scientific knowledge of facilitating optimal hygiene, which most regular dog owners simply need. Either way, a career as a dog groomer can be quite exciting and rewarding, particularly for dog lovers.
In case you fall into this category and would love to have a nice foundational knowledge of what the field has to offer, the in-depth guide below should be a wonderful place to start.
Who is a Dog Groomer?
Dog groomers take care of dogs to ensure they look great physically. And while the appearance side of the job is usually what people notice, the job of a dog groomer usually encompasses more than this.
Apart from the physical appearance, dog groomers also have a responsibility to make sure that the dogs they work with remain in the best shape and health condition possible. That is, it is up to them to make sure that they are safe from any kind of condition that may arise as a result of poor hygiene.
While it is tempting to think that a regular dog owner can do this, it is always good to have it in mind that professional dog groomers are usually familiar with a variety of methods and strategies that are dependent on changing conditions such as dog breed, environment, dog gender among other things.
Duties & Responsibilities for Dog Groomer
The duties and responsibilities of a dog groomer usually vary based on the specific dog and conditions they happen to be hired. Generally, however, there are a handful of tasks you will always find a dog groomer performing.
- Cutting, styling, and clipping a dog’s coat
- Bathing the dog in appropriate solutions
- Clipping a dog’s toenail in a safe manner
- Identifying and applying specific hygienic care to dogs based on breed and other important factors
- Brushing the teeth of dogs (when requested by the owner).
As for the more specific duties and responsibilities of a dog groomer, these are usually based on distinctive requests. For instance, some owners may request hand scissoring instead of conventional clipper blades.
How to Become a Dog Groomer
Dog groomers are only mandated to attend formal training programs after they can practice. But, of course, there are lots of benefits to be gotten from doing so. Not only are programs great at teaching fundamental skills, but they are also invaluable for keeping up to date with state-of-the-art dog hygiene practices backed by scientific studies.
Additionally, due to the nature of the job, it is usually imperative for dog groomers to be familiar with dog behavior. They must know how to control dogs’ temperament and keep them calm. All of these are skills and techniques taught in official programs.
Finding a Training Program
There is no shortage of amazing educational programs for aspiring dog groomers. Before you make a decision, however, it is always important to keep an eye out for some factors, including accreditation status.
Attending accredited schools and programs usually indicates that the program meets a base quality standard. Additionally, it is advisable to attend programs with rigorous coursework and experienced professionals.
Lastly, before you enroll in a program, you should take the time to get familiar with their peculiarities, such as differences in curriculum and admissions protocol, graduation rate, admissions rate, and of course, the cost and available financial aid.
Notable Dog Grooming Training Programs
North Shore Community College
Located in Danvers, this school offers a certificate as an Animal Care Specialist. Students get advanced knowledge in kennel management, dog walking, dog rescue and sheltering, and dog training.
Rio Gran Grooming School
Rio Gran Grooming School in Hastings employs a handful of creative techniques to teach students everything they need to know about successful dog grooming in relatively little time. Focus includes dog hygiene, brushing, and bathing.
Merryfield School of Pet Grooming
The dog grooming program at Merryfield includes 600 hours of training emphasizing building confidence, speed, accuracy, and skill. The program adheres to the standards set by the National Dog Groomers Association of America.
Other notable mentions include the Paragon School of pet grooming Greenville Technical College in Greenville, South Carolina, the Michigan School of Cosmetology in Lansing, Michigan, and the New York Academy of pet styling in Clifton Park, New York.
Dog Grooming Certification
Certification, just like formal training, is usually optional for dog groomers. However, it offers benefits, including new opportunities, advancement potential, and continuing education.
Below are some of the most notable certification programs for dog groomers.
National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) offers the National
Certified Master Groomer certification.
International Professional Groomers Inc. (IPG) offers certification on two levels - the International Certified Master Groomer (ICMG) and the Advanced Professional Groomer Certification (APG). The organization is also responsible for accrediting dog grooming schools and programs worldwide.
The International Society of Canine Cosmetologists (ISCC) offers certification through written and practical examinations.
Salary & Job Prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a career in dog grooming usually comes with an annual median wage of about $27,060. At the lowest end of the spectrum, dog groomers in the bottom 10% of earners usually earn around a $20,000 annual median wage, while those in the top 10% may earn as high as $40,000.
It is also worth mentioning that these figures tend to vary a lot based on experience and location. Dog groomers in some states, such as California, may earn a higher average salary than those in other states.
Similarly, more experienced groomers often have the liberty to charge higher than those just starting.
Dog groomers continue to enjoy increased demand with each passing year. And according to data from the BLS, this number is only going to keep on increasing in the next ten years.
The Bureau projects that the field of dog grooming is set to grow from a $9.9 billion a year industry to an industry worth around $14.6 billion in 2025.