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What Are the Required Skills for Dog Grooming?

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As people become more concerned about their pets' appearance and as dogs increase in popularity, the demand for pet groomers increases. Dog grooming is an excellent career choice for people who love dogs and who work well with people but who prefer not to spend a decade or more in veterinary school. There are several important skills dog groomers must master to succeed in the field.

Grooming Skills

Among the most important skills a dog groomer must have are basic grooming skills. This includes the ability to safely trim and file the nails and clean around the ears and eyes without injuring the dog. Dog groomers must also understand the techniques necessary to cut a variety of hair types ranging from short and coarse to long and fine. Though not required, it's also helpful for groomers to know about trends in dog grooming techniques. Just as with humans, dog haircuts come into and go out of vogue, and good dog groomers are aware of current trends.

Dog Behavior Knowledge

Some dogs hate being groomed and most dogs require some coaxing to remain still and calm during grooming. Dog groomers should have basic knowledge about dog behavior, including the ability to detect a dog's risk for biting. Positive techniques such as petting and giving treats are typically most effective with dogs when they're being groomed. It's also important to understand dog body language so that the groomer can recognize if the dog is in pain, afraid or about to become aggressive.

People Skills

Many people treat their pets like their children and need to be reassured that their dogs will be okay when being groomed. It's important to be able to soothe an anxious pet parent during the dog's first trip to the groomer. Equally important are basic customer service skills, including negotiating rates, dealing with unsatisfied customers and encouraging repeat business.

Dog Health Knowledge

Groomers have the opportunity to closely inspect dogs' bodies, and should use this as an opportunity to notice potential problems. Good groomers recognize the symptoms of common illnesses and tell pet owners about swollen lymph nodes, fleas, allergies and other symptoms. Groomers should also be aware of the ways in which certain products can affect pet health. They should have hypoallergenic shampoos available and must be able to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

  • The Everything Guide to Working With Animals; Michele C. Hollow, et al.
  • Complete Guide to Dog Grooming; Eve Adamson, et al.

Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.

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