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Dog lovers tend to think dog groomers have the ideal job. Groomers get to work with dogs all day long, and dogs are a lot of fun. The reality of it is that dog grooming is strenuous, dirty, hairy and can test one’s patience. Dog grooming is not for the faint of heart, but it does have its rewards for those who love dogs and enjoy being artistic. A well-behaved dog is a treat to groom.
Physical and Mental Demands
Dog groomers need to have stamina and be physically fit. Dogs large and small must be lifted onto a grooming table and into a bathtub. Dogs unused to being groomed or restrained may put up a struggle, and even small dogs show incredible strength when they oppose having their nails clipped. Groomers can utilize a stool at times, but are on their feet most of the day. Brushing a large dog, such as an Old English sheepdog, is repetitious and tiring. Groomers also get covered with cut dog hair that can work its way onto the skin. Grooming can be stressful due to the tight schedule. If a dog arrived late or is more work than anticipated, the whole day’s schedule can be thrown off. Unlike an office job, work cannot be put off until the next day. Above all, a groomer needs an abundance of patience.
Bugs, Mats and Teeth
Dealing with bloated wood ticks, fleas, severely matted and biting dogs are things would-be groomers may not think about. Clipper blades can get clogged with blood from running into ticks hidden in a dog’s coat, and groomers are often exposed to flea shampoo and dips. Many owners won’t brush their dog for months, but will expect the groomer to somehow make it look beautiful. Matted dogs may have physical issues due to neglect. Groomers often have to train dogs as they groom them, because they haven’t been trained at home to tolerate being brushed. On the flip-side, the vast majority of owners and their dogs are pleasurable to work with, and keep groomers excited to go to work each day.
Groomers may work in several types of businesses such as grooming salons, boarding kennels, veterinary offices or pet stores. A groomer is more likely to be asked to groom a sedated dog at a veterinarian’s office, and working at a pet store could mean that there is only glass between the groomer and the public – and the dog’s owner. Dogs tend to act up when they see their owners, so it’s best if they aren’t present when their dog is groomed. Grooming equipment may be supplied by the owner of the business where a groomer works, or the groomer may need to supply most or all of them. The grooming area should be large enough to work in properly, and should be heated or air conditioned as needed. There should be plenty of light and the floor should be level and clear of obstructions.
Work hours for groomers tend to be set to accommodate the schedules of dog owner’s. They can run later in the day, and groomers usually work Saturdays. Springtime and prior to Christmas are especially busy times when a groomer can make extra money by working longer hours.