Beware anyone who has only completed online courses with little to no practical training.
Check out qualifications and level of learning before leaving your pet with anyone, including day care providers, walkers, sitters and groomers. They all have the ability to affect your dogs behaviour so be your dogs voice.
"I want to look like that!" A cartoon card by Alison Lingley of alisonsanimals.com
I have had this card framed in my office for years and it always makes me giggle. Not only does the shaggy dog look like one of mine but the number of times I have taken a photo to my hairdresser with the same request!!!! No, not to look like an afghan hound!!
Bath time! How to bath your dog link to blog post with full video can be found on the Index page
I have to say I have never found the necessity to use a professional dog groomer because I like to learn how to groom and maintain my dogs myself. However, there are more and more breeds and cross breeds these days that do need regular trips to the grooming salon so I decided to cover the topic here and was shocked!!
No qualifications necessary!
Yes, that is right; a dog groomer has no obligation in the UK to hold any formal qualifications to pamper your pooch. I found this surprising and shocking purely because if I did take my dogs to a groomer and my dogs required thier coats to be striped; sculpted or shaven I really would like to know that the groomer knows what he/she is doing. A friend of mine recently reported that she took her puppy for her first visit to the grromers and the pup was returned shaking and upset. My friend found out the groomer had used a flea shampoo on her puppy (even though she had no fleas) which she then had a reaction to.
Online learning or City and Guilds
So I looked further into this and found loads of online grooming courses that anyone can do for as little as £39. The problem I have with this type of course is that there is no practical experience and being a Kennel Club Accredited Instructor I am fully aware of the full importance practical expereince holds for anyone in the Dog World so would avoid anyone setting up a business with this limited knowledge.
Searching further I found City & Guilds provides a two level professional grooming qualification. In their own words City & Guilds Group "is a global leader in skills development and work with governments, businesses and education centres. Helping people achieve their potential through work-based learning is core to what (they) do". I personally have undertaken several City & Guilds learning courses and know personally that their courses provide thorough learning and has the ability to assist an eager learner into a professional. Their Level 2 dog groomers course is designed for Dog Grooming Assistants for anyone who wants to start working in the industry and Level 3 is a Dipolma for Professional Dog Stylists who have expereince working in the industry or have completed a related qualification. Further information can be found at www.cityandguilds.com
Experts with respect.
You only have to watch Pooch Perfect, the new BBC 1 tv programme to see how expert dog groomers can be. Many will never rise to this level in their careers but many are very talented and take their business and the care of their clients very seriously, and that is only right.
Finding the right groomer for you.
Do you have your favourite hairdressers or barbers? Yes I do too and it took many years and a number of disappointed hair cuts to find them and unfortunately, you are likely to go through this with your dog too. I remember taking one of my clients dogs to his first grooming session and was shocked when I collected him. He was a labradoodle and I swear he went in looking like a cute teddy bear and came out looking like Abraham Lincoln! So how do you find the right Groomer for your dog? There are several avenues such as asking on facebook or visiting the local groomers in your area but I found the very best way is to take note of dogs in your area. If you see someone walking their dog sporting a style that appeals to you then stop and ask them where they got it done; not only will this make someones day that another dog owner approves of their dogs look but I have never met another dog owner who doesn't like to talk "dog" with another enthusiast. Now don't just ask where it was done but also ask if the style has a particular name or blade setting etc. This will allow you to take as much information to the Groomers explaining how you would like your dog to look too. But as my picture on your left says; have realistic expectations, the Groomer has to take into consideration many factors especially the type of coat your dog has so talk about it thoroughly before making a final decision.
Mobile or Salon?
The dog grooming industry seems to be booming. The Pandemic seems to have driven people in different career directions than they had intended and I have noticed many new salons and mobile dog groomers popping up all over the place.
Salons where you drop your dog off and collect it back later are still very popular, even Pets At Home stores now have their own in-house groomers but mobile groomers may be a better option for your dog. There are many reasons why you may prefer to have a mobile dog groomer come to your home such as you have no transport to get your dog to a salon or your pet is of a nervous temperment requiring you to be nearby to givehim/her reassurance. So I asked my local mobile dog groomer Lorna Knowles of K9 Contour about her expereinces and you can read all about what she had to say by checking out the link in the Index page.
What questions to ask
Most salon groomers will insist that their groomers, if they have more than one, have completed a formal dog grooming qualification such as the City & Guilds and display thier certificates where their customers can view them but ask just to make sure. You may also want to make sure they are insured and have had recent canine first aid training.
Talk to your Groomer; be clear what you want. I remember years ago a dog being taken to the Groomers and the owner asking for a light cut when he returned his dog looked like a lion. Yep, the Groomer thought he said he wanted a lion cut; and what a mane he had too!!! Just Google "dog lion cut" and you will see what I mean.
Allergies or reactions
You must remember to tell your Groomer if your dog has any skin conditions; allergies or had severe reactions to any products that must not be used on them. Alternatively, you may, like me, only use products that have not been tested on animals and therefore will want to know if the Groomer also holds these standards or should you provide your own shampoo and conditioners?
Your dog groomer will advise you how often your dog will require visits to them but the general rule is anything between every 6-8 weeks.
Do It Yourself
I have often sit and watch breed exhibitors at Crufts grooming out their dogs and preparing them for their time in the ring. It is fascinating to see how expertly they comb, trim and prep their dogs. This has taken many years to get to this level and you will be pleased to know that your dog will not require such attention but they do require some so I have written a post for you at ........ on how I groom my dogs, how often, what I am watching our for and, yes, that dreaded nail trim that really is not that bad - honest!
But my conclusion to this post is simple: regardless of whether you take your dog to a groomers or not please make sure you still groom your dog yourself at least ONCE A WEEK.
Don't forget to check out the Index page for other related posts on this topic including how to groom and health check your dog.