For many dog lovers, the hardest part of the day is shutting the front door on a pining pet and heading to work in the morning! If you’re looking for a change of career that might allow you to spend time with furry friends on a full-time basis, or if you know a dog lover who is trying to choose the right job for them, then this careers advice guide on how to become a dog groomer may be just what you need!
If you or someone you know has always wanted a job that combines a passion for pooches with a busy and successful working life, a career as a dog groomer could just be a perfect choice! Working as a groomer can be an amazing job for anyone who loves spending time with animals, caring for their needs and wellbeing, and perhaps most importantly of all, making sure they look great!
Take a look at our handy guide to find out more about this career path, and to discover how to go about becoming a dog groomer!
What Does A Dog Groomer Do?
A dog groomer’s job involves just what you might expect from the name; grooming dogs by shampooing and brushing their fur, as well as cutting and trimming their coats. Many dog breeds require regular grooming to keep their coats in good condition and to maintain their hygiene and comfort. Professional dog groomers can therefore expect to build up a clientele of loyal customers if they provide a good service!
Many dog groomers work on a self-employed basis, or run their own small businesses. Some travel to clients’ homes whilst others might work from a salon setting.
Grooming can be quite an active job, as it can involve lots of moving around as well as lifting and carrying dogs on and off a grooming table.
Salaries for dog groomers can vary, and it is possible to work at various levels. Some groomers will be paid a minimum wage hourly rate (around £9 per hour) for part-time or full-time hours of work. A salon manager could expect to earn an average salary of around £24,000 per year. Self-employed groomers can set their own rates and charge varying fees for their services.
As a dog groomer, there are several tasks you can expect to do on a day-to-day basis. These include:
- Communicating with clients, making sure to find out their exact requirements and preferences
- Washing and shampooing dogs’ coats
- Drying dogs’ coats
- Brushing dogs’ coats
- Cutting and trimming dogs’ coats using tools such as scissors, clippers and razors
- Cutting dogs’ nails
- Cleaning dogs’ teeth
- Cleaning dogs’ ears
- Checking dogs’ coats and bodies for ticks and fleas
Dog groomers should have a good level of knowledge about dogs’ health, behaviour, and diet, as they may need to discuss this with clients and give advice where appropriate at the start or end of a grooming session.
If working in an employed position, there can be some room for career development, as you may be able to progress to a role as a supervisor or manager within a salon.
What Training Does Dog Grooming Require?
There are no set qualifications needed to become a dog groomer, however there is a variety of different training routes to choose from to help you learn the trade and get into the profession. You may wish to complete a Level 2 or a Level 3 Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming, or a Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming.
You can find these courses at many local colleges, as well as some private colleges specialising in animal care. To gain a place to carry out your training on a Level 2 college course, the entry requirements are usually 2 GCSEs (Grades 9-3/A*-D). Entry requirements for Level 3 courses are usually 5 GCSEs (Grades 9-4/A*-C).
If the prospect of gaining one of these qualifications in dog grooming is of interest to you, why not take a look online to see the large selection of UK colleges who offer courses in grooming.
Apprenticeships are also available, giving students the opportunity to pick up grooming skills on the job. You can find out more about government backed apprenticeships here.
You may also be able to learn the trade by obtaining an assistant role with a qualified dog groomer or at a grooming salon, or alternatively by volunteering at a kennel or with an organisation such as Dog’s Trust. Even if you do not have any formal training or qualifications, having this kind of experience on your CV can be attractive to prospective employers and can help you to gain a working position.
What Skills Should A Dog Groomer Have?
If a career as a dog groomer sounds like something that may be of interest to you, you may wish to have a think about whether you have the necessary skills to follow this career path. Consider whether you have or would be able to develop the following skills:
- An affinity with dogs and an ability to care for and handle them
- The ability to keep a composed demeanour, which can help to calm down any dogs that may be nervous about being groomed
- Patience and an ability to stay calm when needed
- An eye for aesthetics and attention to detail
- Strong artistic skills
- Strong motor skills
- Good communication skills, for conversing with customers about grooming their pets
If you are thinking of working as a self-employed dog groomer, or of starting your own dog grooming business, it is also important that you have some business knowledge and acumen. It is helpful to be good with numbers and to have good literacy skills in order to run your own business.
What Are The Challenges Of Dog Grooming?
There are a few challenging elements to a career as a dog groomer. In particular, some dogs can become nervous when being groomed, which may lead to them becoming difficult to control. In some cases, there may even be a risk of being bitten or scratched by an anxious dog.
During busy times, it may be necessary to work long hours, particularly if you are self-employed or running your own dog grooming business.
Is A Career As A Dog Groomer Right For You?
If this article has caught your interest and you feel that you have some or all of the abilities mentioned above; that you could handle the challenges and enjoy the day-to-day tasks involved in being a dog groomer, why not consider taking steps to build your skills and experience in this field, and perhaps embark on this exciting and fun career! If you love dogs, and if you are willing to put in some hard work to groom and care for them; then becoming a dog groomer may be a great choice for you!