People who specialize in grooming, or maintaining a dog’s appearance are called dog groomers. Some groomers work in kennels, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or pet supply stores. Others operate their own grooming business.
Groomers answer telephones, schedule appointments, discuss with clients their dogs’ grooming needs, and collect information on the dog’s disposition and its veterinarian. Groomers are often the first to notice a medical problem, such as an ear or skin infection, that requires veterinary care.
Grooming the dog involves several steps: An initial brush-out is followed by a first clipping of hair or fur using electric clippers, combs, and grooming shears; the groomer then cuts the nails, cleans the ears, bathes, and blow-dries the animal, and ends with a final clipping and styling.
Most dog groomers learn their trade by completing an informal apprenticeship, usually lasting 6 to 10 weeks, under the guidance of an experienced groomer. Prospective groomers may also attend one of the 50 State-licensed grooming schools throughout the country, with programs varying in length from 4 to 18 weeks. The National Dog Groomers Association of America certifies groomers who pass a written examination, with a separate part testing practical skills. Beginning groomers often start by taking on one duty, such as bathing and drying the dog. They eventually assume responsibility for the entire grooming process, from the initial brush-out to the final clipping. Groomers who work in large retail establishments or kennels may, with experience, move into supervisory or managerial positions. Experienced groomers often choose to open their own shops.
To obtain a listing of State-licensed grooming schools, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to:
- National Dog Groomers Association of America, Box 101, Clark, PA 16113.