There is much more to dog grooming than hanging out and playing with the pets all day. It is actual work, and it can be challenging at times. So, what will you actually be doing? You will deal with customer service, animal care, client relationships, and much more. You are responsible for properly caring for the animals left in your care. Mostly, you must learn to multitask. This article will take you through the day to day schedule that groomers follow. Everything from preparing in the morning to closing up at night will be discussed.
When you first arrive in the morning you should start by looking over the list of dogs for the day. Some shops will have someone to take care of the customer check-in, but most will require you to deal with the customers. You must greet your customer, acknowledge their dog, and then begin gathering information. Make sure you find out what they want the dog to look like when they pick it up, whether or not they want any extras, and what time they will need to pick the dog up.
Also, it is best to let them know what the expected cost will be and whether or not the dog is matted. Take the time to check the dog over for tangles and parasites. If a flea shampoo needs to be used, let them know now. Customers are much more pleasant when they hear about any extra costs up front. Once you have determined what style to groom the dog in, it is time to start the process. If the dog is matted or excessively dirty, it is best to start by pre-cutting the dog. This will remove extra hair and allow the shampoo to better penetrate the skin. The next step is to bath the dog.
During the bathing process you can use a stripper to remove extra hair, clean the ears out, and express the anal glands. Once you have finished bathing you can move on to drying. Some groomers prefer to cage dry so that they have time to bath other dogs while waiting. I prefer to dry all of the dogs thoroughly with a hydraulic dryer. It will help prevent shedding, remove tangles better, and achieve an overall better finished groom. When you have finished drying, you can then finish the groom, cut the nails and add any finishing touches. Don’t forget perfume, bows or a bandana if the customer requested it. The dog will need to go out to go potty and then be placed in a kennel or secured area to wait for their owner.
Fresh water should be provided at all times because dogs in a groom shop tend to be stressed. Stress causes more drooling and can lead to dehydration. When you have finished grooming for the day, you need to clean and sanitize the area. All of the tools you use should be placed in a sterilizing solution so that they are ready to go the next day. Hair should be swept up and cords wrapped to prevent tripping. Any kennels and water bowls that were used need to be cleaned to prevent the possible spread of illness. This can sound like an easy job, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, the above steps will get you through the grooming of one dog. To make money, you will need to groom multiple dogs a day. Also, while doing all of this you must continue to answer the phone, schedule appointments, check-in and check-out dogs and make sure the other animals in the shop are cared for.
So, to answer the question “What does a dog groomer actually do?” I would answer:
Dog grooming is a fun career path for those that know what to expect. You should possess good multi-tasking skills, customer service skills, and organizational skills. Also, a good dog groomer is one that can go with the flow and not allow change to disrupt their schedule. There will be times when you have an aggressive dog or irate customer that you need to deal with. If you can deal with those things and still stay focused enough to finish the rest of the day you will be a great groomer.