If the thought of wrestling Fido into the tub one more time makes your arms
ache and your head hurt, it might be time to find a good dog
groomer. But finding the right groomer can be as hard as finding the right
hairdresser. Sure, we want our dogs to look fluffed and fabulous. But we also
want to be sure they’re safe.
That’s why we asked Peggy Harris, certification coordinator for the National
Dog Groomers Association of America and a 35-year pet salon owner, what pet
owners should look for when choosing a pet groomer.
Your pooch is your pal. Give him what he needs to stay healthy and happy at
every stage of his life.
A: No, but several states are writing bills that would require groomers to
be licensed. Right now, though, people can just get a book, a pair of scissors,
and a clipper and call themselves a pet groomer.
Q: What is the minimum amount of training a groomer should have before
working on pets? Do most groomers also serve some type of internship?
A: Some people will start working on dogs with only a few hours of training.
Other people, like people who go to a grooming school, can spend
months in training. With no regulations, it’s really up to the person how much
training he or she wants before starting to work on dogs.
Internships aren’t required. But most people who are really interested in
getting into this business, who really want to make a career of it and not just
have a job, usually do internships to get on-the-job training. And most
conscientious groomers will start those people off as bathers. Many will bathe
for a good year before they ever get their hands on clippers. They learn how to
do all the fundamentals, the basic prep work, ear cleaning, nail clipping,
proper bathing, and proper brushing.
But there’s no set standard. That’s the problem.
Q: There are several professional grooming organizations out there,
including yours. Do most groomers belong to at least one of them? Is that
A: Not all groomers belong to an organization. But I would look for one that
does. That shows that they’re at least interested in getting the newsletters
and keeping up with trends on styling, safety, health, and other issues.
The industry has evolved very quickly in the last 10 years. The people who
don’t keep up are lost. They aren’t getting the benefit of all the advances
that are discussed at shows and within professional organizations.
Q: What should I look for when I first enter a grooming shop?
A: Credentials. A master groomer, the certification program I supervise for
the NDGA, means the groomer’s skills have been evaluated against a national
standard. There are written and practical tests. A master groomer knows safety
procedures, health and hygiene practices in the shop, how to handle pesticides,
the anatomy of the dog, proper dog handling techniques, first aid. It’s so much
more than just how to do a certain trim or cut.