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Category: Tips & Tricks

7 Virtues of Dog Grooming

As dog groomers, we wear many hats for our clients. Some of our favorites include being magicians, teachers, cheerleaders, and therapists. Whether we know it or not, these many hats contain seven virtues (among many other things) that shape who we are as groomers. These virtues carry over into our personal lives and shape who we are as people as well.

#1 - Patience

Of the seven core virtues that embody our exclusive profession, the most apparent is patience. If we aren’t patient while grooming, then grooming will change us to be patient. And if it doesn’t change us, then we will change professions faster than a Chihuahua can snap. Ever calmly explained to a customer why you’re going to have to shave their pelted dog? Ever held onto a wiggly Pug’s paw as he does the Cupid Shuffle to get it back? Patience is the mark of a great groomer and both dogs and humans help us practice this virtue daily. Other examples range from enduring a story we’ve heard a client tell us 20 times to politely smiling at another story from an overly enthusiastic coworker who insists daily on loudly pronouncing every detail of her love life.

#2 - Confidence

Next virtue is confidence. We demonstrate confidence in all aspects of grooming- from undertaking a first-time groom who’s two years old to literally putting down our Croc and telling a client it’s not OK to be 30 minutes late. Our daily experiences help to build up our confidence levels and in turn this confidence helps to build us. It helps attract clients to us and helps us remain calm enough to coax the difficult dog we never thought would trust us. When I was a baby groomer, I was terrified I was going to get bit or even worse- that I was going to hurt a pup. Over time that fear grew into a confident respect that prevented either from happening.

#3 - Empathy

Ever smiled as a pup ran into the outstretched arms of its human after a groom while said human squeals with delight like a Husky puppy in the bath? As groomers it is imperative to be empathetic with both our human and canine clients. If we put ourselves in their tiny shoes, we can understand why they’re moving so much when we hold a leg up too high. Or why they are favoring a paw that has a cracked nail- hidden under all that matting. Many of us can relate to the scenario in which a client goes through the loss of a pet- here we show empathy by mourning the loss with them. When a senior pup constantly sits throughout the groom, we show empathy by taking more time to allow him to sit and rest his old joints. I honestly think this virtue is the cornerstone from which all others flow. If we understand why the pups are doing what they are doing, we can adjust ourselves to accommodate their needs. Additionally, we can demonstrate empathy towards coworkers by stepping up and lending a helping hand when they are having a particularly rough day. We can offer to bathe a dog for them. Or if it’s a real emergency we can generously buy them a surprise IV of groomer fuel, namely Starbucks.

#4 - Resilience

That’s when our resilience shines through the darkness. We have an amazing ability to bounce back from a rude customer or a snippy schnauzer. We put on our Superman capes i.e., our grooming smocks and get back into the game when someone or something abruptly kicks us out of it- at times literally. I remember one time I was doing a nail trim on a tough Weimaraner, and he literally kicked me in the face. I left the room in tears after I collected my glasses that had been flung across the room. I was in the third trimester of my pregnancy and needed a break. So, I took one. I collected myself, wiped away my tears, put my Superman cape (grooming smock) back on and went back to work. I mean we love what we do, right?

#5 - Humility

Humility is another virtue we exhibit daily with both our clients and our pups. It takes humility to get critiqued by an ungrateful customer who tells you they’re not happy with the groom you worked so hard on. Or that moment you get checked real fast by a shepherd and realize you need to ask for help from a fellow groomer. Even the most experienced groomers remain humble as we are constantly finding opportunities to learn and expand our skill set.

#6 - Integrity

Integrity is imperative when dealing with clients who trust us wholly. We tell them if we notice anything new or alarming with their babies. When a client hands you a $20 bill to give to your coworker for a tip, both the client and your coworker trust you will get it where it’s supposed to be. If we cut a dog, the client trusts we will tell them. We owe it to ourselves and to the groomers we work with to be honest and tell them, “Hey, those ears aren’t even,” or “Hey, don’t be so rough with that dog.” This integrity benefits not only us but ensures we are working in an environment that is conducive of producing and nurturing well-rounded, trustworthy individuals.

#7 - Gratitude

Last but not least, we possess gratitude. We are grateful for both a $20 tip and a $2 tip. We have much gratitude for our human and canine clients. Also, much gratitude for our coworkers and our places of employment. Gratitude for our tools –where would we be without electric grooming tables or hoses to bathe dogs? Gratitude for the ever-growing ever-changing grooming industry. And gratitude for our God-given skills. Whether we are just starting out or just about to start our much-deserved retirement, our skill set is a blessing we are constantly improving and fine-tuning to be the best groomers we can be.

All the unique mixtures of these virtues along with our varying degrees of talent are the very things that keep our clients coming back to us groom after groom. We all have those clients who come to us and ONLY us for literally all their pet’s lives. It is our virtuous ways that compel our clients to drive past several different grooming salons and not so much as bat an eye until they pull into our driveway. Although we may never possess these seven virtues in their entirety, if we strive to improve in these areas daily, we can prove to our clients that we are worthy of their four-legged family members.

Gabriela De Hoyos, was born and raised Catholic in San Antonia, Texas. She has been grooming dogs since 2011. She’s the owner of Gabriela’s Groomery. She’s the mother of 1 beautiful child. Follow her on Instagram at @gabrielasgroomery.