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Category: Tips & Tricks

8 Things Any New Groomer Should Know: Starting Out Advice

Maybe you were put out of a job because of COVID-19. Perhaps you decided you were done with your previous career and it is time for something new! You love animals, so why not grooming? Well, let us tell you, grooming is very hard yet very rewarding work. It takes a lot of training and education to cut it as a groomer (are we right)? But the benefits can outweigh the negatives for certain people. We reached out to the groomer community and we asked you! Here are some things that groomers said when asked “what would you tell someone that is just starting out?”

8. Take Care of Your Body

“Take care of your body and never stop learning!” - @groomingbymelissa

It is number #8 but probably one of the most important: take care of your body. You only get one body and it is important to put it first. Remember to eat right and workout. When it comes to taking care of your body, remember to put yourself first (self-care is not selfish).

Another point we want to mention is safety. You can check out our previous blog on safety here. When it comes grooming, it can be very hard on the body. Make sure you learn how to hold your shears properly. Invest in equipment that will help you save your back. Our Paw Brothers Low-Low Electric Grooming Table goes to an amazing 11 inches, making it easier both yourself and the dog to get on the tables. There are also tubs with ramps, and stairs that you can add. Find equipment that allows you to work smarter, not harder.

Also, please always wear a face mask when grooming. This will keep out nail dust, dander, hair trimmings, and more from your respiratory system. Take care of those lungs!

7. Education

“Take educational opportunities! Any that come your way. Seminars, online classes, expos, etc.”-@amacstagram

From beginner distance learning classes offered from the Paragon School of Pet Grooming to polishing up your grooming skills on Learn2GroomDogs.com, there are many opportunities to hone in on your skills.  

And there are so many expos and seminars! Some of the Expos that Ryan’s frequently attend include SuperZoo, Groom Expo, and Groom Expo West. These trade shows are not only an opportunity for you to purchase amazing new tools or stock up on shampoo. They are also amazing opportunities to attend classes where your favorite top-of-the-line groomers speak and impart some of their wisdom and insight. Many vendors offer demos at their booth. If you haven’t been to a trade show yet, we highly recommend you look at the Barkleigh website or simply search pet trade shows near you.

Amid cultural and technological changes associated with COVID-19, a lot of the groups that put on these trade shows have shifted to webinars and Zooms! This has afforded a lot more people to be able to attend and partake in these virtual trade shows. Most recently, Amanda Fouche aka @the_fit_groomer organized Zoom & Groom and Zoom & Groom 2 while Barkleigh organized World Groom. World Groom included virtual grooming challenges as well as demos, classes, and more! Rumor has it they are doing a World Groom II. Stay tuned for more information!

Needless to say, continuing education will help keep your mind and skills as sharp as your shears!

6. Where to Buy Your Products

“I didn’t know about Ryan’s for the longest time! I’ve price checked their competitors and they are usually the lowest.” -Ryan’s Customer, survey response

We have heard from quite a few groomers that once they discovered Ryan’s that their world changed! We are not trying to speak ~*~too highly of ourselves~*~ but we really have heard this!

We have low prices on almost 8,000 grooming and pet products, FREE shipping on most orders over $99*(with code SHIP), and free freight on equipment orders over $2,000 (no code necessary). Between the quality and selection of our products, you will be impressed by Ryan’s Pet Supplies.

It is also important to note that our employees are passionate about pets and our customers. It is our mission to take care of people who take care of pets and we are ready to help you out in any way possible. Our customer service reps are on the phones (1-800-525-7387) Monday-Friday 7:30 AM – 5 PM Phoenix Time. We also try to be as responsive as possible on Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, or our web chat. We are ready to answer your questions.

5. Mental Health and Well-Being

“If you’re not happy where you are at LEAVE! Life is too short to stay in a job/salon that is toxic” -@desiredesirae

Life is too short, is it not? Do not stay somewhere where you are unhappy. It is a sad truth but maybe not everyone that owns a shop is a great manager or people person (same can probably be said for most industries unfortunately). But take from it what you can – learn how NOT to treat people! You know how you want to be treated and do not settle for anything else. It’s just not worth it at the end of the day. Remember self-care and taking care of your mental health is not selfish!


4. It’s not you, it’s the dog

“Your grooms are only as good as the dog is! Don’t be hard on yourself when they aren’t perfect!” -@cath.reuss

“The dogs don’t become better, you do.” -@blondygurl

Unlike the old adage, “It’s not you, it’s me,” let us just say, it truly isn’t you. Dogs don’t really like to be groomed and depending on what their previous experiences have been, certain dogs might really not like being groomed. Just take a deep breath and remember that you did nothing wrong, you are only trying to correct past mistakes like the true martyr that you are.

Don’t take it out on yourself if you have a bad dog, as long as you stay as calm as you can and do your best, then you know you did everything in your power.


3. Confidence

“Have confidence! It’s important for development, believe you can always do better!” -@tailsofagroomer_

“Never give up! Be confident it’ll sow in your work! Patience is 🔑” -@kyliecoyotee

Confidence is great to have in general! It does not matter what field of work you are in, remember that confidence is always key. When it comes to grooming, have confidence in you work. Be proud of your work but remember that you each day you get a little bit better.

2. QUALITY over quantity

“Its not about how fast you groom, it’s about the quality of you work. Speed comes over time 😊” - @jayspetz

“Take your time. You will get better the more you practice.” -@jaydwit51

Any groomer worth their mettle will tell you this: it’s always quality over quantity baby! You will never regret taking more time on a dog and you will never regret taking on less dogs. Of course, grooming as many dogs as possible is how you get better and learn but there is no need to rush through as many dogs as possible. Plus, you will be prouder of your work. The speed will come.

1. STAY CALM!

“Find your groove; don’t worry about your timing; relax, dogs can feel your stress” - @crystalsdoggrooming

“It isn’t instinctual for dogs to enjoy grooming. Make it enjoyable. Stay calm, relax.” -@lorrithegroomer

“It’s all about energy, if you’re stressing - the dog can feel that. Chill out and the dog will.”­-@alienpups

The best advice you can give to any new groomer is KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON! If you are calm, the dogs will be calm. They know when you’re freaking out! Check out this great article on how meditation helped Jess Rona with dog grooming. When you are calm, you can get dogs to fall asleep on the table (we’ve seen this on Jess Rona’s Instagram). And we know it is easier said then done, but just stay relaxed and you will see your grooming improve drastically!

More Friendly Advice from Groomers who have been there before:

 “Part 1: Don’t let stress get the best of you. Grooming is hard and even with 15 years’ experience. Part 2: [You will] have challenging, rough, tough bad days. Go easy on yourself.” Katrina Short, @katrina_short

You heard it yourself, straight from the goddess herself. Why so serious? Be easy on yourself.

“Always do the right thing, even when no one is watching. Integrity, integrity, integrity”- @itsbrittjohnson

This is particularly important in all areas of life but especially when working with live animals.

“Never walk away from a dog on a table”-@doggiedazzledbows

We felt like this one was important.

“Patience, space plenty of time between dogs, quality over quantity, custom over quickness, make sure to have plenty of snacks too!”-@dogsintheclouds

We felt like this was also very important! Snacks!!

“Do not make a sign that says walk ins welcome – you will regret it later!” ­-@shovel_dan

This is accurate. Schedule enough time for each dog. You don’t want someone coming in and you can’t deliver because you’re already busy. Set expectations with clients 😊

“Don’t skimp on clippers or scissors, you get what you pay for!” -@petsbylea

Thanks for reading!

We hope that you enjoyed this blog about advice for new groomers that are just starting out. Of course, there are a million things we could add, but this covers the basics. Don't stress too much! You're about to have an amazing job where you get to work with animals all day and make them look/feel their very best. Like we said, it's hard work but it is rewarding. The pet industry is amazing and our community is here to support each other. And the truth is, if you work hard at it, you will succeed.

Thank you to everyone that submitted their advice! We had so much fun reading all your answers.

Do you have any advice you’d like to add? If you are a seasoned groomer, make sure to tell us what you wish you would have learned sooner about grooming. Comment on the post for this blog on Instagram or Facebook and tell us what you would add. Thanks for reading and until next time, stay safe groomers!