Grooming 101

By Carolyn Contois –

Grooming 101: the study of dog grooming. How do you find a good groomer? There are no government standards for the industry, such as state licensing. Anyone who buys a clipper can call themselves a groomer. They can be grooming for 20 years…. doesn’t mean they ever learned to do it right!So how can you know if your groomer is good? Most people will tell you to look at other people’s dogs.If you like what you see, ask them for a referral.This method may work some of the time. Better yet, visit some local shops,look around.Is it noisy, smelly, does anyone look or act in a professional manner? Will they allow you to see where your dog will be kept during his stay? Is the place disorganized and cluttered? Chances are, the ambiance will reflect in their work and their attitude. Next, do they have any credentials?

To date, I know of two organizations that do volunteer certifications. They are the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) and the International Groomers Association (IGA). Unless they have credentials with either or both … they are not certified.. period! Each has a member listing you can check online. No…. the American Kennel Club (AKC) is not for people… it’s for dogs. I actually read a groomer advertisement that claimed they were certified by the AKC.I’ve also seen ads that say New York certified. It may be true, but when I e-mailed this person about how they obtained this, I did not get a response. When people e-mail me for information, weather it’s a potential client or fellow tradesmen, I’m proud to share what it took 25 years to learn! I’m eager to share the knowledge, especially if it is a young person that would like to get into the business.I want to encourage them to seek proper channels and be exited about their decision. Certification may not make them the best groomer, but at least it shows the clients that they care enough about their work to take on the challenge. Here’s an idea.

There are huge grooming shows all over the country.Goggle Groomexpo or Intergroom. These are two big east coast shows in the spring and fall,there; you can link to other shows in your area. Admission to the floor is usually free. There are vendors with everything imaginable for your pet and then some. The best part is that in the center of the floor, are ongoing grooming competitions. Want to see how your dog should really look? Take a seat and watch the pros groom! These people are amazing talents, and most of them have grooming shops. Talk to them after the competition, they are proud of their work. If they are not in your area they can direct you to someone who is.It’s how I started in the business.

It’s a fun day. Please … always feel free to e-mail or check my web site for answers to your questions. If I don’t have an answer… I’ll get one. Next week… Grooming 102