Working as a Dog Groomer

Dog grooming is one of the most rewarding careers in the pet world, offering plenty of scope to those looking for part time or full time work.

Thu 06 Apr 2017

By Judy

Working as a Dog Groomer

Advice and guidance on how to start a rewarding career in dog grooming

Dog grooming is one of the most rewarding careers in the pet world, offering plenty of scope to those looking for part time or full time work. However, setting up as dog groomer also involves intensive training and a substantial financial investment. It is also one of the most physically demanding jobs in the pet industry, where patience and a genuine love of dogs is essential.

The dog grooming industry is still sadly unregulated, and in theory no formal qualifications are required. Many experienced groomers have previously learned their trade by working in grooming salons and don’t hold any formal qualifications. But times are changing, and so are the expectations of dog owners who trust their dogs to their dog groomer. So, what qualities are needed to become a dog groomer, and how do you learn this much sought after skill?

Dog grooming is a physically tough job, with lots of lifting and twisting, often in hot, dirty conditions. Groomers should be physically fit, have plenty of patience, a good sense of humour and be comfortable working with dogs. The dropout rate in the grooming industry is high, and the physical demands of the work is one of the most common reasons stated for dropping away from the career.

There are 3 ways to learn dog grooming

Working in a dog grooming salon under the guidance of a professional experienced groomer

Working as an assistant in a salon is the method many groomers have learned their craft. It’s an excellent way to start in dog grooming, and gives the novice groomer a real taste of the demands of the work involved, with hands-on experience.

New groomers will often start by keeping the salon clean and tidy, brushing dogs in preparation for bathing, washing dogs and drying them, before progressing to clipping and scissoring.

Training through a Further Education College
Many colleges run basic dog grooming courses, and costs and the duration of courses vary throughout the country. Some candidates may have to pay, depending on their age and situation. Some courses are relatively
short, and may not provide a true picture of the rigours of the work of the dog groomer. We recommend novice groomers taking these shorter courses to also obtain experience in a salon as well.

Training through an Accredited Grooming Training Centre
The Pet Industry Federation and the Dog Groomers Association have created a range of dog grooming courses, some leading to nationally accredited courses in conjunction with City & Guilds.

The 3 courses are:

City & Guilds Level 2 certificate for Dog Grooming Assistants

City & Guilds Level 3 certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming

City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Professional Dog Grooming

These courses take place in actual salons and offer excellent hands-on experience, and candidates can be assured the training centres have been undergone strict checks, and offer the best training and support for the new groomer. Courses are available nationwide, but be aware, these are not cheap, with a 25 day course costing around £2,500 + V.A.T.  Many centres are flexible, and training and costs can be staggered over a period of time.

For more information on courses and accredited grooming training centres visit the Pet Industry Federation website.