Sure you're a pro when it comes to Cocker Spaniel cuts and rounding feet, but that's not the only skills you need to be a successful and reputable dog groomer. Just because you can cut dog hair, doesn’t make you the best compared to the rest. Here are the top 5 characteristics of a good groomer and why you should aspire to have them.
1. Come from a place of understanding and compassion.
We work with animals of all backgrounds and breeds, so patience is necessary. It’s important to understand why a pet might be misbehaving. Are they stressed or scared? What is their backstory? Are they a rescue? Did something happen to them that made them lose trust in people? Do they have any health issues? Most dogs don’t just misbehave because they want to make your job harder. Most times they’re trying to tell you something. Instead of working for them, work with them! It will make your job a lot easier when you begin to understand their body language.
2. Be someone who a dog and their owner can trust
Earning people’s trust isn’t easy. A lot of times, the best way to gain someone’s trust is through proper communication. Small things like repeating the date and time over the phone when booking an appointment can reduce any missed appointments or no shows. When checking in a client, it’s important to set their expectations and let them know what you can and can’t do. If a client with a matted dog is expecting a fluffy haircut, it’s important to go over their options and how long it might take. If you exceed their expectations, you will leave them with a good impression.
It’s also important for the dog to trust you. This may be as easy as giving them little treats before, during, and after the groom. Or perhaps talking to them in a baby voice will help ease their nerves and anxiety. The goal is to gain the trust of the client and their dog. If the owner is relaxed, the dog will know to relax too.
3. Learn from mistakes and don't dwell or put yourself down
No matter how experienced, all groomers make mistakes. If you make a mistake during a groom or have an accident, learn from it. Don’t put yourself down or think you’re not good enough for this job. The important thing is to accept that it happened and think deeply about how to prevent it in the future. If it was a client complaint, perhaps you can work on your communication skills. If it was an accident or injury, think about how to go about it safely next time. A good groomer will not dwell on their mistakes or give up on their dreams because of it. Every reputable groomer has been there!
4. Take care of your tools and equipment
It’s important to be on top of daily, weekly, monthly cleaning, and maintenance. It seems like obvious advice but it’s something a lot of groomers are guilty of. If you have scissors or blades that need to be sharpened, get them sharpened! Don’t wait for your tools to break down, and certainly don’t wait if you don’t have any spares.
You’ll be in a better mindset when you start your day in a clean environment, knowing exactly where everything is. Do your best to make your salon a space you look forward to every day and a place that will leave a good impression on your clients. Appearance is key in a business-like dog grooming, so be sure to look presentable yourself. A person who's put together looks like they will put in as much or more effort in cleaning their dog too.
5. Put yourself first
This means you don’t put yourself in danger for the sake of challenges or extra money. Take breaks and vacations when you need to and avoid burn out. If you do too many dogs in a day, you will go home tired and dread the next workday. Know your limits and decide your daily maximum number of dogs you can groom. Don’t do aggressive dogs if you can not safely handle them. Recommend a veterinarian to groom under sedation if you think it’s safer for you and the dog. Injuries can be a huge setback and can be a loss of revenue. Grooming is supposed to be fun so let’s keep it that way!