by: Carol Bryant
all dog groomers are created equal. Here’s a checklist to help you keep your
dog in good grooming shape, and to help you make sure she is safe, in qualified
hands and will come out smelling (and looking) good as new.
Different Licensing and Training Options
a dog mom to two Cocker Spaniels, I have been to the groomer hundreds of time over
the course of 20 years. Keep in mind–the licensing and requirements to be a
professional groomer vary from state to state, and not all states require a pet
groomer to have a license.
agencies are responsible for requiring and/or regulating licensing for pet
groomers. In the states of Pennsylvania and Michigan, a license is not
required; however, in New York and Connecticut, a license is required. No
specific educational requirements exist to become a pet groomer. Because this
varies from state to state, check with your Secretary of State’s office to
determine if licensing is required. They can also let you know if the school
you are interested in attending is in good standing.
As far the cost of grooming school goes, when you contrast it with college
or post-graduate vocational training, I think it is quite reasonable. Of
course, you must do your homework when it comes to selecting a school. Make
sure that the institution you select is approved according to the laws of your
state. In my home state, you would contact the Secretary of State’s office to
make sure the school is in good standing.
“Accreditation” and “state licensing” are two different animals. To achieve
accreditation, a school usually has to have been licensed for two years and
have met all requirements of the accrediting agency. Their physical plant would
have to pass muster as well. Accreditation allows schools to offer financial
aid and various governmental programs available to veterans and those
qualifying for occupational retraining and rehabilitation programs. Many also
offer their own financial aid and loan programs.
pet groomers can choose to become certified through the National Dog Groomers Association of
Inc., it is not required for licensing. On-the-job training and apprenticeships
tend to be the most common ways for pet groomers to learn and hone their craft.
A person who graduates from an accredited
grooming school differs from one that received state licensing. Accredited
school means an accrediting agency qualified them and they have been licensed
for at least two years. Experience matters and so do referrals, so I always ask
for the referrals from clients before making any grooming appointments for my
with a background check. Visit the prospective shops you are considering as
potential dog groomers for your pet, and visit without the dog so you can ask
questions, focus on the task at hand and not cause your pooch any unnecessary
stress. Notice the appearance of the facility, if it’s clean, how the groomers
are talking to and handling the dogs, and ask any questions you might have.
long have you been dog grooming?
Will my dog always have the same groomer?
Can I talk to some of your previous clients?
Where did you receive your training?
What are the costs involved?
Are there any hidden fees?
don’t be afraid to voice your needs or any special concerns. Share with the
potential groomer what you expect your frequency of visits to be, along with a
background of your dog and the grooming services he will require. Inquire about
prices and how much lead time is needed. If you want your dog bathed at the
groomer, ensure they take caution in keeping water out of a dog’s sensitive ear
Personally, I often prefer to bathe my dog ahead of time to avoid this.
About Your Expectations
like with human hair stylists, a dog groomer can only do his job … not magic
(although many groomers are amazingly talented). “I’ve been a groomer for 27
years,” said John Jendrzejewski, proprietor of Tails R Wag’n in Wilkes-Barre,
is one of the main reasons I take my dog to this groomer: He is talented,
caring and reputable.
my personal experience, I usually wait for my dog to be groomed and read a book
while John works. My Cocker Spaniel gets a “hunt” cut that allows for some
length but not a flowing show look. With a bath at home first, it takes John
about 90 minutes. Over the years, many dogs have crossed my path at the
groomer, including those who come in loaded with fleas, some who have been
skunked and others who are long-haired and not carefully brushed at home. It
takes a special person to become a pet groomer, and a diligent owner to find
the right groomer for their dog.
help get your dog ready for his first grooming experience, ensure he’s accustomed
to having his paws touched, to getting a bath and to allowing strangers to
touch him. Never take an unruly dog to the groomer.
it’s important to trust your inner voice during the process of finding the
groomer who will handle your dog, and if you are not happy about the premises
and do not feel comfortable leaving your dog there, then by all means, don’t do
it. Keep in mind that you can ask to wait out front while your dog is groomed,
too. Most dogs will wait in a cage until their turn arrives, so if your pooch
must do this, be sure he’s not afraid of a crate before that happens.
a good groomer can take a bit of time and effort, but if you show up armed with
questions and a plan, it’ll be well worth the effort.