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Mods can move this if it's not in the right spot :P lol

Ok. I've decided I want to be a professional dog groomer, and maybe even own my own shop..
I love grooming dogs, i've only groomed my girl keesha, my grandparents poodle, and another dog(shih tzu poodle mix i think) but I love doing it, and everyone has said I do a good job.

I know you have to go to school and get a license, right?
Where would I begin to look for a grooming school?
Anybody here who has gone to grooming school? Can you tell me about it?

Any information is greatly appreciated!! :D

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gigi, are you from Iowa?

I only ask because I'm originally from Cedar Rapids. Kirkwood used to have a great grooming program, but now it's practically useless. I've had to work with many Kirkwood groomers, and most know nothing - don't even know what brush burn is!

I've had to help re-teach a lot of the Kirkwood groomers - they needed to learn how to fluff dry, how to bathe properly, and even needed to be taught how to express anals... yikes!

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I'm also a professional groomer and used to have my own business. First, congrats on "seeing the light" on this career choice. I think that so many people want to do it, but don't seem to have the "eye" for balance or the "flair" for style (not to mention an unconditional love for dogs and a lack of fear for dirt, hair, sore backs, etc.).

I would first recommend that you get on the phone and call vet clinics, other dog people you know and ask for local groomer recommendations. Find out which ones in your area are the best of the best and have great reputations. Then give them a call and ask if they'd be willing to hire you on as an apprentice or a bather. Some of the very best groomers I know never went to a real grooming school, but instead they apprenticed to learn the trade. It's a lot cheaper and I think you get more practical knowledge in the process. Grooming schools are good for basics, but even after you spend thousands of dollars, you still need on-the-job training for upwards of a year or two. Why not just start at the bottom from the get-go?

One thing I'd mention to you...after having owned my own business, I found that I didn't have the time to "train" a new groomer from the ground up, so unfortunately I turned some people away. However, if they had just come to work for me as a bather first and shown a true "gift" for learning to groom, it would have been only natural for me to move them forward. You might keep this in mind when you call groomers. You just might scare them away if you talk too heavily about apprenticeships. Starting as a bather has alot of advantages. You get hands-on experience working in the grooming atmosphere on a daily basis, you learn the basics that schools will charge you to learn, and you also save alot of money and time if you decide it's not for you.

I know this is long, but I enjoy offering some insight on the topic. You should check out petgroomer.com, the site has a long list of schools. And one more thing...currently licensing of groomers is only optional and not law. Good luck.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reading up on back posts...

Gigishiba, Marion huh? I'm in Cedar Rapids, SW side.

Kirkwood is awesome to have in town, huh? I have Peanut and Pixie in Puppy Kindergarten. We've only had the one class so far, but Peanut loooooves it. Pixie, not so much, her butt was gray from us dragging her around. Our very own dustmop!

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I agree with 73junebugz, work first as a bath/blow dryer then attend grooming school. Work for other groomers for the first few years until you learn all the tricks of the trade. I know of a few groomers who went directly from school to owning their own shop. They have old fashioned techniques. A grooming school can only teach you so much.

One more thing I will add. Doing anal glands at the grooming facility is a blast from the past. As we learn more about anal glands and diet etc. we have learned that groomers poking around and squeezing anal glands are creating more problems and scarring. Its best to recommend a dog owner to go to a vet if they are experiencing scooting etc. There are only a few breeds we will give a light little squeeze to before putting in the bath tub, only because we don't want them blowing them after the bath :wink:
Its a pet peeve of mine when some groomers squeeze the glands on every dog that comes in the door. If some one squeezed my dogs glands I would be ticked off and really upset. If your going to squeeze it should be only on the request of the owner...and then don't start squeezing the life out of the dog, just give a gentle squeeze so you don't build up scar tissue and create a problem.

The groomer I work for has been grooming for almost 30 years. She started out by first working as an obedience instructor, handler etc. She then went to grooming school. She then went on to work for an established groomer whom she learned ALOT of wonderful techniques from. She then moved to Ottawa and worked for a grooming facility up there, they also competed in grooming competitions. They had my boss get her National certified master groomer in all groups then they encouraged her to compete...she did really well in competitions and competed from New York to Toronto. She also started going to seminars to learn "new" things. You always want to be learning and growing your knowledge...you can never know enough. She has now been set up her in my neck of the woods for the past 15 years. She still goes to seminars all over Canada and the States...a lot of groomers feel as though they get to a safe level of knowledge then stop learning new things.
The groomer I work for also does many show trims. The only problem with doing show trims, if the dog is dumped the owner will blame the groomer :lol: on the other hand if the dog is winning you are a grooming goddess. :lol:

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I just finished grooming school and I am very happy with the one I chose. It was a small school with a maximum of 3 students at a time.
What I liked about the school was that I learnt quality grooming not quantity grooming. We learnt the most modern techniques that are healthy for both the dog and the groomer and more efficient for the groomer. My school offered student grooming to customers at a discounted rate, many schools don

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[quote name='AllAmericanPUP']this is where I am thinking about going.
any thoughts on this school?
[url]http://www.academyofdoggrooming.com[/url][/quote]

not sure if it really matters to whether or not you should go to the school, but...

I just looked on the pics page, one thing that bothered me is that they have cats on a neck noose on the tables. At my work, we use a lead to make a harness that goes around the chest and under the stomach, much safer for a cat.

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I can only say ditto ditto ditto to most of what Cassie, ShatteringGlass & Junebugz had to say.

About this school... I'm not at all familiar with it, but I did browse the site. A few things kind of raised my hackles, so I'll mention them and maybe you can check it out. I mean, it may be an A-OK school, but I have a very inquiring mind... especially now that I kind of know what to look for. You don't often gain that insight until, well, after you've spent all that money.

First of all, I don't like their Terrier grooming at all. While I admit that my monitor is wonky, I kind of played around with it to try to view the photos and the Terriers just don't look "correct." It's hard to tell about the Poodles since they don't show the profiles. All the Poodles I see are sitting down. Hard to tell about their Poodle grooming without being able to see a profile. Granted, they aren't grooming show dogs, but IMO for the money they're asking, you would hope to learn proper breed trims and profiles.

This also concerns me (taken from the "about us" section of their website):
[quote]Most of our instructors have over 20 years of experience in the field as professional groomers, grooming shop owners and as breeders. Our staff is also comprised of master certified groomers.[/quote]
First, it mentions their experience as "breeders," but I don't know if that necessarily means they were also exhibitors involved in showing. It's GREAT to find people who are breeders/exhibitors to teach grooming because no one knows proper breed grooming better than them. However, anyone can be a "breeder." I think I'd ask about it.

Also, it mentions that their "staff is also comprised of master certified groomers." I don't see any mention of certifying organizations. That's a huge red flag to me. Certification is optional and I'd certainly hope that anyone who runs a school would seek out national certification, but it's only done through a handful of certifying organizations. I don't see any mention of any of these organizations like NDGAA, ISCC or any of the other major certifying organizations. These organizations have their own titles like "Master Pet Stylist" (ISCC) or "National Certified Master Groomer" (NDGAA). It's not a general term, but a very specific one relating to the certifying organization. It's very unethical and misleading to label oneself as a "master certified groomer" if they don't have the certificate to back it up. Be sure to inquire about this. They are wanting a LOT of money, so you should be very willing to check them out and have them show you why they are worth what they're asking. If they say they are certified master groomers by some state or local authority, don't bother spending your money there. States and local laws don't certify "master groomers". At most, the only licensing (not at all the same as certification) requirements are kennel licenses and that's only in some places. Please do ask them about their "master certified groomer" credentials and ask to see the certificates. H*ll, for that kind of money, I'd be demanding proof.

It may be an ok school (or not), but please do be sure to check them out before shelling out that kind of money. It also seems to me like their pricing for equipment is awfully high. I think I could do better if I bought the equipment on my own rather than buying it through them.

If nothing else, please do inquire about their "master certified groomers." I'd be very interested in learning what they tell you, so how about passing along any info you get on that :) ? If they are indeed certified through one of the national certifying organizations, it would probably be a good thing for them to make reference to it on their site.

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Yes, AAP....I am familiar with this school. It's the closest one to me, and I've worked with (and hired) several people who went there. I know of at least a couple excellent instructors there who are even currently involved in competition grooming and (IMO) are capable of teaching you well. As for the price...I can't comment much except to say that around here (Chicago area), any trade school is very high.

As for the people who I've worked with who attended, it's like anything else. Some of them became excellent groomers with time and extra on-the-job training. And some didn't. There was one who thought she knew everything there was to know about grooming and had no need for more training. And of course there were a couple who graduated and soon became discouraged. I got the impression that they didn't understand the need to be flexible (for example, learning new methods in different shops, etc.) or also maybe because they were so slow and not making enough money upon completion of schooling. I'm not sure if the instructors were brutally honest about the amount of on-the-job training that would be necessary after graduating.

This doesn't necessarily reflect on the school (or even help you maybe,) but I'm just relating my experiences. I think if you really want to be a groomer, have a good eye for detailed work, are good with your hands, and WANT to be the best groomer you can be, no matter how long it takes.....then this school would be a great place to start. I agree with what horse said, definitely...but it's also good to remember that every shop will have different methods, and it doesn't always necessarily mean that they are bad places to work (unless of course the obvious safety, health or abuse issues are occuring), so the same goes for schools. Just go with an open mind, and remember that things you learn in school are never set in stone. And if you DO go to this school and wish to stay in the Chicagoland area...contact me for a job when you're done. I have some contacts.

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Since this thread came back up, I just thought I'd add something. I was talking to a guy I'm working with now who attended this school and was mentioning some of the questions that've been brought up. He says that the instructor he worked with is one of the best competition groomers around, with multiple wins to her credit. Also, when I mentioned that the cost seemed high, he enlightened me by figuring out the end-result....meaning that his schooling would've been paid for within 3 months based on his current pay (which is a couple years of graduating...it takes a while to build to that.) Not bad, considering. I asked him if he could recommend this school, and he said without a doubt. So, there ya have it.

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