“Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen.” – Orhan Pamuk (My Name Is Red)
Anybody who has been around these creatures will nod their heads vehemently in support of that statement. It’s not for nothing; they’re termed as ‘man’s best friend.
Millions around the world are proud to be dog owners or have them as companions. Yet, there are surveys all over the internet that say that the pups matter more to many than their spouses (say Yikes or say Wow).
These dog lovers love their dogs. So, naturally, they would want to treat them the best they can.
And this deep love and affection can now become a career too. I bet it will never be as boring or cheerless as traditional office work.
If you love to take care of dogs and find sheer joy in brushing and bathing them, then maybe dog grooming is your thing.
It’s not a conventional career choice, but it can be a fun ride. Dog groomers have finally got the limelight, thanks to Instagram.
Their millions of posts there with #dog grooming attached to it, and they’re loved by one and all. When you see those before/after snaps, your heart will melt with overloaded sweetness.
Now, if you’ve decided to take on these cutie-pies, here are seven ways you’ll be ready to rock and roll:
1. Knowledge is love+light+vision
To get good at something, you first need to have a clear understanding of it. That comes with knowledge. As far as dog grooming is concerned, there are multiple ways you can learn about it.
You can get admitted to a dog-grooming school. Their workshop will inform you about orientation, stripping, carding, thinning and different patterns.
Apart from this, there are many short courses online that can set you up with the basics. These can prepare you for any pup attack, from dog anatomy and maintenance of their skin and hair to group discussions and sound advice.
If you’re planning to do this on your own, you also need to set a target for earning and then accordingly set the price of your service. You need to formulate a fair pricing strategy, learning from the competition.
If you want to join a boutique or a pet chain, learn about them and consider their workload and payment.
Then, you’re good to go!
2. Strength to muster
You must know that this job can drain you physically. It can be picking up the pets, it can be prolonged postures, or it can very well be the lifetimes of energy you’d have to spend just to match theirs.
So, you need to consider whether you are capable enough. Also, health issues or conditions like asthma, arthritis, and pet allergies are things to ponder upon.
But after all of that is done and dusted, if you’re still sprightly enough, there’s no holding back.
3. A space for you and them
You’d need quite a bit of space to open a dog grooming service if you’re starting the business from scratch.
And then you have to make sure to turn your premises suitable for the furry four-legged guests.
You can consider tiled floors, easy and efficient bathroom facilities, and some strategic maneuvers for power outlets (you’ll need those for many small appliances).
And in this case, hygiene and safety are of paramount importance.
4. Arrange For Supplies
You’ll need to pile up some particular supplies and manage some equipment if you want to practice dog grooming.
And even if you work for some salon or pet shop, you’ll need a considerable amount of information about pet supplies brands and what is the best option in specific cases.
Some things to consider: a grooming table (at least one to start), a bathtub with various shower heads, scissors and clippers, electric clippers for hair, nail cutters, hairdryer, crates/kennels, shampoos, and conditioners (a whole lot of), brushes, combs, harness and bows/ribbons.
But the most valuable thing you’ll ever need is to enjoy their company.
5. License to kill (with cuteness)
Some countries don’t require any vocational license for dog grooming, whereas others do. Some research will let you know that.
You may need to obtain a business permit if your city has specific requirements.
Consult your local government officials to know the details. The local Chamber of Commerce can also be a great help.
6. Keeping your cool
It’s very much true that a dog’s nose can pick up more than a scent; it can even identify your energy level. So, your calmness can be infectious.
Try to keep it zen. Diffusers loaded with essential oils can set the tone of serenity from the get-go. And, of course, meditation helps to attain this calmness too.
And the more you get attuned to inner peace, the bigger it will impact not just the dogs but your life in general.
Some dogs are flirty and frolicking. However, if you remain calm and show them that you understand them, it gets easier to gain their trust.
Then some dogs are naughty, ill-behaving, or poorly trained. Again, your calmness will help in those situations too.
And when it gets too messy, you can always go to the client’s house and groom there in a familiar environment. It benefits neither you nor the dog if every move of yours is creating more panic.
7. The small matter of Insurance
Like most things in life, Insurance provides security and peace of mind.
Even the best can have a bad day. Even those with the most skills, care, and responsibility can face accidents.
The most common one is liability insurance. You can choose either commercial or general liability insurance.
It’s nearly impossible to predict whether a dog is prone to an allergic reaction to certain product/s. If, and we wish, it never gets to that, something does go wrong; Insurance can be the best form of protection.
Unlike many other ordinary jobs, dog grooming is intrinsically connected to the degree of love and passion that you have for your pawed friends. It needs you to love dogs unconditionally.
But like many other mundane jobs, if you want to get better at it, you need to hunger for constant learning and improvement.
There is nothing quite like it. You get to spend your ‘work’ time with such cute customers, surrounded by innocence!
That’s enviable for many in this world.
But if you find satisfaction in your job, that’s all you can ask for. And if this is your calling, you’ll be stuffed with tender love and attention as a bonus.