Pet Groomer Jobs - How To Become A Pet Groomer
To be a successful pet groomer, you need the right combination of knowledge and skill.
It is estimated that sixty percent of the homes in the United States contain at least one pet. Many of these pets need periodic bathing and grooming. Many pet owners do not have the time or skill to carry out these procedures, so pet groomers are in demand.
Groomers may work in a variety of locations, including kennels, pet salons, animal shelters, and veterinary offices. Some pet groomers work from mobile salons and others own their own businesses. Some work only during the day, while others work evening or weekends.
Cats, as well as dogs, visit salons, so if you have any allergies to either, this is not the job for you. You should also be aware, that not all animals enjoy the grooming experience. They may bit or scratch out of fear or annoyance, so groomers must not only love animals, but also know how to handle them. Pet groomers need to be confident, patient, and steady, with good manual dexterity, and quick reflexes. Because groomers stand most of the day, and need to lift and carry, they must have strong backs, arms, and hands. As they must interact with pet owners, and their fellow workers, they must be diplomatic, and have good people skills.
Each grooming session starts with meeting the owner and the animal. You will need to size up the animal, and listen to the owner's instructions. You will want to know if the animal has any special likes or dislikes, any fears (knowing these may save you from being bitten), or allergies. You must ask about things like shampoo preferences, skin problems, and the advisability of muzzling during grooming. Groomers do not generally give dog treats during grooming, but may at the end of the session, so make sure your client can accept a treat. With knowledge in hand, you will start the grooming process. You may wash, comb, brush, clip or strip pets. You may clip nails, clean ears, and express anal glands. Some pets today are pattern clipped and others dyed. After each grooming session, you will need to write a report of procedures, note any special products used or problems during the session. Whhen the owner returns you will hand over the pet. If there were any concerns you have about the pet's health, you will discuss these with discretion. All groomers are responsible for cleaning their implements, the work area, tubs, and floor. Some groomers may make appointments, ring up sales, answer phones, and do other general office chores.
EDUCATION AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS
While you are in high school, take courses in English, science, computers, mathematics, and office practices. The more you know, the more useful you will be.
Pet groomers, to be successful, need to understand animal behavior. If you are still in school, but have already decided that you want to be a pet groomer, get some experience with pets. Start off by volunteering in an animal shelter, a pet salon, a veterinarian office, or even a zoo. Watch the animals. Observe how they interact with one another, and with humans. Once you have a bit of volunteer experience, try to get a job in one of these locations. Take a course in animal behavior. In would also be useful to take a course in animal first aid, including animal CPR.
After you graduate from high school, you will need to take a formal training course in grooming. There are many of these available, but only consider those that are registered and state-approved. Programs are offered by grooming schools, as well as some trade and technical schools. Courses generally take from four to six months and will cover the techniques of grooming practices, as well as animal handling, behavior, and sanitation. Programs will include both classroom training and hands-on experience.
When you have completed your formal training, you will need to obtain an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship will give you a small salary, while you continue to learn under the supervision of experienced professionals. If you do well you may be hired in the location of your apprenticeship.
Certification is available for pet groomers. It is seldom, if ever, a requisite of employment. However, if you take the trouble to become certified, it will show that you are serious about your job. Certification also shows the level of your skill and knowledge. To become certified, you need to pass two exams. One of them is a written exam, and the other is a practical exam, where you will demonstrate your grooming and handling skills.
The National Dog Groomers Association Of America will provide you with information about certification.
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