I love the variety that being self employed and being a dog groomer brings. Genuinely, no two days are the same. But as with any occupation, there are always aspects that we like better than others. Also, there is so much more to being a dog groomer than people often realise. So, I thought I would give you my Top 10 “Loves” and my Top 10 “Hmm…not so much!” of dog grooming. This is going to be a two-parter!!
Part 1 – Loves
- Working with dogs (obvs)
This is a no brainer really and I will be completely honest, I prefer working with dogs to working with humans. What’s not to love? The play time? The cuddles? The sing-a-longs in the bath and conversations about the gossip from the dog park? The nose boops? You couldn’t do that with human co-workers. Not if you wanted to keep your job anyway!
- Independence & autonomy
Self employment has its share of draw-backs but what i love is being totally independent and knowing that any decisions I make are for the benefit of my business and clients. So if you see me wandering around talking to myself, just ignore me – I am having a staff meeting with myself!
- Cleaning mucky ears
Everyone has their “thing” that most others would find pretty horrible…and apparently mine is cleaning ears. In an ideal world dogs wouldn’t have mucky ears but its so satisfying to give them a good clean to leave them looking and feeling much better. (Obviously, dogs with acute or chronic ear conditions should be under veterinary treatment and I wouldn’t do anything to compromise that).
- When you expect a coat to be matted and its not!
Ah, this is great when this happens. It makes the whole process so much easier and straightforward – particularly for the dog! Even better is when its a dog with a long silky coat and its just beautiful to brush!
- When the dogs just want to cuddle
I have a lovely doodle girl who comes in and just rests her wee chin on my shoulder when she is getting dried! Or, when you are waiting for an owner to come and collect their dog but all the dog wants is to sit on your lap and snuggle!
- That feeling when you get an angle or a shape just right!
As groomers we see so much on social media and You Tube of perfect grooms by world class groomers. Beautifully prepped dogs, standing proud as punch, showing off a perfect style. As a pet groomer, I look at these and think “Wow! – I only wish I was that good”. So when I get the chance to practice making these kinds of shapes – and it can be as simple as a perfectly straight leg, a round paw, a doughnut muzzle or a symmetrical topknot – it’s like a tiny victory.
- A really satisfying de-shed/blow-out
Oh yes. Transforming a dull, overgrown or blown double coat into a sleek, shiny, plushy coat is such a good feeling. Dont get me wrong, its a lot of work and takes time but it is so worth it and I can only imagine how much better the dog feels afterwards. Keeping double coats free from mats and dead coat helps the dog regulate their own body temperature, whether that be for warmth or to stay cool.
- Head tilts
Does this even need an explanation? The cuteness is everything.
- Owners reactions when they are really pleased with how their dog looks after their groom
This is gold. If an owner is happy, I am happy. However, fully communicating with owners about what to expect when they come to collect their dog is also really important. Its vital to have a proper conversation with owners about how they are looking to have their dog styled. It can be a very personal thing – ears, tails, heads especially – so although most groomers get into the profession to work with dogs, a significant part of it is working with the owners.
- Being able to bring my own dogs to work
Prior to becoming a groomer I spent years working in offices and leaving my dogs at home every day. While this was ok for a time, when it became difficult to leave my elderly westie, Hamish, for longer periods of time due to his health, the fact that I could bring both him and my other westie, Islay, with me during the day gave me complete peace of mind. I started learning to groom with my own dogs so I feel like they are an integral part of the business too.
Part 2 will be posted soon. Remember you can sign up for email alerts to keep up to date with my ramblings!