Jump to content
BC Boards
Tommy Coyote

Any Groomers out there?

Recommended Posts

I don't know where to put this question.

 

I have a friend with a 12 year old daughter that is crazy about dogs. She wants to learn to be a groomer - regular dogs and show dogs. Does anyone know what she would need to do to learn to be a professional groomer? Can a 12 year old work at a grooming business or is there an age requirement because of the law.

 

And how much can a good groomer make? For instance, if she could get enough training to be a professional groomer of show dogs?

 

I know nothing about this. But when a really nice kid who loves dogs and wants to do something where she can spend her life working with them I would like to help her find answers to her questions.

 

She loves border collies so maybe she could learn to be a big hat. Some kids are really good handlers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want this to come across as rude, so I apologize in advance if it does. But I don't believe any 12 yo, short of a genius prodigy, is ready to go to school to become a professional groomer. A 12 yo that loves dogs can however find someone to "assist" if the teacher is willing to let them help. It may entail just sweeping floors after someone grooms but they get to be there and will potentially work their way up to being able to assist and then when they have the right age/maturity they can get certified or go to school.

 

Maybe the big hat comment was a joke, but in my humble opinion that is going to take even more work than becoming a groomer. You have more than just a border collie to contend with you also have sheep and that takes not only dog knowlegde but also stock knowlegde.

 

I'm not trying to knock this kids dreams, but maybe encouragement in a more learning way would be better...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a professional dog groomer. In the AKC world, many Junior handlers learn to groom the breed(s) they show and compete with, so I don't think 12 years is too young to start learning at all. However, my emphasis is on LEARNING. Working in a grooming shop environment doing full grooms can be very stressful, and I don't think it's fair to put that kind of pressure on some one that young. Perhaps if you know of a GOOD groomer in your area, you can talk to them about her being a part time bather. If she were to be paid it would be under the table, which would of course be illegal, but I don't think there would be a problem with her volunteering her time to do this. Make sure though, that you thoroughly check out any groomer. There are sadly a lot of wack jobs out there, that should never even be allowed to touch a dog. I learned under a groomer like that, it was horrible and very traumatic to have to see dogs treated like that. As soon as I could quit I did, and I now run my own business because I don't want to take the chance of that happening again.

 

As for show grooming, if she is truly interested in this (It is A LOT!! of work, and extremely tedious) her best bet would be to apprentice under a professional conformation handler, or find a dog groomer who competes in groom shows. The first would probably be a better bet, but usually dog groomers who compete in creative grooming competitions also have a background in show grooming.

 

To find a professional conformation handler, go to an AKC show (UKC there are no professional handlers) and find the breeds that are the most work, like poodles and terriers. After the people are done competing (best of breed has been chosen), see if you can snag some of the people that have won/placed and let them know that your friend has a daughter that is interested in learning show grooming, and if they knew of anyone that would be willing to show her some things about grooming. You might get some nasty people (they are everywhere) but most people there are quite nice, and are more than willing to point you in the right direction.

 

There are also GROOM shows, where you can find creative dog groomers, though they aren't as popular and can be hard to find. Your best bet would be to find the calendar of events on this online magazine here (page 53): http://www.groomertogroomer.com And it will list where the upcoming groom shows are.

 

Another great resource is the Jodi Murphy instructional DVD series. I have the entire set and they are priceless. She offers a few free DVDs (You just pay shipping) to see if they are something she would be interested in. http://www.jodimurphy.net/products_promotionaldvds.htm

 

Hope that helps!

 

Autumn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember being a very young girl playing in the back yard with friends on the swings. I told them I was going to grow up and work with animals, a zoologist actually. As I grew up that specific dream changed but I am working with with animals. One thing I believe in with all my heart is to encourage kids that they can be anything they want and that they have within them all it takes!! I would encourage this gal in her love of animals and try to get her as many different experiences as possible so she can further define her dream. Maybe that is volunteering in a vet office, local shelter, grooming shop, zoo...find mentors that will be encouraging and supportive.

 

I went to college - got a BS Biology degree then learned that was not going to take me far, went back to school for veterinary technology. I have worked in some great clinics and some not so good but picked up grooming skills on my own along the way. I began my own grooming business and enjoy it. Grooming and what you make is very dependent on where you live. People need to have disposable income. Obviously larger cities have more folks, more dogs and usually get a better price but there is more competition. There are grooming schools - there is the Nash Academy in KY that I know of off the top of my head. I do not do "show" grooming, don't want to work in that atmosphere. If that is what she is thinking of go to shows and talk to handlers and groomers.

 

Good Luck

 

Denice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I unfortunately cannot offer any useful advice, but would also just like to say, I knew from a very very young age that I wanted to work with animals, as soon as I was old enough to get a job, I worked in a pet store, I knew my dream was to be a zookeeper so in college I worked in a Veterinary clinic and I volunteered at the Zoo. I got my dream job right out of college and worked at the Zoo until mother nature decided to play a lovely surprise on me and bless me with twins! I now own a Saltwater Aquarium maintenance business.....So I say absolutely encourage her and find a way for her to volunteer on a Saturday afternoon bathing dogs, or whatever, until she is old enough to legally have a job doing what she wants.....

 

I fervently hope that my kids are passionate about what they want to do when they grow up and that I am able to help them achieve those goals....money is just money...loving what you do, makes life FUN!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 12 y/o with right mentality is more than ready to start work on their career with animals. Doing the apprentice work with a professional is a great way to start. Have her volunteer at the local shelter washing and brushing dogs to make them look good for adopters. It would give her a feel for grooming if you can't find a place that wants a helper.

 

Never squelch a childs interest in anything. Kids need a hobby outside of the computer and TV :rolleyes: If it's wierd or different or sounds silly, just be supportive. It may faid out :D At 12, her interest in what she wants to do will change 100 times before the end of H.S., not to mention college. I know of an 8 y/o agility handler that will give elite level handlers the run around. She's the bomb! Let her dream. She'll go to amazing places :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to add, it is very possible to make a very nice living off of being a dog groomer. However it is also very possible to be bullied into keeping your prices cheap and just barely scraping by. The groomer I apprenticed under charged ridiculously low prices because she was afraid of losing clients, but groomed over 10 dogs a day, was just barely making it, and was completely exhausted at the end of the day. Dog grooming is not an easy job, you have to deal with people's spoiled pets that have never seen a brush in their lives, and never see a brush between grooms, or if they do, the dog quickly learns that a growl or snap will get that bad ol brush to go away. You have to deal with huffy clients that don't understand why their dog who hasn't seen a brush for over a year is going to take more than the length of their lunch break to groom, AND why you are charging them at least twice as much as the hack shop down the road. You have to deal with the competition, often saying nasty things about you in order to get a leg up. You have to learn to take proper care of your body, because grooming is very hard on it.

 

Professional, experienced dog groomers should earn at least $20 an hour for regular grooms. If the dog is matted, badly behaved or severely overweight (more lifting, more breaks for the dog who can't stand for long periods of time) there needs to be an extra charge for time accordingly. I charge $20 per each 15 minutes (after the first 15 included in my base price) for dematting or excessive undercoat. That usually convinces people right off the bat to keep their dog on a regular grooming schedule. Of course I tell them before hand, because I would much rather just shave the dog down (if it isn't a breed with a double coat like a Pomeranian or husky) and have them start over than put the dog through the painful experience of dematting. Of course I am constantly under-mined by the hack shop down the road that will not only demat such dogs, but also charge ridiculously low prices. Then I have to deal with them coming back to me, complaining about how their dog came back bruised/nicked/traumatized and "looked horrible."

 

Right now, I usually don't make $20 an hour. I am more focused on producing a nice finished groom, than getting done quickly, so I take the financial hit, knowing I will eventually be fast enough to make my goals. I set my prices according to how long I think it should eventually take me. For example, for a normal shih tzu groom in good condition I charge $35 (base price). Right now it usually takes me about 2 hours, some times 2 and a half-3 to do this kind of groom. I am working towards finishing in 1 and a half hours, which would put my profit at about $23 an hour. If I just charged $20 an hour right away I wouldn't have many customers, if any. I have been professionally grooming for about a year and half now, before that I learned to groom my own dogs, one of them for conformation. It takes time and dedication to get really good in this industry and build up a loyal clientele base.

 

More intensive grooming, like hand stripping terriers, carding sporting breeds, and hand scissoring poodles will bring in a lot more money (hand stripping usually starts at about $70 an hour for example). It is also is a lot more time consuming and tedious, and not a lot of people want that for their pets.

 

When people talk about show grooming in this kind of context, it is usually not about grooming dogs for conformation. IMO, that is better left to the handler/owner who knows the dog's faults and strengths, and can hide or extenuate them accordingly. Not many people I know would let some one else groom their show dogs. Show grooming in this context (unless you're talking about competition grooming) is more for pet people, who want their dogs to be groomed as they should be according to breed standard, for whatever reasons. For example, terriers are meant to be hand stripped, not shaved. Hand stripping will make the coat color more vibrant, restore proper texture, and is healthier for the skin. Scissoring a poodle instead of shaving it will do much of the same thing. Some people just want the "look" of a show dog. Most people, after discovering the cost of this kind of grooming, and learning they will either have to learn to do proper upkeep on the coat themselves or bring the dog in much more often, choose to not go this route.

 

Autumn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for all of your comments. Now I have some constructive ideas for her on where to begin to learn. Hopefully her mother can find a groomer who will let her come and watch for a day or a few days so she can see if this is something that she would really be interested in.

 

We have a couple of shelters that are pretty close where she could volunteer - she may have to wait until she is a little older. I had thought maybe she could get on part time at a vet clinic working in the kennels. At least she could get some experience in dog handling and care that way.

 

Its kind of been my experience that animal people know that they want to work with animals from a very young age. I don't know this little girl but i know her mother and she just wants to encourage her and help her get going. If she can just get some experience until she is old enough to really begin to work on an actual profession I think that would be very helpful.

 

I'll read the information on junior groomers and take notes for her. That would be wonderful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was 2 years old I was telling people I was going to be a veterinarian. When I was 12 years old I was telling people that I was going to attend Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. A month after turning 24 years old I started classes at Tufts Vet School. Now I am a practicing vet and I love my job. Let kids explore their options and you never know where their dreams will take them.

 

Twelve is plenty old enough to help at dog shows and do some bathing, as long as there is good adult supervision. By the time I was 14 I was volunteering at a wildlife rehab facility, training my dog for agility and flyball and I had a full time job during the summer as a camp assistant. There are child labor laws in place, but with a signed permission form from a parent you can do quite a bit. Some of the laws do have age requirements when it comes to being around animals, but those are very specific to the type of facility in question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
When I was 2 years old I was telling people I was going to be a veterinarian. When I was 12 years old I was telling people that I was going to attend Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. A month after turning 24 years old I started classes at Tufts Vet School. Now I am a practicing vet and I love my job. Let kids explore their options and you never know where their dreams will take them.

 

Twelve is plenty old enough to help at dog shows and do some bathing, as long as there is good adult supervision. By the time I was 14 I was volunteering at a wildlife rehab facility, training my dog for agility and flyball and I had a full time job during the summer as a camp assistant. There are child labor laws in place, but with a signed permission form from a parent you can do quite a bit. Some of the laws do have age requirements when it comes to being around animals, but those are very specific to the type of facility in question.

A friend was telling me that some states have a kind of special prevision for kids that want to work part time. I think with special agreement a child can work at 14.

 

, neither of my parents were animal people. They didn't like them, didn't want the responsibility or the expense. This little girl is so lucky. Her mother loves animals too. And her mother is willing to help her out any way she can. If she wants to work with animals then that's what she should do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

She could find a mentor and learn some skills, and then practice at an animal shelter? Even a poorly groomed dog looks a lot better and is more adoptable than a dirty, matted one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
She could find a mentor and learn some skills, and then practice at an animal shelter? Even a poorly groomed dog looks a lot better and is more adoptable than a dirty, matted one.

I would think that a shelter would love to have someone volunteer to brush and bathe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^What they said, and I would add this, any of us groomers recognize that the skills we have developed in our work begin with really good basic animal handling and savvy. Most of what I do with pets depends on my being able to have a compliant, happy animal work with me. Kids can learn this easily if they have that special instinct, and there is one, to work with animals. Now is the time to get that kid into 4-H, find her a project leader who can teach her how to prepare and handle animals for show, all the husbandry, the prepping of coats, training for conformation handling, obedience, those skills are appropriate for a kid to be exposed to now.

 

I have found that I don't make a great living working for the vet practice I've been at for the past fifteen years, but with my skills, I COULD have opened my own business and probably done better, but this job fits my interests better. I believe I could leave tomorrow and find work again by weeks end. There's always folks who need what I do, rotten economy or not, and seems like more now than ever, with pets taking on more importance than they used to in many households .

 

Find a 4-H program for her. Where I work, we have kids in to observe from time to time, but we can't hire until they're eighteen. She'd have a better chance getting some time with a breeder, enthusiast or shelter, but I wonder what they'd allow an underage person to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...