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Who Wants To Become A Dog Groomer?

Our guide to choose the right path for you.

Dog grooming is an increasingly popular choice of career for people of all ages and life stages which is BRILLIANT because there are now 12 million + dogs in the UK that need you to help keep their coats healthy and looking smart.

Choosing a route to becoming a dog groomer is a bit of a minefield so this easy read hopefully will help with this.


Is working with dogs for me?

Making grooming your career means you will be working and handling all types of dogs in terms of breeds, size, temperament, age and anatomy. As you gain experience and your own customer base you will be able to guide your business in a direction to suit you but in the early stages and certainly through training you will be working with all combinations of traits and so should ask yourself – “Am I comfortable being close to all dogs?”

If you have limited breed experience, try and get some before you start. Work experience in a grooming salon can be difficult as it is a skilled profession and salons are often busy so supervising someone without experience can be difficult, however volunteering at an animal rescue centre or signing up for an ‘introductory course’ run by many colleges can be a way to find out whether working with dogs is for you.


How do I get started?

Grooming is an unregulated industry which means that you do not require a qualification to operate as a groomer but ask yourself would I trust a plumber, electrician, hairdresser that hadn’t been trained?

We are strong advocates of professional training and qualifications for anyone who wants to work in grooming because we believe first and foremost this is a way to keep you and the animals in your care safe. Because dogs are non-verbal communicators groomers need to be able to recognise conditions, understand their anatomy, skin and coat. Groomers also need to learn how to use the correct tools and products as well as then gain the practical skills of bathing, drying, clipping, scissoring etc.

Many dive straight in with the practical skills and then find handling difficult and the job full of unexpected surprises. Going through training will teach what you are expected to know to be a safe groomer that can work unsupervised. This will give you more confidence and make grooming less stressful for you.


What are my options?

There are many different ways to make grooming your career. Firstly, ask yourself what kind of work environment suits you? Here are some typical choices:

  • Lone working from home or as a mobile groomer to be completely flexible with minimal overheads.
  • Run my own grooming salon.
  • Be employed as a groomer and leave the business side to someone else.

If you want to focus on grooming and not the business side consider looking for employment with one of the grooming chains like the Groom Room (Pets at Home), Dog Wood (Pets Corner), The Grooming Spa (Jollyes). They run their own training programmes and you will have the security of employment. Consider though that these salons are normally busy so noisy and time sensitive. You are likely to have to commit to a 3-year period for training to be completed.


 Working on your own can be lonely so going through training with a group of likeminded and local colleagues is a good way to have support through your studies. There are enough dogs for all and who knows you might meet your future business partner/employer.

What are my training options?

In terms of a qualification and in person training there are many options for various learning styles: C&G, OCN, iPet, ICMG. The Groomers Spotlight has a summary.


Or you can read in detail about each one using the links:

These are qualifications run either in government and private training centres and there will be a mix of both in most areas throughout the UK. Decide on the learning style that you think will be best for you and then look at schools and colleges in your area that offer the course. The prices vary tremendously and are not always an indicator of quality. Have a look at reviews and ask for a sample session if it’s not offered. Many of the good ones will do an interview to check you’re a serious candidate as they want committed students who will pass and go on to become great groomers running successful businesses that reflects well on their teaching.

You can search by postcode on for training schools near you. All of the teachers that advertise here are fully qualified themselves which is not always the case.

We hope we’ve whetted your appetite. If you want to immerse yourself in the world of dog grooming straight away have a look at our online webinars that teach a mixture of theory and practical skills. During January you can use the code HALFWEB to get them half price.

If you like that then consider our ‘Complete Programme of Theory’ which gives you everything you need for a level 3 qualification. You can work through this at your leisure.

We look forward to welcoming you to the wonderful world of grooming soon.


Jo Hargraves

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