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How Long Does It Take to Become a Dog Groomer? 2023 Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Groomer is cutting a dog hair in hair service

If you’re thinking about grooming dogs as your day job, you’ll be relieved to find that it’s actually fairly easy to begin and there’s no formal training required. The path you take will depend on your career goals, whether you want to work under someone else long-term or start your own grooming venture. In either case, you can usually become a professional dog groomer in as little as 4-5 months, if not less.

Even though you don’t have to have a degree, it’s still vital to learn how to groom dogs correctly. You can learn how to groom dogs by working as an apprentice or in an entry-level position at a pet salon, or by taking an online course. We recommend a combination of hands-on experience with formal training, and it’ll look better on your resume too. Continue reading to learn more about becoming a dog groomer.

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Becoming a Dog Groomer

Before you begin, you’ll need to assess your career goals. Are you wanting to work long-term at a pet salon, or do you want to eventually start your own dog grooming business? Is this a temporary job or is this a career move? There are good reasons for either option, and you’ll need to make the best choice based on your personality and lifestyle.

Working for Someone Else

Here’s why you might want to work at someone else’s pet business:

  • Limited liability. Some dogs can be grooming aggressive. If you work for someone else, they’re responsible for buying good insurance for when dog bites inevitably happen.
  • Steady income. Everyone who’s self-employed knows that the biggest risk in owning your own business is that there are times when you don’t get paid and you’re never paid for time off. If you’re a salary worker, then you know you’re going to get a paycheck every month.
  • Low pressure. You don’t have to worry about bringing in new clients if you work for someone else. Also, you’ve lost nothing if you decide grooming isn’t the profession for you.
  • Free training. Perhaps the biggest perk of working under someone else is the fact that you’re basically getting paid for taking professional training. This is an especially great bonus if you’re new to the industry or can’t afford a fancy grooming school.

Even if you want to work independently, it still might be a good idea to work at a pet salon for at least a few months so that you can learn from seasoned professionals. It will also help your credibility later on when you do open your grooming station.

woman grooming labrador puppy
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Starting Your Own Self-Employed Dog Grooming Business

While there are many benefits of working for someone else, there might be more reasons to go solo after you’ve been working for a while. It might be time for you to start your own business if:

  • You have training. You’ve worked under someone else for several months or even years. You’ve taken a course or two, and really know your stuff.
  • You have a flexible schedule. As your client list expands, you will probably find yourself working long hours, nights, and even weekends to accommodate their schedule. The plus side is you do get to somewhat set your own schedule, so starting your own grooming business could be an excellent decision if you can’t work the regular 9-5 shift.
  • You’re responsible. These dogs will be completely under your care while they’re at spa day. You’ll need to be completely confident that they’ll look and feel their best under your watch. Part of this includes learning dog psychology so you can learn how to deal with the stress and drama of grooming day, as well as investing in good insurance in case a dog does become aggressive.
  • You’re dedicated to your clients and your business. It takes a while to get a good grooming operation started. You’re investing in people, their pets, and equipment to get the job done. This won’t be an easy or quick operation and will require patience and persistence.
  • You want to raise your income. Running your own grooming business allows you to set your own prices and take more of the profits than you would under someone else.

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If you want to become a dog groomer, ask the pet salons around town if they’re hiring and start training today. Or get online and look for dog grooming programs that are available to you. Grooming can be stressful with long hours on your feet, but we think it’s one of the coolest jobs ever because you get to hang out with dogs all day. Examining your lifestyle and career goals will help you see if working at a salon or running your own business will be the wisest choice for you.


Featured Image Credit: Lucky Business, Shutterstock

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