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Pampered Pooch: Dog Grooming Tips You Should Know from an Expert
With 12 million dogs in the United Kingdom, each with their own need for groomers, it is no wonder so many people are making the move into the grooming market. After all, we all need a good haircut every now and then - our pets are no different.
If you are looking to start your own dog grooming business or just want to pamper your four-legged friends at home, these expert grooming tips will leave each pooch feeling truly spoilt.
Getting and keeping clients
According to GroomArts Academy, you should canvas your local area for potential clients. Find out roughly how many dogs there are in your area. Join Facebook dog groups local to you to get an idea of how many owners you can potentially market to. Approximately 60% of dogs within your catchment area need regular grooming, and this should give you an idea on the potential success of your business.
Building trust is a crucial part of business – not only with your clients, but their owners too. As a pet grooming business, you should build trust with both pets and humans. This will lead to more loyal clients, specifically with dogs who need grooming more regularly.
Tips for your business
When it comes to starting a dog grooming business, it is important to make sure you are covered from the outset. As with any business who works with customers, you will need public liability insurance in the form of dog grooming business insurance.
You will also want to consider your location and safety precautions within your workspace. If the pet has separation anxiety, an escape attempt might be likely which can lead to self-injury. To avoid this, you might consider the safety of your environment, if a pet were to move or get loose. Making sure you find a space which works for you and your customers is important. After all, the pets are the main customers, and they like to move!
Tips for maintaining your health
One lesser discussed risk of dog grooming doesn’t come at the fault of the dog, owner, or you, but as a by-product of the dog’s hair. Groomer’s lung is a condition in which breathing in pet hair over prolonged periods of time can cause respiratory problems.
In order to maintain your health, you should consider wearing a mask which covers both your mouth and nose when de-shedding, brushing, or cutting a dog’s coat. A face covering which includes goggles can also prevent the hair from damaging your eyesight.
Stephanie Zikmann, from The Holistic Grooming Academy, comments:
“It can be quite overwhelming for a dog groomer to wear a mask all day. Ensuring that the mask chosen has proper ventilation in the first instance is worth researching, but it is also crucial that the grooming environment itself is well-ventilated and that the groomer takes frequent breaks to get fresh air’’.
“And a dog is also at risk to the same health concerns within stuffy environments such as the grooming salon. It is also important that they are allowed ample opportunity throughout their grooming session to take breaks, have water and grab some fresh air too. Obviously, groomer’s lung is just one of the many health concerns a groomer should be mindful of.”
Dog Grooming Magazine
Tips for grooming distressed dogs
Some dogs, including those with separation anxiety or other behavioural issues, might become distressed when left alone with you. This can include nipping, biting, or escape attempts.
For dogs you decide to proceed with, it is important to make them feel as comfortable as possible. You might need to do multiple short sessions with this pet to encourage them to trust you. Introductory visits can allow the dog to get used to your presence without the added anxiety and stress of the grooming process. Another way of easing a dog into the grooming process is to get them used to the sound of the clippers – turn them on nearby as you continue brushing, pausing, and giving praise.
“It’s incredibly important that the groomer understands how to identify signs of stress before they escalate to more challenging behaviours, such as air snapping and lunging. A dog will show he is afraid, uncomfortable or in pain through a series of subtle stress signals that can be easily missed to the untrained eye.
“Before defaulting to handling aids that we are often trained to do, the safest way to handle and prevent stressed dogs is to learn how to communicate with them in a way they understand and provide a safe and
Tips for handling different sized dogs
Dogs of all sizes could walk into your space, from the smallest Chihuahua to a larger breed like a Great Dane. Each dog will have their different needs but making sure that each is comfortable and unafraid within your grooming area should be the first priority.
According to Stephanie you shouldn’t rely on handling equipment but rather tailor your space to suit the dog. Tall tables could lead to your larger animals becoming panicked and unstable, instead having lower, larger spaces available to provide room for movement and safety is important.
“From my experience, using a more cooperative approach with all dog breeds makes the grooming environment less stressful for everyone. While it is important to ensure you are not doing anything that would void your insurance, it is certainly worthwhile exploring alternative ways of grooming that takes into consideration what the dog perceives is safe and/or unsafe. Safety is not necessarily control, it’s more so a feeling.”
When starting your grooming process, the dog is the focal point. Making sure the dog, no matter its size or temperament, feels safe within your environment is crucial for a good outcome. Ensuring your business is safe for you and the dogs could see your grooming company flourish.