If you’re an animal lover who is passionate about animal health and customer service, becoming a dog groomer could be for you!
Groomers make sure an animal’s coat is in perfect condition by washing, brushing or trimming its fur. They also take care of other things, like clipping nails and cleaning muddy paws! Not only do they make an animal look its best, they also play an important role in keeping it happy and healthy.
This month we caught up with grooming professional, Teresa Barlow, to discover how she started her career and what it takes to run your own dog grooming business.
Name: Teresa Barlow
Company: K-9 Beauty by Teresa Dog Grooming
Industry: Pet Services, Dog Grooming
What is your job? Dog Groomer
How long have been doing this job? Over 16 years.
GCSE/A-Levels: Science, English Lit, English Lang, Food Tech, French, Art.
GNVQ: Business Studies
Interests: Showing dogs and training dogs, Superhero Movies, RPG Games and Camping.
What was your very first job?
I was a Weekend girl at Mucky Pups grooming salon. Washing all the dogs that came in. I loved it!
What made you want to become a Dog Groomer?
I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career for a very long time. I did work experience in a clothes shop and didn’t like it. I also nearly went to college to do a hair and beauty course like but I knew in my heart of hearts it was not what I wanted.
I have always loved dogs and after using a computer program which gave careers advice based on questions answered: dog grooming came up. It had never passed my mind at all!
I went straight on to contact grooming salons in the area so I could see what was involved and I just knew it was for me.
How did you get there?
I got straight into dog grooming by contacting local salons. One salon said they really didn’t need anyone but could always do with an extra hand on the weekends.
That is when my career really started. While I was there I wrote to various other salons in the area to find someone who would give me a full time job. It was then that I was contacted by my mentor. I worked for her and another groomer for the next few weeks until they knew I was serious about grooming.
I stayed working with them for the next 13 years, running one business and helping with the workload at the other.
What is a typical day at work like?
I run my own salon now in Mid Sussex so my morning starts at 6.30. My dog gets out for a long run and then breakfast before heading to the salon to open at 8am.
I pick the booking calls, greet all the customers and their dogs, do all the bathing and grooming. At present I see two to five dogs a day. I also work weekends.
What’s the best thing about being a Dog Groomer?
There are many great things about being a dog groomer! I’m able to take my dog with me to work. Another great part are my doggy clients. I work one to one with each dog so I get to know them and what they like/dislike. Each one is very precious to me.
My customers [the dog owners] are great too. They all love their pets dearly and since setting up the salon I’ve had amazing support from each one.
What is the most challenging thing about it?
You do meet dogs that don’t want to be groomed. Sometimes the dogs are very sensitive or can be aggressive from fear or bad experiences. Some dogs need time and even though it is challenging and you may not get the groom started - you will be building up confidence with them.
People are always surprised at how physical the job is. You are on your feet for the day and will be holding and lifting dogs.
What advice do you have for people who want to work in dog grooming?
My advice to anyone wanting to become a dog groomer is go for it! It is an amazing career. Go and speak to groomers in their salon and ask for work experience. There is nothing like getting hands on experience.
You also need to have a lot of care and compassion as there will be all shapes and sizes of dog coming to be groomed, from 15 week old pups up to 18 year old creaky oldies and everything in between. Each and everyone needs the utmost care.
What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
I wish I had known about it sooner!! I would have gone to help at salon on weekends and summer holidays if I’d known about dog grooming.
How have things changed since you first started working in the animal care/grooming industry?
There are a lot more dog groomers who have set up but there are still plenty of customers to go around. There are also a lot more grooming events and courses set up to help groomers of varying experience.
Dog grooming is now seen as being just as important as visiting the vets or training. It is an extremely fulfilling career.