What Makes a Good Dog Groomer? Tips for Finding the Best!

If you’re a dog owner, you know how important it is to take care of your pet. One of the most important aspects of dog care is grooming. However, not all dog groomers are created equal. So, what makes a good dog groomer?

First and foremost, a good dog groomer should have a love and passion for dogs. They should be patient, compassionate, and understanding. They should also have excellent communication skills and be able to listen to your needs and concerns.

Additionally, a good dog groomer should have prime organizational skills and be honest. They should know how to handle different breeds and temperaments and be knowledgeable about proper grooming techniques. Safety procedures, health and hygiene practices in the shop, and first aid are also important skills for a dog groomer to have.

Education and Certification

If you’re interested in becoming a professional dog groomer, it’s important to understand the education and certification requirements. Formal education and certification programs can help you acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a successful dog groomer.

Formal Education

While formal education is not always required to become a dog groomer, it can be extremely helpful. You can choose to attend a dog grooming school or enroll in a vocational program at a community college. These programs can provide you with a solid foundation in dog grooming techniques, anatomy, and behavior.

During your formal education, you’ll learn how to properly groom different dog breeds, including bathing, brushing, and trimming their coats. You’ll also learn about dog behavior, safety, and first aid. Some programs may also include courses in business management and customer service.

yorkie at dog groomer on table with leash

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Certification Programs

Certification programs are another way to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become a professional dog groomer. These programs are typically offered by national organizations, such as the National Dog Groomers Association of America (NDGAA) or the International Professional Groomers, Inc. (IPG).

To become certified, you’ll need to pass a practical and written exam that demonstrates your knowledge of dog grooming techniques, anatomy, and behavior. Certification programs may also require you to complete a certain number of grooming hours and continuing education credits to maintain your certification.

While certification is not required to become a dog groomer, it can help you stand out in a competitive job market and demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and safety.

Skills and Experience

As a dog groomer, you need to have both basic and advanced grooming skills, as well as experience with different breeds.

Basic Grooming Skills

Basic grooming skills include bathing, brushing, and nail trimming. You should also know how to clean ears and teeth and handle dogs safely.

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Advanced Grooming Skills

Advanced grooming skills include breed-specific haircuts, styling, and scissoring. You should also know how to handle difficult dogs and perform minor medical procedures, such as removing ticks and cleaning your ears.

Experience with Different Breeds

Experience with different breeds is crucial for a dog groomer. Each breed has its unique grooming requirements, and you should be familiar with them. For example, poodles need a specific haircut, while a golden retriever needs to be brushed regularly to prevent matting.

According to SCI Training, “A good dog groomer should have a deep understanding of canine anatomy and behavior, as well as excellent communication and customer service skills.”

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Interpersonal Skills

As a dog groomer, you will be working with both dogs and their owners. Therefore, having strong interpersonal skills is crucial to your success in this career. Here are some key sub-skills to focus on:

Communication Skills

Clear communication is essential when dealing with both dogs and their owners. You must be able to communicate effectively with pet owners to understand their needs and preferences. Additionally, you must be able to communicate with dogs in a way that they can understand. This includes using a calm and reassuring tone of voice and using body language to convey your intentions.


Dogs can be unpredictable, and grooming them can be a time-consuming process. Therefore, it is essential to have patience when working with dogs. You must be able to remain calm and patient, even when dealing with difficult or uncooperative dogs.

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Dogs can be nervous or anxious when being groomed, and it is important to be able to understand and empathize with their feelings. This means being able to read their body language and respond appropriately to their needs. Additionally, you must be able to empathize with pet owners who may be anxious about leaving their dogs in your care.

Having strong interpersonal skills is essential to being a successful dog groomer. By focusing on communication, patience, and empathy, you can build strong relationships with both dogs and their owners, and provide the best possible grooming services.


Tools and Equipment

Basic Tools

As a dog groomer, you need to have some basic tools to get started. These tools include nail clippers, brushes, combs, and scissors. Nail clippers are essential for keeping your dog’s nails trimmed to prevent them from getting too long and causing discomfort. Brushes and combs are used to remove tangles and mats from your dog’s coat. Scissors are used to trim your dog’s hair and give them a neat appearance.

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Advanced Equipment

If you are serious about dog grooming, you may want to invest in some advanced equipment. Electric clippers are useful for trimming your dog’s coat quickly and efficiently. They come with different attachments that allow you to cut hair to different lengths. A grooming table can be a great help if you have a pet that requires regular grooming. It provides a stable surface for you to work on and keeps your pet in one place. High-velocity dryers are also useful for drying your dog’s coat quickly after a bath.

It’s important to note that some equipment can be expensive, so it’s important to do your research and invest in quality equipment that will last. Don’t forget to maintain your equipment properly to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

According to The Spruce Pets, many dog grooming kits contain all the tools you need to groom almost any breed of dog, including electric clippers, clipper comb attachments, and shears. Some dog grooming kits also include brushes, combs, and nail clippers.

Business and Marketing Skills

As a dog groomer, you need to have business and marketing skills to succeed in the industry. These skills will help you attract and retain customers, promote your business, and build a reputation for providing high-quality grooming services. Here are some essential business and marketing skills that you should have:

Customer Service

Good customer service is essential for any business, and dog grooming is no exception. You need to be friendly, patient, and attentive to the needs of your customers and their pets. You should be able to communicate effectively with your customers and provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions about their pet’s grooming needs. You should also be able to handle complaints and resolve conflicts professionally and courteously.

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing and advertising are crucial for promoting your dog grooming business and attracting new customers. You need to have a strong online presence, including a website, social media profiles, and online reviews. You should also consider advertising in local newspapers, magazines, and pet-related publications. Networking with other pet professionals, such as veterinarians and pet store owners, can also help you attract new customers.

When it comes to marketing your dog grooming business, it’s important to focus on your unique selling points. What sets you apart from other groomers in your area? Do you specialize in a particular breed or type of grooming? Do you offer additional services, such as nail trimming or teeth cleaning? Highlighting these unique selling points in your marketing materials can help you stand out from the competition.


If you’re looking for a good dog groomer, there are several qualities you should look for. A good groomer should be patient, compassionate, and have excellent communication skills. They should also be organized and honest.

When choosing a groomer, it’s important to ask questions about their experience and training. You should also ask about their grooming process and what products they use. It’s a good idea to read reviews and ask for recommendations from other pet owners.

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Remember that grooming is an important part of your dog’s health and well-being. A good groomer can help prevent skin infections, ear infections, and other health problems. They can also help keep your dog looking and feeling its best.

By choosing a good dog groomer, you can ensure that your pet receives the best care possible. So take the time to do your research and find a groomer who will treat your dog with the love and care they deserve.

Sources: AKC, PetProfessional


Isn’t It Enough for a Dog Groomer to Love Dogs?

Unfortunately, it isn’t enough for a dog groomer to love dogs. While it is a major factor, it’s not the whole of the job. This is because some people may only love their dog(s) whereas other people may not be able to handle anything larger than a toy breed.

What Skills Will a Good Dog Groomer Have?

The skills a dog groomer has will heavily combine with their love of dogs. These will include being detail-oriented with vast amounts of self-discipline. This means they’ll not only be reliable but they’ll also remember the specific care of every dog they groom.

They will be able to motivate themselves, show up for appointments on time and continually update their knowledge of the latest grooming techniques. This also means a good groomer will have organizational skills and love to learn. They are not only marketing savvy but they also take pride in doing an excellent job.

What Kinds of Natural Qualities and Personality Traits Make a Good Dog Groomer?

The best dog groomers are passionate about what they do and want to make dogs look good. While it’s true they have to make money, they will make a genuine effort to understand various dogs. This includes temperament, coat texture/length, and other health conditions.

Also, good dog groomers will be compassionate and patient with both the dog and its owner. They will know how to quell client concerns and have an almost dog-whisperer-like approach to their furry clients. This will be evident in how comfortable the dog is with the groomer. If the dog is calm and happy, the groomer is good.

Plus, any dog groomer worth their salt will be honest and not have any reservations about asking questions like poop, hair mats, fleas, skin irritations, allergies, etc. They know how to communicate in exact terms and speak their thoughts.

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What Kind of Training & Experience Should a Good Dog Groomer Have?

A good dog groomer will have either a certificate or a diploma from a credible institution or school. While there are some out there who are great without any education, they’ve been grooming for decades and know all the tricks of the trade.

Ideally, a dog groomer should have some education with at least six months of experience under their belt. However, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility for there to be a trade-off depending on the training versus the experience.

For instance, if a dog groomer never went to school but has been grooming for 30 years, then they are more than likely excellent. Likewise, if someone only has three months of experience but they went to a top-notch dog grooming school, they will have a solid grasp on what they’re doing.

Are There Any Skills, Qualities, or Training a Good Dog Groomer Has but Isn’t Necessary?

The list below contains a few bonus features that a good dog groomer could have. But it’s important to note these are not the end-all-be-all of what makes a good dog groomer:

  • Physical Fitness: Being in shape shows they can handle any size or strength of the dog
  • Portfolio: Having some photos of their work will show their style and technique with a demonstration of how much they love their job.
  • Website: While it’s difficult to run any business without a website in this day in age, it’s not necessary.
  • Social Media Pages: Like having a website, while convenient, is not necessary. A dog groomer’s social media activity can be a sign for potential clients. A busy groomer won’t have the time to post all day long. So, if they’re posting a lot, they don’t have a huge client base.

What Questions Should an Owner Ask a Potential Dog Groomer?

  • Ask for a Facility Viewing: Whether it’s a brick-and-mortar establishment or a mobile van, check out its hygiene, cleanliness, odors, ventilation, and products. This also means observing the sturdiness of the tables, washing tubs, and workstation setup.
  • Ask for a Price List of Services: Even if they have a website and/or social media page listing their services, they should also have a price list at the facility. This might be a display sign or a piece of paper.
  • Inquire about Housing: Your dog will more than likely have to wait between grooming steps. This means their safety outside of your care will be a topmost concern. It should have its crate that is clean and has good ventilation. It should also be hygienic and given salon staff.
  • Ask about Experience with Breeds: Your groomer must understand your dog’s particular breed as well as others. This means they’ll know the dog’s general temperament and behavior, which is invaluable for mixed breeds.
  • Ask about Training: While their website may list their certifications and diplomas, ask about the groomer’s training. A sign of a good dog groomer is not just that they went to school but they continue their training.
  • Inquire about First Aid: Always ensure your groomer has a first aid kit. They should have it well-stocked and sitting in plain view. This will include bandages, cotton gauze, compresses, ointment, etc.
  • Ask about Insurance: A good groomer will have liability insurance to cover medical expenses should it happen that the dog incurs an injury.
  • Inquire about Emergency Policies: See what the policies are in case of tumultuous weather, disaster, or medical urgency.