I’ve been working within the pet grooming industry for a very long time. Frightfully, probably long before many of you were even born. I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by top end pet stylists, especially in the past 5 years being on the film set of Learn2GroomDogs.com. All of our 40+ Training Partners are at the top of their game. They are simply some of the best professional pet stylists in the world.
As I work beside these talented stylists, I’ve seen a few very common threads. Outstanding pet stylists are tenacious. They push themselves constantly by developing a deeper understanding of the grooming process:
- any type of dog (or cat)
- with any coat type
- of any size
- using any technique
Then add in:
- many times the pets are in poor condition
- the pets often have a less than perfect temperament and the stylists still get the job done well
These exceptional pet stylists don’t entertain frustration. They have the ability to see through the dirty, messy mound of fur. They see the potential of what could be. With their ever growing set of skills, they see beauty of what the finished product could be – not what is on the grooming table before the process begins (for more on this topic, read my blog, Begin with the End in Mind). They feel the creative challenge calling their name. The only question left in their minds is not IF they can do it – but HOW they will accomplish the task in a safe and comfortable manner for the pet.
Here are seven qualities I’ve seen in almost all high-quality pet stylists:
- Appreciation of Knowledge
High-quality pet stylists know, the more you learn – the more you want to learn and the more you will earn. Building a strong foundation of knowledge insures that you will always do the best work possible. As your knowledge base improves, you will immediately be able to apply that knowledge to every pet you groom. Even if it’s a #7 shave off, a knowledgeable pet stylist will always try to improve the dog’s appeal. They draw upon a vast array of learning experiences to complete a task – and most of it is not learned in school!
- Value High Quality Products & Tools
High-quality pet stylists know their products and tools will make or break them. If the shampoo does not leave the coat squeaky clean, you will never get a quality finish on the coat. Coats need to be dried with the correct type of dryer using the correct method for optimum coat preparation. It’s impossible to produce a velvet finish with dull blades or shears. It does not matter what product or tool we are discussing. High-quality pet stylists know they need to invest in the best. Period.
- Firmly Understand Time is Money
High-quality pet stylists know time is money. There are always options for the pet based on the condition of the coat, the pet’s temperament, the amount of time you have on your schedule, and the amount of money the client is willing to spend. High-quality pet stylists instantly know how to weigh out the variables and select the best option.
- Self Confidence
High-quality pet stylists are confident in their abilities. Yet, at the same token they are humble. Even though they’re highly confident they know there is still room for personal growth. They freely share their knowledge with others while they continue to build their skills to an even higher level.
- Understand Canine and/or Feline Psychology
High-quality pet stylists are keen observers. They understand canine and feline body language. Animals are pretty transparent when it comes to their behavior. There are always clues to an animal’s behavior, even if it is subtle. A high-quality pet stylist will always try to gain the trust and understanding of the pet they are working on.
- Compassion for the Pet
High-quality pet stylists are compassionate to the needs of the pet. They understand each pet is an individual. They all have different tolerances to standard grooming and practices. High-quality pet stylists will always live by the Golden Rule – maintaining a calm, cool, and collected composure at all times.
- Always Push to Improve
High-quality pet stylists always push themselves to improve. Once they have mastered one technique, one skill, one breed, they always know there’s more to learn just around the corner. Learning and improving is a never ending journey.
Outstanding pet stylists are humble, talented, practical, and passionate – sincere with exceptional character. They go after the goal of being the best they can be and they don’t give up. For them, there is always room for improvement. They raise the bar for themselves and set new and better standards for our industry.
What skills would you like to hone to become the best you can possibly be?