As a professional pet groomer, our job is to know how to groom all breeds of dogs (and cats for some). What needs to be done to make a purebred look like it’s supposed to look. How can we make mixed breeds (designer dogs) cute. What’s the best way to remove shedding coat from a full coated dog. Being versatile is our job.
Guess what? Every groomer has a few types of jobs and coat types they really like to work with. What’s your favorite?
For me, I loved grooming the drop coated breeds in adorable fluffy trims. I loved to hand scissor. And there was nothing more gratifying than turning a big, furry, shedding mass of dirty hair into a snug-able, huggable pet.
Most of my co-workers happily let me tackle these jobs when they appeared on the books. These grooming jobs were not their favorites. They were hard for them. They took a long time to do. They never felt like they were ‘done’ with them. They never looked smooth and finished. Or they just cringed at the amount of work required.
For me, I knew I was going to have a great day when I saw multiple drop coated breeds on my roster along with a little mixed breed groomed like a Bichon. The icing on the cake would be tossing a Sheltie into the grooming mix along with something where tufts of coat were falling out. I was highly proficient with these dogs. I could make them look stunning in no time. I knew how to work with my equipment to get the best results in the shortest amount of time. I simply loved working with these types of coats because they were easy for me.
Where they always easy? Heck no! I’m a self-taught groomer. Learning is a lot of work. Mastering skills takes dedication and focus. There were hundreds of breeds to learn. There are hundreds of techniques to figure out. There are hundreds of products to try. I opted to focus on mastering a few techniques that would allow me to soar through my days.
Mastering a cute, fluffy trim on a drop coated breed was more out of necessity than anything else. We simply had a lot of those types on dogs in our client files. Plus, my first contest dog was a little black and white Shih Tzu. In order to do well in the ring, I needed to figure out how to get a plush finish on a drop coat. Not a small feat to conquer. I got good at this trim – really good – and fast.
With every drop coated dog in my client file, I was able to perfect my skills. What shampoo got the fur the cleanest? Which pair of shears worked the best on each coat type? How should I hold the shear to minimize marking the coat? When was it time to pull out the blenders? And which pair of blenders should I use? I analyzed every step. Dissected every move. Stood back and reviewed the overall appeal. Was it balanced? Was it even? Would hair fall out of place when combed or if the dog shook?
I was super critical of my work. As I learned more – discovered new things – I become even more critical. I was brutally honest with myself. I didn’t let up on myself until I was winning consistently with my little Shih Tzu.
Once I mastered one coat type, I moved to the next. As a bonus, through the process, I became an accomplished all breed stylist. There isn’t a breed I would not tackle. However, I focused on just a few techniques I could really master. Breeds or techniques I used a lot. Those are the breeds or types of trims that I loved to see hit my roster. I simply adored grooming them because they become so easy for me.
To improve your workday, concentrate on a few key areas in your job to really excel at. It may take some focused work at first but once you master the technique, haircut, breed, or personality type, you’ll automatically draw that type of client to your daily roster. You’ll enjoy your work day. The time will fly by with ease. At end of the day, you’ll be rewarded with a gratifying and highly productive workday.