To stay on top of the grooming game, professionals need to keep learning. That’s been my motto for years. It’s always worked for me. Educational opportunities were limited 20-30 years ago. Fortunately, opportunities abound today for motivated groomers.
Books: More and more grooming titles are available every day. They are being written by a wide range of authors. There are grooming guides available as well and business operation manuals.
Many include stunning images to help the reader comprehend the subject matter. Some are even available via a tablet or Kindle.
Schools: What is the primary function of a school? To give their students a head start in their careers. Most schools can take months or even years off the learning process. Professional grooming schools are cropping up everywhere.
One of the best ways to learn grooming is with hands-on training. Some training centers even offer home-study options too. Either way, schools offer a structured learning environment. Programs range widely in cost, quality, course length and grooming styles.
Videos: With methods in place to honor and identify top groomers, we are seeing many of these respected stylists share their knowledge through training videos. Top professionals are creating video lessons aimed at the beginners to advanced stylists. Many lessons are on DVDs, on-line through websites or in streaming video libraries.
Internet Searches: The internet has become an indispensable tool for the groomer looking to get ahead in their career. Never seen a Portuguese Podengo? Most professional groomers haven’t – including me! A quick search via an Internet search engine will lead you down a path of enlightenment.
The Learn2GroomDogs.com Facebook page is a great resource for photos.
You can find breed clubs, breeders, breed history, breed standards and fabulous photos of even the most obscure breed of dog or cat. Even if you’ve never seen – or groomed a particular breed before, you can rapidly educate yourself. You’ll have the confidence – and knowledge – to talk with any owner about ‘their breed.’
Need a refresher on what a breed looks like? Jump onto the computer and do a search of Google Images. You’ll be amazed at what you can pull up. If you are looking for high quality pets, add a show title such as; ‘AKC Champion ‘ By doing this, you can filter through many of the images.
As with any internet search, you are going to find good with the bad. The more general knowledge you have about pets and grooming, the better you will be able to sort through the wealth (and garbage) typically found out on the internet.
Webinars: We are starting to see this form of learning pop up in our industry. Webinars have been around for years yet the grooming industry has been slow to embrace their power. Many technically savvy groomers are starting to share their knowledge in webinars. Some webinars are free; others charge a nominal fee to participate.
Facebook, Blogs & Online Forums: With the use of social media outlets, anyone can chat with anyone from anywhere; across the nation or around the globe. No one is worried anymore about ‘the competition.’ If you have a question, post it. If you have a fun story to share, post it.
If you need to vent (professionally please!), post it. Never before has it ever been so easy, and economical to share ideas, grooming tips and knowledge. No one should feel isolated or alone anymore. The outlets to reach out to fellow professionals are simply remarkable via the World Wide Web.
Seminars: You’ll find seminars every grooming trade show around the country. You will also find privately held seminars too. You’ll find these private seminars hosted by; distributors, product manufactures, grooming schools, grooming salons or even the professional themselves. These seminars area a great place to get your questions answered about any aspect of the grooming
Private Coaching & Clinics: Need a tutor? Need a coach? One of the best ways to perfect a skill or a trim style is with personal, hands-on assistance. Many of the top stylists are available to help you privately or in a smaller group setting. Many are well rounded in many aspects of the grooming industry. Others will specialize in trim styles, grooming techniques, sales and marketing or business operations. Many will travel great distances to set up coaching sessions.
Find a business professional you admire. Contact them and ask if they offer private lessons. Many do or they host small clinics where you can all share the cost of the session.
Trade Shows: Going to a grooming show is still one of the most refreshing ways to learn. Most trade shows have a wide variety of vendors there too so you can speak directly to the sales representative about a product or service they offer. Sit ringside at a grooming competition.
You’ll be blown away at the style and trim quality being found with high level pet stylist. Trade show promoters are always seeking out a wide variety of speakers and topics to present at their shows. Can’t get to a show? Some of the larger shows and grooming competitions are now available via streaming video on the internet.
I remember being in Croatia on a sailboat a few years back. I was able to watch the World Team Grooming Competition right from my laptop as the competition took place in Belgium. Very exciting!
Certification Programs: We are seeing more and more certification program become available whether it is for dog grooming, cat grooming, pet first aid or business management. At this point, most programs are voluntary but all are worth their weight in gold. Some of the programs can be completed in a day or a weekend. Others will take months, or even years of study and testing before successfully completing the full program. A few of the programs even have Apps set up for your technical device.
Education, skill enhancement and effective communication are the keys to a successful career. Never underestimate their importance. One of the greatest inspirations in any career is continued growth. Learning is the key to everlasting success. With learning trends today, it’s never been easier! Never stop learning.
When looking at learning opportunities, I always encourage you to research the quality of the material, the program or the lesson. You will only increase your knowledge if the information being shared or taught is from a true professional. A professional that has years of expertise and a resume to back it up!