As an apprentice dog groomer, you’ll help carry out basic health checks, detect parasites and signs of sickness, and wash, dry, and style all dogs according to ‘breed standard’ or customer requirements.
You will explore the dog’s relationship with the owner, including its temperament, health, medical history, and age. Next, you will go through the dog’s grooming requirements, which might range from a simple wash and tidy up to a full trim, as well as nail trimming and ear cleaning.
You must follow breed requirements, mainly if you are preparing dogs for a show, but other owners may want their dogs to be groomed in a pet-like fashion.
You will also advise owners on grooming requirements and coat upkeep for their dogs in between grooms.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- prepare the dog for bathing
- shampoo and dry the dog’s coat
- check for common disorders and parasites
- shape a dog’s coat with electric clippers or a stripping knife
- use scissors to trim and style the dog’s coat
- manage the dog’s behaviour while in your care
- deal with clients, give grooming advice and do admin tasks.
- Expect an apprentice salary in the region of £13,500 per year.
- With experience and increased responsibilities, salaries can rise to £20,000.
Working hours and environment
Some dog groomers work in grooming parlours, others choose to work from home or from a mobile set up. Therefore hours may vary to suite; from full-time (9am-5pm) to part-time and evening/weekend work but expect to work 35 to 40 hours per week.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice dog groomer include:
- Level 2 Dog Groomer – Entry requirements for this level include some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship. This qualification typically takes 12 months to complete.
On a dog groomer apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- customer service skills
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
There are opportunities to rise to a senior stylist or salon manager. You could also create your own business in collaboration with an existing one, such as a veterinary clinic or kennels/cattery.
Another option is to work in academia, training people to become dog groomers.