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How to Gauge Myself?

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  • How to Gauge Myself?

    I am a very new groomer. I have been a bather for about a year and a half, but have been training to groom lately. For a few months, I have been grooming one or two dogs a week, while being trained by my boss. Usually I do pet clips on shih tzus, havanese, yorkies, or mini and standard poodles/mixes. I have also done one schnauzer and one westie. I have probably done about 20-25 full grooms.
    I feel dismally untalented. Nothing I do comes out looking the way I want it to, and I get easily frustrated. I also feel like I'm very slow. It takes me at least three hours to do a shih tzu. But all I have to compare myself to are the three full-time groomers who have been doing this for years, and the other girl being trained. The other trainee and I come from very different backgrounds and she has been in the industry for several years longer than I have. So I'm not sure she's the best person to compare myself to.

    How long did it take you to learn to groom? What was your speed like in the beginning? How did you measure your quality of work? Is there a way to know if you shouldn't be doing this job because you can't get the technical skills down?

  • #2
    It will take you longer to learn as you are learning 'on the job' rather than someone who is doing something like an apprenticeship where all they do is learn to groom all day everyday.
    I learned to do basic grooms/common breed trims in 3 months in an apprenticeship. I came out of that grooming 4 dogs a day (so 2 hours a dog). I have now groomed full time for around 8-9 years and groom around 6-8 dogs a day with no bather and often no front staff (so I have put the dog I'm grooming away to take in dogs/send dogs home, book appointments, answer questions from people coming in, answer phones etc as well as grooming). I guess I measure the quality on how I think it looks and if my clients like it.
    I'm sure there are some people that just can't groom because they just aren't talented at it, as with everything in life. What does your boss think of your grooms? You could post a few pics of your grooms on here for people to take a look.

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    • #3
      You need more practice. 1-2 grooms per week isn't really much so it will be slow going.

      Watch dog shows and grooming videos online, and try to get to a seminar or workshop in your area, if possible. The more you look at well-groomed dogs, the better your "eye" will become.

      Make sure you are holding your shears correctly, and that they're sharp. Nothing will slow down ANY groomer more than dull tools.

      Are you getting adequate supervision and encouragement?

      Are your dogs sparkling clean? It's nearly impossible to get a dog to look good if it's not 100% clean, especially the face and ears. Even for a veteran groomer. Hand-drying the dogs (as opposed to letting them dry in a kennel) makes a huge difference as well.

      Keep it up and try not to get discouraged. Educate yourself as much as possible. If you stop learning, you'll face burn-out for sure. There is ALWAYS more to learn. It is important for groomers to keep up with new products and techniques. Don't rely strictly on what your are learning at your salon. Read articles and grooming forums, and ask questions.


      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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      • #4
        Thank you for the replies!
        My boss doesn't usually say much about my final product. She mostly points out some things I need to fix, then I fix them, then she says that it looks good and I start the next dog. She definitely doesn't let me send out grooms that are looking less than 100%. I'm getting better at finding things I need to fix and work on, but you're both right. It's pretty slow going.

        I do watch quite a bit of Learn2groomdogs. Dogs and grooming are my life. I want to be good at this so badly. It just seems like my hands don't obey my brain.

        I'm definitely getting my dogs super clean and almost every dog I do is hand dried (exceptions for the very old/disabled/seizure dogs/teeny puppies). Most days, I bathe for very picky groomers.

        I've been too nervous to post any of my grooms, but I'm trying to get over it.

        More questions:
        What are good websites other than learn2groom?
        Shear suggestions for a poor, baby groomer?
        Ways to find workshops online or in other cities? (I live in a sort of remote place)
        Best books to have at home? (notes from the grooming table is a little over my head at the moment, but I do look at it a lot at work and try to make sense of everything)

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        • #5
          I would get the Theory of 5 book by Melissa Verplank most definitely.

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