Did you know that the projected number of professional dog groomers in the United States is expected to exceed 220,000 by the year 2025? That is a 6% increase from where it currently sits. There is plenty of healthy skepticism about the upcoming dog grooming reality show that will be made in The Land Down Under. Hosted by Rebel Wilson, a famous comedienne and dog lover, the upcoming show will be both fun and instructive.
The interest in the show will be generated by those 200,000 plus people who actually make a living, part time or full time, as professional dog groomers. For wannabe dog groomers it will give them a sense of what it is like to commit yourself to making dogs look their best. The show pits 10 professional dog groomers against one another in a quest for the top prize. If anything, they will be able to showcase their skills and get some free advertising.
So what is driving this demand for professional dog groomers? The answer is rather simple: there are more people who are making dogs a part of the family. There are a number of underlying reasons for this, including the decision to postpone marriage (who doesn’t want a furry companion to greet you at the door when you come home?), the declining childbirth rate (every dog owner knows how quickly a dog becomes a member of the family), and the amount of disposable income that results of these two factors. Even if it is only once a year, having your dog professionally groomed is a treat that will leave you and your canine friend healthier and happier.
For those who think that professional grooming services are out of their financial reach, the median salary for a dog groomer is about $22,000. That’s about $10 an hour. Now that $22,000 figure is not the average but instead tells us that half of the groomers make less than that and half make more. The groomers you see on the show are likely to be on the high side of the statistics, so there is a lot to learn about how to be successful financially pursuing your dream. For everyone else, it will show the potential their dog has underneath all that fur. Another money note: the dog grooming industry has reached more than $9 billion in total revenue.
If you don’t know where to start, there are professional dog grooming certifications you can earn that demonstrate your competence and versatility. The prevailing opinion is that you don’t need a certification to start dog grooming but be aware that there is a lot to learn. Some groomers specialize in certain breeds of dogs because the specific needs are complex, and that has to do with what the dog was built to do. For example, a Sheltie is basically a sheepdog and any grooming has to fit their physical frame and allow the dog to be able to carry out his basic function. This is something to pay attention to when watching the show.
As glamorous as all this might sound, not all the duties of the true, experienced professional are going to be anything but tedious. Have you ever tried to give your own dog a bath? There are plenty of YouTube videos that show owners wrestling with their own pets, regardless of dog size. How will you deal with dogs that are complete strangers? Here is a short list of some of the potentially unpleasant duties that await the budding dog groomer:
- Detangling and removing matted hair (some dog owners have trouble detangling their own hair)
- Checking for skin conditions (identifying them, not treating them)
- Cleaning the ears (one of the most overlooked yet simple healthy dog requirements)
- “Expressing” anal sacs (which is a nice way of saying the groomer will drain the dog’s anal sacs manually)
There is another dimension of the profession that will tax your patience even more than these tasks – dealing with the dog owners. It is likely you will be asked to fulfill a number of special requests, so you need to have an open mind combined with a specific knowledge of the breed. A request may sound stupid, ruin the dog’s appearance, or contradict your knowledge of grooming. But the bottom line is going to be that you are being paid to perform a service, and that is what you need to do.
It is likely you will not be able to groom every dog that comes through the door because you simply are not physically strong enough. Like people, there are good doggies and not-so-good doggies. If you get a restless Saint Bernard, that has a much different strength requirement than say a poodle. There are tricks of the trade, but if you are just starting out it is best to know your limitations lest you find yourself spending more time handling complaints than grooming dogs.
The show “Pooch Perfect” can teach everyone something about not only what to do but what to look for when your take your canine companion to get groomed. Of course, what everyone will be watching for is the final result. One aspect of the show is that these professional dog groomers will be putting their reputations on the line internationally. It’s not certain that viewers will see things like multicolored dogs or dogs that look better in a circus.
As with all things new, we will have to wait to see if the show takes hold and whether it can hold the viewers’ interest for episode after episode. As there is an app for almost everything, the same can be said for specialty cable network shows. In order to be successful, “Pooch Perfect” will need to have a faithful audience of non-dog groomers who just like to see the skill and artistry of some of the best dog groomers in the world.