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Brush up on animal skills.

What does a career as a dog groomer involve? As a dog groomer, you would keep dogs' coats in good condition and advise owners on their dog's coat care, grooming and diet.

Before starting grooming, you would check for any sore areas or lumps on the dog's skin, and for fleas or parasites.

You would then shape the dog's coat with electric clippers or a stripping knife; shampoo and dry the dog's coat and give a final trim with scissors.

Sometimes you also clip the dog's claws and clean its teeth and ears.

You would often follow standards for how different breeds should look - for example, poodles are usually clipped to a particular shape. This is particularly important when dogs are being prepared for showing.

What personal skills do you need? You need the ability to handle dogs firmly but gently, as well as the ability to calm and control nervous dogs.

Patience and attention to detail, plus good communication and customer care skills, are required, as well as business skills if you are self-employed.

What training do you need? There are a number of ways to train as a dog groomer. You could find work with a qualified, experienced groomer and do training on the job.

You could also do an apprenticeship or attend a course at a private training centre or college.

All of these involve gaining practical experience under supervision.

You would not usually need any particular qualifications to begin training, but would normally need experience with dogs.

You could begin with a basic course in animal care, such as a BTEC National Certificate/Diploma or NVQ Level 1 in Animal Care, and gain some voluntary experience, for example in kennels..

What are the opportunities for career progression? When you are employed by a salon, you will learn practical skills on the job from a qualified and experienced groomer. You might be able to work towards NVQs in Animal Care (Dog Grooming) at levels 2 and 3.

You can also complete the following qualifications: City & Guilds/NPTC Intermediate Certificate in Dog Grooming; City & Guilds/NPTC Advanced Certificate in Dog Grooming; British Dog Groomers Association Higher Diploma in Dog Grooming.

To help you gain the background knowledge you can study the distance learning Grooming Theory course offered by the Animal Care College.

What is the salary? (Guideline only) From around pounds 11,000 to pounds 14,000 or more a year.

Self-employed dog groomers can charge between pounds 25 and pounds 70 per dog, depending on the breed..

Careers in dog grooming If you love dogs and are good at handling them, a career as a dog groomer may appeal. Emma Thompson dug out her clippers to find out more

More information . Animal Care College, www. animalcarecollege. co. uk . Pet Care Trust, www. petcare. org. uk . www. careersadvice. direct. gov. uk . Details provided for information only. Jobs not necessarily available..
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 28, 2009
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