10 Tough Questions:
No 1: Be honest – what disappoints you about the UK grooming industry and what would you change?
Over the course of the next few months or so we we’ll be asking groomers ten tough questions on a variety of topics and also asking them to reveal some of their best kept secrets. We’d also like to hear yours so please join the debate. We’ve kicked off the series with this question:
I don’t know if some of our interviewees were just having a bad day when we spoke to them…but it seems that professionalism, or rather the lack of it, and education and training are still the big issues. What do you think?
Biggest disappointment to me is the lack of professionalism that still exists and I include the attitude of groomers who don’t take the industry seriously as well as manufacturers and suppliers. There is too much done as favours. Also as more and more grooming schools and colleges take on training, standards are being diluted and there are more and more groomers being churned out who are not fit to practice. I would like to see a licensing scheme for professional groomers, the number of training schools and colleges offering training reduced and manufacturers and suppliers pay groomers the fees they deserve for being ambassadors for their products – just think about the levels of sponsorship professional sports people earn!
There seems to be a lot more school playground politics nowadays and some unscrupulous individuals set on making a quick buck or two out of the industry by capitalising on the naivety of the many newcomers. There are good groomers out there who make the industry worth being in but, sadly, I feel they’re becoming a bit of a dying breed. I think it would be good to see more local support groups for groomers where they could meet up and socialise away from dogs and just get to know each other a bit better.
When it comes to shows and competitions there are a lot of products used, for example hairsprays, dyes, shampoos and chalks, that aren’t suitable for dogs and the welfare of the dog is being sacrificed for the sake of getting results. I love shows and I love creative grooming but as groomers we have a responsibility to ensure that any product we use is safe for the dog. As a member of NAPCG (National Association for Products for Creative Grooming) I think this should be a mandatory subject included in grooming qualifications.
What disappoints me? Simply groomers that moan about dogs, sometimes its a breed, for instance: “I hate Yorkies,” more often its about “Horrible dogs.” I have been grooming for over 30 years and have probably come across most behaviours in dogs. Groomers forget a dog’s behaviour is reflective of its environment and its encounter and sometimes they may experience something entirely new that they need time to digest and become accustomed too. Human behaviour changes when we are in different situations, why shouldn’t we expect the dogs in our care to do the same? More empathy please!
I work closely with educators both from colleges and from private training establishments and it is forever challenging to meet the needs of the students whilst ensuring that standards of grooming are kept at the correct level. The constraints of the qualifications can make the teaching environment uninspiring so a change here would be good.
What I don’t like about the dog grooming industry is the public’s perception of it. Dog groomers are regarded as unskilled labour like bin men, not as professionals. And whilst that is the case we’ll never be paid the money we deserve so I would like to see a huge change in that by educating the public more. I work on my own professional standing through training, charging a price that I believe is fair and educating my customers.
What disappoints me is the standard of training of new groomers coming into the industry. A common query that appears frequently on the EGG facebook page is ‘I’ve got a Yorkie booked in, how do I groom it?’ This is a common breed of dog, yet it appears few students are taught how to groom it. I would like to see longer and more-in-depth training courses that also cover dog handling and welfare to make sure all newcomers are as well prepared as they can be when they come into the industry.