I'm not a professional groomer but I do clip my own dogs.
I would NEVER be a professional groomer due to the fact that I end up with tiny pieces of dog hair stuck in my skin!! I have to use a magnifying glass and tweezers to get them all out - very irritating!!
i'll answer for my friend who's here with me -- she gave her dog a funky haircut and was then approached by the owner of a grooming shop asking if she'd like to go further. 2 months of paid training... and she's a professional groomer.
worst part about her job is how unrealistic the clients are. they expect you to turn this into this w/o mentioning that the dog bites, barks, scratches, and won't sit still.
I am not a groomer, but one of my best friends is -- and I have helped her many times when her asst groomer is out, but I only bathe, dry and help brush out. She has done the nails, anal glands when needed, the ears and the actual trimming/cutting -- that kind of thing.
I can tell you why she does it -- the love for the dogs. The things she hates the most -- the owners that do nothing for their dogs. There are some who will not take care of, brush when needed, seek vet care, etc. The ones who refuse to do any home grooming, but will bring the dog in once the mats are to the skin, pulling, painful and tearing their skin. There are owners who will bring a dog in, never socialized to other people/animals, but lived mostly in a back yard, and are older -- 5 or 6, and they can't understand why the dog would be terrified of a bath, or nails cut -- the poor dog has never experienced it.
She has had dogs with obvious medical issues -- the owners do not seek care, even after she has explained what is going on, why and what they need to do. Those are the hard things for her -- we have talked and we know that everyone is not like us in the care of their dogs, but geeze . . . .
She does tell the owners like it is -- exactly what they should be doing, etc. Some don't like it and threaten to go elsewhere, she just says OK. But they come back, especially with some of issues, other groomers refuse them. She is great -- and she loves the dogs, even the difficult/biters/fighters/terrified ones -- she knows the owner is usually at fault, not the poor dog.
She LOVES what she does and doesn't want to do anything else! She is also involved in rescue . . .
I was a groomer and I agree with just about everything Six_kids friend said. I can do anal glands but I wouldn't do it especially internal procedures as if something went wrong ie impacted', infected etc I can't diagnose nor treat, so I would not want to be in that position both actually or legally - anal glands are not pleasant!
What led you there?
I was finally (after almost 4 years) given a substantial package on leaving a telecommunication company where I was in IT and contract law. As I always wanted to work with animals but did not want to go back to university, I trained with a grooming school (many people don't do any training but learn as they go on) and after I qualified I opened my own home based shop.
What do you like the most? The fact that it was my business and being financially secure at that time I could groom dogs at a pace that was suitable for the dogs and for me - I did not have to make a large income so I could groom the way I wanted. I loved grooming the dogs and they loved me - it was great transforming a matted mess to a much happier, comfortable pet who also looked beautiful - maybe shorter than some owners wanted but usually longer than the owner deserved. I truly loved most of my dog clients.
The least (besides anal sacs)?
As above, I didn't do anal glands - we were shown how and we did them on specific dogs during training but we were also shown how to tell if there may be a problem. Then we were advised to send any dog needing attention to a vet. Grooming is not highly paid enough to have to pay for a vet visit if anal glands rupture.
What I liked least was the neglect some owners subjected their dogs to; amazingly those type of owners were the most likely to expect miracles; example; a 3yo miniature shnauzer/poodle mix washed every week but never, ever brushed and I was the only groomer that pup saw in those 3 years and I only saw him twice (I was recommended) and the coat was dreadlocked and so close to the skin that the back legs were matted to the belly to the point he did not have full movement of his back legs. I was expected to give him a good brushing and give him a 1" puppy cut; the second time I saw him the owners mother had trimmed his face and had cut a chunk out of his muzzle and I was somehow expected to disguise the missing hair. Too many similar stories I really do not want to think of anymore - I'm going to have nightmares tonight!!