In this excerpt from Colin Taylor’s book: What Would Colin Do?  We share his views on training and education

Certification and recognised standards are a good thing for groomers. It helps to establish standards. Not just in how a breed should be styled but also how we should work.

There are two parts to qualification: there is your ‘theory’ which is your academic knowledge of dog grooming and your ‘practical’ which is your actual skill.

Getting qualified will test both of these.  The organisation providing the qualification will differ, depending on where you live. In the UK for example, we have the City & Guilds qualification.

Employers will often look for a groomer with a qualification. It reassures them that the candidate has been trained to a certain standard.  And has proved their competence to authorities in the industry.

I therefore, recommend training with a view to getting qualified.  But don’t rush into your exams. Do your training. Get some experience. Take your tests when your instructor tells you you’re ready.

You can of course, be a very good groomer and have no qualification at all.  If you have your own established business that might be fine. And your customers might be happy.

If they go to the hairdresser they expect their stylist to have done some training.  But they don’t necessarily expect their hairdresser to hold a nationally recognised qualification.

Dog grooming is different though. Customers are increasingly aware of the need for qualification. It reassures them that their dog will be groomed according to breed standards and that the grooming will be carried out professionally with the right health and safety considerations.

If you’re a qualified groomer therefore, it’s worth advertising this on your website and/or shop window.

In addition to how much you’ll learn from getting your qualification, there is ‘continuing education.’ And in the UK we are getting better at this by the day.  I am asked more and more to speak at workshops. Provide demonstrations.

Going to workshops is great fun.  Not just for me. You get to focus on a particular subject – like creative colouring. Or hand-stripping. Poodle cuts and more.

Seeing how other people do things will improve our grooming.  We’ll learn ways to groom more efficiently.  We’ll learn tricks and tips from masters at their craft.  Plus it keeps our grooming fresh. The science and art of dog grooming is constantly evolving.  When we go to workshops, we meet these people. We make friends. Contacts. We network. These people are only a phone call or an email or tweet away from being able to get advice. Hear about new products. Events. Gossip.

I totally encourage your education.  And I look forward to seeing you at my next workshop.