By Jon Porter
Recently, my wife and I purchased our own grooming salon which was established over 18 years ago. Our salon is very busy, so we decided to hire another groomer. We wanted someone with experience without all the bad habits and drama. This was easier said than done. We interviewed and tried quite a few groomers before we hired someone to join our team. We hired a groomer who was only a year out of school. We didn’t know it at the time, but when it came time to have him try his hand with the dremel, he wasn’t up to our standards with it. He is a great groomer but using the dremel was a new concept to him.
After questioning whether we made the correct choice, we found out that grooming schools (not all but some) don’t teach how to use the dremel. I questioned my wife (she’s been grooming almost 15 years and she taught at a grooming school as well) and she told me that the dangers of using the dremel are not worth the risk of teaching. I’m not a groomer so I don’t know (I left my career in the music business). I know I used to have weekly training seminars with my staff when I was in the music business, so I asked why not train on how to use the dremel.
My wife was not sure of how to train with the dremel without using a dog (to avoid liability) when training. She told me that if I could come up with an idea on how to train with the dremel, we should spread the word as it is something schools should teach to better prepare students for their career. I thought long and hard and came up with a simple idea. I asked the groomer to go out and get a box of pencils. I took a pencil, and with a rubber band I attached it to a stick. I told my groomer, sharpen the pencil with the dremel without touching the lead inside. As he started to sharpen the pencil, I grabbed the other end of the stick and started moving it around to simulate a dog’s paw pulling and pushing. We did this over the course of several days and woo-hoo, he can dremel nails now! Yes, it is only a simulation but it is as close to the real thing as you can get. There are other factors that you cannot train for such as a fluffy tail or furry legs, but it’s a good start.
As an owner of a grooming shop, we implore schools to implement this training exercise for future generations of groomers. Owners are looking for groomers that are ready to handle the real world of grooming and not groomers that have to learn as they go. Grooming is a talent that can be learned with a few basic scissoring skills, lots of reading (grooming how to), practice and most of all, patience. Yes I make it look easy with words but we know it is not.