Log InCartCall Now: (616) 667-7297

Blog

Correcting Behavior During Grooming

Correcting Behavior During Grooming – Learn the 4 Keys to Successful Pet Handling

If you are a long time pet professional, you’ve probably mastered today’s topic. If you are fresh to the industry, you are probably struggling with it. How do you handle the dog that does not want to cooperate with the grooming procedure?

Read the rest of this entry »


Managing Your Schedule

How is your summer going? Busy?? Overworked? Feeling stressed? Not being able to ENJOY your summer because you are too busy?

Having too much work can be just as frustrating and scary as not having ENOUGH work. I get it. As groomers and service providers, we want to keep people happy. That’s how you build a thriving business. However, if the business is thriving – and you are not – how can that honestly be good for your business? How can that be good for your customers and pets in the long run?

We all have the same number of days, hours and minutes each year. Everyone wants to maximize their time to make the most out their lives. How you schedule appointments, how many hours and days you work each week and how much time you allot for yourself will contribute to how you feel at the end of the day.

Read the rest of this entry »


Fair Pricing – The Large Dog

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discuses the challenge of fair pricing. Do you sometimes feel like you’re not getting ahead, despite a full roster of grooms? How are you pricing you “big dog” jobs – the Standard Poodle and Doodles and other time-intensive grooms? Learn how to tweak your pricing structure to get ahead of the game.

Want time-saving tips on grooming the “big furries”? Check out Learn2GroomDogs.com for a robust library of instructional videos and business tips. (https://bit.ly/2Ysq3Ts) Use Code LUCKYDOG for 50% off your first month! Want to train staff to work efficiently, effectively, with reproducible results? Check out Paragon’s Distance Learning Program. (https://bit.ly/2WXQrTT) Use code LUCKYDOG for $100 off Tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Melissa V.: Hi, guys, Melissa here, and I want to talk to you a little bit about pricing. No matter where we go, what group of people we’re talking to, pricing is always a hot topic. I’ve been hearing about it recently. I’ve heard a lot of buzz out in social media, and I thought maybe it’s time to revisit this topic a little bit, and so I want to tell you a story that I had a number of years ago.

We had a couple of stylists, we were having lunch together, and this one particular stylist was frustrated, but as she was telling me about her salon, and she was really proud of the fact she was unbelievably busy, and she was booked out weeks in advance, she was cranking through a lot of dogs every single day, and all of that was really good, but she said, “Melissa, at the end of the day, at the end of the week, I just don’t feel like I’m getting ahead,” and I thought, “Okay, something’s not right here.”

If you are as busy as what you say you are and you’re doing as many dogs as you’re saying you are, you should be doing pretty well. When you’re running that hard and gunning that hard, this is where you make it sometimes to carry you over some of those slower time periods, so I thought, “Something’s not right here,” so I started asking her some questions.

Now, she was a really talented stylist, and she not only did competition level styling, but she was also showing dogs in the confirmation ring. She was a very knowledgeable stylist. Timing of doing the dogs really wasn’t an issue for her. She was being efficient with her time based on the type of trim she was doing, but I said, “What kind of dogs do you see a lot in your salon, and what do you really enjoy doing?” and she said, “Oh, I love Standard Poodles.”

I said, “Okay, I could understand that. You show them. It’s what you’re out in the ring with a lot in the pet grooming competition.” That made sense to me, and I said, “How long does it take you to do one of your Standard Poodles?” and she said, “Oh, depending on the size of the dog, the type of haircut and how often I see it, it could take me anywhere from two and a half hours to three and a half hours from start to finish, and that would include the bath, the dry and the haircut,” and I went, “Okay, and what are you charging for those dogs?” and she said, “Somewhere between 70 and $80,” and I thought, “Oh, okay.” That math wasn’t working out initially in my head, and I thought this potentially could be the trouble spot.

Like I said, she does a lot of these dogs each week. As I’m telling you the story, I want you to realize that we’re not just talking Standard Poodles. We’re talking any big dog. If that is your price point on any big dog, be it a Standard Poodle, a Doodle, anything else, and you’re running between the 70 and $80 mark, and it’s taking you two and a half to three and a half hours to do, there’s an issue.

I said, “Okay, let me ask you a couple more questions,” and I said, “If you were dealing with a smaller dog, say, a Shih Tzu and just a no-nonsense, but cute little trim, how long would it take you to do?” She said, “Oh, about an hour.” I said, “Okay, and what do you charge for that little Shih Tzu?” and she said, “$45,” and I went, “Mm-hmm (affirmative), there’s your issue,” and she looked at me like, “What are you talking about?”

I said, “Let’s take a look at this from a time standpoint. The Shih Tzu takes you about an hour to do, yet… and you’re getting $45 for it. Yet, the Standard Poodle takes you between two and a half and three and a half hours, and you’re getting somewhere between 70 and $80 for that dog. Do you realize that you could do two or three Shih Tzus in the same amount of time it takes you to do that Standard Poodle?” I think that light bulb went off in her head, and she went, “Oh.”

If you were doing two Shih Tzus at $45, that would be $90. With just two Shih Tzus, you’re already above the one larger dog that you’re dealing with, and if you were to do three Shih Tzus, three hours worth of work, you’re going to get about 135 bucks for that same timeframe, so my question is why would you want to do a larger dog that you’re only getting 70 or $80 for when you could do three smaller dogs in the same timeframe and get a lot more cash for it?

Basically, numbers don’t lie, gang, and so I’m going to really challenge you. If you are dealing with those dogs like the Standard Poodles, the Doodles, the big bathroom brush, the big furries, take a look at how long they’re taking you to do and think about it. If you could do three, two or three smaller dogs in the same amount of time, you should be getting at least equal the amount of money, and it’s going to fall through straight to your bottom line.

It doesn’t matter whether you own your own business or whether you work for somebody else and you’re getting a commission. It’s going to fall straight to your bottom line. It’s going to fall straight to your paycheck. It’s going to fall straight down to your profitability if you’re a salon owner, so, if you’ve got those larger dogs that aren’t priced appropriately, I’m going to really encourage you to take a good hard look at your pricing structure and raise those prices, and get them to the point where they’re fair, they’re fair for your salon, they’re fair for you or your staff member to do and, bottom line, gang, it’s fair to the customer.

Honestly, if you’re afraid to raise your prices because you’re afraid they’re going to go somewhere else, and especially if you’re already busy and you’re booked out weeks in advance, wouldn’t you rather do a smaller dog and earn more money for it? I mean, yeah, I get it that the Standard Poodles are really, really pretty and they’re fun to do, but at the same token, you got to pay your bills at the end of the day. We don’t do this profession to lose money. We need to be able to make a fair wage, and I don’t know any professional pet groomer that gouges or overprices for their services. If anything, we underprice what we do, and so put some value on yourself and put some value on the work that you do.

If you’re one of those folks that just doesn’t have anymore bandwidth to give, you’re running and gunning just as hard as you can, take a good hard look at where your pricing structure is, and if you want to reduce the amount of hours that you work while raising your profit levels, raise your prices, but really look at those larger dogs and make sure that they’re priced appropriately.


Doodles are Job Security

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank celebrates the business-building blessing of the Doodle. These coat-carrying mixed breeds might be controversial creations among breed purists, but they provide an excellent opportunity to educate pet parents and help them understand the not-insignificant hygiene demands to make Doodles look and feel their best.

Want to learn more Doodle-Dos, like how to make them look like a Portuguese Water Dog? Join Learn2GroomDogs.com, the internet’s best groom instruction video resource and community. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off!

Want to advance your Doodlin’ skills? Level 3 of Paragon’s Distance Learning Program will help you kick it up a notch! Use code LUCKYDOG for $100 off Tuition.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. I want to talk to you a little bit today about the Doodles. There are so many Doodles. They come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, coat types. There isn’t a whole lot of consistency with a Doodle other than it is almost any purebred mixed with a Poodle. You can have the Labradoodles, the Goldendoodles, the Aussiedoodles, the Bernedoodles. Anything can be mixed with a poodle and it comes out as a Doodle, and with the Poodles, we’ve got such a variety of sizes with the Poodles, we are seeing the Doodles coming out now being small, medium, large. So, they really are running a gamut. But, what I want you to stop and think about, because I know a lot of time when people mention the word Doodle in a professional setting, it brings out probably not the best qualities of us as professionals. I see a lot of frustration, a lot of anger coming out when we start talking about Doodles. And I kind of take a little different stance on it, because I’m really thankful that the Doodle has become some popular. Because, gang, it’s a groomable breed. They require regular maintenance to keep the dogs looking and feeling their best.

If you take a look at the top breeds for the past number of years in the AKC in the United States, folks, most of the dogs that are in the top 10 don’t carry a lot of coat. They aren’t necessarily groomable breeds that require regular haircuts. Yes, the Poodle is in there. Thank heavens the Poodle is in the top 10. The Yorkie is also in the top 10, but I mean, come on. The Yorkie is a little tiny guy. At least the Poodle we’ve got the toy, the miniature, and the standard so we’ve got some variety going on there. But, the point is that, when we’re looking at purebred dogs and when you’re seeing so many in the top 10 that are short coated, and that is also transferring over to many of the mixed breeds. They’re short coated. They don’t require a whole lot of professional grooming in the form of haircuts. So, to have such a wide variety of Doodles with a lot of coat, it’s a blessing to us. I mean, honestly gang, it’s job security. Thank heavens we have these dogs.

But, what I will say is, where the frustration is coming in, at least this is my take on it, is the frustration is coming from the fact that breeders are really preying upon owners being gullible. They’re mixing anything with a Poodle and calling it a Doodle and they’re just riding this wave of this popularity craze, and that drives us crazy. Especially if you are used to dealing with purebreds and very conscious breeders that are trying to improve and enhance a breed. And breeders of Doodles just really don’t seem to ride that same wave. So, to me, that definitely is a frustration point. And I get it. You know, that part drives me a little crazy. It drives me crazy that owners are going to be so gullible and so naïve and they’re just going out and they’re not really researching what they’re getting. You know, you almost have to do more research, because not only do you need to research the Poodle, but you need to research whatever other breed these dogs are being mixed with because now you’ve got that combination of personalities. What are you really getting, and is it going to fit into a family lifestyle that the owners need it to fit into?

To me, that’s where some of the frustration points are. But, I also see it as being an opportunity, because the other thing that breeders don’t seem to do a really great job with consistently, and I’m not saying all breeders, but come on, we see it enough that it poses frustration from a professional standpoint, is breeders aren’t being totally honest with the new pet parent of what kind of maintenance that dog is going to take from a hygienic standpoint. From a brushing, a bathing, and a grooming standpoint. All of a sudden, they’re saying oh, they only need to be groomed once a year or twice a year and we know as pros that are dealing with coat that that is so far from the truth. So, now we’ve got a situation where who does the owner truly trust? The breeder that they just purchased the dog from or the groomer who’s telling them this dog is going to need to be groomed on a very frequent basis? And most of the time, a lot of the Doodles are good size, so this isn’t a small price point for them. And these dogs really need to be groomed every four to six weeks.

So, you got a little bit of an uphill battle, but if you approach it properly and with compassion with the owner and towards the dog, many times you can re-educate and you have an opportunity to turn the Doodle owners into phenomenal clients. Because, come on, these guys are furry. And, whether it be a wire coated type Doodle or a Doodle, I mean, the breeders are saying hey, they’re hypoallergenic. But, come on. You know, they don’t shed. Yeah, how many times have you heard that? Yeah, depending again what they’re mixed with, that’s not necessarily true. So, you’ve got to go in and really be open and honest and caring with the owner and make sure that they understand that you are looking out for the best interest of the pet and the best interest of the owner based on what their lifestyle is and how much they are willing to do in between groomings. I mean, this is no different than any other haircut breed that we do. So, take the time to educate those owners. Turn your frustration into an opportunity to help the pet, to help the pet parent, and be thankful that we are seeing so many Doodles coming through, because almost all of them truly need professional grooming to look and feel their best. And honestly gang, it is job security, number one, for all of us.


Canine Influenza Revisited – Tips for Salon Management

As summertime approaches, so does the anniversary of the worst outbreak of Canine Influenza the country has seen. In the summer of 2018, numerous pet care facilities in Paragon’s home state of Michigan closed temporarily, required vaccinations and/or orchestrated mass vaccination efforts to slow down the spread of Canine Influenza H3N2 strain, including our own Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa. Is your facility ready for 2019?

By now, you have probably heard about the newest illness threatening our pets. Canine influenza (CI), or dog flu, is a highly contagious infection that can have serious implications not only for our pets, but for your business and our industry.

Read the rest of this entry »


How to Build your Bath and Brush Business

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank talks about ways you can be proactive in maintaining the volume of pets in your grooming business. In order to keep your business volume consistent and growing you need to deliver a service that goes beyond what customers can do at home or at a self-wash. Learn ways to set your service apart!

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!

Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Definitely this type of breed, even though people don’t think of it as needing a whole lot of grooming, they definitely need grooming. When I’m working with those tight-coated breeds, one of the tools that I really love to get them squeaky, squeaky clean and to help eliminate the shedding, because even though they’re a tight-coated breed, and whether it be a tight-coated breed like the pointer, or whether it’s going to be more a short-coated breed like your labs, they still shed. And that kind of coat can really weave into fabric, and it’s hard for a roller tape to get that picked up because that coat is tight. It’s hard, and it just weaves into the fabric.

It’s our job as the professional pet groomer to be able to minimize that for the client, and one of the tools that I really love is these types of rubber curries. They actually have an incense cone type tooth on them, and they’re super flexible. You can really take these to the bathtub and really scrub with them. They do a good job getting right down to the skin. They do a great job releasing a loose coat, pulling that debris right up to the surface, and it feels good. It’s like a massage. You just can’t hurt them.

That’s one of the things that I would really encourage you to utilize and pay attention to those details, is get them squeaky, squeaky clean. Use a great shampoo that has a nice fragrance to it, not overly heavy, but fragrance so that when that dog goes home, they know it’s clean. It smells good. It smells fresh, and when you pull that dog out of the tub, you want it to squeak, squeaky, squeaky clean. Whether it be the really tight-coated breeds, or whether you’re dealing with a lab, or the French bulldogs. You know, they’ve got a little bit more coat. Get them squeaky, squeaky clean.

Now, the other thing to look at is, like with the shepherds and the golden’s and any breed that has got that type of coat is, are you providing a shed-less type program? I live with Maremma sheepdogs. Maremma sheepdogs are like oversized white golden retrievers, and they shed. And we have instituted a shed-less program, and it has been amazing. The revenue generation that we have been able to come up with just by providing a service like that. So think about what types of services you can do. What are the problems that the clients have at home?

With these breeds, even though they don’t have a lot of coat, they don’t require haircuts, they definitely shed. And they get dirty, so figure out things that you can do to help solve that problem easily for the client. Again, like I said, pay attention to details. Make sure those ears are super clean. Not only trim nails, but what about utilizing a Dremel to file those nails so that they’re nice and smooth and they don’t have sharp edges on them. A client’s not going to be able to, number one, generally trim dog’s nails at home, nor will they file them. That’s a great service that you can offer. For many salons, they might trim nails and offer the filing as an upsell. We personally do a buck a paw, so it’s a four dollar upsell. Super easy to do.

Another thing that you can do with these dogs that don’t require full haircuts, and you can do it with full haircut dogs as well, but do you have any kind of breath freshener or teeth brushing or something that you can add orally to enhance the client’s experience with their dog at home? Again, it’s an easy upsell, and it’s something that generally clients don’t do for themselves at home with their dog. Being able to offer those types of things, just really pay attention to it.

With that doberman that we had years ago, most of the time she would come home not only with her nails filed, but they’d also be painted. And okay, every once in a while they were a crazy color, especially around the holidays, that would happen, but most of the time they were just painted black. It just gave a nice shine to the nail. It was a part of the detail that the client isn’t going to do for themselves. Did it make or break the groom? No, but it was just one of the those things that you noticed. It was in those details. Bows on collars, bandanas, the collar frills that you can get. Bardel Bows has got all kinds of really fun things. If you don’t like dealing with bows and bandanas, there’s companies out there like Bardel Bows that are going to have those things.

And my goal with a customer is always to bring the dog in, to treat it with respect and love and compassion, but when that client picks up their dog, when that dog goes home, what I aim for is to see a smile. When that client sees their dog, and not only a smile because they’re happy to see their dog, but a smile because the dog looks amazing. And again, if you’re dealing with a short and tight-coated dogs, you’re not going to see that big transformation that you see when you’re dealing with a haircut type dog. But there’s subtle differences that you can do to make that client go, “Wow. That was the best he’s looked. It’s the best he’s smelled. It’s the best he’s felt.” Those are the types of things that you’re going for.

What you want to do is bring those bath and brush dogs in on a really regular basis. Ideally, I love to see them every two or three weeks. That really helps keep the shedding under control. It keeps the film, the dirt on their coat down, and it keeps them smelling great. If you can encourage those customers to come in on a really regular basis and provide those services that they are not going to do themselves, if they bathe the dog in their driveway or in their bathtub, or they take that pet to a self-service facility. You are going to be able to do such a better job, and it goes without saying too, you’ve got the high velocity dryer. They don’t, and we all know how important that tool is.

And again, whether you’re dealing with a tight-coated dog, a short-coated dog, or a bath and brush type dog like the shepherd or the golden retriever, the high velocity dryers are going to be absolutely critical to doing a really knockout job on those dogs. Get those bath and brush dogs coming in. They are massive to what you can do with your bottom line, with a revenue generation. They are some of the easiest dogs that you’re going to do, but they really have a huge impact on your bottom line. And that’s what we’re in business for. We are in business to make a profit, to provide a service for our customers that they’re going to appreciate. So pay attention to the details and get those bath and brush dogs coming back in on a regular basis to you.


Education is Everything

By Melissa Verplank, CMG

We have a motto within my companies when it comes to learning:

“Education is everything.”

It is at the very core of everything we do. Why?

I see learning as never-ending. It does not matter what stage you are in your career. Or what stage you are in your life. Continued learning offers positive opportunities around every turn.

I was never a great student in school. Traditional academics did not excite me. But once I got into dog grooming, now that was a different story.
I became passionate about learning. About growing my career. I didn’t seek out traditional methods. Most of my learning was self-directed. Something much more challenging before the age of the Internet! I quickly understood the wealth of benefits continued education unleashed.

Read the rest of this entry »


There’s No Black and White in Dog Grooming

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses a concept that Lisa Leady shared during a www.Learn2GroomDogs.com video shoot: There’s no black and white in grooming, but there’s a lot of gray. In this context, how do you evaluate techniques and products? Melissa suggests answering these questions:
Is it safe for the pet? Is it safe for the groomer? Will it yield a quality product? Will it be efficient?

Get more great grooming business tips from www.Learn2GroomDogs.com – Sign up with Code LUCKYDOG and get 50% off your first month!
Want to advance your training? Check out our advanced levels at Paragon Pet School’s Distance Learning Program. Use Code LUCKYDOG to get $100 off tuition!

Transcript
Melissa V: Melissa here, and I want to share with you a thought process that is kind of a combination of both my thought process and a thought that Lisa Leady shared on one of her Learn to Groom video shoots years ago. And the thought that Lisa shared with me and to our Learn to Groom audience was that there is no black and white in dog grooming. If you’ve ever followed Lisa, you’ve probably heard her say that.

Over the years you’ve heard me say it that there is absolutely no black and white, there is no right or wrong in dog grooming, but what there is, is a lot of shades of gray. So, what you want to think about, and this is where I kind of took her thought process and applied my line of questioning to that. Before I test out any new product, test out any new technique, think about doing something different than what I might have done in the past is I always ask these four questions.

Question number one is, will whatever I’m going to use or do be safe for the pet? Number two is, is it safe for me? Is it safe for the groomer? Is it going to be ergonomically safe for me long term, or is it going to be safe for me from a physical standpoint? So stop and think about that. Number one, is it safe for the pet. Number two, is it safe for you? Number three, will it yield a quality product because if you can’t yield a quality product, you’re not going to have customers coming back for your services. So, number three is going to be, does it yield a quality product? Number four is the question I always, always ask is, will it be efficient? Now, maybe it won’t be efficient the first time I try out a new technique or a new product. I might have to get the feel of it a little bit better, but down the road, will it be efficient if I utilize this product or this technique?

So, there you have it. Those are the four questions that I always ask whenever I’m dealing with the multiple shades of gray that we have with professional pet grooming. It’s:

1. Is it safe for the pet?

2. Is it safe for you?

3. Will it yield a quality product?

4. Will it be efficient?

So, I want you to ask that question every time that you’re thinking about testing out a new technique, looking at a new product, or doing anything a little bit different than what you have normally done before. Sometimes little switched in what you’re doing can make a big impact in your bottom line, but you always want to make sure that it’s safe, that it is going to be efficient, and that it’s going to yield a quality result. If you can answer all four of the questions and get a “yes” answer, try it. That’s one of the beauties of professional pet grooming is there’s lots of ways to do the same thing based on the situation that you’re dealing with on that particular moment.


5 Steps to Visualize a Goal

By Melissa Verplank, CMG

Reaching your goals, especially if they are lofty, is always easier said than done. It does not matter whether they are personal goals. Career goals. Health goals. Financial goals. Or goals in any other area in your life. Achieving goals is hard work. It takes planning, focus and action.

What if I told you there’s a shortcut when it comes to achieving goals?

What is it?

Visualization.

Personally, I’ve used this technique repeatedly to achieve my goals. I first started hearing about it in the mid-1980s. Since then, I’ve used it for both large and small goals in all areas of my life with great success. Read the rest of this entry »


Learning is a 50-50 Responsibility

In this video, Certified Master Groomer Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of “bringing your game to the table” when you’re learning to groom dogs. Selecting the best program, instructors, and mentors is half the task. The other half comes from focusing on the instruction you’re given and committing to ongoing improvement. Education is everything! It’s the key to building a successful career in the pet grooming business.

Want to enhance your techniques? Even experienced groom techs and groomers can “level up” at Paragon with an advanced level course through its Distance Learning Program. Get $100 off Tuition with code LUCKYDOG.

Want to sharpen your skills with access to detailed “how-to” videos every day, all year? Join our Learn2GroomDogs.com pro membership community for unlimited access to more than 600 in-depth videos on every breed in the book. Use code LUCKYDOG to get 50% off your first month.

Transcript
Melissa V: Hi guys, Melissa here. Today I want to talk about how to grow your career, or how to learn. Learning, there’s a lot to it. I don’t care whether you go to the best school available to you, or whether you are self taught, learning takes focus, and it takes dedication.

I always say you can only be as good as who your instructors are. If you are self taught, you’re going to be looking at books, today you’re going to be looking at videos. You can teach yourself. You can learn on YouTube. I mean, how many of us jump onto YouTube when we have a question about something, and we need to figure it out? Yeah, we jump on YouTube.

But I’m going to tell you when it comes to dog grooming, that can be a little bit dangerous because what is out there and available on the Internet, come on, everything is the truth and everything is right on the Internet, right?

Be careful what you look for, and who you follow. It’s not to say that free education isn’t good, but more than likely you’re going to have to pay a little bit of money to get the best teaching, to get the best coaching, whether it be through videos or books or programs, or maybe you go to a formal educational type school. Be careful. Check out your schools that you’re attending, look at what the instructors are because you will only be as good as what your instruction is.

But there’s another side of this, because learning is a 50/50 gig. It doesn’t matter how good your instructors are if you, the learner, don’t bring your full game to the table. If you aren’t dedicated, if you aren’t focused, there is no way that even the best teacher can teach you. You’ve got to be in the game. You’ve got to be there and focus on what you’re dealing with, and learn and absorb it.

Everybody learns at a little different pace. Dog grooming isn’t for everybody, but if it is for you, it’s really a rewarding career, but you’re going have to work at it. There are very few people out there that are just naturally talented, that can just pick up the clippers and sheers and go to town, and do a really good job straight out the gate.

Every school system, every training program has it’s A, B, C, D, and what do we do with those other type students, you know? Even if maybe you weren’t the strongest student in school, it doesn’t mean that you can’t go on and continue your education and get better.

One of our top trainers that we have at the school, and she’s been with me on and off since the early ’90s, I still remember when she was in school and she was … It was a 600 Clock-Hour program she had signed up for, and she was really close to graduating. I happen to walk through the bathing room, and she had a golden retriever on the table. As I walk by, I noticed that the dog was still really sopping wet.

I have always had a phrase that I want the towels to do a large portion of the work before you even begin to turn on the high velocity dryer. So what it told me is that she hadn’t listened throughout the course of the lessons. I mean, here she is close to graduating and as I walk by the golden retriever, I just run my hand down the dog’s leg and I pick up the foot and I give it a soft squeeze and the water literally just runs off the foot into a pool on the table.

I didn’t have to say a word. I know, and she shared with me later, that that was a really hard blow. That was something that she remembers still to this day, years and years later, and she remembered that.

We fast forward another year or two down the road, and I’m looking for an instructor and she comes in and she applies, and I’m thinking to myself, “Oh yeah, she could barely even graduate and here she is applying for an instructor position.” I got to tell you, during her working interview, she blew me away. She worked on a little black and white Shih Tzu in a fuller guard comb type trim, and she absolutely crushed it. That dog was so cute, so well done, that I was amazed. I said to her, “What has happened, what has changed?”

She realized that when she was in school, she really didn’t focus as much as she should have. And when she got out there into the real world, that’s when her real learning started.

Whether you do it in school, which is actually where I would suggest you try because you’ve got your trainers right there, but no matter what, learning is a 50/50 choice. It’s going to 50% be where your instruction comes from, and 50% of what you bring to the table.

Just because you’re at the best school or have the best books or have the best videos, you still have to put it together. It comes from here. It comes from what you bring to the table and what you can do for the dog, how you apply what you have learned.

Gang, I’m going to tell you, it does take practice, practice, practice. And it never stops, you can continue to learn, and it doesn’t necessarily mean just dog grooming. I continue to grow my career. I have books like crazy. I highlight, I tag them. If I flip open my books, they’re all marked up.

No matter what you’re dealing with, mark your books up. I personally am not a fan of the digital books because I can’t mark them up, I can’t write in the margins, I can’t tag the pages.

To really cement something in your mind, one of the best things you can do is write it out longhand for yourself. They say, if you ink it, you think it, and that is so true. For me, that really helps sink a thought, sink the idea in. But I’m always reading with highlighters, I’m always making notes in margins. It doesn’t matter whether I was reading a grooming book, or whether I am working on some other aspect of what I need to learn to run my businesses.

Focus, focus, focus, and always remember, the learner brings half of it to the table. So just think about that when you go in and you learn and realize that some people, learning comes easier than others. And if you’re one of those folks, kind of like what I am, I’m not the fastest study out there, and I really have to work at learning and work at getting it embedded into my brain.

But stick with it, you can do it. But just know, half of it is going to be from the instruction that you receive, and the other half is going to be what you bring to the game to make that lesson stick in your mind.


error: Content is protected !!