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ICYMI: Pup Relief Tour Team Shares Nigeria Dog Groomer Training Story

Paragon president Joe Zuccarello and VP Lorri Keller were joined by the Pup Relief Tour Team in our last Facebook Live. If you missed it, here’s a replay!

Special thanks to the PRT Team for elevating the profession of grooming!

“DogFather of Harlem” ⭐️ Brian Taylor from Harlem Doggie Day Spa HDDS, and the PRT Ambassadors: ⭐️ Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming Styles Grooming ⭐️ LaTonya Smith from LC’S Detroit Pet Salon & LC’S Mobile Pet Spa ⭐️ Labree Blaxon from Fluffy By Nature Pet Grooming.


Check Out This Gallery of the Pup Relief Team in Nigeria

If you were able to join our Facebook Live with the Pup Relief Tour Team, thank you! Here are a few images of their tour-de-grooming-force! Stay tuned for an update on more ways to help this global groomer initiative!

Special thanks to the PRT Team for elevating the profession of grooming!

“DogFather of Harlem” ⭐️ Brian Taylor from Harlem Doggie Day Spa HDDS, and the PRT Ambassadors: ⭐️ Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming Styles Grooming ⭐️ LaTonya Smith from LC’S Detroit Pet Salon & LC’S Mobile Pet Spa ⭐️ Labree Blaxon from Fluffy By Nature Pet Grooming.

Join Us for a FBLive with Pup Relief Tour on Global Dog Groomer Training

Join Paragon president Joe Zuccarello & VP Lorri Keller June 1st, 7 p.m. EST for a great Facebook Live featuring special guests Brian Taylor, the “Dogfather of Harlem,” and his team of Pup Relief Tour Ambassador/Trainers, Gianna Richardson from Gia Styles Grooming; LaTonya Smith from LC’s Detroit Salon, and LaBree Braxton from Fluffy By Nature.

The team will recap their global groomer training mission to Nigeria that Paragon sponsored. Hear all about what it’s like to train groomer’s abroad in an intense workshop, and bring your questions!

Want a reminder? Click here to sign up for notification at our sister site: Learn2GroomDogs.com

Here’s a taste of the team’s adventure at Critters Veterinary Clinic in Lagos, Nigeria.

Westminster 101: Guide for Student Dog Groomers

What is Westminster?

The Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.  Established in 1877, Westminster’s influence has been felt for more than a century through its famous all-breed, benched dog show held every year at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Today, America’s dog show has expanded into Westminster Week which includes the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster and the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster. More than 3,000 dogs entered from around the world make Westminster Week like no other. As Master Groomer and our founder, Melissa Verplank encourages our pet grooming students to watch Westminster as a great way to improve their pet trims! (watch Melissa’s video HERE )We’ve highlighted information to help you tune in.

Learn more @ Westminster

How a Dog Show Works

Each dog at a dog show is presented to a judge by either its owner, breeder, or a hired professional. This person is known as the exhibitor or the handler of the dog.

The purpose of conformation shows (also known as dog shows) is to evaluate breeding stock. Judges select winners based on their ability to contribute and improve the next generation of dogs. Dogs start out in the classes competing for points toward their AKC championship title. Dogs win points based on the number of dogs defeated. The more dogs entered, the more points per win. It takes fifteen points, including two majors (wins of three, four or five points), awarded by at least three different judges, to become an American Kennel Club champion.

Breed Groups judged to the AKC Breed Standard include the Working, Herding, Sporting, Hound, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding.

Learn more, including judging criteria, a glossary and terminology, at Westminster Dog Shows 101 

Watch Dog Show 101:

Westminster – Dog Show 101

Westminster Week Schedule: 147th WKC Dog Show

SATURDAY, May 6, 2023

  • Masters Agility Championship
    • Preliminaries 8:00am – 4:00pm
    • Finals Competition 7:00pm – 9:30pm

Agility is a timed competition that tests a dog’s ability to complete an obstacle course following the commands of its handler. Purebred and All-American (mixed breed) dogs are eligible, to compete in 1 of 5 height classes and are judged on time and completion (minus faults) of the course.

  • Masters Obedience Championship
    • 9:00am – 3:00pm

Obedience is a command-driven competition that tests a dog’s ability to comply with the asks of the handler. Commands can include a combination of sit, stay, jump, retrieve and scent discrimination. Purebred and All-American (mixed breed) dogs will compete to showcase the desired skills of a model dog.

Today, Westminster will also host Obedience, Dock Diving, a Breed Showcase & More

Learn more here: Westminster Schedule

MONDAY, MAY 8, 2023

  • Breed Judging
    • Judging of Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting and Herding breeds and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
    • 8:00am – 4:30pm

The dogs entered at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show each competes within their own breed to be chosen as Best of their Breed/Variety. There are 212 AKC-recognized breeds and varieties.

Junior Showmanship is a competition assessing the handling skills of children 9-18 years of age independent of the traits of the dog. The competition promotes proper training and care to prepare future generations for responsible dog ownership, sportsmanship, and future success in the sport.

  • Group Judging
    • Judging of the Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, and Herding Groups
    • 7:30pm – 11:00pm

Once selected as Best of Breed/Variety, dogs advance to compete within their AKC-recognized Group: Hound, Toy, Non-Sporting, Herding, Sporting, Working, and Terrier.

TUESDAY, MAY 9, 2023

    • Breed Judging
      • Judging of Sporting, Working and Terrier breeds and Junior Showmanship Preliminaries
      • 8:00am – 4:30pm
    • Junior Showmanship Finals
      • 7:00pm-7:30pm
    • Group Judging
      • Judging of Sporting, Working, and Terrier Groups
      • 7:30pm – 11:00pm
    • Best in Show

    The winning dogs across the seven Groups compete for the ultimate prize. From those seven Reserve Best in Show is awarded as a runner up, followed by the Best in Show selection.

    Times are subject to change. All times EDT.

On Air Programming & Live Streaming Info for 2023:


Sneak Peek of The Pup Relief Tour’s Nigeria Outreach

The Pup Relief Tour in partnership with Paragon is fresh off its mission is to elevate the grooming profession around the world, through excellence in skill development.

PRT mastermind, Brian Taylor aka “The Dogfather of Harlem” is passionate about opening avenues to the grooming profession at home and abroad. The banker-turned-successful grooming business owner became a social media sensation during the height of the pandemic when he spearheaded the non-profit Pup Relief Tour in 15 cities across the United States. The team groomed 1918 pups whose pet parents faced financial hardships and raised awareness of pup health and well-being through grooming.

For the Nigeria venture, Taylor was joined by Pup Relief Tour Ambassadors, Labree Blaxon, Owner, Fluffy By Nature, (California), Latonya Smith, LC’s Detroit Salon, (Michigan) and Gianna Richardson, Gia Styles Grooming (Virginia). All have successful pet grooming businesses here in the U.S. and are primarily Black-owned.

Together, Paragon and The Pup Relief Tour are committed to raising awareness of the shortage of dog groomers and to help pet lovers discover the lucrative opportunity of a career in pet grooming.


Thank Goodness for Doodles!

If you missed our Facebook LIVE on “Thank Goodness for Doodles” or would like more resources on becoming a successful and profitable doodle-groomer, here are a few resources that will help you achieve your goal!

Doodles Are Job Security – Melissa Verplank  weighs in on why Doodles Are Job Security – Watch the Video

Fair Pricing – The Large Dog – Melissa Verplank discusses the importance of pricing large dogs in your grooming business – Watch the Video

Doodle Grooming Roundup – from Paragon’s “Groominar® Network” at Learn2GroomDogs.com:  In our “Doodle” round up, members can find “Groominars®” – instructional videos – on the following topics (and more!): Doodle Roundup

  • Low maintenance Doodle trims,
  • Handling Wire Haired Doodles,
  • Tips for Thick Coated Doodles
  • Basic Doodle Body Patterns,
  • Doodle Head Styling
  • Stylized Doodles trim and even how to
  • Style a Labradoodle Like a Portuguese Water Dog

Not a member? Join us for non-stop professional skills development and community support.

Adding Dental Health Services & Products to Boost Your Business

– By Joe Zuccarello, Paragon President

Originally published by our partners at IndiePet.  

Chew on this! Did you know, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, it is estimated that by the age of two 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease? Further, periodontal infections have been linked to diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and other life-threatening disorders.

WOW! What are you doing about this? As a Pet Professional, we have an obligation to the Pet Parents who trust us with their pets’ care to inform them of the severity of this problem.

Most Groomers believe they can only make more money if they take an extra dog on the books, or raise prices, or do more big dogs. All of these methods will work, but what about working smarter and not just harder. How?! Recommend extra services that not only generate extra revenue but also educate the Pet Parent and benefit the pet in one way or another. Oral Care services are a perfect add on which satisfies all of these criteria.

If the business has only Groomer they can groom 8 dogs per day and they make a concerted effort to ask every person who comes through the door if they would an oral care service for their pet, (we’ll talk about services choices in a minute) and only 20% of the clients accept, that can equal an average of $20-$30 extra in revenue per day. $30 per day multiplied by seven days per week generates over $11,000 per year in incremental revenue. What if you had more people working in your salon? What if three or four out of every ten clients accepts?

Now that I have your attention (money always works!), let’s talk about the choices you have in service offerings. First, traditional teeth brushing. Depending on the toothpaste and toothbrush (human toothbrush or finger brush) you use, this service can be easy to start and a fair number of dogs will let you brush their teeth while others will not. Another choice is dental wipes. Yet another choice is the best way of addressing the pet’s oral care needs and that is a variety of products engineered to make the entire process easier for the Groomer and the pet. Based on a “no brushing necessary” position, products such as dental gel, breath sprays and foams, water additives, and a variety of treats and chews not only give you more options to address the concern of periodontal disease, but also gives your clients a choice of products to use at home on a regular basis.

Dental products are perfect additions to your services offering, plus they are a great addition to your retail offering. Many Groomers will say dental services offered in salons on a “once a month” basis has very little effect on the pet’s dental health. I beg to differ. I can tell you from experience you WILL sell oral care services by simply asking everyone who enters your business and you WILL sell oral care products to Pet Parents who wish to take better care of their pet’s teeth since you have brought it to their attention that they should be. The products you carry should make it as easy for the Pet Parent as possible. If the product is hard to use or the process is hard to do, they simply won’t do it.

Additional Resources:

Hey Joe Podcast“Dental Awareness with Guest Josh Meyer, TropiClean”

ArticleHow Groomers Can Help Maintain Dental Health

About Joe Zuccarello
With a long career in the pet industry, spanning over 35 years, Joe began his career in the services sector. Leading a team of over 250 employees and all operations efforts at a multi-unit luxury pet resort, spa, daycare, and training facility for nearly 20 years. He then shifted slightly to begin a 10 year position as Director of Innovation and Product development for TropiClean. Joe now leads the team at the undisputed leader in professional pet grooming education, the Paragon School of Pet Grooming and Learn2GroomDog.com providing career training solutions. 

Setting Your Grooming Business Apart from the Competition

In case you missed our Facebook Live with Business Building tips from Team Pagagon, or if you want to delve deeper, here is a roundup of a few resources to get you started.

Do What Other Groomers Will Not or Cannot Do

Get Technical in Your Marketing & Communication

Continue Skill Development

Rebook with excellence –

More Resources from Team Paragon:

And remember, LOVE ON YOUR DOG-CLIENT, and they’ll keep coming back for more!

Marketing Your Pet Grooming Business: 5 Practical Tips

dog groomers marketing their businessGuest Article by Gingr

Whether you’re looking for new customers or trying to retain existing ones, a robust marketing approach is crucial to growing and sustaining your pet grooming business. Since  clients today have a range of grooming options  to choose from, it’s all the more important that you prove to them why they should patronize your business. 

To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of practical strategies for marketing a grooming business. In this guide, you’ll learn how to:

  1. Use powerful software.
  2. Understand your customers.
  3. Build a positive reputation.
  4. Increase engagement opportunities.
  5. Offer additional services.

However, because today’s marketing can take so many different forms, these tips will also operate differently depending on where and when they’re used. For each tip, consider how it might apply across major in-person and online communication channels. Let’s dive in!

1. Use powerful software.

Powerful software and marketing tools are at the heart of every great marketing strategy. Software can help your grooming business process transactions, report on sales data, and communicate with pet owners. Gingr recommends choosing software  that:

  • Offers tools and features built to your industry’s standards.
  • Streamlines backend processes to save your staff time and effort.
  • Helps you manage your staff schedules from a single dashboard.Makes scheduling and paying online quick and easy.
  • Supports responsive customer communication through a customer portal. With the right dog grooming software, it will be much easier to implement the rest of the tips in this guide.

2. Understand your customers.

Once your software is up and running, you can leverage it to store and analyze customer data. In this way, you can get a sense of who your customers are, what they want from your business, and how you can best engage them. Consider collecting, storing, and analyzing the following customer-related data points:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Profession
  • Communication preferences
  • Pets (number, type, and age)
  • Hobbies
  • Engagement history
  • Income
  • Education

When you understand your customers, you can better direct your marketing to the right people at the right time. Without this info, you’re making marketing decisions based on hunches that could be both inaccurate and harmful to your business.

3. Build a positive reputation.

Building a positive public perception of your grooming business is directly related to building a thriving clientele. To develop and market a positive reputation, you should:

  • Invest in your community with corporate philanthropy. Supporting a pet-related nonprofit, such as a pet rescue or guide dog training facility, can show your followers that you care about your community and build trust in your brand. A nonprofit partnership can take the form of a financial donation or in-kind support, such as staff time, event facilities, or marketing resources.
  • Provide an outstanding customer service experience. Make the entire grooming process as simple and friendly as possible. Pet owners should be able to easily schedule appointments, update their pet’s details, and communicate with your staff online through your website. While you should prioritize giving customers (and their pets) an easy grooming experience, the little things, such as a cute bow on groomed dogs, can often make the difference between a good experience and an incredible one.
  • Offer meaningful incentives. Create a loyalty program to reward frequent customers with a free or discounted grooming appointment. Increase the program’s value by giving customers options on the rewards they can redeem.
  • As you build your reputation, encourage your satisfied customers to leave your business positive reviews on Google and Yelp. Positive online reviews help pet owners searching for services find and trust your business.

4. Increase engagement opportunities.

An essential part of marketing your business is increasing the ways that potential customers can interact and engage with you—both online and in person. Use the following tips to increase engagement opportunities:

  • Make it easy for customers to contact you. Make sure your contact information is prominently displayed on your marketing materials. This will make it easy for customers to get in touch with you when they have questions or need pet grooming services.
  • Host in-person and virtual events. You can host anything from workshops and classes to happy hours and concerts. These events often attract new potential customers interested in the content of the event.
  • Don’t rely on just one marketing channel to reach your target market. Instead, use a mix of channels, such as online advertising, social media, email marketing, and print advertising. This will give you the best chance of reaching your ideal audience where they are most likely to see your messages.
    In many cases, the success of customer engagement hinges on the accessibility of your website. If customers can’t locate or navigate your site, they won’t be able to contact you, learn about events, or make an appointment. Follow web accessibility and SEO guidelines to add alt text to images, target specific keywords, and include legibile, high-contrast text. As a result, it will be easy for customers not only to find your site but also to use it.

5. Offer additional services.

Finally, to improve the marketing for your business, consider your customers’ needs and how you might offer additional pet grooming-related services to meet them. By providing a more complete and comprehensive service than your competitors, you simplify your customers’ lives and position yourself to attract customers in a wider range of markets.

Offer additional, relevant services, such as:

As you spread the word about your additional services, make sure to track your results, such as email click-through rate, site traffic, customers acquired, services used, and return on investment (ROI). Then, adjust your services and marketing as needed to increase leads and loyal customers.

Even as you diversify your marketing across channels, make sure to keep your messaging consistent between your virtual and in-person interactions. As a result, your customers will remember your distinct brand and choose your business for their next grooming appointment.

If you follow these recommendations, you’ll put yourself in the best position to engage and retain the customers who most need your grooming services. Good luck!



Ways to Build Your Grooming Business in the New Year

Are you ready to take your grooming business to the next level? In this Resource Roundup, we’ll show you how to map your plan, improve your workflow, create productive space and expand your team! Cheers to a prosperous New Year!


More Resources from Team Paragon:


Resources from Our Partners:

Check out this Blog from our partners at Gingr, home to great groomer software – How to Manage Pets + People at Your Dog Grooming Business

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