Log InCartCall Now: (616) 667-7297


Check out our latest blog posts!

Learn how to improve your skill set or discover the latest news in the grooming industry.

Speed Series #1 – Resources for Faster Grooming

In a recent Facebook Live, Melissa Verplank, CMG and Founder of the Paragon companies, shared some of her time-tested tips to master speed and efficiency in grooming. Boost your profits while freeing up more time for work-life balance by becoming the most efficient, productive groomer you can be! Stay tuned for future installments!

Roundup of Blog Posts – Set 1:

Download Time Frames for Proceedures

How to Make Learning Something New Stick in Your Mind

Do you enjoy learning something new? Figuring out how to do something easier. Faster. Give you a more satisfying result? Expand your knowledge base. Build your confidence.

Sure you do. We all love learning when it’s easy right? But most of the time learning takes work. Effort. And sometimes it’s difficult and confusing.

I mean – really learn. Absorb it. Get it. Can do it and achieve results you are happy with?

So, what’s the best way to learn?

There are lots of different learning methods, but most fall into two categories. Passive or active learning.

What’s the difference?

Passive learning is when communication is mostly one-way for the sole purpose of gathering information.

Active learning includes doing anything interactive with the content to enhance your understanding of the topic and/or skill.

Passive learning examples:

  • Listening to a lecture
  • Reading
  • Audio visual
  • Watching a demonstration
  • Watching a video

Active learning examples:

  • Group discussions
  • Practice by doing
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Visualization
  • Activities apply the new material
  • Present the freshly learned material to others

Which is best? It depends on what you are doing and how you need to apply the information.

Not everyone learns at the same pace. Nor does one technique work the best for everyone. Learning is a personal effort. Your level of involvement combined with a variety of learning techniques will greatly influence your long-term results.

Think back to a time when you learned something.

I’m talking about a time when you were curious about something. You wanted to know more. You researched it. Maybe you watched a few videos on the topic. Talked to people. If it was a skill, you tested it and practiced it, right?

You thought about the topic a lot. You wondered how it related to you or how you could apply it in your life. As you explored, you uncovered more and more on the topic. Connections were made. Dots were joined. You discussed the topic with friends and co-workers. You strengthened your understanding even further.

When it comes to learning retention, hands-down active learning is far more effective than passive learning. However, both have their place in your learning toolbox. Personally, I like to use more passive methods of learning first to familiarize myself with a topic. However, I almost always tuck a bit of active learning into it to ensure I can recall the information more readily.

Active learning promotes a deep, understanding of a topic. For most people, this is how we learn the best. In an active learning environment, you are engaged, empowered, and excited to learn.

Active learning occurs through collaboration, discussion, critical thinking, problem-solving, and connecting new knowledge with your own world.

Passive learning is all around us. But it’s not the best way to truly understand a topic or test your skills.

8 Learning Methods to Turn Passive Learning into Active Learning

1. Highlighting & Write Comments

While reading, you can highlight, tab important passages, take notes, or write your own comments. When you do this, it becomes more of a two-way conversation in your head instead of passively reading the material.

2. Take Time to Question

After learning, take some time to think about how you can apply the information. Ask yourself questions to obtain the most out of what you just learned. Here are a few thoughts to get started with to help cement the learning in your own mind.

  • “How could I apply this?”
  • “What benefit would it give me?”
  • “Why would it help me?”
  • “What would it look like if done perfectly?”

3. Tracking Your Progress

When you are working on a new skill, break down the steps. Think about how you could follow you progress. Track you progress by simply jotting it down, use an app or create a spreadsheet to monitor your progress.

This is a great way to improve your speed, track your progress when mastering a new skill or learning a new breed, or ensure the effectiveness of new sales techniques. You could even make a game out of the learning.

4. Immediately Apply What You Learned

The sooner you can apply a new skill or technique, the better. Test it out while it is still fresh in your mind.

Studies show even within 20 minutes of learning something new, you will forget about 40% of the details! After 2 days, you will forget up to 70% of what you learned.

The saying, ‘Use it or lose it’ certainly applies when learning a new skill!

  • If you have just listened to a lecture – Have an immediate follow-up discussion with your friends, co-workers or colleagues.
  • If you have just read a book – Highlight the pages and make detailed notes. Discuss what you have just learned with others. Imagine yourself applying the skill successfully.
  • If you have just watched a video – Make notes as you watch. Stop and listen to important points again. Or following along by DOING the skill as the teacher teaches.
  • If you attend a dog show or grooming contest – Sit ringside. Focus on the best in the ring. Study what it looks like when done right. Take photos. Take detailed notes. Critically analyze how YOUR work or knowledge stacks up against what you are seeing.

5. Work with a Coach or a Mentor

Coaches or mentors can help you fast track your learning.


Because they give you instant feedback helping you improve your skills immediately. A great coach will help you take years off the learning process verse trying to learn on your own.

  • Attend hands-on workshops and clinics
  • Study firsthand with someone more skilled than yourself
  • Train with a master
  • Shadow a master as they work
  • Work with a virtual mentor or coach

6. Create a Vision Board, Notebook or Collection

If the learning revolves around a skill, a technique or a thing – collect images of what it looks like when done correctly. Assemble the images into a grouping you have easy access to. Actively work on building your collection. As you add images, think about HOW the results were achieved and visualize yourself achieving similar results.

7. Test Yourself by Explaining

To find out if you have really absorbed the knowledge, explain it to someone else.

Go step-by-step. Describe the details of the lesson. Keep it streamlined and simple so whomever you are talking with can absorb correct information.

If you struggle anywhere, go back and review where there are gaps in your own understanding. Continue to share with others your new knowledge until you can explain the topic confidently and the listener understands clearly.

8. Validation

To verify you have positively progressed in your learning or mastered a skill, go for validation. How? There are many ways.

  • Graduate from an established training program
  • Earn promotions at work
  • Aim for certification testing via recognized national organizations
  • Enter grooming contests
  • Exhibit at canine or feline conformation events

You need discipline and nerve to admit what you don’t understand. What you find hard to do.

Ignoring those things is the worst mistakes a learner can make. You’ll need a strong foundation before you move on to a more advanced level.

When you’re self-learning, you’ve got to go the extra step to gauge yourself. It’s the only way you can learn improve and develop faster. Validation is how you’ll find your strong and weak points, so you know what to focus on.

Learning a subject or skill takes time and effort. You will never thoroughly understand something if you only use passive learning.

By utilizing a few of the active learning method outlined above, you will create shortcuts to your own growth. Mix and match these methods based on the skill or subject you want to learn – or come up with other ways to retain new information.

“Hey Joe!” Podcast for Groomers Now Available on Spotify and Google

The team at Paragon’s “Hey Joe!” Podcast by Pet Professionals for Pet Professionals is pleased to announce that the popular show will now be available on Spotify and Google podcast platforms in addition to its current distribution to Apple, Stitcher and Tunein.

The podcast, introduced earlier this year, features Paragon’s VP, Joe Zuccarello and guest industry experts who examine trends, products, tips and techniques in the pet grooming, pet care and pet supplies industry.

Episodes cover a wide range of informative and entertaining topics, from interviews with grooming icons such as Victor Rosado to deep explorations of deep conditioning with Dave Campanella. Many episodes give practical ways to increase revenue in grooming salons or to improve health and endurance for groomers.

Prior to joining the Paragon team in 2018, Joe’s rich career spanned managing luxury pet resorts, bringing pet supplies products to market, and coaching a wide range of pet business entrepreneurs. Learn more about Joe.

He is a sought out International Speaker and author, providing management, operations, and sales guidance tailored specifically for the Pet Industry.

Check out “Hey Joe!” in our Resource Center, or Subscribe on your favorite platform using the links below.

Subscribe on Stitcher
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts
Subscribe on TuneIn
Subscribe on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify

Why Choose a Career As A Pet Groomer?

Pet Grooming By the Numbers:


  • According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, (BLS) the employment outlook for animal care and service workers is projected to grow 16 percent over the next decade – much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth along with high job turnover should result in very good job prospects.
  • The pet grooming and boarding market has virtually doubled in size over the last decade, from 4.56 Billion in 2009 to 8.38 Billion in 2019, according to Statista.
  • Today, 68% of US Households have a pet (85 M).
  • According to PetGroomer.com‘s annual survey, 64% of Groomers earn $30k to over $50k.

These trends make the potential for success in pet grooming highly likely when combined with a great education and opportunities for continued skill development. In pet grooming, once you have a happy customer, you’re likely to keep a happy customer for life. The more breed profiles you know, and the better your speed and technique, the more happy customers you’ll have, and the more profitable your solo or salon team will become. That’s why at Paragon, Education is Everything.

It’s About More Than Numbers:

Choosing a career in pet grooming is more than just the numbers, though. It’s about doing what you love AND earning a great living doing it. The best way to maximize your earning potential is to constantly challenge yourself and learning from others who’ve achieved top recognition. It’s also about having access to great business advice.

Many of our students and community members go into the field because they LOVE working with animals, and they love the independence a well-trained groomer can achieve. Read their Stories here.

How We Serve Groomers Throughout Their Careers:

The Paragon family of companies can teach absolute beginners to become professional groomers through its On-Campus and Online Dog Grooming courses, voted #1 Dog Grooming school by the Pet Groomer Industry Educator Awards. Our award-winning textbooks, Notes from the Grooming Table and The Theory of Five are invaluable reference materials that groomers will use throughout their careers. But our support of novice groomers doesn’t end there.

Learn2GroomDogs.com – Live Stream Learning On Tap

Through Learn2GroomDogs.com, Paragon encourages the continued professional development of any skill level, with more than a thousand instructional video episodes available to members. These videos feature tutorials by our Industry Training Partners who represent the very best in the industry. Many are GroomTeamUSA alumni, authors, and are in-demand on the workshop and seminar circuit. Membership includes access to business coaching advice to help you succeed. Learn2GroomDogs.com members also have the option of belonging to a closed Facebook group that is designed to help networking and problem-solving in your day-to-day work life. Fresh content is served up every week.

Explore membership in Learn2GroomDogs.com

We Exist For Your Success:

Our mission, whether through books, professional grooming courses, or streaming instructional videos and our community, is simple. We’re here to help YOU become the best, most successful groomer you can be.

Reach out to our specialists if you’d like to know more about the wonderful world of professional dog (and cat) grooming, or would like to learn how we can help you achieve your dreams.


    Questions? Comments? Contact Us!

    Get instant access to an advisor by supplying your mobile number

    Yes, send me special offers and updates.

    How to Give A Dog A Facelift

    In our salons, one of the most popular head styles is round. Especially when it comes to Doodles, mixed breeds of all sorts, lots of drop-coated breeds plus a few others.

    Did you know there is an easy way to make any dog look younger? More perky?

    And the best part – it’s SIMPLE!

    Shorten the ears and the muzzle.

    Long ears and muzzles drag a dog down, making them look older. It also detracts from a bright expression.

    Plus, all the excessive coat is a dirt magnet. It’s constantly getting dragged through their food and water dishes. Longer fur drags on the ground as they pick up all their ‘doggie messages.’ (that’s gross!) Unless it’s being washed almost daily, it gets dirty, stinky and oily. And the potential for mats and tangles is increased the longer the coat.

    How short do you go? That’s up to you and the owner.

    Whatever the look, it should complement the trim and the dog. It needs to balance with the overall haircut.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Well Groomed Debut Slated for Dec. 17th on HBO

    Save the date to check out this colorful documentary that chronicles a year in the visually stunning world of competitive and creative dog grooming. WELL GROOMED follows the lives of a group of creative groomers whose dedication to their art is “bold, imaginative and eye-opening.” Learn2GroomDogs.com Expert Angela Kumpe is one of the four co-stars of the film, and you might catch a glimpse of several “friends of Paragon” during filming in the competitive ring. After making the rounds at SXSW and several film festivals across North America, the film was picked up by HBO Sports for a debut Dec. 17th on all platforms.

    According to director Rebecca Stern, “The film explores a world where competition, art and animals combine in the most vivid color and is a perfect match for the HBO Sports ethos of innovative programming.”

    Here’s a sneak peak of the trailer used for SXSW:

    Accompanying a group of champion groomers and their gorgeous, vibrant dogs for one year on the technicolor competition circuit, WELL GROOMED effervescently explores creative grooming. From South Carolina to California, New York to Arkansas, the film follows the group from their homes to large-scale dog grooming competitions and showrooms where their communities meet, discuss, and compete with technicolor exuberance.
    Kudos to Angela and her crew for bringing a slice of groomer life to the American public!

    Melissa’s Tips: New Year’s Resolutions are Dreams with Deadlines

    Fuel a prosperous New Year and create a dream with a deadline! A recent study divided people who made New Year’s resolutions into two groups.

    • Those who made New Year’s resolutions and wrote it down.
    • Those who made a New Year’s resolution but neglected to write it down.

    You know what? The results were amazing. For the group that did not write down their New Year’s resolution, only 4% of them kept their resolution. However, for the people that wrote down the resolution, a whopping 44% of them had kept their New Year’s resolution.

    Increase Your Odds

    “You can’t hit a target you can’t see” says motivational speaker Brian Tracy. And he is so right. A dream is a wish. Most people don’t write down their wishes – Thus, most wishes don’t come true.

    Another one of his famous quotes is, “Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.”

    So have you made your New Year’s resolutions yet? Have you put pen to paper or your fingers to keyboard? If you’ll just take a few minutes and get your dreams down on paper, your odds for success are going to increase tenfold. Let’s get started!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Improve Your Speed for the Holiday Rush

    Clocking speed is an excellent exercise to help you and your team get ready for the holiday rush. Practice makes perfect, and speed is crucial for the holiday season. Check out Melissa Verplank’s advice on how to get up to speed!

    How To Improve Your Speed

    We once asked a salon owner about her biggest challenge. The answer was simple – speed.

    Most of her staff struggled to get even the simplest trims done in under an hour. That included bath, blow dry, and haircut. Even a basic #7F all trim on a smaller drop coated breed was daunting to some of them.

    We walked in and saw a well-organized salon. It was bright. It was clean. The layout allowed for efficiency. The equipment was all top-notch.  Hmmm, we wondered. Why was turning a small to mid-sized dog such a challenge for them?

    Then it hit us. There were hardly any clocks around. We only spotted one clock in the main room. It was a smaller digital wall clock set on military time. The owner of the salon was a career military gal who is now retired. I understand why she opted for that style of timekeeper, I’m just not so sure that style of timekeeping is the right one for a staff of non-military groomers.  Plus, when I was across the room, I could barely read it clearly. The clock was just too small!

    If you want to be a successful groomer who can pay your bills while bringing customers back again and again – you need to embrace time.

    • Watch the time.
    • Track the time.
    • Race against the time.

    Everything we do with professional pet grooming involves time. You need to be highly aware of every hour, minute, and second. Ideally, a professional groomer should be able to turn a small- to medium-sized simple trim in an hour or less. That includes the bath, the dry, and the trim.

    Time Chart for Improving Speed in Dog Grooming

    Click on the image to Download a FREE Time Chart

    The first thing we suggested to this team was: GET CLOCKS! Nothing fancy, they just needed to be large enough to be easily seen from across the room. The simpler, the better. Every room in the salon needed one hung on the wall. By having a clock in every room, it makes it easy for the groomers to track their own time with just a quick glance. But clocks aren’t enough. Every person working on the pets needs to have a watch on, too.

    For those individuals that are really looking to increase their speed, having a timer at their stations can be really beneficial. Before you can start timing yourself, it’s helpful to know what your starting point is.

    Break the groom down into sections:

    Bathing. Drying. Clipping the body. Trimming the feet. Rounding the feet. Scissoring the legs. Styling the head. If you don’t know how long it takes you to do each one of these items, you’ll never be able to improve upon your “best time.”

    And it’s far easier to break it down into segments than to look at the dog as a whole. After all, who doesn’t want the opportunity to win at even one or two smaller segments than to get frustrated when they don’t hit the time goal with the overall trim?

    Set Time Goals

    Once you know how long it takes you to do each segment, you can set goals and objectives to beat your “best time.” Push yourself. Make a game out of it. The clock will be your score-keeper. Each time you gain even a few seconds, you’ve won a mini victory!  But you’ll never be able to do that unless you can easily watch the clock. Even with all the clock watching, always remember, speed and efficiency can never come at the sacrifice of quality or safety.

    What are your time saving tricks? Jump over to the Learn2GroomDogs Facebook page and tell us.  You can even click here for a quick lesson in how to use the site.


    Happy trimming,

    Melissa’s Top 4 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays

    By now, busy salons are bracing for the holiday rush. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. Are you ready?

    This isn’t only your busiest season, it’s also the end of the year. It can make or break your earning goals. Will you finish off 2021 with a bang? Will your books be full for January and February of next year?

    I love this time year. It forces us to be on top of our game. To be organized. To be ready. To have our days planned. To keep our communications clear with fellow team members and our customers. To know our limitations.

    Most of us who are involved with the pet industry are here because of our passion. We simply love working with the pets. However, even the most passionate groomer can feel the pressures of holiday demands.

    If you are one of those professionals who feels the pressures of the Thanksgiving and Christmas crunch, take heart. Get in front of it now and review areas that could use some improvement in the salon.

    Here are My Top 4 Tips for Getting Through Your Day with Ease:

    #1. Mental Control

    Stay focused. Pay close attention to what you are doing at all times. You’re working with live animals and sharp instruments. Chatter between your coworkers and pets breaks your focus. You lose time and you make mistakes when you don’t stay focused on the pet.

    Always practice the three C’s; stay calm, stay cool, and stay collected. When you’re working with a pet you want to be friendly but aloof. You want to correct any undesirable action before it becomes a major problem. Frustration and anger have no place in a professional salon setting. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a break. Breath. Step back to the grooming table when you have regained your composure.

    Work methodically with all pets. Don’t get flustered. Set an even and steady pace when it comes to handling, bathing, drying, brushing, clipping, and scissoring. Set time goals for every step of the grooming process and strive to achieve them.

    #2. Invest in Yourself and Your Equipment

    What is the condition of your equipment? Are you working with top-quality equipment?

    It’s amazing how much time you can save when your equipment is in top condition. Or when you splurge on that new pair of blenders that cut like butter. Or you have a high-velocity dryer that has plenty of punch. Oh, and all of your shears and blades have sharp edges on them — correct? There’s nothing more frustrating than working with dull and ineffective equipment when crunch time is on. Right now you’re in crunch time.

    #3. Organization in the Salon

    Do you have a smooth process for client check-in and checkout? If you’re computerized, is it easy to pull up client records in a flash? If you’re still working with a card file, are all the records pulled the pets that are scheduled for that day?

    Most stylists in a salon setting find working in a minimum of three or four hour blocks of time can be highly advantageous to time management. The more you have to stop to check-in or checkout clients the more you lose your focus on the pet that is on the table. By working in blocks of time, you can check multiple pets in and out in tight windows of time when it comes to dealing with customers.

    Do you have a method to track all the collars and leads that accompany the pets? This is no time to be looking for that lost collar or lead! Do you have a bright assortment of those pre-made? Do you have festive bandannas cut and ready to go on the dog?

    #4 Mental & Nutritional Stamina

    When the rush is on, you need to be at your peak — mentally, physically and nutritionally.

    You’re not going to be at your peak if you’re not getting enough sleep. I know … I know. With all the demands between work, family and holiday festivities, slumber can be hard to come by. Normally, a professional groomer is so physically exhausted that when your head does hit the pillow — sleep comes easily. Just make sure you’re getting enough hours each night so you can perform at high levels the next day.

    With the holidays upon us, most salons find themselves overrun with holiday treats from their clients. Be careful with this one. Personally I learned the hard way you are not good to feel your best if you consume all those goodies all day long!

    I learned in my early 20s to pack healthy food options to keep me nourished all day long. I was mobile so in between every client by reward was to eat. If I had healthy options at my fingertips, it was easy to keep my energy level in high gear. In a salon setting, this might be a little bit more challenging. Still, eating healthy small amounts on a regular basis is the best way to keep you both mentally and physically content.

    Pack a nutritional lunch plus snacks. (You know your days are going to be long!) Or do a potluck between staff members. We’ve done this for years at the Paragon School of Pet Grooming with great success. The rule is: Healthy, quick food options only. No sweets. No desserts. Our clients do a great job with that. The potluck is set up so everybody can grab a quick bite in between dogs quickly and easily.

    If you’re not a cook – have a stack of local takeout menus available. If they deliver – BONUS!

    The holidays are a great time to really test your skills. We’ll find out quickly just how successful you are. If you have a full book and struggling to fit into just one more pet each day, you know you have arrived. Be thankful for creating a service that your customers desire. If you take care of them well — they’ll take care of you. That’s what successful customer service is all about!

    Happy trimming!


    If you need a brush up on any time management lessons, here are a few titles from Learn2GroomDogs.com that could help you.

    Create a Culture Employees Don’t Want to Leave

    If you’re a salon owner, do you struggle with keeping employees? Have you created a culture that employees don’t want to leave? Paragon VP Joe Zuccerello is a regular speaker on this topic, and shared his insights with Profit Network Members during a private session to launch the @The Dog Gurus Business Breakthrough Workshop. You can download free highlights of his talk at by entering your information below.

    Download Your FREE Employee Culture Highlights for Joe’s Talk!

      Sign up for periodic emails from Paragon to see the offer from this podcast, as well as other updates and announcements.

      Paragon’s Online Dog Grooming Program Welcomes Courtney Ramstack to Mentor Team

      Paragon People bring passion to the art of grooming instruction to help our students succeed. That’s why we’re delighted to welcome award-winning competitive groomer and instructor Courtney Ramstack, CMG, to our DLP Online Grooming Mentor team! Courtney has trained more than 150 students throughout the midwest, coaching them through grooming competitions and successful salon management. Her own rise from bather to industry-leader came through her strong sense of style, attention to detail and outstanding customer service. We’re delighted to have her on board!

      Read the rest of this entry »

      Plan Now for a Successful Holiday Dog Grooming Season!

      Yes, we know it’s still summer, but in a blink of an eye the leaves will turn, snow may fall (if you’re in the northern states) and the sweet jingle of the cash register will ring out across the land. Are you — or your salon — ready for the holiday rush? In this excerpt, CMG Melissa Verplank outlines tips and questions to ask yourself to ensure a smooth holiday season. If you need to hire help, train them now with Paragon’s Distance Learning program, and you’ll be set to ring in the New Year with record profits!


      Ten Tips & Questions to Help You Get Through the Dogs During the Holiday Season

      1. What are the pros and cons of working extra hours? Do you have enough staff to handle the volume?
      2. Should you take on new clients?
      3. Make sure all your regular clients have their holiday appointments BEFORE taking on new clients or ‘non- regulars.’
      4. Hiring extra help – is there something you can easily delegate with some basic training that would free you up to deal with clients?  Cleaning? Answering the phone?  Taking out the trash? (Or adding a bather/stylist who has completed level 1?)
      5. Have you worked out a system to maximize the types of pets you take per stylist?
      6. Work out a drop-off and pick-up schedule that allows you to stay focused on grooming pets.
      7. Stay calm, cool, and collected no matter what happens during the course of the day.
      8. Set realistic time goals that push you, but stay on target.  Use an egg timer if necessary or place a clock where you can’t miss it – no matter what.
      9. Use every speed trick in the book from prepping – to bathing – to drying – to trimming.
      10. When clients pick up their pet, are you offering a promotion to assist in re-booking 6 weeks down the road when it can traditionally be really slow?

      error: Content is protected !!