Professional Dog Grooming Techniques For Beginners

March 29, 2023

If you’re evaluating dog grooming as a potential career move, then it’s likely that you’ve already got some experience in the basics of canine care, whether it’s for your own pet or those of friends and relatives.

While this natural experience gives you a starting point to work from, offering dog grooming services professionally requires knowledge of more advanced dog grooming techniques, many of which you can learn on specialist courses. Owners that are paying you good money will expect a high-quality, comprehensive service, with no areas left out and with a clear benefit to the dog’s appearance, health and happiness.

This guide covers all the key facts around professional dog grooming techniques, including all the most important areas of a dog and how to deal with them in turn.


Some dogs like being bathed a lot more than others. Equally, some dogs need regular bathing much more than others, depending on the type of fur or hair that they have, and whether they’ve been anywhere particularly muddy or dirty. Nonetheless, it’s a basic part of the grooming service that most owners will expect.

The best way to approach bathing is to make the experience as relaxing for the dog as possible, with the right water temperature and the removal of any noises or distractions that might make the dog agitated.

Nail trimming

This can be a particularly tricky area for beginners to get right because dogs tend to move around, meaning you’re often aiming at a moving target. However, it’s an important thing to get right so that a dog’s hygiene can be maintained, and so they don’t scratch people or objects too sharply.

If dogs have had their nails clipped from a very young age and are used to the process, then they will be far more amenable to it. But in any case, a softly-softly approach pays dividends. We recommend starting with a very small clip of one nail, followed by some positive words and a treat for the dog. As you repeat this process, the dog should feel more at ease with the trimmer.

Coat clipping

Getting coat clipping right is absolutely crucial. If you don’t take off enough fur (or take it off in the wrong places) then you’ll end up with a messy-looking dog and an unhappy owner. Take off too much, or use the clippers carelessly, and the dog can easily get hurt.

A few simple practices can reduce the risk in this area. Bathing beforehand gives the dog damp fur that’s easier to cut, and gently talking to the dog can help keep it calm. Take particular care around the face and ears, and consider buying low-noise clippers as some dogs get agitated by the sound of them.

Brushing and combing

Not every dog will need its hair brushing: those which have particularly short hair pretty much take care of themselves. But in most cases, brushing out dirt and knots is a key part of keeping dogs healthy. This should be done gently, and with the help of some scissors to cut out any problem areas that brushing can’t solve. Long-haired dogs may need brushing as much as once a week, whereas dogs with shorter, denser hair will need brushing less often.

Ears, teeth and eyes

These three areas are all particularly sensitive parts of a dog, and so have to be treated with the utmost care. Just like you might give tear-less shampoo to a child, the same applies to dogs, so that their eyes don’t become irritated. Brushing teeth should be done gently and slowly, so that its gums aren’t damaged and so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable with the process. And you should also keep an eye out for ear wax, which can especially build up in dogs with droopy ears.


It’s important not to cut corners on the equipment you use to groom dogs – better kit makes your job easier, can deliver better results, and can convince owners that it’s a job that you take seriously. Make sure that any sharp equipment like trimmers and clippers are cleaned, lubricated and resharpened regularly, for reasons of hygiene and performance. And don’t underestimate the value of keeping an area clean and tidy, and repreparing the grooming station between each dog.

Overall experience

If you’re going to attract repeat custom and groom the same dogs on a regular basis, then it’s vital that the dog feels comfortable with the whole experience. This means creating a relaxing environment that the dog won’t feel worried about entering, and taking care with each grooming session so that the dog learns that it’s a place they will enjoy being in. Achieving this will make the dog far more receptive to professional dog grooming techniques in the longer term.

Get dog grooming insurance with Protectivity

If you’re a beginner and still picking up professional dog grooming techniques, then it’s natural that you’re going to make some mistakes along the way. However, in the business world, mistakes can often lead to financial consequences, and so it’s vital you take steps to protect yourself from any financial loss.

It’s for this reason that we at Protectivity provide comprehensive dog grooming insurance, supporting newcomers and experienced groomers alike. Our cover includes Public Liability Insurance in case of injury or property damage; up to £100,000 of Care, Custody and Control cover in case of illness or injury to a dog, and up to £30,000 of cover for your specialist grooming equipment. That way, you can have the confidence that you can build your dog grooming career without an unfortunate incident leaving you out of pocket.

Find out more on our dog grooming insurance options, including our competitive rates and flexible payment plans, here.