Grooming Animals

 Learn to Groom Animals

  • All types of animals
  • Start anytime, study at your own pace


Course Structure

  1. Scope and Nature of Grooming
            Introduction to grooming behaviour
            Why do humans groom animals?
            What animals are groomed?
            Generic grooming tasks
            Common tools and equipment
            Combs, brushes, rakes, blades and other equipment
            Confidently handling animals Introduction
            The industry and workplace opportunities
            Workplace skills
            Accessing the right information online
  2. Animal Biology
            Skin – Epidermis & Dermis
            Claws, Nails and Spurs
            Physiological control – Homeostasis
  3. Caring for the Skin and Coat
            Animal nutrition
            General nutrition
            Water requirements
            Common skin problems in dogs and cats
            Ringworm – fungal infection
            Flea and flea control
            Ticks and tick control
            Lice and control
            Mites (mange) and control
            Treating skins problems in dogs and cats
            Common skin problems in equines
            Caring for the coat – brushing, bathing, blow-drying, de-matting, clipping, trimming
            Removing burrs from fur
            Caring for cats – combing, brushing and bathing
  4. Specialised Grooming Tasks
            Risks of working with animals
            Selecting a suitable grooming location
            Understanding animal psychology and behaviour
            The flight or fight response
            Environmental Influence on behaviour in zoo animals       
  5. Handling Animals
            General considerations when handling animals
            Pre-restraint techniques
            Physical restraint
            Medical restraint – sedation
            Safely handling different animals when grooming: dogs, cats, cattle, poultry, rabbits, etc
            Handling Horses: Safe and Respectful
            Catching, releasing, leading, tying up and working around the horse
            Indicators of pain, mild fear and extreme fear
            Transporting horses
  6. Grooming Dogs
            Communication in dogs
            Use of scent
            Barking & body language
            Grooming different types of dogs
            Long Coat types
            short coat types
            single coat types
            Double coat types
            Smooth coat types
            Wire haired coat types
            Woolly or wavy coat types
            Corded coat types
            Bald or hairless coat types
            Brushing and bathing care
            Clipping and styling
            Grooming procedures that can go wrong
            Cutting toenails too short
            Cuts or nicks when clipping
            Water trapped in the ear canal
  7. Grooming Exotic Animals
            Grooming birds
            Handling birds
            Bathing birds
            Grooming rabbits
            Grooming captive wildlife
            Bathing small and large mammals
            Handling large animals and exotics
            Dangerous animals
            Fear of humans
            Issues with handling animals
            Psychological effects of different handling techniques
            Grooming areas
  8. Safety in Grooming Workplace
            Safety for people and staff – workplace health and safety
            First aid
            Legislation and duty of care
            Safety of animal owners and visitors to the premises
            Protective equipment
            A groomer’s personal protection
            Equipment and workplace safety
            Storage and disposal of chemicals
            Handling Tools and Machinery
            Safety with tools and equipment
            Safety audit
            Example of an audit checklist
            Safety for animals and people
            Safety of the animal at the salon
            Electrical safety – at home and the groomers
            Slip risk – wet surfaces
            Cat and dog allergies
  9. Preparing for Showing
            What is animal showing?
            Why do people show pets?
            Showing dogs
            Training your show puppy
            Preparing for show – dogs
            Days and evening before the show
            The day of the show and in the ring
            Showing – dress to impress
            Showing poultry
            Getting started – selecting your breed and buying your birds
            Preparing birds for show
            The day before the show
            The day of the show
            Showing cattle
            Preparing cattle for show
            In the show ring on the day
  10. The Business of Grooming Planning a new grooming business
            The business plan
            Financial planning
            Long term goals
            Medium term goals
            Annual financial plan
            Financial records
            Commonly used finance related terminology
            Cash flow
            Make the business a success – know your market
            Insurance and risks – risk analysis and managing risk
            Groomers insurance


Course duration is around 100 nominal hours.


Grooming is for More than just Dogs

Grooming is necessary for health and wellbeing of animals, just as much as it is for appearance. Animals in the wild will often groom themselves, to stay clean and healthy; and when kept as pets, farm animals, or zoo animals; it is important to ensure they are groomed in whatever way is relevant to the type of animal in question.


How Can Large Zoo Animals be Groomed?

 In zoos or wildlife parks it is normally the animal keepers responsibility to groom (or bathe) the animals they are trained to work with. Large animals will have a routine which they are used to. Working through a routine aids the animal to feel calm and understand what is going to happen around it. Once the grooming routine has been followed a number of times, the animal is more likely to be understand that there is nothing to be afraid of and it will gradually become more receptive to the grooming.

A nice example of large mammal grooming is bathing elephants. In the wild elephants like to wallow in water holes and will enjoy having ‘mud baths’. The purpose of a mud bath is to help cool the elephant and as such they are critical to the elephant’s survival the often harsh heat. As the mud dries the moisture slowly evaporates from the skin’s surface, the temperature of the animal is kept lower (similar to the way the evaporation of sweat from the human skin is designed to keep reduce our temperatures). The mud layer over the skin surface of the elephant is also designed to reduce direct UV rays from damaging or burning the skin surface.   

In the wildlife park under enrichment guidelines, the elephants may be lucky enough to have artificial (man-made) watering hole to allow them to carry out this natural grooming behaviour and will be able to wallow. Elephants are particularly playful and will enjoy passing time by slipping and sliding around in muddy water. This activity also helps reduce the weight bearing from the joints and limbs which may give the elephants some relief.

The keepers need to be able to wash elephants at times though and the process is pretty simple. The elephants are trained to line up or stand quietly whilst being initially being hosed off. The water should not be hot or cold. Tepid or room temperature water is usually best. Once the elephants are hosed and large dirt debris cleaned away from the skins surface, smaller dirt particles can also be removed by brushing the elephant with a long handle brush. Some obedient and well trained elephants can be instructed to lie down on their side whilst you brush them. The brush should be soapy from gentle washing detergent which makes an excellent product to use. There will be tremendous amounts of water from bathing an elephant so care is needed to ensure you select the right place to carry out the task to avoid mud and slipping. Some drains in the ground are very useful.

Once the skin has been brushed the feet and nails should also be washed thoroughly with a hard brush. This is a great opportunity for the keeper to check the animal for cuts or similar.  


Why do we need to Groom?

The study of animal grooming deliberates and provides techniques on how to correctly groom an animal.  A course in animal grooming should not only consist of grooming techniques, but also factors on animal biology, grooming and restraining tools, animal handling and, of course, health and safety. 

It is important to have the availability of animal grooming courses so people can complete their dream of becoming a professional animal groomer, or perhaps wish to be involved in encouraging and teaching owners to understand the grooming requirements of their pets.  Grooming an animal is not simply on the list of animal husbandry duties just to make the animal look good, it is there because:

It benefits the animal's health
Ungroomed fur becomes matted which will be uncomfortable for the animal.  There could also be the presence of ectoparasites which go unseen, causing sores and infection, and furthermore the risk of disease.

It supports animal welfare
An ungroomed, matted animal becomes a welfare concern due to neglect as this is putting the health of the animal at risk.  By having pets groomed from a young will encourage the animal to become accustomed to being groomed, resulting in better welfare for that animal.

It is good animal husbandry
Grooming an animal is for similar reasons as we brush our hair, wash our hair, or clean our teeth!!  We need to look after ourselves, and when we own an animal it is our duty, as the owner, to ensure all husbandry and care is carried out.  

It builds human-animal bonding.
Grooming is one way for a person to bond with an animal.  When an owner grooms their pet, this is ultimately a bonding session between owner and pet.  


Do Cats need Grooming?

All cats need some grooming; but there are many different types of cat, and some need greater attention than others.

Short Haired Cats
Tools required:

  • Fine tooth comb, fine tooth flea comb
  • Short haired de-shedding tool
  • Bristle brush
  • Groom pad, or mitt

The technique for grooming short haired cats is to use the comb, or de-shedding tool, from the head down towards the tail, and in the direction of the hair growth.  If the cat allows it, the bristle brush can be used to perform upward sweeps from tail to tip to bring any loose hairs to the surface.  Cats do not appreciate this sensation and only some cats will tolerate this, so if the cat is not enjoying it then it must be stopped as the main aim is to groom with minimising of stress.  The pad, or mitt, can then be used to clear and remove any loosened hair.  

Long Haired cats
Tools required:

  • Wide toothed comb
  • Long haired de-shedding tool
  • Groom pad, or mitt

The best technique for long haired cats is to initially stimulate the hair at the roots with fingers, then use the comb, or de-shedding tool, brushing gently from head to tail, and in the direction of hair growth.  This must be done gently and carefully to ensure that the hair is not pulled, or any matts are caught in the comb.  If the cat is groomed frequently and adequately for its coat type then there should be very limited matts, if any.  Pay careful attention to the armpits and hind legs, as the hairs here can be prone to matting and the skin here is very thin and sensitive.  Between the toe pads are also prone to matting.  Try to avoid the use of scissors as this will involve pulling the matt tight causing pain, and it is very hazardous so near to the skin.  Try teasing the matt apart with fingers, and use a cat specific detangling spray 

If matting is severe, or will cause the cat too much stress to detangle, then it is probably best to use clippers.  If the cat is calm enough then this may be tried by a professional groomer, however, if the cat is stressed then he will most likely need to be sedated and this will need to be carried out at a veterinary practice.

Pet owners may use a professional groomer to clip or style long haired cats.  Using clippers, or scissors, for styling should be done extremely carefully, if done at all.  The cats should never be under stress and should never be cut to close to the skin.  Professional groomers should have completed specific grooming courses, and have appropriate experience, to ensure they understand the feline species and techniques which can be used. 


Who can benefit from studying animal grooming?

Anyone with a love and care for animals can benefit from  a course in animal grooming.  You may be an owner wishing to know more about how to care for your animals, or perhaps someone who is looking to change their passion into their career.

Professional people who work within the animal care industry may require CPD (Continued Professional Development) and wish to direct their career path towards grooming.  

How to Build a Business or Career in Grooming?

As it is quite a specific subject, there are not masses of courses available and courses tend to be short in duration.  This course provides good theoretical knowledge which is a solid starting point.  Once you have that foundation, you are going to learn the practical aspects of grooming so much easier, faster, and more thoroughly.

Some graduates will continue to learn by finding employment, within the animal or pet industry (eg. paid employment or volunteering - perhaps a dog kennel, animal shelter, pet shop, etc). Getting involved with a dog show, horse show, or other such events may allow you to see different animals getting groomed and perhaps start to get some hands on practice. Working in a veterinary surgery, a zoo, or on a farm may also provide opportunities to develop your hands on skills.

Few countries regulate animal grooming to any great degree; though animal health and welfare laws do exist; and it is important to understand and comply with such laws.

There may be no legal requirements to start up a business grooming dogs or other animals. You may not be required to register your business or join any organization; but to be successful in a grooming business you do need to follow the law, understand how to groom, and also have a capacity to run a business.


Our staff can help you with all of these things.

Before going any further - talk to us.

Advice is free -and from our animal husbandry specialists, it can make a big difference to your career prospects. 

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Fee Information (S1)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $768.90  1 x $699.00
B 2 x $415.80  2 x $378.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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