With dogs increasingly becoming an inseparable part of many families, they too are groomed for special occasions like marriages, birthdays, parties and for general hygiene purposes. Here's where a dog groomer steps in. Gauri Keskar, co-owner of Tailwaggers Pet Salon - a dog grooming salon says, "This profession is for those who are not scared of handling dogs and have a passion for them." However mere completion of a course in dog grooming from abroad and procurement of a certificate does not ensure a smooth entry into this occupation. Validating this Keskar's business partner Urmila Dabholkar says, "The services imparted here should be according to the Indian climatic conditions." Different dogs have different needs and the groomer needs to keep that in mind.
In order to be a good dog groomer, it is essential to undergo training so as to gain hands-on experience. Confirming this Keskar states, "Whether or not one possesses a relevant qualification is immaterial. It is a good idea to learn from a veterinarian or train at an NGO (non-government organisation) and acquire sufficient experience before starting off."
Some of the services provided at a dog grooming salon are shampooing, blow-drying, teeth brushing, tick-and-flea-control treatment, hair cutting and nail cutting. Certain luxury services like aromatherapy and oil massages are also provided. Most equipment required for the functioning of a pet salon need to be sourced from abroad, however those needed for cosmetic purposes like shampoos and lotions are available in India.
It is important for the groomer to know how to deal with pets and their mood swings. Unlike humans, dogs won't follow instructions at once. The groomer needs to keep that in mind. There is also the occupational hazard of getting bitten.
Once in this profession, it is patience and diligence that pays. Dabholkar ratifies, "One must be prepared to work very hard and be passionate about dogs. It is a no-frills attached profession. Once you are in it, it will take at least two to three years to settle fully."
As a career
"When I had started nearly ten years back, the concept of a dog salon was unheard of. People were amused by the idea," reminisces Keskar. "But things have changed now. Public response has been excellent." The average amount one gets paid for a service ranges from Rs 900 to Rs 2500. After obtaining substantial experience, the enterprising ones can also venture into owning a pet shop or dog training centre. Tailwaggers Pet Salon attends to nearly 20 dogs a day.
Surge in the number of dog breeds and increasing willingness of people to spend on their pets have given this profession a major fillip.
So next time there is a dog-show in town and you want to increase the odds of your pet's victory, it is time to summon the dog groomer.