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Gain valuable knowledge and hands-on experience tailored to your needs in dog grooming and cat grooming through one-on-one training from award-winning, certified groomers. Great both for beginners and those looking to brush up on their skills. Read on to see if our apprenticeship training program and certification is right for you.

Grooming Apprenticeship Overview

The program includes about 40 hours of coursework (book work) which goes over everything from different breeds and what makes them special/different to parasites, safety, grooming and many other grooming-related topics. 

The bulk of the training is hands-on, and apprentices are required to successfully finish 150 dog grooms in order to finish the program. Four practical tests must also be passed in order to receive a certificate of completion. 

Southwest Fort Wayne Dog Groomers Pet Stylists Pet Grooming Smoochie Pooch Time Corners Poodle Grooming
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Grooming Apprenticeship Time Frame

Apprenticeships typically take 4-6 months to complete and are tailored to each participant to help them find a job in the grooming industry. The length of the apprenticeship depends on multiple factors including the apprentice’s ability to learn, their confidence in handling animals, and how many days a week the apprentice is available for training. 

Note: While Smoochie Pooch may extend a job offer to graduates of the apprentice program, completion of the course does not guarantee a job. There is, however, a great need for groomers, and Smoochie Pooch is well known in the industry for cultivating well-trained groomers.

Training Program Availability

In order to ensure safety and close supervision, we only provide apprenticeships for one trainee at a time. If we do not currently have an opening, we can put you on the waitlist and notify you when a spot becomes available.

Fill out this application form and attach your resume to inquire about our program and availability.

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Our Facilities

Our state-of-the-art grooming salons contain spaces for bathing, drying and grooming pets along with a front lobby with retail space. Each salon contains modern grooming equipment for aspiring professionals to learn in a clean and safe environment. 

What We Teach

Our program is designed to make you a well-rounded grooming professional. Every trainee receives personal attention to develop a high standard of skill, address weaknesses and build strengths in pet grooming and styling. Through the program, apprentices become masters at identifying different breeds, understanding the unique requirements of pets and handling pets safely. 

Dog grooming is the primary focus. While we do discuss cats during training, apprentices will not be handling cats as they require more experience and training to be safely handled in a grooming setting. 

Learn and improve upon the following skills:

  • Bathing and cleaning
  • Drying techniques
  • Brushing and combing coats
  • Nail clipping and filing
  • Ear cleaning and drying techniques
  • Teeth brushing
  • De-shedding and de-matting
  • Scissor and clipper finishing techniques
  • Proper pattern setting for different breeds
  • Creative pet styling
  • Identifying infestations and infections
  • Checking a pet’s skin condition
  • Understanding customer expectations
  • Grooming business operations
  • Maintaining speed and efficiency
  • and more!
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Grow Your Career

Pet grooming is a booming industry, and the demand for qualified pet groomers far exceeds talent in the field. We help every apprentice to develop an edge against other pet groomers.

Our goal is to help you stand out from other professionals in the field through our expert supervision. With the right mindset and dedication to the craft, you can transform from a Pet Stylist into a Master Groomer who competes at national or international events.

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to spend extended periods of time standing
  • Ability to remain mentally alert
  • Good dexterity with arms and hands
  • Ability to lift up to 40 pounds comfortably

NoteAll applicants must show a genuine affection and concern for animals. Pet care experience is helpful but not required.

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Required Tools

Students must supply their own tools. Tool kits can run anywhere from $900-$2000, but most will be about $1400. Apprentices do not have to have it all right away or at one time, but they will need the tools by roughly the two-month mark. 

Required tools: Two-speed professional clipper with #10 blade, #40 blade, #30 blade, #15 blade, #7F blade, #5F blade, #4F blade, attach-on guard comb kit, combination comb, medium slicker brush, rubber curry, ear protection, thinning shears, small detail shears, straight shears, curved shears, hemostats, large nail trimmer, blade coolant, ear powder, ear cleaner, spray disinfectant, kennel lead and loop, grooming mask

Note: All shampoos and specialty grooming products are available in-house. Not sure what all of these tools are or where to find them? We can help!

Commitment Requirements

  • Apprentices must agree to the same guidelines as employees (i.e. communicating if sick, always have a professional appearance, have a team player attitude, etc.)
  • Apprentices must commit to at least three days a week. The more days committed each week, the quicker graduation will happen. 
  • All vacations and time off requests (excluding emergencies) need to be communicated in advance. 
  • Apprentices must uphold Smoochie Pooch company values, as they’ll work directly with our clients’ pets. Our seasoned team members also must uphold that same respect to the apprentices. 
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Career Opportunities for Pet Stylists and Groomers​

Pet stylists and groomers have found virtually endless career opportunities. The U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics expects strong growth for the grooming industry and healthy job creation for at least the next five years. Groomers can earn at the level of the national average (commensurate to experience). Sought-after creative groomers preparing animals for competitions, film, TV and social media can expect higher pay.

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Those looking for groomers include: 

  • Grooming salons
  • Animal shelters
  • Boarding kennels
  • Pet stores
  • Veterinarians
  • Animal hospitals
  • K9 units
  • Support animal groups