Animal Grooming

Learn to groom farm animals or pets for better animal health and wellbeing. Also useful for competitive and exhibition-level animals. 100-hour course, with extensive training in theory and practice of working as a groomer.

Course CodeBAG106
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

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Grooming is Booming!

People are increasingly considering their furry friends as family members – and they are happy to spend. Traditional pet care consisting of basic food and grooming expenses is a thing of the past… Pet owners now want premium and innovative products and services for their pets. With people spending more and more money on their pets, Pet Pampering is becoming the norm! 

Why Choose Our Course?

There has never been a better time to get into the animal grooming industry. Whether you wish to start your own business or gain employment as a groomer, this course is a great first step along that path.

This course is perfect for you as it:

  • Introduces grooming techniques for cats, dogs, small and large animals
  • Covers the use of common grooming equipment and tools
  • Teaches anatomy, skin and coat health
  • Advise how to start a business as a groomer, following easy practical business tips
  • Expands your confidence to work in the animal showing industry –either for work or as a hobby

All you require is a passion for animals and we’ll supply you with the knowledge and skills to get you started!

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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
    • Hair
    • Horns
    • Hooves
    • Physiological control – Homeostasis
    • Thermoregulation
  3. Caring for the Skin and Coat
    • Animal nutrition
    • General nutrition
    • Micronutrition
    • 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, blowdrying, dematting, 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
    • General considerations when handling animals
    • Pre-restraint techniques
    • Physical restraint
    • Medical restraint – sedation
    • Safely handling different animals when grooming: dogs, cats, cattle, poultry, rabbits, captive wildlife
    • 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
  5. Handling Animals
    • 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
    • General considerations when handling animals
    • Pre-restraint techniques
    • Physical restraint
    • Medical restraint – sedation
    • Safely handling different animals when grooming: dogs, cats, cattle, poultry, rabbits, captive wildlife
    • 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
    • Overheating
    • Water trapped in the ear canal
  7. Grooming Exotic Animals
    • Grooming birds
    • Handling birds
    • Beaks
    • Feathers
    • Bathing birds
    • Grooming rabbits
    • Handling
    • Moulting
    • Transporting
    • 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
    • Transportation
    • 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

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the scope and nature of grooming animals, including the animals that are commonly groomed, the situations in which they are groomed, equipment that is used and the tasks carried out by a groomer.
  • Describe external anatomical structures and physiological processes of animals which are relevant to grooming.
  • Describe how to manage the coats of different types of animals.
  • Discuss tasks used in grooming animals that are supplementary to grooming the coat.
  • Describe a range of techniques used to control a variety of different types of animals during grooming.
  • Compare grooming techniques used for different types of dogs.
  • Describe a range of techniques used to groom a variety of different types of animals other than dogs.
  • Determine protocols for safety of both animals and groomers, when grooming different types of animals
  • Explain how to groom dogs, cats, horses and a variety of other animals for a show.
  • Explain how to establish or improve a grooming business to be more successful.

What You Will Do

  • Access the internet and find an organisation which cares for animals other than companion animals. Investigate the role of animal groomers in caring for the animals in their facility.
  • Go to a local pet shop, feed store, livestock equipment stockist or wholesaler and view the range of grooming equipment for sale. You should take photographs of any equipment you view.
  • Watch a number dogs being clipped – coat trimming. You may watch these in person at a grooming facility or you may opt to watch these online if attending a grooming salon is not possible. You should make notes on how the dogs are handled, communicated with and treated by the professional groomer.
  • Attend a show and observe animals being groomed, ahead of judging. If you cannot attend a show in person, search the internet and watch videos of animals being groomed for competition at shows.
  • You should go through the process of bathing an animal you have access to. After bathing you are expected to dry the animal in an appropriate way for that particular animal. Once dried you should undertake further grooming actions suitable for the animal e.g. ear cleaning, cleaning out the hooves, sponge cleaning the eyes etc. (whatever is relevant to the animal).



There are many variables when working with animals that can pose problems and make it more difficult to perform grooming such as different dog temperaments can make it difficult to control and can be dangerous to use sharp scissors and clippers around. There are some common problems that can arise that you should take care to avoid.

Cutting toenails too short

Dogs’ nails have a quick - which is a blood vessel inside the nail. This is the part you need to cut close to, without actually cutting it. If you cut the quick the nail will bleed and be painful for the dog. You should use a good quality set of nail clippers and have styptic powder on hand to apply if the nails are cut too short. It is usually quiet easy to see where the quick is and avoid cutting it in clear canine nails but difficulties arise when dogs have black nails. With black nails look for the hook which is the hollow end of the nail that curves down and clip that off. Don’t clip much shorter than that because it’s hard to tell where the quick is. Finally finish by filing the sharp nail with an emery board, make sure you hold the nail still while doing this.

Cuts or nicks when clipping

Even the most experienced dog groomers are not immune to accidents, cuts or nicks can happen especially if the dog is moving a lot and is hard to handle. It is important to have a good understanding of dog behaviour and how to properly handle or restrain a dog. It may be a good idea to use two people to restrain some dogs. Cuts and nicks can also frequently happen to female dogs that have had puppies as their nipples stick out a lot lower than normal and can be cut. It’s therefore a good idea to run your hand under the dog’s stomach and feel where the nipples are and if they stick out more than normal. Always keep first aid on hand if an accidental cut or nick does happen.


If a dog is left under a drier for too long they can overheat, or die. If a dog seems sleepy after grooming it may be a sign that they are overheating and dehydrated. Make sure you do not dry a dog for longer than needed and check it regularly. If you suspect a dog is overheating or dehydrated, stop drying it immediately and offer it some water to rehydrate, consult a veterinarian if its condition deteriorates. 

Water in dogs ear canals

If a dog is shaking its head more than usual this may be a sign that they have water in their ear canal. Water trapped in the ear canal creates and ideal breeding ground for bacteria and fungus, which can often lead to redness, swelling, pain and infection. Dog breeds with ear flaps are more susceptible i.e. Cocker spaniel and Sharpei, as the folding down ear flaps do not allow air flow in the ears and trap in the moisture.  It is therefore important you do not squirt dogs ears directly with water flow and perhaps take a precaution to clean areas around the ears and eyes with clean cloth not high pressure water. Also make sure you thoroughly dry the dog, checking its ears especially.

Where can this course lead?

  • Start your own Animal Grooming business
  • Work as an Animal Groomer, Specialist Groomer
  • Prepare animals for shows
  • Work with domesticated pets, exotic animals, farm animals
  • Animal caretaker
  • Veterinarian assistant
  • Veterinary technician
  • Animal boarding houses
  • Pet stores

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Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Di
Alison Pearce

Alison brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to ACS students. She has worked as a University Lecturer, has also run a veterinary operating theatre; responsible for animal anaesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniqu
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