Creative Dog Grooming – What is it and how to get started?
Creative grooming is dog grooming that deviates from breed profile grooms and commonly involves artificial colouring. Designs can be created with different colour dyes, extensions to the hair and carving. Some of the more extreme creative designs include turning your dog into another animal, or famous characters.
Creative grooming gives professional pet groomers a unique opportunity to be individual and customise their own and their client’s dogs. It has also become popular with pet owners everywhere with many groomers finding that creating a masterpiece of their clients is a fun and profitable service that adds a new and impressive stream of revenue for them.
Using safe and pet friendly products, grooms can be enhanced by adding personal touches to nearly any pet!
A Brief History
The first forms of creative styling date back to the 1960s and 70s during the Vietnam War era. Groups of free-spirited hippies were inspired by the introduction of tie-dyed clothing, mohawk haircuts and brightly coloured hair dyes. Their displays then extended to dressing and painting their dogs, and even sometimes cats! The dogs were given mohawk hair-dos, spiked hair, wigs and dyed hair.
The first national grooming contest was held in Atlanta, GA, in 1973. Then in 1980, the creative stylist contest was born and has continued to grow since then. There are now multiple competitions held throughout the world for dog groomers to showcase their creative talent. A popular UK competition is the British Creative Dog Grooming Championships.
You can find out more about Creative Grooming competitions here
Creative Grooming Tips for Beginners
If you don’t currently offer creative grooming, the good news is, it is not very difficult to get started!
You may wish to attend a creative seminar or class at a grooming show, a more hands-on workshop or even private lessons with a creative pet stylist. There are also some home learning courses available including this one by Creative Dog Grooming UK.
There are also many wonderful books and videos that are filled with step-by-step instructions on application, products and techniques.
Some books to have a look at – Beginner to Winner and The Ultimate Guide to Salon Creative.
There are two associations who offer lots of great information and an opportunity to connect with other stylists – The Creative Groomers Association (CGA) and National Association of Professional Creative Groomers (NAPCG)
Once you have spent time educating yourself on the basics, techniques and products – then it’s time to give it a go! Try to choose dogs who enjoy the process and are used to being groomed/pampered, otherwise you are likely to end up with more colour on you than the dog!
In terms of products, temporary colour is the best thing to start with for beginners. Blow pens are also appropriate for beginners and they wash out with water, making them perfect for practising. Make sure you are only using products that are specifically labelled for use on pets.
Protecting your equipment is also something to consider when experimenting with creative grooming – always try to keep a table top cover that you only use when you are going to dye a dog. You should also consider wearing disposable gloves, aprons and use towels you don’t mind getting colour on.
Once you have practised with temporary colours, you are then ready for the next level of creative grooming, semi-permanent and permanent colours! We recommend Opawz and Crazy Liberty products which are both professional and safe to use on dogs.
Let’s get creative!