It's a Dirty Job, But Somebody Has to do it. Is it You?
Jodi Murphy "Dog Grooming Simplified" Becomes Video Series

Knowledge Plus Confidence Equals Success

Certification is a great thing. Even though certification is not mandatory I have certified with two organizations.

The first time I went through certification testing I was a fairly new groomer with only two years under my belt. I certified with ISCC which took me two years to complete at my own pace receiving my Master Pet Stylist status (MPS). I gained so much knowledge from the program that it just made me so eager to learn more. Then I certified with NDGAA at Intergroom 2009. I took all my written tests, practical tests as well as my Master written test in one weekend. It was grueling but it was well worth it. I am now a National Certified Master Groomer (NCMG) as well.

I know what you’re thinking, why do it again? Why? Well, it’s just another feather in my cap. I like feathers! I look at it as a personal achievement. Certification testing forces you to read the breed standards. That is such an important part of our jobs as Pet Stylists. I decided to certify with NDGAA just about a month before. Intergroom is practically in my backyard which was the incentive for me to do the testing. It was convenient for me to bring my dogs or my client’s dogs to the show to certify on.

I began to study. I started going through the AKC Complete Dog Book. I found myself reading every day. I was discovering so many things that I had forgotten as well as things I did not even know about the breeds.

I started comparing one terrier to the other, one sporting dog to the other, one hound to the other…..I was amazed at what I was learning. The AKC book describes the dog, it’s history, utility, structure, coat types, lengths, colors etc. I am so glad that I decided to certify again. It was not only a great refresher but also another learning experience.

It is so important to be able to identify every breed and to know what group they belong to. How many times do your clients ask you about puppies? What should I buy? What dogs are good with kids? What dogs are good watchdogs but yet are great family pets? What’s the difference between a beagle and a foxhound or a Miniature Schnauzer and a Standard Schnauzer? Knowing your breeds and temperaments is a great thing to bring to your clients.

Terriers may be good for one family and not for another. Herding breeds, hounds, working dogs are all great breeds but knowing the utility of the breed will help you guide your clients to a breed that will fit into their lifestyle.


Known for centuries along Portugal's coast, this seafaring breed was prized by fishermen for a spirited, yet obedient nature, and a robust, medium build that allowed for a full day's work in and out of the water. The Portuguese Water Dog, referred to as the Cao de Agua (dog of water), in its native Portugal, is a swimmer and diver of exceptional ability and stamina, who aided his master at sea by retrieving broken nets, herding schools of fish, and carrying messages between boats and to shore. He is a loyal companion and alert guard.

This highly intelligent utilitarian breed is distinguished by two coat types, either curly or wavy; an impressive head of considerable breadth and well proportioned mass; a ruggedly built, well-knit body; and a powerful, thickly based tail, carried gallantly or used purposefully as a rudder. The Portuguese Water Dog provides an indelible impression of strength, spirit, and soundness.

An athletic, active breed, the Portuguese Water Dog requires daily vigorous exercise. He is very intelligent and responds well to obedience training. His profuse coat is hypoallergenic, but requires regular maintenance. It may be kept in the lion clip (the coat on the hindquarters and muzzle are clipped to the skin) or the retriever clip (the entire coat is clipped to one inch in length and follows the outline of the dog).

In 2009 I was thinking... Is a Portuguese Water Dog a good fit for the Whitehouse? What do you think? I would like to hear everyone’s opinions. Bo is a beautiful dog. I love this breed and have competed with the PWD for several years. I can only hope that the demand that will be made on this breed from pet owners will not hurt the breeds temperament.


Did you know that Boston Terriers come in two sizes and do you know which dog is known for it’s spectacles? How about which breed is known to be the clown dog? Do you know which breed has bat ears or the breed that has butterfly ears?

If you have ever thought about certification….do it! It will bring you so much knowledge. My motto is Knowledge Leads To Confidence, Confidence Leads To Success. This is what certification is all about. The more knowledge and confidence that you display to your clients, the more they will respect you and look up to you as their pet care professional.

I have always been so eager to learn and know everything that I can possibly know about in this industry. I never want to stop learning. When I stop learning I should stop grooming dogs.

If you decide not to certify for personal reasons, do yourself a favor and read the AKC Complete Dog Book and my own book Dog Grooming Simplified from cover to cover. This is your profession. Be the best you can be.

When I teach I keep the breed standards in mind. My instructional series in conjunction with these books are great learning tools.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.