ABC Grooming Instruction Program Canadian Student of the Month– March 2014
Sharon Joanisse lives in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada, where she works as a registered massage therapist, school bus driver, pet/house sitter, dog trainer and also does some grooming part time. She found Animal Behavior College while searching for an Obedience Training program. She completed ABC’s Certified Dog Training program before enrolling in its Grooming Instruction Program. One of Sharon’s favorite parts of the program is that the first portion is distance learning. She loves being able to work at her own pace.
What prompted you to become a pet groomer? Was there a specific event, circumstance or person who inspired you to pursue this career?
Falling into grooming was much the same as falling into training. I have three dogs at the moment and around the time I got my second Aussie, I realized there was a lot I did not know. I set off to learn as much as I could about training specifics that related to us, and also about grooming. Two years ago, I got my third Aussie and once again found out just how much I didn’t know. With him came my introduction to the conformation ring, and a whole new world of grooming and care. At my first show, I looked around and saw that most of the people around me were groomers and they were my inspiration.
Describe a humorous moment you witnessed or took part in while working at your externship location.
Dogs are always surprising us, whether it’s their silly behavior on the table or their happy howling when they see their family and get excited. A few weeks ago, we took in our Aussie to be groomed. He wiggled and yodeled and was just an adorable “goofball.”
What one thing stands out for you in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program?
Working within a dog’s limits, and working with my client’s desires is something that stands out for me in terms of knowledge and/or skills acquired from the program. Often, clients come in and have an idea of what they want but that idea is not always workable. I have found that this program has taught me how to [have a]dialogue with these clients and find a happy medium for them.
Have you started working professionally as a groomer yet? If yes, where? And are you working full- or part-time?
A year ago, I opened a second business, Heeling NRG (Sanctuary Massage Therapy) and made allowances for grooming to be a part of it. In January of this year, I began offering grooming to my clients, and am now seeing two to four clients per week.
What grooming skill(s) or technique(s) do you want to master during the next 12 months?
I hope to master scissor cuts, and breed-specific grooming for the show ring. My mentor trainer at my externship was a poodle breeder for more than 40 years and she has had me grooming her poodles and grills me hard on them. I love it!