Curriculum - Dog Grooming School

ABC’s Grooming Instruction Program is designed to offer each student the convenience and cost of a home-study program with the added benefit of working with a professional groomer in an actual grooming facility or mobile grooming environment.

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  • Written Curriculum

Our comprehensive curriculum consists of 11 stages that are designed to provide you with the tools needed to pursue a career in the grooming industry. The written portion of the grooming school curriculum includes more than 900 pages of study guides containing highly relevant and detailed information to prepare you to become a professional pet groomer.

  • Grooming Tools

In addition to the written materials, you will receive a plethora of grooming tools including clippers and blades, brushes and combs, shears, nail clippers and so much more! These items enable you to learn and become familiar with the tools of the trade.  Moreover, the grooming tools will be useful during your hands-on training and well into your career as a professional pet groomer.

The first stages of the curriculum give you a strong foundation and understanding of dog grooming and cat grooming along with the responsibilities you will encounter working in a grooming shop as a pet or dog groomer. Once your foundation has been established, you will be given the opportunity to work in an actual pet grooming setting. You will work closely with an ABC Mentor Groomer to gain real life experience as you move closer to launching your new animal career.

Study from the Privacy of Your Own Home
What makes ABC stand out from other professional groomer schools? When you choose to enroll in ABC's unique Grooming Program of study, you can keep your present job while completing your grooming training. The ABC Grooming Instruction Program brings the classroom to your living room and neighborhood, which means no added expenses will be incurred for housing at a distant grooming school and no time will be wasted with commuting back and forth to campus every day.

Flexible Hours
You can study around your current work or school schedule making this program a custom fit. With this flexibility, the normal completion time is 52 weeks.

Personal Program Manager
The first portion of the program is done in the privacy of your home; however, you will not be alone. An ABC Program Manager will be appointed to you upon enrollment and they will be with you every step of the way! They will be there to guide you through the program, counsel you, answer all your questions, and grade all your exams. Your personal Program Manager will contact you shortly after enrollment to get acquainted and welcome you into the program. At that time, you will be given the Program Manager's toll free number and email address for future interactions and assistance as you journey to become a professional groomer.

Curriculum Description by Stage
Here is a brief overview of the ABC Certified Groomer Training Curriculum

Stage 1 – INTRODUCTION TO GROOMING - 28 Days (2.00 Units)
This stage educates students on the introductory knowledge of the grooming industry. You will learn about the origination of grooming and how it has developed over the years. You will also learn about the anatomy of a dog and cat, including the proper movement of the joints, which will be prove to be beneficial when needing to groom areas that require you to move an animal’s leg, tail, etc. Included in this stage, you will find information on the breed groups and the common temperaments for each group. Additionally, this stage discusses ergonomics and ways in which to perform tasks without causing any strain or damage to your own joints and muscles.

Stage 2 – A GROOMER’S TOOLKIT - 21 Days (4.67 Units)
This stage is designed to introduce the student to the many types of grooming tools. These include: clippers and blades, brushes and combs, shedding aids and de-matting tools, shears, nail clippers, shampoos, conditioners and much more. Students will learn how to maintain their tools and what the benefits are for using each item. Whether or not every tool is used, it is critical for students to have a basic understanding of each tool and how to properly utilize it should they need to use it during their grooming career.

Stage 3 – HEALTH & SAFETY - 14 Days (4.67 Units)
In this stage, students are taught about the importance of how to maintain a safe work environment for themselves and other pets in the grooming shop. You will learn the fundamentals of animal restraint and handling. Additionally, as groomers are generally the first to notice any health problems with an animal, you will also be educated the common skin and medical disorders, how to identify them and how to report them to the pet’s owner.

Stage 4 – CAT GROOMING - 28 Days (6.67 Units)
In this stage, you will learn the fundamentals of cat grooming. A key factor that sets ABC’s Grooming Program apart from other grooming schools is our educational materials contain viable information on how to groom cats. You will learn the pertinent skills needed to become a cat groomer, including how to properly handle and restrain felines, bathing, brushing and drying techniques, dental care and clipping excess fur. With your cat grooming education, you will be able to set yourself apart from other groomers by offering feline services that many of your competitors won’t.

Stage 5 – DOG GROOMING DETAILS - 14 Days (2.00 Units)
In this stage, students learn how to conduct the preliminary steps in the grooming process. Your studies will range from nail trimming, ear cleaning, eye care and how to remove eye stains to cleaning wrinkles and dental care. You will also learn about finishing touches, such as how to create and apply bows and bandanas.

Stage 6 – BATHING, BRUSHING AND DRYING - 28 Days (6.00 Units)
This stage contains invaluable information on how to properly bath, brush and dry dogs based upon their coat type. Not all dogs have the same type of coat, so it is important that you learn about the different techniques and procedures for grooming dogs depending on their coat.

Two of the most common tools you will use in your career as a grooming professional are clippers and shears. This stage was designed to provide you with the essential knowledge on how to utilize and master them both. Clipper instruction includes how to properly hold clippers, clipping patterns, how to remove a dog’s coat and ideas for desensitizing a puppy or dog new to grooming. Scissoring skills you will become knowledgeable with consist of how to choose the right shear, how to hold your shears, basic scissoring skills and finishing techniques through the use of hand-scissoring.

This stage focuses on educating you on different body styles for dogs. Once you are knowledgeable of the different style of cuts for a dog’s head, stomach, legs, tail, etc., you will learn how to incorporate them all for specific breed cuts. You will be educated on how to complete grooming cuts for some of the most common breeds, including the Poodle, Shih-tzu, Yorkshire Terrier and Schnauzer.

This stage explores the business side of the grooming industry. Your education will consist of valuable information regarding starting your own grooming shop or mobile grooming business, including how to create a business plan, how to create a budget and how to successfully market your business using a variety of techniques. Additionally, this stage will provide you with the skills and information needed to work as an employee in the pet industry, including resume writing, job search skills and interviewing techniques.

Stage 10 - EXTERNSHIP - Up to 21 Weeks (3.33 Units)
Upon reaching Stage 10, you will have the unique opportunity to reinforce your studies by practicing what you have learned in a grooming facility. Unlike other programs that generally charge in excess of $8,000 for a hands-on program, we include this rewarding and educational experience at a fraction of the cost as an essential part of the ABC learning experience. We believe that a hands-on component will provide each student with a better understanding and working knowledge of what is expected of a groomer in the working world. 

As a student, you will be evaluated on your aptitude for performing the tasks expected of a professional groomer. This stage allows you the opportunity to put what you have learned into practice. The externship consists of a minimum of 100 hours of unpaid work experience which combines grooming basics with mastery skills while assisting a professional groomer with their four-legged clients.

Pet CPR and First Aid Certification
Being a professional in any animal care profession is accompanied by the responsibility of being able to react calmly and safely in the event of an emergency. Did you know that 90% of dogs and cats will experience some kind of medical emergency in their lifetime? Statistics show that preventable accidents are a leading cause of death among household pets. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four additional animals could be saved if just one Pet First-Aid technique was applied prior to the animal receiving professional veterinary care. Animal Behavior College’s Pet First Aid and CPR Certification will give you the knowledge needed to respond safely and effectively to medical emergencies like choking, heat stroke, bleeding injuries and poisonous bites from insects and snakes. You will also learn how to artificially keep a pet’s heart and lungs working until you can seek veterinary help, along with many other vital lifesaving skills. By learning what can happen to your pet and how to respond appropriately, you may prevent many emergencies from ever happening and thereby help ensure the safety of not only your own pets, but any pets in your care.

Stage 11 – FINAL EXAM & GRADUATION - 14 Days (3.33 Units)
The Final Exam is given once your course work and externship have been successfully completed. You will review all of the material presented in the previous stages to prepare for the final. This review time is allotted for you to re-read and study the various concepts that have been taught. The Final Exam is designed to test your overall knowledge of skills required to become a professional groomer and will cover all areas of the curriculum.


Short Term Programs
ABC is also proud to provide Short Term Programs to students and graduates of our Grooming Instruction Program. ABC’s vastly informative programs were created due to our ongoing efforts to ensure that our students receive the most comprehensive and well-rounded education possible well after graduation. Each course is jam-packed with remarkably valuable, up-to-date and relevant information that enhances the student’s knowledge in the animal industry. These courses are available for purchase at the time of enrollment, during the program, and at graduation.

Training Shelter Dogs
(available for Dog Obedience Instructor program students and alumni only, or students with sufficient previous dog training education)
As an ABC Certified Dog Trainer, you will frequently encounter dogs temporarily residing in shelters and rescues due to owner relinquishment. This devastating situation calls for immediate attention, and for that reason, ABC has created a greatly informative Short Term Program that assists our alumni in helping homeless dogs become more adoptable. This Short Term Program consists of 250+ pages of material authored by Teoti Anderson, former president of the APDT, with contributions from Kelly Gorman-Dunbar and numerous ABC staff members. The information provided covers everything from understanding the different kinds of shelters and how to approach them, to identifying dogs for adoption and defensive handling, to temperament assessments, including some excellent information from the ASPCA MYM Safer Program. Furthermore, Training Shelter Dogs is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

Upon completion of this course, you will have a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the training and treatment of shelter dogs everywhere with specific attention to re-homing.

The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons
(available for Dog Obedience Instructor program students and alumni only, or students with sufficient previous dog training education)
Understanding how to expertly perform private dog training sessions is a crucial component of every professional dog trainer’s career. There are several reasons why learning how to offer quality private lessons is greatly beneficial to your training repertoire. Some clients are better served by one-on-one, personalized training rather than a group class atmosphere—perhaps the client’s schedule is especially hectic, her puppy is not of age to attend group classes or her older dog’s shyness renders him uncomfortable when forced to interact with other dogs. Regardless of the particular client’s reason, there will always be a demand for private-lesson training.

This comprehensive Short Term Program is comprised of approximately 300 pages of highly detailed, invaluable, critical information that every trainer should familiarize her/himself with. Authored by Teoti Anderson, former president of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT), this Short Term Program enriches your knowledge of proper private-lesson training and instructs you on such relevant topics as sales techniques and tips, understanding communication styles, the different types of private training, developing effective training plans, how to teach off-leash behaviors and how to achieve client compliance to maximize training. Additionally, it covers advanced tips for marketing yourself and your business and includes essential information on liability protection, a necessity for every dog trainer.

Upon completion of this course, you will have the background necessary to offer and administer effective private lessons within a client’s home, at a local park or at your own facility.

The Art of Selling and Teaching Private Lessons is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

Pet Sitting and Dog Walking
The animal industry is continually growing with new ways of caring for pets. Two of the fastest growing animal services are pet sitting and dog walking. Using decades of experience in the pet industry, ABC has created a Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Short Term Program to help you add this invaluable service to your repertoire. This Short Term Program contains 400 pages of detailed material written by Wendy Bedwell-Wilson, author and former managing editor for Pet Product News International. Topics include identifying and understanding body language; canine, feline and avian behavior; basic nutrition and hygiene; creating mental and physical stimulation; building relationships with your clients’ pets; personal and home owner safety; creating and maintaining schedules; walking a dog calmly on-leash; building clientele; and much more.

Upon completion of this course, you will have a new and highly sought after service to provide to existing and future clients and their pets. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking has been approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

Cat Management and Training
Since cats outnumber dogs in North America, learning how to manage and treat cat behaviors can be a profitable venture for any pet professional. In this comprehensive Short Term Program, you will learn the proper socialization techniques for developing healthy feline-to-human relationships, as well as feline-to-feline and feline-to-canine interactions. You will also learn how to: read and interpret feline body language and vocalizations; teach basic behavior training (e.g., sit, stay, come); and address problem behaviors (scratching, spraying, howling, etc.). This course also covers teaching “fun” behaviors, such as roll over, tightrope walking and jumping through a hoop. Completion of this course gives you invaluable knowledge necessary to help pet owners and add a valuable skill that can be utilized in your animal career.

Cat Management and Training is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

Pet Nutrition and Diet
This Short Term Program discusses basic nutrition, the regulations governing commercial pet foods and cats’ and dogs’ nutritional needs. In this course you learn how to read pet food labels, including the importance of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and protective nutrients. You will also learn about the different types of diets (e.g., dry food, canned food, raw food, supplements, etc.) and how food can play a huge role in a pet's behavior.

Pet Nutrition and Diet is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

Pet Massage
The ability to soothe and calm dogs and cats through touch improves the human-animal relationship and promotes trust and bonding. Through massage, pet groomers might have a calmer animal on their grooming table, which allows them to move swiftly through the process of grooming without the problems heavy-handed groomers might experience. Veterinary staff may minimize discomfort and help sooth the aches of elderly animals. Dog trainers can create a more positive training experience due to their enhanced knowledge of canine anatomy and acute awareness of touch zones.

Pet Massage is a growing occupation. This comprehensive Short Term Program includes step-by-step massage instructions. Topics include general anatomy and physiology, principles and concepts for different types of massage, creating your workspace, preparing yourself, details for how to develop a pet massage business and much more. In addition, Pet Massage is approved by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) for CEU credits.

NOTE: State and federal laws regarding the practice of Pet Massage vary widely and are subject to change. Since ABC has no jurisdiction regarding state and federal laws revolving around the practice of Pet Massage, ABC highly recommends that potential students educate themselves on the state and federal laws and regulations and how they may affect their practice of Pet Massage before purchasing the ABC Pet Massage Short Term Program. It is the responsibility of potential students to determine what laws and regulations their state has adopted to govern the practice of Pet Massage. ABC does not assume any responsibility for state or federal regulations that prohibit or limit the practice of pet massage by the student.


If you have additional questions about our Certified Groomer Program, please feel free to contact us.

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