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Author Topic : Dog Professions - Dog Groomer? Vet? Dog Trainer?
 Dixie Den Shepherds
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1/31/2014 9:46:00 PM reply with quote send message to Dixie Den Shepherds Object to Post   

I am very interested in pursuing a career with dogs. I have always loved dogs and have always dreamed of being able to work with dogs on a every day basis.

I am not sure what field to go in, or even where to begin. I just turned 20, and know that I should get a start on this before I get much older.

I have a passion for animals and know that I would be able to get up every day, smile and enjoy my job.

I would just love to hear from people who have worked in either of these fields, how they like it, and what they had to do to obtain their degree/license/what-not. I suppose I am just looking for advice. I had played SD off and on for years, and know that there are some very wise and knowledgable dog people here.

 JLK Goldens
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1/31/2014 11:37:03 PM reply with quote send message to JLK Goldens Object to Post

I am a professional groomer and can tell you there are good and bad about it. One bad thing is the clients they tend to be very picky and can be really not understanding if it takes you any time to get them in had someone call today wanting to get in today and called me at 2pm so be aware dealing with the clients there are days I just want to strangle someone. They also at least most of my clients do not keep up on their dogs the dogs come in matted and then they are like I dont want him shaved I want him longer you will slap your forehead a lot.

The other bad the dogs most dogs hate being groomed no matter how you do it and there are groomers out there that ruin dogs I have tons that love me but also have tons that hate being groomed especially the ones that come in matted and then the owners want them brushed out. Be prepared for dogs pooping nad peeing on you, crates, tables, tubs the works the will do it a lot.

The good you have some dogs that just melt your heart and when you take a dog that has been abused by being neglected so badly and you can make them feel better its a great feeling. I have so many dogs that get so excited when they come to see me and love me so thats a great thing its a job you have to love to do because there are more bad owners/dogs then good and you truly have to be doing it because you love the dogs also in my area

I dont make much doing it. I make about half what big city groomers I know make per dog so its not a job you will get rich quick for sure there is a pretty substantial initial investment in gear but you can always start small and build it up. Honestly as far as training and being certified you dont have to be certified to groom but I would recommend and I know some people will slam me here dont go to a grooming school they tend to push tons of dogs at you quickly and dont truly teach you what you need to know and give you enough time and experience to get you proficient at it when you go on your own. I recommend finding a groomer whos wanting an assistant or better yet find a groomer who is ending their career after a long time in it and get them to teach you what you know thats what I did a gal was quiting after 30 years of grooming and she taught me everything I had to know and then I took over the business from there and have built it into my own business since. You will have months you do great and months that suck for income but you take the good with the bad.

I do love my job but there are many days I just want to quit but the dogs welfare is what keeps me going so like I said you have to love your job.

 Dead Until Dark
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2/1/2014 1:15:24 PM reply with quote send message to Dead Until Dark Object to Post

this post has been edited 1 time(s)

I am a Vet Tech (the "nurse" and everything else of the vet world) - if youre interested in hearing more about it, let me know!
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2/1/2014 5:54:48 PM reply with quote send message to Object to Post edit post

I currently work as a Veterinary Nurse (or Vet Tech in USA terms) and am doing my dream job. This being said I ended up dabbling in a large variety of animal care jobs on my way to finding out what my true passion was.

I have worked in pet shops, boarding kennels, animal laboratories, grooming salons and vet clinics.

Every job has it's pro's and con's and you need to "try before you buy" so to say, in order to find out which career you are more suited to.

I can list some pro's and con's that I have felt for each career if you like happy :)

Pet Shops:
you get to learn a LOT about the benefits of good nutrition versus crappy food. and you will learn a lot about general animal care and which worm/flea/heartworm products are best suited to each animal. You get to meet a HUGE variety of people and pets. On the other hand you often get 'frowned upon' as a lot of people think that staff who work in pet shops are all 'just idiots who know nothing.' You will also have to deal with frozen rats and mice for reptile food - as well as dealing with raw meat if the shop sells it. (I would always come home STINKING of blood from the meat that you have to handle on a large scale).

Boarding kennels:
You get to meet a HUGE array of dog breeds which I loved the most! its also really good for your fitness and wellbeing as you are usually working on a large outdoor property with lots of walking and manual labour. I got a tan and 'buffed' up a lot when I was working at kennels haha! The down side: dealing with NOISE as dogs bark a LOT in kennels. Dealing with PEE and POO that dogs manage to spread like finger paint on every aspect of their kennels! (not fun trying to clean up!).

Grooming salon:
I didn't have a very good experience when grooming. I found this to be the most stressful of all jobs. the simple fact is that most dogs HATE the groomers. which means you are dealing with angry, stressed, scared dogs that often have to be muzzled and restrained just to get the job done. and yes the clients are fussy and have no idea of how much effort you just went through to get "fluffy" looking perfect! it is also back breaking work - you are leaning over almost all day and I ended up with back aches most days. One plus is when you are able to turn a neglected matted dog into a matt-free clean and pampered pooch. the sad thing is that that same dog will come back 3 months later looking matted and neglected all over again. sad :(

Animal Labs:
This was an interesting place to work - but definitely not one I recommend to most people. I worked with mice in a laboratory studying the effects and obesity and arthritis in mice and how we can learn things for the human race. it means breeding mice on a large scale, collecting blood samples, euthanaising mice when they are not needed, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning! One of the worst things is that you are dressed from head to foot in 'sterile' clothing, there are no windows to the outside world, the place feels very 'sterile' with the temperature maintained at 22 degrees every hour, and radio's can only be played at levels that are 'just audible' as the mice's ears are so sensitive. I only lasted 8 months in this career despite studying the Diploma of Animal Technology for 3 years!!

Vet Clinic:
A lot of people dream of being a vet but a lot don't even think about vet nursing as a career. Vet's have to study at university for 5-7 years to become a basic vet and will then need to do years of further studying if they ever want to specialise in something (internal medicine, surgical, orthopaedics etc). To me: vets don't get to do the things that I love most. Their days are spent consulting with clients, performing surgeries, doing pathology and being STRESSED! being a vet is stressful. Animals cant talk. they cant tell you where it hurts or how they feel. being a vet you have to try and read a book that is written in a language you cant speak.

My biggest passion in life is being a vet nurse. I have been doing it for 3 years and will be fully qualified in 2 months after having studied the Cert 4 in Vet Nursing for 2.5 years. This entitles you to be a qualified vet nurse, but you can also go and do further studying (a Diploma of vet nursing) or even specialise in working in emergency situations (at a 24 hour vet hospital).

The hardest thing about being a vet nurse in Australia? Is just trying to get into the industry! There are TONNES of people wanting to do this job. but the hardest thing is - is that vet clinics only want to hire nurses that are experienced and qualified. but most people who want to work as a vet nurse aren't qualified or experienced yet. but the worst thing is - in order to start the vet nurse course to become qualified - is that you HAVE to be working in a vet clinic before they let you start studying! So it's a bit of a dead end at times. Once you're in - count your lucky stars!! happy :)

It's not for everyone though - and I think it takes a certain type of person to be a good vet nurse. Like I said before - animals cant speak 'human' so you need to know how to read an animals body language, vocalisations, facial expressions and behaviours in order to ascertain how they are feeling.

You need to be a STRONG person both in body and mind. Wrestling a 50kg Rottweiler or even a 7kg angry cat takes strength! Their fight and flight response allows that 7kg cat called "fluffy" to feel like a 100kg tiger!

You also have to be able to cope with stressful and scary situations. Emergencies happen at any time and you have to have the nerve to be able to deal with an animal that is in distress and in pain. sometimes animals will lash out because they are so painful and scared. other times they will lie on their side with the most pitiful look in their eyes - almost asking us to put them out of their misery.

You have to be able to CRY. You will cry more often than you think is normal when working as a vet nurse. And it will be for all sorts of reason. Maybe you've got 10 surgeries to do and nothing is going right and you just break down from stress. Sometimes it will be due to a heartbreaking euthanasia of one of your favourite clients. sometimes it will be out of pure frustration and anger from a client mistreating or hurting their animal. maybe it will be from a client who has no money to fix their 1 year old german shepherds broken leg and so chooses to put that dog down - when it is otherwise healthy. sometimes it will be from having to perform a spey on a dog/cat that is pregnant - having to end the lives of unborn babies. Sometimes it will be because an otherwise friendly dog has bitten a child and the owners don't want to risk a repeat offense.

You will deal with death on a daily-weekly basis. Euthanasia can be a curse and a blessing depending on the situation. Sometimes it will be horrific - the animal might be so old and decrepit that they should have died years earlier but the owner hasn't had the heart.

You also have to be able to deal with PEE and POO and BLOOD and VOMIT and DIARRHOEA and drool and ANAL GLANDS hahaa - you will get covered in all of these and more on a weekly basis! :P You haven't lived until you've had anal glands flicked on your face!! Hahaa!

You also have to put up with long hours, hard labour, being over-tired, and earning a low wage. Vet nurses don't get paid enough for what they do.

There are HUGE plus sides to being a nurse though!

You get to develop amazingly strong bonds with patients especially if you spend hours of every day nursing them back to health. You are their first port of call for everything - often you are the one who picks up on any subtle change in their behaviour to indicate a change in their condition. often you are the one who inadvertently saves their life from the powers of observation.

You get to develop amazing skills! you will learn how to collect urine, collect blood samples, place intravenous catheters, run whole range of tests, perform and take xrays, monitor anaesthetics in surgery - the list just goes on and on! I am very proud of the incredible skills I have learnt from my job.

You get to witness amazing miracles like brining a puppy to life during a cesearean! You will have the joy of being able to save patient's lives from all sorts of situations. You will begin to learn what clinical signs lead to which conditions. soon you will be able to pick up on the diagnosis faster than the vet himself haha!

So no - vet nursing is not just about "cuddling cute puppies and kittens" haha - it's an entirely unique world. If you spend a day in the life of a vet nurse you will quickly learn just how important they are in the functioning of the clinic and how much of an impact they have on the patient's care.

Now that I've been nursing for 3 years - I know that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It is my true passion and 'calling' in life happy :)
 Chaos and Havoc
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2/1/2014 5:56:56 PM reply with quote send message to Chaos and Havoc Object to Post

Hahaa, I knew it would time me out - that was me posting that novel-sized entry above! happy :)


(Dalkeith, Ariege, Northern Lightz, Chaos and Havoc, Rijbakluva, Quileute Legends)

PS: There are so many other things I could write about how much I love my job - but I would be here for years typing hehee!!
 Chaos and Havoc
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2/1/2014 6:06:33 PM reply with quote send message to Chaos and Havoc Object to Post

Forgot to add two other aspects of vet nursing that a lot of people don't realise:

1. Cleaning! You will spend 100's of hours cleaning as a vet nurse. the simple fact is that animals make mess haha! Running a vet clinic gets messy and you sometimes wonder if you're just a glorified cleaner :P

2. Injuries: be prepared to get bitten, scratched, clawed, attacked, stepped on, knocked over and bruised by animals when working as a vet nurse. Animal teeth and claws are powerful weapons that can cause serious injury. You learn to read an animals behaviour and soon learn how to keep your skin and blood intact but it is very risky at the start. Be prepared to be covered in scratches so often that people think you are self-harming! :P
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2/2/2014 1:36:33 AM reply with quote send message to Object to Post edit post

If you think you want to work in the veterinary field, go find a vet who will let you volunteer or at least shadow for a few days. You'll learn pretty quickly whether or not you're really going to like it. I've worked as a vet tech for several years and will hopefully enter vet school in the next year or two and have watched so many people decide not to be pre-vet after actually spending some time in a clinic.

It's a lot of time on your feet, depressing things (euthanasias, stupid and/or irresponsible owners, seeing the aftermath of abuse), occasional pain (being bitten or scratched, getting thrown into the wall or onto the floor trying to restrain a big dog), and getting messy (there is nothing like coming home with enema poop in your hair). The pay is low as a tech, and it is a very competitive field to get into. If you don't handle stress well and aren't cool under pressure, you will not be able to handle the job (regardless of emergencies or extenuating circumstances--I've seen people break down just from the stress of an especially busy morning). If you aren't a people person as well as a dog person, you're going to have a rough time of it--even as a tech, where I do interact more with animals, a lot of my job is working with clients, sometimes clients who are angry because I have to tell them how expensive it is to help their pet or who don't want to listen to what the vet or I have to say because they are convinced that "x" is what is really wrong with their animal. There's plenty of good, too, not the least that it's one of the few places where you have office pets just hanging around all the time, but if you can't handle the negatives, then the good isn't worth it. I love being a tech, and I know I'm going to love being a vet, but there are still days that I wish I had a regular office job that didn't involve the emotional rollercoaster or being always on your feet and up and down (then I work in an actual office part-time when classes are in session and am reminded why I need a job where I'm always on the move, so...).

To become a registered vet tech, you do have to go to classes to get your license, but you can still work unlicensed as a veterinary assistant. A lot of people I know went/go to school while working as assistants. Most programs are two years long in the US, and you can do further schooling to specialize, just like a vet.

If you want to be a vet in the US, it's usually four years as an undergrad, four years in vet school, and then any additional time after graduation in internships and residencies. Vet school is very difficult to get into, and as such applicants must have excellent grades in very rigorous science classes--the classes that usually make or break people are things like organic chemistry, upper division physiology, upper division microbiology, cell bio, developmental bio, etc. I really, really don't recommend it if you don't enjoy biology--I've want to be a vet for as long as I can remember, but the only reason I've been able to stick with it this far is because I'm a geek and get really giddy looking at cells under microscopes and doing dissections. Even though I get to take some science classes that don't deal with that kind of thing on an intensive level (one of my classes this semester is Animal Behavior, for example), most of the classes vet schools like to see or require do (the Animal Behavior is actually for my degree requirements), so if you don't love science, you're really going to struggle. On top of classes, you're expected to work in vet hospitals and get "non-veterinary animal contact experience," which means pretty much anything not with a vet--and this is on top of going to school. It's also very expensive; you have choices that can be more cost-efficient for your undergrad, but vet school is extremely expensive no matter where you go; graduating veterinarians have around $125,000 in debt on average.
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2/2/2014 7:13:39 AM reply with quote send message to griffin Object to Post

@Chaos and Havoc

Interesting your experience with the animal labs, I know someone who came at it from a research background who actually liked it, but then she also got to care for rabbits which she had to play with for some amount of time each day and fish which are more pleasant to clean than mice.

 Bay Breeze
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2/2/2014 3:32:08 PM reply with quote send message to Bay Breeze Object to Post

I am a professional service dog trainer. I absolutely love my job. I get to take my two passions, dog training and service work, and combine them. It is not a job for everyone though. Most companies will hire you as an Instructor Assistant before you get accepted into an apprenticeship. Then you have to work your way up and pass multiple written and practical exams to get certified by ADI (Assistance Dogs International)I can take up to 3-4 years to make instructorship.

I also needed prior experience and worked in multiple different private kennels, doggie daycares, and animal shelters.

I also had to be willing to relocated across the country for an undetermined amount of time before being accepted into the apprenticeship, where I had to then relocate again for 6 months before relocating a final time to my determined training region.

If you would like more information about the organization I work for feel free to PM me.

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2/2/2014 6:02:26 PM reply with quote send message to CoffieDog Object to Post

I'm in sorta the same position as the author of this thread, but wanted to know if anyone here as worked as (or has experience being) a professional handler/professional handler assistent, or show kennel assistent? (or any job in the conformation field)? happy :)
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2/2/2014 9:21:20 PM reply with quote send message to Purrs_Port Object to Post

posted by Chaos and Havoc
Forgot to add two other aspects of vet nursing that a lot of people don't realise:

1. Cleaning! You will spend 100's of hours cleaning as a vet nurse. the simple fact is that animals make mess haha! Running a vet clinic gets messy and you sometimes wonder if you're just a glorified cleaner :P

2. Injuries: be prepared to get bitten, scratched, clawed, attacked, stepped on, knocked over and bruised by animals when working as a vet nurse. Animal teeth and claws are powerful weapons that can cause serious injury. You learn to read an animals behaviour and soon learn how to keep your skin and blood intact but it is very risky at the start. Be prepared to be covered in scratches so often that people think you are self-harming! :P

That was always my dream job. Very similar to what I did do for 30+ years, (Yes it is) human hospital nursing.
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2/3/2014 12:05:25 AM reply with quote send message to Acclamation Object to Post

I'm with you PP ... 30+ years of picking shit out of 300lb+ human's pubic hair makes my diversion into human medicine a glaring mistake. The diversion occurred while trying to accumulate funds for vet school and never really caught up sad :(.

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