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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I haven't been around in ages, but I've popped on to ask a question.

So for the past couple of years I've been narrowing down what I might like to do in a career with dogs, and came down to grooming and one day showing. I had the opportunity earlier this through a colleague of a family member to watch a couple of groomers and take notes, and both of them recommended I get started with bathing at PetSmart.

Well I was hired recently (for a different position) but during orientation was asked if I'm still interested in training to be a Bather since a spot just opened up. Of course, I said yes. Now I've kind of psyched myself out a little (a lot) because all I see or hear are horror stories about bathing at PetSmart. Those "all of my friends did it and hated it" and "salon drama broke everyone down" etc, etc, what have you.

I know pretty much any retail job will have horror stories, but I also want to make sure I'm doing the right thing and not going in over my head. So, does anyone have experience being a Bather for them?
 

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I don't have any experience there, but I think you need to start somewhere. There's going to be drama no matter where you go. I say go for it, and be the best bather. Build up that clientele.
 

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I am not a bather for PetSmart, but I am a bather at a smaller grooming salon owned by a vet. What I do know from others in the field is that it can be difficult there and not ideal. It kinda becomes a joke whenever we get dogs that had previously come from petsmart.. because a lot of them just really don't know what they are doing (BAD haircuts) or don't "train" the dogs correctly.

So.. being a bather.. let me tell you why I would never be a bather at Petsmart:

- Hours are awful
- Rushing dogs/overbooking on dogs making you stressed and the dogs stressed
- Depending on the particular store, not a lot of people have very good experience (thus I wouldn't trust all the advice you get)
- You can't muzzle dogs at some of them.. seems kinda "nice" in theory.. but is NOT safe for anyone involved
- Chain stores may not treat you as well
- Stupid policies

Being a bather anywhere is not an easy job. It is exhausting physically and emotionally. It is disgusting. Dogs will bite, poop, pee, puke, be anal sacked on and I've even had some (with health issues) have seizures on me. You will see matted messes that make you want to call animal control, ticks, fleas, skin issues and horrible lack of care/training in general. You will hate people. You may even end up hating (some) dogs. You will be soaked all day with no escape. You may get hot from the blow dryers. Your hands will be both wet and chapped back and forth. The shampoos might mess with your skin. You will breathe in hair and be covered in it all day. You will absolutely at some point have back problems (and hand/wrist problems once you get to the grooming part). You will understand why almost everyone in the industry thinks Cocker Spaniels are gross. You will not trust Shar Peis (of course working at petsmart they would probably turn them away a lot). You will cry when giant hairy breeds show up. You will come to know and love the dogs that are well behaved or friendly, and sometimes even the mischievous bad ones that steal your heart anyway.

I just realized that all sounds kind of scary.. but it's really not that bad all the time. If you find you don't like the atmosphere there.. I would try a smaller shop. They often have a hard time finding good bathers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the input!

I definitely feel I'll be more ready for this coming from the job I've had the past two summer seasons as opposed to if I were coming from my old behind-a-counter job at the bookstore. I've been working for the horse and pony ride attractions at the city zoo which got pretty gross, chaotic, icky and took a lot of large animal handling skill - what with mucking, grooming, hosing, training, reading body language, and managing some nervy, flighty or otherwise occasionally misbehaving animals (and kids), so hopefully that has me readied!

Not to mention the lifting, a lot of that between kids and hay bales.

They scheduled a salon assessment for me for my first day to see how it goes so I guess we'll see!
 

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Thanks for the input!

I definitely feel I'll be more ready for this coming from the job I've had the past two summer seasons as opposed to if I were coming from my old behind-a-counter job at the bookstore. I've been working for the horse and pony ride attractions at the city zoo which got pretty gross, chaotic, icky and took a lot of large animal handling skill - what with mucking, grooming, hosing, training, reading body language, and managing some nervy, flighty or otherwise occasionally misbehaving animals (and kids), so hopefully that has me readied!

Not to mention the lifting, a lot of that between kids and hay bales.

They scheduled a salon assessment for me for my first day to see how it goes so I guess we'll see!
Good luck! It's a place to start. I think eventually I'd like to work for a smaller business. I worked at a kennel tech when we were stationed in Texas, and loved it. My boss had a grooming room there also, so clients could get their dogs groomed on the last day of boarding if they wanted. I loved working with a smaller business. It was more like family then dealing with the politics of a larger business.
 
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