Training Provider | Case Study - The Dog House North Norfolk
Pippa Gorman and husband Bob run The Dog House in North Norfolk and have been training new groomers and pet professionals for five years.
They live close to the coast with their dogs Irish setters Patrick and Ziggy, and English setter Rosie.
Because of the location of the school, it attracts students from further afield, who are drawn to the coastal location, and recently they have seen an influx in trainees who have decided to change their careers completely because of the pandemic.
The Dog House recently registered to offer iPET Network qualifications, and here Pippa shares the story of the firm, and the passion for pets that drives the business and the training that they offer.
Why should people get their dog grooming training?
It is very difficult sometimes to remember what I was like when I first thought about becoming a dog groomer, but my experience at that point was close to nothing!
I just loved dogs and had taken my own to the groomers and thought it would be a great thing to do.
It was just totally logical that I would go and train. When I went to train eight years ago it was an unregulated training centre with no qualification at the end of it, I did a 20 day course and I enjoyed it, but still knew nothing about the industry!
When I started to work on my own I began to struggle, and I realised that my training hadn’t been particularly good, and that’s when I went to look at learning more skills and taking qualifications.
I think the more centres that are offering good qualifications with good reviews the better. Technically you don’t need to have a qualification to work in dog grooming, but this is a professional industry too, and you will struggle if you don’t.
What did you do before you became a dog groomer
I am a designer by trade, I trained in furniture design and got an MA in that, and then went to work as a visual merchandiser for quite a few big retailers in London, my last job was Debenhams head office.
But then I met Bob and at the time was going through a bit of stress through the commute and my high-pressured job. Luckily for me my husband to-be supported me in stopping work and I was able to dally about and try lots of things to find out what I really enjoyed and wanted to do.
I’m a creative person, and I tried a few different things, it was when we moved to Norfolk that dog grooming came up, because we had three dogs and I had a bad experience going to a groomer.
It led me to question what my dog thought, what my dog was going through, and how if I did this as a career I could make that better for other dogs too.
What is the most important part of your job?
For me it all comes down to the handling of dogs. My whole emphasis from day one has been the care and love of dogs, and the handling that I have learned over the eight years.
When I started I really struggled to handle the dogs, I couldn’t do nails and I couldn’t put them in the right positions as I hadn’t been taught how to deal with difficult temperaments. So I spent basically my career in dog grooming learning those skills so it doesn’t cause dogs stress.
That’s why we have built up a such a massive customer base here, because people understand that is the most important thing to us.
How long have you been working with iPET?
We did the audit to become an approved centre during lockdown!
So it is all very new but it’s so wonderful.
It’s absolutely brilliant and it’s a breath of fresh air, iPET is just dogs and cats, and the passion and work that has gone into what Sarah and Fern have managed to do is absolutely incredible.
Everything about it has been such a good experience. It’s been a great thing to happen during lockdown and we can’t wait to start back teaching.
We currently have a team of two full time groomers, one of those is a tutor and an assessor and then it’s me and my husband!
My husband doesn’t groom but since lockdown took his Level 2 training and is qualified to wash and dry dogs for us. It’s all close knit and we have a great team spirit.
For the first time now that we are with iPET we are going to be offering onsite canine first aid courses, we have bought the mannequin who is called Casper and he is ready to go!
We all have the training, and the iPET resources for this are brilliant, we are offering this as part of our Level Three Diploma course.
Most of the people who do (this) the stand alone canine first aid course are people who are in the dog profession, like day boarding centres and we have lots of those in the area because we are in a touristy area.
Obviously we are close to the coast, and this course includes things like drowning, it’s a really good thing to have.
What is your favourite part of being a groomer?
There are lots of things, since I have done this job I have never woken up and not wanted to go to work, and I love working with the dogs!
There are some amazingly talented show groomers within the world of dog grooming, but for me the emphasis is about really good care of family pets.
This industry hasn’t been as affected as others by the pandemic, and all the interest for the courses at the moment is coming from people who have been either made redundant through lockdown or reached a point that they need to do something different through the lockdown, they won’t regret it!