Learn How to Become a Pet Groomer

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Develop your skills with the Penn Foster Career School Pet Grooming Certificate Online Program in as little as two months! Learn how to groom and handle all breeds of dogs and cats. Develop an understanding of dog and cat anatomy, personalities, behavior, and more. And, as part of the program, you’ll receive several grooming tools, including a universal comb, dog nail trimmers, and a dog slicker brush.

Pet groomers can be found working in a humane society, veterinary clinic, pet store, or kennel. Plus, you'll be able to save money and anxiety for both you and your pets by grooming your pets yourself!

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Pet Grooming certificate program teaches students how to care for the grooming needs of their own dogs.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Identify the duties of a pet groomer and how to establish a grooming business
  • Know the historical background of the dog and cat and identify the anatomy of the dog and cat
  • Identify grooming hand tools and describe their uses as well as know how to prepare a dog for grooming and bath and dry the dog
  • Recognize how to groom dogs from the Terrier group, non-sporting group, and toy group
  • Recognize how to groom dogs from the sporting group, herding group, hound group, and working group
  • Recognize how to groom poodles, mixed breeds and drop-coat styles, and puppies
  • Recognize this basic personalities of different dogs and understand how to groom dogs who have behavior problems
  • Identify the characteristics common to cats' personality types and understand how to properly handle each type of cat
  • Know the basics of bookkeeping, advertising customer service as well as pricing and fees to start a pet grooming business

PEP016: Introduction to Pet Grooming

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
The Grooming Professional

Read about career opportunities in pet grooming.


  • Identify basic equipment you’ll be using.
  • Understand the professionalism and communication skills you’ll need to be successful.

PEP017: Introduction to Dogs and Cats

Introduction to Dogs


  • Identify the types and personalities of dogs.
  • Describe the general handling of dogs.
Introduction to Cats


  • Identify the types and personalities of cats.
  • Describe the general handling of cats.
Anatomy and Health Care of Dogs and Cats


  • Identify the structures of dogs and cats in relation to body parts and purposes.
  • Understand basic health care of dogs and cats.
  • Inform the pet owner of problems noticed while grooming.
Additional Course Material

Learning Aid: Universal Comb

PEP018: Pre-Grooming Procedures

Equipment Selection, Use, and Maintenance


  • Demonstrate the use and proper care of equipment and grooming tools.
  • Understand maintenance and care of kennels and crates.
Preparation of Dogs for Grooming


  • Demonstrate combing and brushing techniques.
  • Clean ears and pluck ear hair.
  • Clip nails.
  • Take care of eyes, stomach, and rectal area.
Bathing and Drying


  • Demonstrate the procedures for using shampoos, conditioners, and flea products.
  • Explain basic bathing and drying techniques.
Basic Grooming Patterns


  • Demonstrate the procedures to treat mats.
  • Demonstrate shaving down a dog and choosing the proper cut.
Additional Course Materials

Learning Aids:

  • Dog nail trimmers
  • Dog slicker brush

PEP019: Dog Grooming, Part 1

Terrier Group


  • Describe the various types of terriers and the particular cuts for each type.
  • Understand the terminology related to terriers.
Non-Sporting Group


  • Describe the types of non-sporting dogs, the various breeds, and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Define non-sporting breed cuts.
  • Describe the Bichon Frise.
Toy Group


  • Explain the types of toy breeds and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Understand the terminology and cut procedures.
  • Describe the Shih Tzu.

PEP021: Dog Grooming, Part 2

Sporting Group


  • Explain the types of sporting dogs, the various breeds, and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Define sporting breed cuts.
  • Describe the Cocker Spaniel.
Herding Group


  • Explain the types of dogs in the herding group, the various breeds, and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Define herding breed cuts.
  • Describe the Old English Sheepdog and the Bouvier des Flandres.
Hound Group


  • Explain the types of hounds, the various breeds, and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Understand the types and terminology of various cuts and procedures.
  • Describe the Norwegian Elkhound.
Working Group


  • Explain the types of working dogs, the various breeds, and the original purpose of these dogs.
  • Understand the working group breed cuts, the terminology, and the procedures.
  • Describe the Giant Schnauzer.

PEP022: Dog Grooming, Part 3



  • Explain the types of poodle cuts and the terminology.
  • Describe the lamb cut.
Mixed Breeds and Drop-Coat Styles


  • Explain the types of cuts for mixed breeds and drop-coat styles.
  • Understand the terminology, procedures, and choosing the mixed-breed cut.


  • Demonstrate the proper handling of puppies.
  • Describe the types of grooming problems associated with puppies.
  • Understand grooming in stages, recognizing signs of stress, introducing the puppy to clippers, bathing and drying puppies, and the positive grooming experience.

PEP023: Dog Personalities and Behavior

Specific Personalities


  • Describe the various personality types of dogs.
  • Understand groomer responsibilities, hazards, and the various procedures/techniques for working with each type of dog.
Grooming Dogs with Behavior Problems


  • Explain owner notification of problems with dogs.
  • Understand the protection of yourself and others.
  • Demonstrate the proper use of muzzles.
  • Explain how to instruct owners to curb grooming behavior problems.

PEP024: Cat Grooming

Introduction to Cats and Their Personalities


  • Describe the different types of cat personalities.
  • Understand the problems faced by groomers with each type and the hazards involved.
  • Explain kitten personalities and problems.
Cat Grooming Procedures


  • Understand proper handling procedures of cats.
  • Demonstrate combing and brushing procedures, dematting and shaving down, bathing and drying procedures, and grooming kittens.

PEP027: Business Practices

The Business Side of Grooming


  • Describe the job descriptions in a typical grooming business.
  • Understand setting prices, phone procedures, customer service, record keeping, advertising, accounting and payroll, and zoning regulations.
The Quick Reference Guide to Dog Grooming


  • Review grooming techniques and procedures, including the use of equipment and the grooming styles for specific dog breeds.
  • Recognize dog behavior, such as aggressiveness and stress.

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows XP® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Pet Grooming sample lesson, click here.

Pet Grooming Certificate Courses

The Pet Grooming Certificate Program at Penn Foster Career School includes an introduction to dogs and cats, basic health care of cats and dogs, dog breeds, preparation for grooming, equipment selection, bathing and drying, and more.

Dog Groomer Online

As a pet groomer, you can work for a pet grooming business, humane society, veterinary clinic, pet store, kennel, or obedience training facility. Here are a few qualities that effective pet groomers have in common:

  • Patient: It takes time and care when cleaning and grooming pets.
  • Communicative: You listen and talk through situations with pet owners, and are confident in handling animals.
  • Sociable: Spending time with others is fun and rewarding.
  • Compassionate: You care about others, and animals hold a special place in your heart.

Since completing my Pet Grooming Program, I'm now open for business. Penn Foster provided me with the skills and confidence to open my business. If you have a desire to pursue a career as a pet groomer, or if Penn Foster offers a program of interest to you, go for it! Penn Foster offers a generous amount of support. The material was easy to understand with plenty of references for additional follow-up. Online exams generated prompt results and online assessment of my daily progress was invaluable.

- Linda S., Pet Grooming Certificate Graduate

I encourage anyone who is considering enrolling in the Pet Grooming program at Penn Foster to do so soon. This is an excellent program and don't waste another minute thinking about it... sign up! I have just opened my own Dog Grooming Salon and I have had positive feedback from clients.

- Daphne R., Pet Grooming Certificate Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Pet Grooming academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Does the Pet Grooming Certificate program provide any tools or learning aids?

Yes, equipment you receive with the program includes a universal comb, dog nail trimmers, and dog slicker brush.

Are there practical/hands-on training elements available for Pet Groomers? Is this recommended? Where do I start in finding a location?

Hands-on training is not required, though highly encouraged in this field. Students should look for options to volunteer or observe at their local pet groomer.

More FAQs >

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