Robyn Michaels

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Dog Groomer

Robyn's Groom Room

There are many things I love about being a dog groomer. The most important thing is getting to work with, talk to and touch dogs all day. What more could anyone want? As a dog groomer, I envision myself as a visual artist who gets to make dogs look good and their owners happy. Many of my clients become good friends.

I have been grooming dogs since the late 1960’s. I am the Pack Leader (i.e. CEO) of Robyn’s Groom Room. I am an independent contractor and work at area kennels. I also do some grooming at my home. I groom mostly Terriers (soft-coated Wheatens, Airedales, Min. Schnauzers, West Highland White Terriers, etc.) and long haired, drape-coated dogs (Afghan Hounds, Bearded Collies, Maltese, Shih Tzu , even corded dogs). I also do a lot of “puppy” trims on other breeds.

Here’s a bit of what we can cover in our PivotPlanet session(s):
• How to read dog body language.
• What products and equipment work and why.
• How to manage your time.
• How to build a dog grooming business.
• How to find continuing education opportunities.

I have placed in dog grooming contests, helped choose show dogs for people, attained AKC status and other titles on my own dogs and helped develop grooming businesses and training programs. I am proud to have been published in pet industry publications and to work with area shelters and rescues.

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I have always groomed and trained dogs. However, looking to broaden my horizons after completing my undergraduate degree in anthropology and international studies, I got an assistantship to graduate school (School of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Center for Urban Economic Development) because of my background in microbusiness and community development. I created one of the first internet data bases for community-based organizations in the city of Chicago.

But being a dog groomer has definitely been my career of choice. You can't get more non-traditional than working directly with dogs while being rewarded with happy wagging tails.

The best groomers are the ones who compete in dog performance events and network with other dog groomers, trainers, hobby breeders and performance enthusiasts. We share indigenous knowledge and teach each other about the best tools, shampoos and methods. In addition, to succeed in this business, you need to be a good business planner, conservative with your money and understand your success is not so much about what you want to do, but what your clients want you to do. It is also important to realize being a dog groomer is physically demanding and you have to be in good shape to work with and manage the dogs.