Course Catalog


Courses Offered


Introduction to Dog Grooming

This is a hybrid course that is taken in two parts, with one part conducted at home either via textbook or online, and the other part taken on campus. The at-home portion of the course is designed to provide the student with foundational knowledge of dogs, AKC breeds, colors and coat types, AKC breed groups, canine nutrition, handling and safety around dogs, reading canine body language and canine behavior. The on-campus portion of the course is designed to provide the student with the hands-on training and instruction required to become a professional dog bather. The student will be introduced to common tools, equipment and products used by groomers, salon etiquette, communicating with co-workers and pet parents, and proper pre-grooming, bathing, drying and brushing procedures.

To complete the written portion of the course, the student must score an 80% or higher on the final written exam and score 60% or higher on all assignments and quizzes (6). To complete the hands-on portion of the course, the student must complete a minimum of 60 hours of hands-on experience, to be performed both on-campus and during field trips to a WCGA participating Animal Shelter. The student must also score a minimum of 55 points out of 70 points on the Final Technical Evaluation, in which they must bathe a dog to completion without assistance. This course does not require internships or externships.

Completion of this course is a pre-requisite for the Certified Dog Groomer Course. Upon completion of this course, the student is eligible for job assistance to seek employment as a Bather or Pet Hygienist (title may vary by location).

Curriculum Includes:

• AKC Dog Groups

• AKC Dog Breeds

• Canine Anatomy

• Canine Body Language & Stress Signals

• Animal Handling & Safety

• Breed Standard Grooming Styles

• Grooming Tools & Equipment

• Safety & Sanitation Protocols

• Tool Cleaning & Maintenance

Introductory Grooming Procedures

Hygienist Tools & Equipment

• Salon Etiquette & Teamwork

• Dog Anatomy & Behavior

• Animal Handling & Safety

• Dog Breeds, Colors & Coat Types

• Grooming Products (Shampoos, Conditioners, Sprays, etc)

• Identification of Common Skin Conditions

• Parasite Identification & Treatment

• Pre-Grooming Assessment & Check-In Procedures

• Pre-Grooming Preparation (Nails, Sanitaries, Paw Pads)

• Bathing Procedures & Anal Gland Expression

• Drying Techniques

• Brushing, De-Tangling & De-Matting

• Making Bows and Bandanas

• Booking Appointments & Check-Out Procedures

• Customer Service Basics

• Cleaning & Disinfection Protocols

Program Outcomes:

1) Certified Pet Hygienist certificate received.

2) Ability to build trust with potential clients by demonstrating knowledge and understanding of dogs.

3) Adequately prepared to follow the steps necessary to groom dogs.

4) Adequately and safely bathe, dry, brush and do pre-grooming work on dogs.

5) Build familiarity and confidence with the tools and equipment required to groom dogs.

6) Identify common skin conditions and treat common external parasites.

7) Identify individual dog breeds and their characteristics and make adjustments to how each dog can best be handled.

8) Work with dogs safely and without incident.

Pre-Requisite: None 

Format: Both at-Home via Textbook or Online and Hands-On Taken On-Campus

Duration: The at-home portion of the course is Self-Paced; the student will have up to 3 months to complete the textbook learning or online course and submit all assignments to the Instructor. Quizzes may be taken either on campus or online. The Final Written Exam must be taken On Campus. The student will be on-campus for 4 hours per day, Monday-Thursday, for 4-weeks to complete the hands-on portion of the course. 

Cost: $3,500 (includes testing fees) + $250 non-refundable registration fee.

Semesters Offered: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

Disclosure: The State of California does not require state licensure to work as a Pet Groomer, Bather or Pet Hygienist. If the student resides outside of California, they will need to file for applicable occupational licensing (if any) in their state or country of operation.


     West Coast Grooming Academy is a private vocational school approved by the Bureau for Private Post-secondary Education under the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 and Title 5. California Code of Regulations Division 7.5. Private Postsecondary Education. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education approval means that this institution and its operation comply with the standards established under the law for occupational instruction by private post-secondary educational institutions. Institutional approval is subject to continual review and the institution must reapply for approval every three years.

      The Bureau for  Private Postsecondary Education  can be  reached by calling 

(888) 370-7589 toll-free or on the bureau's internet web site