Qualifications have been upgraded since the recording of the video.

We are now able to offer City & Guilds/NPTC Level 3

Certificate in Introductory Dog Grooming

Hello, my name is Lesley Garratt and I am the proprietor of Canine Design Academy of Grooming in Evercreech, Somerset.

I would like to give you a brief introduction to us as a company and how I came to be teaching other people to groom. 

Our video to the left is a few year old now as qualifications have been upgraded since the recording but basically everything else is the same

I have always had a great love for and affinity
with animals and from a very early age my
ambition was to become a dog groomer.
Having said this, it wasn’t until 1992, when
I was 31 years of age, that I actually realised  
this ambition, having spent

my years previous to this working as a secretary
for a large company and then as P.A. to one
of the Directors in an Estate Agency 

I had done a dog grooming course some years before, but only groomed a few dogs for friends and family in my spare time. I always, at the back of my mind, however, held the ambition of setting up my own business and becoming a full time dog groomer. Over the years while I was doing office work I continued with my dog grooming training, studied for my City & Guilds advanced which I achieved with credit and attended lots of seminars, shows and competitions in order to improve my knowledge and skills.

Eventually, after some 15 years or so, I finally decided to take the plunge and start my own business, which started slowly at first but soon blossomed into a thriving concern, and after having been running it for approximately a year I was offered the position of Grooming Tutor at a local college, a position which I held for some three years or so, until I became pregnant with my first daughter. During this time, many of the grooming trainees whom I taught achieved their City & Guilds level 3 and several of them went on to run their own businesses. The private students who have attended our dog grooming courses have been equally as successful. Hundreds of our former trainees have gone on to run successful grooming businesses both in the UK and abroad. We have trained people from as far afield as Japan, New Zealand and Bermuda


Lesley with Herman (Affenpinscher) 


 We are proud to be able to say that one of our former trainees, Abi Boyce, won the coveted title of YKC Groomer of the Year 2006. My eldest daughter Millie was runner up YKC GOTY 2008 at 11 years of age. My youngest daughter Lotte has been placed every year in this competition, won the under 12s category in 2009 and was crowned YKC Groomer of the Year 2010. Also, another of our ex-trainees, Kelly Gayler, held the title in 2009.

I am very interested in dog behavior, both within the grooming salon and in general and have successfully completed a course with the Animal Care College in the Canine/Human Interface

 Tina helping a student

 Lesley and Paddi the Poodle 

(known as Chicken)

Together with having my City & Guilds in Dog Grooming this meant I was qualified to become a Charter Member of the Institute for Animal Care Education (ChMIACE). I have also now achieved my city & guilds Licentiateship in dog grooming (LCGI). We have also been selected as one of the top 3 grooming businesses in the UK in the 2009 Pet Industry Awards. We believe very strongly at Canine Design that all dogs should be treated as individuals and we always make every effort that every dog which enters our salon should have the most pleasant experience possible – 

we constantly monitor the stress levels of every animal in our care and alter our handling methods accordingly. Handling and control is a subject which we feel is very important, as it is one of the most important skills of being a groomer – it doesn’t matter how talented you are with the clippers and scissors - if you don’t have a good rapport with your canine clients, you may as well leave your tools in the box!

I started out with a completely ‘non-doggy’ background, albeit from a family of great animal lovers. It was never expected that I would enter a career working with animals, as all my family had always gone down the route of office work, but I feel my story gives hope to all you people out there like me that you can break the mould and turn your hobby into a career. I could never have dreamed where venturing into the world of dog grooming would take my life and I have such a lot to thank dogs for.

You don’t have to be born into a long line of dog breeders in order to make a career out of dog grooming. All you need is a love for animals, patience and a little artistic flair in order to realise your dream. All it takes is 20-35 days out of your life attending a high quality dog grooming course such as ours to completely change the direction of your life. It is not a job, it is a vocation and could be a completely life changing experience. What have you got to lose? Just pick up the phone or complete our enquiry form and one of our knowledgeable, friendly staff will be very happy to help you. I feel very lucky to have a job that I love so much. I have to pinch myself every now and again to confirm that it really is happening! Going to work is a pleasure for me and I look forward to Monday mornings. How many people can say that?!

If my story has inspired you and you would like to find out more about becoming a dog groomer by attending one of our dog grooming courses, please visit the rest of our website and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have, either by email or telephone. We look forward to hearing from you.


 Paddi, Isaac, Todi and Eric


Paddi is a parti colour Poodle

puppy, born mid March 2007


Here are just a few examples of our work (before and after) grooming 


 We have a 43' x 19' grooming area with three baths - one normal bath with an electric shower over, one hydro-bath and an electric bath, so there is never any need for students to queue to bath their dog.. 

We have 8 hydraulic/electric tables. We have four different types of driers - forced air driers, stand driers, 2 drying cabinets and a cage dryer, so students can try all the different drying methods. We also have a variety of electric clippers available for students' use and a vast array of grooming equipment.

We also have a quiet study area for students to use when they are not grooming, together with a growing library of books and videos with a combined TV/Video available. We are situated next door to a food shop with a bakery opposite. There is a fish and chip shop and several pubs in the village, so there are plenty of options for lunch, although most students opt for a quick sandwich in the study area or in the Millennium Garden . This is a communal area about 20 yards from our shop, which is a very pleasant place to sit for lunch on a sunny day among'st the flowers and trees. We also have a kitchen area with tea/coffee facilities available throughout the day.




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