Sometimes starting a new adventure or stepping out of your comfort zone can be a daunting task. CPPS strives try to make the certification process as comfortable and informative as possible.
With CPPS, the written and practical test portions of certification at each level can be done in any order. Written exams for all levels can be completed before any practical tests are completed. The practical exams can be done when the right dog becomes available. For example, if you have passed the Non Sporting, but a dog with a really good coat and conformation for the Sporting practical comes along, then go ahead and do that test. Certificates for a level of certification are only issued after both the written and practical exams for that level have been passed. There is no time limit to complete levels of certification. CPPS understands that the right dogs don't come along when needed and sometimes life can just get in the way of a groomer's certification plans. The marks that you earn remain yours and are valid forever in your file with CPPS as long as the fees have been paid. The only requirement for testing is a current membership.
The books required for study for the written exams are listed on each page dedicated to each level. Each Level 2 exam (Sporting, Non Sporting & Terrier) as well as the Master Groomer exam, contain sections for breed identification. The pictures used for this section of each exam are provided on the page dedicated to that level. The Breed Standards to study for the CKC Breed Group for each Level 2 are available for purchase in a book from the Canadian Kennel Club or they can be downloaded and printed for free from the links provided on the Level 2 page. For the Intermediate Stylist Technician, the Intermediate Study Guide required is available in a free download on the Intermediate page.
Using the most correctly coated and structured dog that you can is important. Having a good coat will assist in helping you to do the best groom possible and to demonstrate your skills. Conformation as correct as possible for that breed will also be of help as you won't have to spend extra time dealing with faults.
The age and grooming experience of the dog is important as well. Puppies are not a good choice. They have short attention spans and have not been groomed enough times to understand or be comfortable with the grooming process. Senior dogs, although they may be well used to being groomed, may have health issues (i.e. arthritis, back issues, etc.) that could interfere with getting a quality groom done in the allowed time. Ideally, you want to use a dog that is well used to being groomed and will be quiet and well behaved throughout the groom. Certifiers must be able to extensively handle the dog all over. Inability to do so will cause you to get a failing grade.
The coat of the dog is very important. A poor or bad coat won't help you to get a good mark. The requirements of a minimum of 2" of coat is so that you have the opportunity to show your scissoring and clippering skills as well as to be able to show the lines required for the breed of dog you are grooming. A double coated dog should only be used for the Bather Double Coated level. There is not enough time in the Bather Technician level to deal with that much coat unless using a toy breed.
Dogs to use for testing can come from several different resources:
Personal Dog: These are great as they are already comfortable with you doing their groom. You are already experienced with any problems with coat or conformation as you will have been able to practice on them all the time.
Client's Dog: This would be a dog that you work with on a regular basis. The client trusts you with their dog and will let you borrow it for certification. Client dogs can be a terrific resource for a variety of breeds to use.
Breeder's Dog: This is a great resource for retired show dogs with terrific coats and conformation. They are patient and great on tables. Establish a relationship with different breeders in your area. Go to local shows and talk to breeders about working with their dogs.
Mentor/Teacher's Dog: If you have a mentor or teacher, they can be a great resource for dogs as well. They may have a list of clients that are willing to let their dogs be used for certification or they may have connections themselves with breeders. Hopefully they themselves are certified and will understand what you need in a dog for testing.
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