Groomer Story
Diana Paiva typography, with a photo of Diana Paiva smiling and holding a well trimmed Shih Tzu

Finds Success Grooming Small Dogs

by Jen Phillips April
Photos by Daniela Tabushi
Diana Paiva smiles holding a Pomeranian wearing a bowtie

ho would have thought that the recent pandemic restrictions could turn an average dog grooming business into a thriving dog grooming business? Well, for Brazilian-born groomer Diana Paiva, that’s exactly what happened.

“I made house-calls doing dog grooming, but then the pandemic happened, and I couldn’t go to clients’ homes anymore. Now, I groom dogs at my home,” says Paiva

Additionally, the Malden, Massachusetts-based groomer now only grooms small dogs under 20 pounds and has the workspace to match: “I work out of a small bathroom at home and use a portable and practical bathtub. I put supports under the feet of the bathtub to keep it high and prevent me from having back pain. The sink offers space for my blades, scissors, and other equipment,” she shares.

Since Paiva only works with one dog at a time, it allows her to build trust with each dog: “You need to respect the limits of the dog too. If the dog is not comfortable with the grooming process, I adapt to make it better for him. And if he still doesn’t like it,” Paiva continues, “I stop, and we try another day. This avoids stress and trauma for the dog, and this respects his limit of collaboration.”

She attracts clients through referrals and through her Instagram (@dianapaivagroomer). With 134K followers, potential clients see her work and contact her. Before booking a new client, she asks them to send a picture of their dog and the dog’s vaccination records.

Diana Paiva smiles wearing her groomer's uniform in a snapshot from one of her training videos
Paiva offers her own training courses for grooming professionals who want to improve their small dog grooming techniques.
Her wife, Daniela Tabushi Carvalho, handles the photoshoots and videos for Instagram and now for YouTube as well.

Paiva says, “We posted a picture every day for three years. We always take before and after photos, and depending on the job, we record the process too. Our equipment relies on good lighting, a ring light, and the iPhone13 pro max. It has a good camera and lighting adjustments help to have good photos.”

Carvalho also handles scheduling and other tasks. Because, according to Paiva, “It’s too much for one person. You can’t do it alone.”

In her seven years as a groomer, Paiva first learned about the profession back in Brazil when she took a dog grooming class. She came to Boston to work in a pet shop, grooming dogs of all sizes and breeds. Then, she started making house-calls and now runs her home-based business out of her modern condominium.

“I love Boston. We have a beautiful lobby area where clients can bring their dogs. Our neighborhood is a mix of historic homes and new buildings. It’s very pet friendly and convenient. I can be downtown in 15 or 20 minutes via car,” she shares.

In October of 2022, Paiva took third place in the Salon Freestyle class at the New England Grooming Show. She enjoys the grooming shows for learning and networking opportunities. “I love learning different techniques and networking with other groomers,” she adds.

Diana Paiva at work, grooming a fluffy white miniature poodle
Always one to be prepared, Paiva is also certified in pet CPR. “I once had a dog that had a heart attack. He started to convulse, and while he ended up being fine, it was intense. Thanks to the CPR course, I knew to check his gums and heartbeat. His gums were pale, and his heartbeat was weak, so I started five cycles of 30 compressions while we called 911 and the nearest veterinarian. We rushed him to the veterinarian and were told we’d done the correct CPR procedure to help him. Afterward, we called the family to explain what had happened personally, and they were grateful,” she shares.

Additionally, Paiva offers her own training courses for grooming professionals who want to improve their small dog grooming techniques: “Sixty five groomers have taken my courses, and I have one online course called ‘Cute Faces’ which shows scissoring techniques for making the face fluffier on small dogs. There are four different types of faces and scissor techniques groomers can adapt to other breeds which leave the dog with beautiful expressions,” she adds.

Some groomers request one-on-one training, which is where Paiva teaches specific techniques for small breeds and is a six-hour course. More information on her training courses can be found on her website:

With all of her recent success, Paiva still strives to do more and further her grooming and teaching career. Her future plans include opening a canine aesthetics studio and a bigger space to teach classes.