How a seasoned dog groomer learns new tricks

By Amanda Thomas, lead groomer

It’s hard to believe, but just about anyone with a pair of scissors and a nylon smock can call themselves a dog groomer. What separates those just starting out from the seasoned groomers is continuing education. Later this month, Green Whiskers lead groomer, Amanda Thomas, will travel to the Northwest Grooming Show in Tacoma, Washington to network, see the latest trends, and most important, take part in seminars and classes. In this installment of Woof!, Amanda talks about keeping her skills fresh to stay on top of the ever-evolving world of dog grooming.

I love dogs. No, I mean I reallylove dogs, and have since I was old enough to toss a ball and have Maddie, my family’s Shih Tzu, return it and reward me with a dainty kiss. So, it was natural that, while stationed with my military husband, I went looking for a job that involved dogs. That came easy, when there was an opening at a large pet store where I was trained and started my career.

Fast forward six years, and I have a wonderful career and lots of satisfied clients. But I still have so much to learn. Dog grooming is constantly changing, with introduction of new breeds, styles, techniques and tools. In a few weeks, I’ll be taking classes in such things asHerding and Working breed coats, with a focus on how to de-shed these furry friends. Another will highlight how to create layered faces that offer open eyes and fluffy muzzles. And to keep it hip, I’ll belearning about creative color and the best pet-safe products like vegetable-based dies for bringing some zing to your pooch’s coat. In the past, I’ve received my K9 CPR and first aid and salon sanitation certificates.

If you want to make sure you’re getting the best grooming possible for you dog, ask your groomer about their continuing ed program. If they’re just doing this as a job, then it’s a job. For me, it’s a profession, and I will always seek to get better at what I do. 

Amanda Thomas is the lead groomer for Green Whiskers, a Portland, Oregon-based,earth-friendly mobile dog grooming service based in Portland, Oregon. Our Green Whiskers’ Eco-Clean System can wash even the dirtiest pooch with minimal impact on the environment, using 90% less water than traditional groomers.

Greg Robeson