About Us

Amy Elliott-Smith, owner of the paw pad

How I Started My Own Dog Grooming Business

I’ve had many jobs.

Many jobs I hated, I might add.

But when rent and bills need to be paid, sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of doing a job we dislike because it offers the financial security we need.

In 1998, aged 21 I’d had a go at most jobs in an effort to find my passion. Working in pubs, restaurants, at the airport, in telemarketing, retail, promotions, as a hairdresser’s apprentice. I even tried my hand at strawberry picking (one of the less lucrative professions I explored)!

But my dream was to work with animals, dogs, in particular. I felt such an affiliation to them.

My thoughts quickly turned to dog grooming, a career I knew nothing about but decided to research. I took an apprenticeship at a local salon and my journey began.

After a couple of years, I decided to set up my own dog grooming business from home. I converted my garage into a dog grooming salon and gathered all my knowledge together to form The Paw Pad.

Throughout my 15 years in the industry, I have been shocked and saddened at the standard of most dog groomers. Time and time again I have clients who bring their dogs to me after disastrous visits to other salons.

I’ve seen shih tzus cut like spaniels, spaniels cut like poodles and all too often scars, missing nipples and dogs cowering on the table that have clearly had a bad grooming experience.

This really makes me upset.

I decided I would like to begin training people to responsibly and skilfully groom dogs.

The Paw Pad Dog Grooming School was born!

At The Paw Pad

We believe that loving care of dogs is as essential as the finished look of the dog.

Dog Grooming
We offer accredited dog grooming courses for dog lovers who want to become professional groomers or for owners wanting to groom their own dogs. There is a course for everyone, of every level.
We cover breed-specific clipping, scissoring, nail trimming, ear plucking, bathing, handling and plenty more as well as a full induction, business tips and advice.
noodle doggy
All our staff are fully trained, friendly and completely understand that the decision you have taken to change career is one of the biggest you will ever make. We are here to ease you into that transition and are available any time after you graduate for free, on-going support.

A dog grooming business is a lovely career, not to mention lucrative; during the recession, the pet industry survived barely unscathed. You’ll meet friends you’ll keep for life and fall in love with hundreds of dogs.

One of the best feelings comes on the day a dog who has previously been scared of the groomer finally relaxes and lets you clip their nails, dry their head or trim their pads.

It’s gaining that trust that makes it all worthwhile.

What Our Students Have to Say

I took the 2 week dog groomer training course and loved it. A little Yorkshire terrier came to me today and the owner was really happy with her cut. I feel so grateful to the Paw Pad school who have given me this skill. I want to say thank you very much. I have learned so much and love my new career. I had so much fun on the course and sometimes wish I was back there. I miss 70s disco lunch with you ladies! I hope you are well!”
Carole
West Midlands
I completed the short dog groomer training course at the grooming school and was very impressed with the standard of teaching and support offered. The learning environment was very pleasant with no pressure with a good variety of doggy models to work with. Amy and Kristy were a pleasure to meet and work with. The standard expected was high and so it should be! The after support has also been excellent, a big thank you to you both and worth every penny. x
Paws Mobile Grooming Salon
training course, it was totally outstanding!!! From scissoring, to clipping to different breeds, I really can’t believe what these lovely ladies have taught me in two weeks. Absolutely fabulous and thank-you for making my dream of grooming dogs come true, Amy and Kristy also included lots of advice and tips on marketing your new venture. I feel totally at ease in my new business. Once again Thank- you from the bottom of my heart for everything, much love
Claire
Ireland
Having dreamt of becoming a dog groomer for years I finally bit the bullet and booked a course at The Paw Pad and I am so very glad that I chose to go there to learn my new craft. I’m not the fastest learner – these ladies deserve a medal for their patience. I learned more than I ever thought I could in ten days and can now confidently groom many dogs thanks to the training I have been given. I want to give my heartfelt thanks to Kristy for my excellent experience. I would recommend anyone who wants to start their own business to come here and learn.
Diane
Kendal