Yes, I don't understand why no bath either. It does relax the dogs a bit, and gives you a chance to get to know them a little while giving them a nice massage-including the face. We can only do what we can do safely for the pet (and ourselves). I would have tried doing a little hand massage on the face, then take the thinners and rub on the face-taking a few cuts on the bangs if the dog would allow. Sometimes they're better for the thinners (safer too). And sometimes I find I can trim off quite a bit while they're wet in the tub. Sounds like this pup needs work, and I hope the owners are willing to do some 'homework' with him. Must've been his first groom? Forcing a dog who is so afraid isn't how I would do it. I know DDD probably disagrees, but I find I catch a lot more flys with honey than with vinegar.
Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.