Tips and tricks on grooming your Doodles…

Regardless of the kind of doodle you have chosen; labradoodle, goldendoodle, borderdoodle or aussiedoodle, double doodle, you’ll eventually have questions about grooming.  How often should I bathe my dog? What kinds of grooming tools do I need? How difficult is this going to be to keep up? Should I use a professional groomer?

Honestly, the time and upkeep it takes are going to vary greatly depending on your doodle’s coat. As we all know doodle coat types can vary widely with everything from a flat coat, like a lab, to a wool poodle coat.

Don’t worry, if you’re well prepared, taking care of your doodle’s coat is actually pretty easy. So, let’s talk about the different types of coats and what you’ll need to brush and maintain them.

Avery-has-a-flat-coat

First, we have flat coats

These are the doodles who have inherited the lab type coat. Short, shiny, and by far the least maintenance required. All you really need to keep a flat coat in good shape is a curry comb! They are great for catching the shed hairs, and there WILL be some shedding with a flat coat. The good news is you can get away with a weekly once over with the curry comb and you don’t have matting to worry about! As an added bonus, a once monthly bath should be about all you need unless your dog seeks out mud like mine do.

Luna-is-a-labradoodle

Second are the hair coats. 

These dogs typically have a straight to wavy coat with a shaggy appearance. They are still very easy to get a brush through and we would recommend either a wire brush or a comb, maybe both depending on what your dog prefers.  Brushing should be done daily with this coat to prevent tangles or matts. That may sound excessive, but honestly, if you’re doing it daily it won’t take long and your dog will thank you for it. We suggest you try to make it a positive experience. Invite your dog to come sit with you for “lap time” and give him a thorough brushing while he soaks up some of that attention all doodles seem to love. The daily brushing should be accompanied by a sanitary trim every 6-8 weeks as well. This means you’ll trim the face, feet and rear end. If you’re comfortable doing this and your pooch trusts you with scissors, you can easily get this taken care of at home and save yourself some grooming costs. A monthly bath should suffice with a hair coated dog as well.

Whitley-is-a-double-doodle

Next we have the coveted fleece coat.

These guys are very popular for their soft wavy to curly coats, their allergy friendliness and their low to no shed quality. Fleece coated dogs should still be fairly easy to brush and brushing should still be done daily with these guys. In addition to a wire brush or wide toothed comb, you may want to invest in a matt breaker comb like the Furminator Furflex to reach down into the undercoat these dogs have.  These curved combs use stainless steel blades to cut through any matts without all the pulling and discomfort for your dog. They are perfectly safe and have saved me and Luna many hours of brushing over the years. If you are keeping up on your daily brushing, you shouldn’t have to use it often. With a fleece coated dog you can bathe every two weeks. Just make sure you are using a gentle, moisturizing shampoo.

Rocco-is-an-f1b-labradoole

Last, but definitely not least, we have the wool coats.

These dogs have coats like a poodle. Curly, allergy friendly and requiring the most maintenance. You’ll either want to invest in a good quality clipper and learn some basic haircuts yourself, or you’ll need to schedule regular grooming appointments every 6-8 weeks depending on how long you like your dog’s coat. They have a dense undercoat and wiry outer coat that will continue to grow until it is cut. Any shed hair, yes poodles do in fact shed hair just like we shed some hairs, is caught in the wiry outer coat and needs to be brushed out to prevent matting. There are specific brushes to help remove loose hair, detangle any matts or knots and remove any debris from the coat. My Rocco tends to love to lie under the pine tree and comes inside with everything from pine needles to sticks stuck in his coat from time to time.

  1. A slicker brush will help you remove any small matts and detangle knots. Start at the  tip of the hair and work your way to the base without letting the bristles touch the dog’s skin. Never pull or yank on a matt. Just use gentle pressure to try to work the matt out. Larger matts may require a matt breaker or the help of a professional groomer.
  2. A pin brush will help you remove loose hairs. In most cases, a poodle’s coat actually does shed but the hair does not fall to the ground. Frequent brushing with this type of brush will help to prevent matting and is useful for the ears and topknot or any other areas you allow to grow long.
  3. A rake brush/ matt breaker allows you to reach into your dog’s thick coat and remove dead hair from the undercoat located near the skin. It resembles the look of a razor and only requires minimal pressure. Use it gently to avoid scratching the dog’s skin.
  4. A metal comb is useful for finding tangles. When you find them, brush through the tangles with a slicker or pin brush.

Your furry friend’s first haircut should happen between 8 and 12 weeks of age and should usually be a simple sanitary cut. This means you or the groomer will trim the face, the feet and the rear to prevent matting. If you decide to attempt grooming with a clipper on your own, make sure you do so slowly. You might have the sweetest natured doodle there is but those scary, vibrating clippers with their weird noise may turn your otherwise docile baby into a frightened mess.

Scared dogs don’t always react the way we expect and your safety as well as your pups is important. Make sure your dog trusts you and is not overly nervous about the sound of the clippers before you attempt a haircut. If your dog gets nippy or too wiggly it may be best to get help from a professional groomer. They are awesome at their jobs and will make your pup look adorable!

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