Here’s the deal, the popularity of doodles is indisputable. But sadly, the educating of doodle owners regarding their proper grooming and maintenance is NOT so popular. Paw Haven Puppies is going to do you a solid and tell you what’s up. Your fluffy puppy is not going to stay that way without some effort. Any doodle breeder who says they are “maintenance free” or advise “they rarely, if ever need brushing” or “their hair is naturally best left alone” IS NOT BEING TRUTHFUL and doing you and your furry buddy a huge injustice.
BEHIND THE FLUFF
First off, I am NOT a professional groomer, however, I do groom my own dogs. Additionally, I follow many groomers to stay abreast of techniques and tips. One of the most irritating things I see occurs WAY more than it should. It’s groomers having to spend oodles of time on matted and unkempt doodles. This is often to the chagrin of their owners who, in turn for their groomer’s thankless back-breaking/tennis-elbow making/dog frustrating/dog-nipping/sweaty, hard work, get ‘blasted’ on doodle groups for ‘poodling’ their doodle or giving them ‘hack jobs’. Here’s the truth…if a doodle owner fails to brush or bathe their dog or get simple grooming on a regular basis, then what do they expect? Surely, it comes as no surprise that if a person with some length to their hair went swimming or took a bath and didn’t wash nor brush it out, that it would become tangled. Exacerbate the condition of that hair by doing that repeatedly and eventually, the only remedy is a clean shave. This can really hurt the rapport between a groomer and their clients. But more than that, your dog’s relationship to a groomer will be life-long so it’s important that you do what you can to keep this a trusting and even fun one.
Here’s the short of it, if you are getting a doodle you need to expect and prepare for some maintenance. This includes brushing AND combing. Boom. That sums it up. It doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal. What I like to advise is keeping two items near where you sit and relax or basically where you gravitate toward giving your dog their daily snuggles and rubs. This way it becomes part of your routine and your pupperoni will actually look forward to it. The items that are commonly recommended are a slicker brush and a metal greyhound comb. The combs are wonderful for using on the face and in any area where a brush may not easily fit or catch any tangles. The result you’re aiming for should be to get the comb to go through the entire coat from root to tip. If you fail to do that then it is likely that that top portion of the coat is mat-free, but the roots will be matted. THAT is the cause of needing a full shave. You can google pics/video of fully matted coats that come off in sheets. These are highly uncomfortable for your dog to live in and have shaved off. Quite often underneath matting, there’s bruising, hematomas, skin infections, etc. All avoidable.
Start with a slicker brush to break up any knots, then finish up with the comb. Simple as that. As an added bonus, I recommend gently pulling out the hair in the ear canal with your fingers. Get the canal as clear as possible so it can air out continually. Drying out the ear if wet or avoiding water exposure to it staves off infection. Poodles and doodles can be prone to stinky ears and ear infections when this hair is not kept under control. Also, a simple, quick thing to do.
One more thing and this may seem counter-intuitive, but what your routine should NOT include is baths at home *UNLESS* you are willing to blow dry your doggo COMPLETELY and NOT ‘air-dry’. Without that, baths at home will only cause and expedite matting. Now that you’ve done these simple things, YAY YOU! Your groomer will LOVE you and your dog will LOVE you, too!
FREQUENCY OF GROOMING
If you want your doodle to have that well-known fluffy coat, they should be at the groomer every 4-8 weeks depending on your favored length. You can get them full haircuts or just trim ups – the possibilities are many if the coat is well-maintained. One of my FAVORITE cuts is the puppy clip.
I ask that you consider taking in your pup to get their anal glands and nails done even if a clip isn’t due. Anytime you can take to show your dog that the groomer isn’t always an ‘all day affair’ making them subject to mind-numbing bouts of sitting and yap-yapping from the other dogs is a good thing.
I would highly suggest that you join some doodle groups in your area, many are found on Facebook. Look at the pics people post or ask them to post them. Do they like their groomer? Do their dogs come home frightened or covered in nicks? Which cut(s) do you like? Ask who grooms their dog. Groomers have their own “touches” and interpretations of what a great doodle cut is. Make sure you like what they offer.
The cost of grooming a doodle is not small. That’s the plain and simple truth of it. Doodle baths/grooms can range anywhere from $50 to upwards of $100. There are many things that are factored into this price. The type of coat the dog has, the condition of the coat (which you’ll be a pro at keeping top-notch wink-wink), his/her behavior during grooming, and the time spent on the service. Many groomers have a base price for the breed, but this price will increase based on these factors. But may I add, they are worth Every. Single. Penny. Trust me, as someone who grooms their own dogs, YOU DO NOT WANT THE BEST PART OF THAT. Please take care of your pup and groomer and they’ll take great care of you.
WHEN TO GROOM A DOODLE PUPPY
The last thing I want to address is that I’ve seen some breeders say that doodles should not/do not need to be groomed before they are a year old. That is just not sound advice. When this happens, their first groom is almost always a shave right down to the skin. Introducing grooming at an early age is imperative! Most groomers will have a puppy special of some sort, which is offered as early as 8 weeks. *Just keep in mind that your pup is not fully vaccinated until two weeks after their 16 wk shots, so make sure your groomer is very strict about requiring vaccinations. Puppy grooms will typically include nail clipping, ear cleaning, a bath, and a trim around their face, paws, and potty areas which is known as a sanitary cut.
If you don’t want your puppy to have a full haircut, you don’t have to! But still aim to bring them in every 4-8 weeks both to get them acclimated to the grooming process and to keep them in the best shape possible. Their coat changes around six months of age and transitions from light, fluffy puppy coats to their adult coats. Their adult coats can have a variety of thicknesses and textures, but this transition can often lead to matting which is another reason to establish a regular home grooming routine and to be in to see your groomer every 4-8 weeks.
Whether you prefer a long or short coat, comb and brush. Remove the ear hair. Only bathe if you can commit to a complete blow dry. Find a groomer you like. Aim for groomer visits every 4-8 weeks, even if it’s only for a nail clip or gland expression. And when all that’s said and done you’ve done your part to keep your puppo looking primo. Look at you being a responsible, educated doodle owner!