Today's blog post is about how I groom my doodles. I prefer to have my doodles not shaved, but not too long either. I have groomed many doodles and have been grooming for about two years. I am nowhere near a professional level, but I have been through an apprenticeship to be where I am at today. I wanted to learn how to groom my own dogs and future guardian dogs for my program and that is where I started!
I also filmed a video to go along with this blog post, check it out here.
First things first you need supplies/equipment. If you think that grooming your own dogs will save you money, it will but it will be a couple grooms before it does that. The start up costs are substantial to get the right and good equipment.
Here is a list of all the basic and bare minimum things that I use~
- Clippers- https://amzn.to/36DcARU
- Guard Combs- https://amzn.to/36EKDcn
- Size 30 Blade- https://amzn.to/35qV6aQ
- Size 10 Blade- https://amzn.to/3pfs2ds
- Size 40 blade- https://amzn.to/3LYHvrV
- Brushes- Cheaper One https://amzn.to/3JPoxlI and the Chris Christensen https://amzn.to/36sKQPG
- Comb- https://amzn.to/3LYfNvh
- Flying Pig Dryer- https://amzn.to/33QveVm
- WaterPik Dog Wand- https://amzn.to/3t2cuec
- Dirty Dog Shampoo- https://amzn.to/3toHntx
- Dilution Bottle- https://amzn.to/3HbDcpC
- Grooming Tables- https://amzn.to/3sg4FlE and https://amzn.to/3Hbvv2R
When you start to groom your dog you need to decide if you are going to pre-shave or just go straight into the bath. With dogs that have longer hair and we are going quite a bit shorter, I pre-shave because it will mean less hair to blow dry when it is time to dry. If your dog is visibly matted, I recommend going to your local groomer to get your dog groomed because of the mats. Mats make it very hard to groom your dog and you will have to use a shorter blade which is able to go under the mats. The shorter the length or blade size, the easier it is to cut the dog as well. The easiest way to tell if your dog is matted is to take a stainless steel comb, like this one https://amzn.to/3hfoHXe, and try to brush all the way down to the skin. If you can use this comb and comb through a good portion on different areas of your dog and down to the skin, you should be good to groom your dog at home. If not, take them to the groomer.
Let's finally get into it!
When you shave the body of your dog, you want to groom in the direction of the muscles of the dog. Dogs have three main muscles that you want to follow, one from the top of the shoulder to the feet on the front legs, one starting from the back to under the belly, the last one starting at the top of the back leg to the bottom.
Using your guard comb on a size 30 blade to do the body. I recommend using these sizes of guard comb 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch for a coat that feels like velvet, if your dog's hair is long enough you can even do a 5/8 inch or even a full inch. Take your guard comb around all the whole body of the dog. Make sure to go with the grain of the hair and not against the hair. Going against the hair is called "reverse" and most grooms go with the grain unless specified.
The sanitary trim is where you trim the potty areas of the dog. This is to keep them from peeing on themselves and getting potty stuck on them as well. It helps keep them nice and clean. For your sanitary trim, you should use a size 10 blade. I start by shaving the bootyhole and go up about 1/4 of an inch to a 1/2 on the base of the tail. I do this so that when their tail is down, nothing can grab onto that either. After that I use the same blade and shave in-between the legs and up to the first set of nipples on females, and on males I go a little in front of the prize possessions so that they can't pee on themselves.
After the Sanitary trim we are going to shave the inside of the pads. I take a size 40 blade and trim the inside of the pads. You go in-between each individual pad because they can grow mats there and things can also get stuck in the hair. Mats can and will be very uncomfortable in-between the pads of the feet.
After the pads, I take them to the bath. I use a groomer strength shampoo, but it has to be diluted. The groomer shampoo comes very concentrated to last longer and be more effective. I rinse them off and them put the diluted shampoo on them. Once they are all lathered up, I express the anal glands. If you don't know what anal glands are, read this article to learn more. Here is how and why groomer express the anal glands. I also have found this great video showing you how to express them at home. Anal glands SMELL so make sure to have water and soap handy to wash the fluid away. Also beware.... don't stand in the splash zone or else you will be wear anal gland perfume for a while haha!
After they are done being bathed, I blow dry them with a high velocity blow dryer. I like to use the flying pig one, but I know that there are a lot out there. I don't use a happy hoody or anything to cover the ears because I just try to avoid them. Sometimes I left them air dry or use a very low setting on my dryer.
Once they are dried, you can go over and touch up the body with the same guard comb. After you use a high velocity blow dryer, the hair stands up and is more straight than it is normally. This helps you get a more uniform groom.
After you touched up the body, you can trim the tail and start on the feet. I trim the tail to look like a smiley face mouth from the tip of the tail to the base with my curved shears.
For the feet, you want to trim up all the long hairs that you have have missed. If you use a brush, you can brush up or reverse to make the hair stand up and trim it. With the feet you just want to round out the whole foot and make it look clean. Trim all the longer hairs so that it blends in with the rest of the leg nicely.
After the feet are done, I move to the face!
Here is a diagram of how I trim a doodles face.
I start with a guard comb that is 2-3 sizes bigger than the body to give the dog a fluffy face. I use a slicker brush to brush the hair parting it in the center and run my guard comb over each side. I sometimes will run the guard comb over the cheeks as well to removed some of the hair on the side of the face. After that I take the brush again and brush a good portion of the hair straight over the eyes, imagine a visor(like the hat) made of hair on your dog. Once I have the hair brushed forward, I trim with my curved shears all the hair that is in front of the eyes. Once that is trimmed, I use the same shears and trim the hair in the corner of the eyes. Be careful and watch where the end of your shears are so you don't hit your dogs' eye. The nest step is to trim the beard. I always tuck that in nice and tight and even with the jaw. I don't like a super long beard because it tends to collect water and then the water ends up all over the house...... so I keep it nice and short!
Trimming the ears is the last and final step. I just trim up my ears to make them even and round them off.
THATS IT!! Now lets see you groom your dog and don't forget to tag me :)
-Oodles of Doodles UT
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