14 tips to find the right doodle groomer for you
Did it happen to you too?
That you took a labadoodle puppy into your home with all the love and confidence you thought you felt? Often ignorant of the necessary coat care? And you only found out too late that your Doodle was tangled? Which caused him to be clipped short as its first grooming experience?
Lack of knowledge about Labradoodle coat care
Unfortunately, this is a scenario that sounds awfully familiar to 9 out of 10 Doodle owners.
With the very best intentions, but without the right knowledge about the necessary coat care, they give their Doodle its first negative grooming experience. This can be solved by reading all the right information at a young age, by doing a puppy habituation course or by looking for a good Doodle groomer in time. But unfortunately these possibilities are still lacking in many countries and the internet is so full of negative stories about tangled Doodles that many owners are hesitant to go to a groomer.
Here in the Netherlands there are hundreds of groomers, some of which claim to be "specialized in Doodle grooming". But how do you know whether your Doodle actually receives the best care? And that the groomer in question respects your wishes regarding the look you want for your Doodle?
With all those groomers to choose from: how do you know which groomer is right for your Doodle?
13 tips to help you find the right Doodle groomer.
Grooming Labradoodles is not easy. They have complex coats that require special grooming skills and not every groomer has those, although many are reluctant to admit it. A good Doodle Groomer is an all-rounder, has experience with all breeds and breed standards, but specializes in Labradoodles and dogs with similar complex coats (such as Water Dogs and Oodles). He or she does not just trim your Labradoodle according to a grooming schedule, but looks through the coat to see how he or she can make your Labradoodle look its best. A really good Doodle groomer is an artist who can conjure a beautiful dog out of a pile of hair, with the looks that match the bone structure and character. In addition, he or she knows Labradoodles and their coat, but certainly also their behavioral characteristics through and through, he or she gives your Labradoodle the care and treatment it needs and deserves.
Unfortunately there aren't many of those.
How do you recognize a good Doodle groomer?
The above traits will help you look more in the right direction, hopefully the following tips will help you find the Doodle groomer that best suits you and your Labradoodle.
1. First of all, always look for a groomer that indicates that they have experience with Doodles, but always ask more questions, because many claim to have experience, when they have not. Or they do have experience, but don't trim in the style you're looking for
2. Therefore, always look at the before and after photos and compare them with photos of the grooming looks that you like. Many groomers who claim to be an expert at grooming Doodles have photos on their website that prove the complete opposite. The proportions are not right, the head is too tight or too flat or too Terrier-like, the body is too short, the neck is too thick, the legs too thin or too wide, or the model is too much poodle like.
3. Because Doodle owners are very critical, word of mouth is the best medium
4. Very important: NEVER select a groomer based on her cheap rate, because this will come back to hunt you. Most good groomers need at least 3 hours to be able to trim a Doodle nicely, therefore a certain regular hourly rate is very normal (A groomer who has to live from its profession, has to pay rent for her salon and taxes too, so often has to groom at least 4 to 6 dogs per day to make ends meet)
5. Always choose a professionally trained Doodle groomer. There are many "groomers" who have supposedly taught themselves the trade, but do not know how to optimally pre-treat and trim a coat. They often cut over the tangles with straight scissors, making your Doodle look nice, but meanwhile the tangles and felt are getting worse.
6. The fact that your Doodle groomer indicates that he has completed a specialization course means NOTHING. These are often 1-day courses in which the groomer in question has only seen (without ever having taken the scissors in hand) how another groomer trimmed a Doodle from head to toe. The groomer receives a certificate only for being present on the day, making some notes and getting a grooming schedule. So the Doodle groomers that are recommended by other groomers or breeders because of this certificate are not necessarily good ones.
7. A good Doodle groomer does NOT trim with straight scissors! A natural, fluffy model can never be shaped with straight scissors, because the result looks way too styled and poodlelish. A good Doodle groomer uses special thinning shears selected for the coat that give the whole thing a natural, untrimmed appearance.
8. A good Doodle groomer uses a professional grooming table at all times and secures your dog with head and belly band to ensure its safety. A groomer who has the dogs loose on the table or even trims them lying down, not only takes too much risk, but also can never deliver a nice trim result, because she can't reach everything well enough.
9. A good Doodle groomer will never say that a Doodle with a soft coat should be "plucked". This would be pure torture. Only (F1) Doodles that have a wiry coat that comes off easily may be suitable for plucking, but probably not all over the body as the hair texture can be completely different on another part of the body. This must be carefully examined and determined for each Doodle.
10. Therefore, it is better not to choose a groomer who specializes in trimming/plucking Terriers, but one that is all-round, so that IF your Doodle needs to be partially picked, she knows exactly how to do that and how to trim the body in the best fitting model
11. A real Doodle groomer will have so much passion for her profession that she likes to propagate it via social media. Look for pages full of before and after photos (in the look you like), answering questions from followers, giving tips and a look behind the scenes.
12. A really good Doodle groomer wants the best for you and your Doodle, so if you deliver your Doodle with tangles or felt, will take the time to teach you how and with what to brush your Doodle and give you tips to avoid tangles. Trimming your Doodle is a collaboration between you and the groomer. Not the responsibility of your groomer alone.
13. A really good Doodle groomer will always opt for detangling and thinning the coat before trimming it. She will avoid shaving at all costs, because she knows its bad for your Doodle's wellbeing in many ways. She will always try to shape your Doodle in the best fluffy version of itself, with the most practical hair length.
14. The best Doodle groomer will work WITH you and help you attain the right detangling and thinning skills so that you are able to keep your Doodle tangle free and fluffy yourself. This way shaving can be avoided and your Doodle will never have a stressful time at the groomer ever again. Also you will spend less money on grooming costs, because the groomer will have a much easier job and will be finished sooner. Everybody happy!
I hope this list helps you to select the right Doodle groomer for your Doodle. Sometimes you will have to drive a bit further, but if you really want the best for your Doodle, you will generally not have a problem with the travel time and / or the grooming costs.
I am very curious if you have already found your ideal Doodle groomer.
In any case, it is always good to know how to brush, remove and prevent tangles and how to do the basic care yourself, so that you do not have to depend on any groomer for the well-being of your Doodle. Not only is this very important for the coat and skin health, it will strengthen the bond with your Labradoodle, making your entire interaction much easier. And it is great fun to do!.
Finally, please NEVER skimp on the maintenance of your Labradoodle!
These coats need to be trimmed every 2 months to stay healthy and tangle free. Trying to keep the coat long is a guarantee for a matted, dull, unhealthy coat (and a less joyful Labradoodle)
Many owners find it so expensive to have their Doodle trimmed that they only go 2 to 3 times a year, so that the Doodle in question always has to be shaved short. Not only is this harmful and stressfull for your dog, because shaving so close to the skin will damage the immune system of the skin, removes the protection of the coat (which they really need, especially in summer and winter), it is a guarantee for an unpleasant grooming experience every time.
While it may be an easy fix for you, it's not doing your dog any favors. Having a Doodle or Oodle is inherent to a lot and expensive coat care, so if you want or can spend as little money as possible, it is better to do a grooming workshop (or my online grooming program) to learn how to trim and maintain the coat yourself.
I hope you will benefit from all the tips from this blog. And if you want to help other Labradoodle owners, please SHARE this page on any Social Media Channels you may be a member of.
Lots of Doodle love,
Wanda & Joy