20 Reasons to grooming your Doodle yourself
Do you own a Labradoodle (Australian Doodle, GoldenDoodle, Oodle, Doubledoodle, Multigen Doodle, Cobberdog) or Water dog?
Then you know how much it takes to keep all that hair under control and tangle free. Doodles and Water Dogs are the most maintenance sensitive dogs in the world.
Just try to come up with a breed that has a similar thick coat. It does not exist. Originally, such dense coats were bred to serve the function that the dog had to perform (in Water Dogs: the “retreat” of shot poultry from the water or in some species: helping with fishing or herding the sheep) or his living environment. Labradoodles were mostly bred for their friendly nature, skills of service and non-shedding fur. But although the coats often are more hypoallergenic, they do shed and because all those loose hairs weave through the coat, the coats are extra sensitive to tangles and mats and come with special instructions for use. As an owner you can try to ignore that, but sooner or later you will be confronted with this harsh reality.
And the fact that so many Labradoodle groomers and Labradoodle grooming workshops have appeared in 9 years. is indicative of this development. Since I started this movement in 2011 with the first Doodle and Water Dog grooming workshops for owners and the first information about Doodle and Water Dog coat care and grooming, many owners are still misinformed and that is because too much incorrect information is shared online and offline. While a lot is also going well: many owners already know the benefits of the pet dryer, also called Doodle blaster and many owners know that the coat care requires some attention. But that people more often then not under estimate their Doodle's needed coat care, is unfortunately still a given.
No instructions for Labradoodle grooming
Most owners do not get the “directions for use” in tangible form when they purchase a puppy. The usual information often does not go much further than “regular brushing” and although some breeders provide complete manuals, this often contains insufficient information about the coat to be able to tackle it yourself optimally, when needed.
There are very energetic owners who read extensively before they bring their pup home, do online research and are taught from the outset in the right knowledge and skills.
As far as I am concerned, these are the shining examples for the other owners who are often overwhelmed by tangles and mats, when its already too late to get their pup accustomed to the grooming process. Because still most owners often have to find out for themselves what caring for their Doodle entails and their pup has to pay the prize.
Because Doodle grooming and coat care goes far beyond regular brushing with the right brush (this is often where the problems start). To keep the coat really healthy and tangle-free, dogs must be trimmed every 8 weeks from the age of 5 months and that quickly becomes a costly affair. That the puppy coat should be shaved once after 5 months to make way for the adult coat is a myth and I have no idea who brought it into the world.
For that reason (and because they enjoy doing it), many owners take to grooming their Doodle themselves, using either straight barber scissors (Poodle scissors) or clippers.
Logical, because grooming your Labradoodle or Water Dog yourself has many advantages, of which I can already mention 20.
And if you are currently (just like me) at home and wondering what the heck you can do with all your time OR if you have had to cancel the grooming session for your dog or perhaps the grooming workshop you registered for: what to do better than using your time to teach YOURSELF how to groom your Doodle or Water Dog in the fluffy look you love? Just like that. In the comfort of your own home, in your own time, when and how it suits YOU (and your beloved Doodle).
20 reasons to (learn to) groom your Labradoodle yourself:
1. Your Doodle is in its own environment, so it experiences less stress and stimuli
2. You know what happens to your Doodle (many Doodles leave a groomer and go home under stress and owners can only guess why)
3. You can decide how long you trim and stop, as soon as you feel your body play up (because trimming is physically very hard if you don't listen to your body)
4. You can determine how many (pipi or leg stretching) breaks you take for your Doodle
5. You can decide when to trim or if you do it in stages of several consecutive days (which I always recommend)
6. You can decide how your Doodle will look + make sure that the grooming is done properly (eg plucking in ears, which often goes wrong)
7. You NEVER have to get your Doodle returned by the groomer's shaved!
8. You NEVER need to hear that you brushed your Doodle so badly or neglected his coat
9. You are not tied to the groomer's schedule that does not always offer an opening if it suits YOU, with the result that you are sometimes late with your appointment
10. You have no travel time and do not have to make time for bringing and picking up your dog
11. You don't have to search forever for the RIGHT groomer that will groom your Doodle to your liking OR have to put up with his method of grooming because there is no other to turn to.
12. You don't have to search forever for a groomer that does have a spot… because most Doodle groomers are already packed these days.
13. You can give your Doodle the education needed to keep him calm on the grooming table and strengthen the bond with your Doodle yourself while grooming him (I always say "A strong dog/owner relationship starts on the grooming table”)
14. You take responsability of your Doodle's well-being yourself; this helps you to detect possible ailments, allergies, pain, vermin and diseases and prevent tangles.
15. YOU WILL SAVE A LOT OF MONEY ON PRO GROOMING COSTS! (Thousands of Dollars in 15 years, per Doodle), although you do need to make a one-time investment, purchasing the right grooming course and professional grooming equipment; but then still you will save thousands of euros on grooming costs)
16. Grooming your Doodle yourself gives you a lot of confidence, satisfaction and gratitude
17. Grooming your Doodle yourself will increase your leadership skills over your Doodle and in general
18. It is great fun to be so creative
19. Nobody takes away this quality 1 to 1 time with your Doodle!
20. Even in times, like now, when all groomers are closed, you can still groom your Doodle because you are totally independant of any groomer!
Wrong examples of Labradoodle coat care
sadly, often DIY grooming does not go well, because people under estimate it.
Many owners copy the “trim art” of YouTube videos that do not always lead by example. This having said, I have seen very bad videos in which the brushing is completely wrong and in which Doodles are detangled in the bath by pulling the tangles in the wet fur with a comb ... OOOUCH!
Many owners also seem to think that a Doodle needs to be shaved, so they purchase clippers to shave the coat haphazardly, which can be AND dangerous AND totally unnecessary and unpleasant for dogs with (allergy) sensitive skin that need their fur to protect against all kinds of harmful external influences (Doodles are much more sensitive to this than other dog breeds)
When owners start trimming by hand, they often use poodle scissors, because they think (or have learned) that the coat should be cut with straight scissors just like a poodle. Although this is a method of shortening the coat, it is not the most beautiful and natural method (because you can see every cut), nor the most thorough method, because tangles can easily be overlooked, causing the coat to become felted bit by bit. It is also more likely that your Doodle will look like a poodle and for many Doodle owners that is a walking insult.
Labradoodle grooming is not just about the outside that should look beautiful. It is mainly about the inside: the coat that is completely pre-processed or pre-groomed (brushed effectively, thinned and made free of tangles and mats, so that it becomes healthy, airy and ready to be trimmed) and only then is trimmed to a practical, beautiful intermediate length that honors the bone structure and personality of your Doodle of Water Dog.
How many Doodles and Water Dogs are still walking around either with a felted, long coat OR with an ugly, short and vulnerable clipped coat, because the owners do not have the correct information about optimal coat care?
Labradoodle grooming is a profession
Dog grooming is a craft. Doodle and Water Dog grooming a specialty within that craft (all though many groomers don't treat it like that, using simple methods for creating a mediocre result). But real grooming goes much further than just cutting a piece of hair. Real Labradoodle grooming makes a Doodle look its very fluffy best. Makes a Doodle look like a pup again. Makes it look younger, slimmer, healthier, fluffier, more muscular, more playful and happier. And of course: totally tangle free! With the right body proportions and a beautiful, kind looking, fluffy face that perfectly reflects a Doodle's wonderful personality.
This requires special grooming equipment (no clippers or straight Poodle scissors) and can't be learned in a few hours (the prepairing of the coat and the basic coat care alone often take a few hours). That's why I always give the customers that book my private Labradoodle grooming workshop the option to split the whole workshop into 2 half days at no extra cost, instead of doing everything in 1 day. That is much more manageable for their Doodle and themselves. And because real mastership can only be achieved through repetition, I always offer a total package, including my online video training as a digital reference.
If you really love your Doodle of Water Dog and you don't want to just learn to groom it, but want to learn how to shape it into the best version of itself and always keep it looking its best, with the right body contours and proportions, full bear legs, a head that reflects its personality and especially the fluffy, cuddly coat he had as a puppy? Then you learn to groom, as you learn to sculpt: you make the ideal version of your Doodle appear out of a "brick" of hair. With an artist's eye and the right, special grooming materials.
Not everyone can groom that way, not even many dog pro groomers and Doodle pro groomers and you won't find this technique on YouTube, but it makes the grooming extra fun, because you see your dog transforming before your eyes, becoming younger; back to its puppy look. And which owner does not want his dog to remain a lifelong puppy?
Lots of Doodle love,
Wanda & Joy