These days, we see just about every breed of dog bred with the Poodle to make some kind of "Doodle." Love them or hate them, they are here to stay.
As Doodles get more and more popular, we, as professionals, need to educate owners on proper maintenance of their coat. My model here is Vito, a one-and-a-half-year-old Bernadoodle, which is a Bernese Mountain Dog mixed with a Poodle. These dogs are cute, with a unique coloring to their coats, so I can definitely see the appeal.
This is my first time grooming Vito. After speaking with the client and examining what shape Vito’s coat was in, I decided on a length that can go six weeks between appointments. I have bathers at the salon, so unless a dog is very matted, I send my canine clients right to the tub. If I were grooming him straight through, I would rough his haircut in and take off some of the excess hair.
Step 1: Bathe
Wash in a general deep-cleaning shampoo and a light conditioner.
Step 2: Dry
Dry with the high velocity dryer all over, as much as the dog will tolerate. At this point, I use a snap-on comb to whack off excess hair, paying close attention to snarls so my comb does not snag. I go around any knots and brush out during the fluff drying process. I find clean hair is easier on my equipment.
Step 3: Fluff Dry
Using a slicker brush and stand dryer, fluff dry the coat. This is one of the most important steps. Even if a dog is dry, I take the extra time to fluff through the coat. Move methodically through the coat, drying, straightening and removing any tangles. Extra tip—use thinning shears to break up any matting.
Step 4: Clip Foot Pads
Clip the pads of the feet using a #30 blade.
Step 5: Sanitary Trim
Clip the sanitary areas with a #10 blade. If I have a sensitive dog, I will use the #4 snap-on comb in these areas.
Step 6: Trim Nails
Clip and file the nails.
Step 7: Clean Ears
Swab the ears clean.
Step 8: Clip Body
Using the size-A or lavender snap-on comb, clip the entire trunk of the body. Starting right behind the back of the skull, work down to the base of the tail. Skim off at the elbow, but make sure to get in the armpits and clip all the extra hair out. Clip the top of the rear legs like a "Schnauzer" pattern. Make sure to take the clipper line right up the jaw line, as this will help with styling the head. Extra tip—use the snap-on comb in reverse on the underline.
Step 9: Clip Rear Legs
Using a size-C or green snap-on comb, clip the rest of the hair on the rear leg. Clip right off the top of the foot as well. Vito had some toe matts that I discovered during fluff drying, which tells me that this area needs to be shorter to avoid matts next time.
Step 10: Clip Front Legs
Sticking with the size-C snap-on comb, run down the front legs, on all sides. This sets the length and shape, saving me time on scissoring.
Step 11: Clip Head
Use the size-E or light blue snap-on comb on the top of the head and down the sides of the head.
Step 12: Clear Eye Corners
Using thinning shears, clear out the inside corners of the eyes.
Step 13: Trim Visor
Comb the hair over the eyes forward and trim a visor. I like to go a quarter-inch past the eyes on the outside corners to open up the eyes more.
Step 14: Trim Head
Comb the hair up on top of the head and trim round. I use my curves clunkers for this. I find it gives a more natural look, and having never groomed this dog before, they allow me to style it gradually.
Step 15: Trim Face
Comb the hair on the face down and trim from the nose to under the ear using the natural jaw line. Do this to both sides of the head.
Step 16: Trim Chin
Comb the hair on the chin down and connect the sides of the face already trimmed.
Step 17: Trim Ears
Trim the ears to the desired length.
Step 18: Trim Rear Feet
Pick up each rear foot and comb the hair down to the pads. Trim any hair hanging over.
Step 19: Finish Rear Feet
Place each foot back on the table and trim round.
Step 20: Finish Rear Legs
Since you’ve already set the length and shape of the rear legs, comb the hair up and out and trim any hairs coming out of place.
Step 21: Finish Front Feet & Legs
Round the front feet the same way you did the rear. Comb the hair up and out and trim into a column following the length set by the snap-on comb.
Step 22: Finish Tail
Trim the tail to desired length. I trim the underside of the tail by the base short for sanitary reasons.
Professional groomer Annie Francis, CMG, is a grooming competitor, speaker and Andis educator. She works at The Village Groomer in Walpole, Mass. Is there a breed or cut that you’d like to see featured in the Grooming Table? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.