LABRADOODLE GROOMING GUIDE
One of the major benefits of Labradoodle ownership is their coats, which are typically fleece, wool, or a combination and therefore non-shedding. The fact that your Labradoodle’s coat is non-shedding however, means that your dog will require regular grooming and periodic clipping. This is important for the dog’s welfare also, as their coats can get very heavy and hot and matted coats make them very uncomfortable.
To have the typical “doodle look, you will need to clip the coat three or four times a year. Think about timing the clips in Autumn and Spring, Summer and Winter. You can keep the coat a little longer in the Winter and shorter in the Summer.
Most people choose to take their Labradoodle to a professional groomer. I recommend this option to achieve a beautiful finish. Another option is to purchase a high quality brand of clippers [such as Andis, Wahl or Oster] and clip your Labradoodle yourself.
We clip our Burrinjuck Labradoodles ourselves and it is not too difficult if you lower your standards and don’t mind the ‘shorn sheep’ look. The good news is it does grow back. We use a size 4 or 5 blade for most of the coat and use a size 10 blade for the really difficult areas that matt, such as behind and under the ears, under the armpit and on the belly. We also use a 10′ blade over and between the paws.
BrushingDaily brushing is very important otherwise, your Doodle will unsurprisingly get a lot of knots and mats.
As Doodle parents, we need to be more mindful and acknowledge that the signature Doodle look requires daily upkeep on our part. This is why brushing is something you need to do everyday.
If a few days slip by between grooming sessions it may be necessary to "Line Brush" your Labradoodle.
Line brushing can be used as an intensive solution to deal with knots and mats. Below is a link to a video tutorial on line brushing. Line Brushing Tutorial.
The benefits of regular brushing include:
The ability to keep the coat longer if you brush more regularly
The more regularly you brush your dog the easier it will become.
Your Labradoodle will become accustomed to the sensation of being groomed.
It can be a time of bonding and is also a great opportunity to check for skin irritations, ticks, fleas and grass seeds.
THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE
USEFUL TOOLS OF THE TRADE:
Wide toothed metal comb.
Below I have listed some of the grooming items that I have found beneficial when grooming my own dogs. A few of these items are quite expensive and were recommended by a professional dog groomer. There are other high quality and less expensive dog grooming items on the market so if these products are currently outside your budget – don’t stress.
Miracle Slicker Brush
The slicker brush by Miracle Coat is one of the best tools for grooming undercoats. The fine, wire pins reach into the undercoat to remove loose hair. Regular use deters matting. Soft pad and angled flexible pins allows for effective grooming without irritating your pet’s skin. The miracle slicker brush effectively reaches the undercoat on double coated breeds. The Cushioned and ergonomic designed grip prevents hand and wrist strain. The large slicker brush has a larger head suitable for use on large dogs.
Oster Professional Grooming Comb
The Oster Professional Grooming Comb is strong, durable and easy to clean. This medium coarse comb is perfect for removing tangles and dead undercoat. The comb’s rounded teeth prevent potential skin irritations.
Wahl 7" inch Italian Scissor
Grooming Tips for a Puppy
Although it will be some time before your soft puppy’s coat begins to matt, it is important that your puppy becomes accustomed to the feeling of being groomed. Brush your puppy regularly using either the slicker brush or comb. You do want to ensure that you are brushing from the skin in an outward direction but please be gentle as it is very easy to scratch the delicate puppy skin. Somewhere around 8 months of age, your puppy will go through a transition stage as the adult coat emerges. This is a prime time for matts and tangles galore. At this time, extra brushing will be required to remove the fine strands of moulting puppy coat and prevent additional matting.
FOR OLDER DOGS
Brush the coat from the skin outwards using a slicker brush. Hold the skin tight to protect from any discomfort, especially where you come across a knot or matt. Like human hair, work knots out gently or cut through them with scissors or a matt breaker. It may be helpful to spray the matted area with a DeTangler Leave-in Conditioner.
Knots are quite common around the ears, jaw, and collar as well as behind the tops of their legs. If they wear a harness regularly, you may find matting from this too. After using the slicker brush, you may like to comb over the coat using a metal comb to ensure finer matts are not missed.
Trimming Around the face
Your Labradoodle will need to be trimmed around the face periodically. The best method to achieve and maintain that cute teddy bear look is to trim the face, imagining invisible, soft round lines. Trim slightly flat over the top and then softly angle towards the ears. There should be a natural curved flow between the eyes and ears. Snip a line from the corner of the eyes on an angle and also snip a line straight across the bridge of the nose. The fur on the muzzle should flow on either side like a waterfall. The chin is trimmed to a soft rounded arch like a smile.
Frequent bathing could strip the natural lanolin oils from your dog’s coat. I advise only bathing on a “need-to” basis or approximately once a month. I use an oatmeal shampoo called “Aloveen Dermcare” and the matching conditioner. This brand contains oatmeal which is gentle on the skin and coat and will leave your labradoodle smelling fresh. It is a good idea to brush your Labradoodle prior to bathing. This will help to prevent the coat from matting during the bathing process.