So, you have a Doodle, or you are considering becoming a Doodle owner! One question I’m sure you’ve already thought of is how much grooming do Doodles need and even more importantly when considering your lifestyle, how long does this take. Well I’m going to attempt to answer that for you in this article.
Grooming your Doodle can be time consuming. Establishing a routine will significantly decrease the time needed. Brushing and combing should only take around 10 minutes if done daily. Bathing should take around 30 minutes. Clipping is the most time-consuming procedure and can take up to 3 hours.
The first thing you should know is that your Doodle will need some degree of grooming every day, but the good news is that if you do make grooming part of your daily routine and stick to it, it doesn’t take too long. I have 5 Doodles and a Standard Poodle, and their daily grooming takes under an hour so all in all not too bad.
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What Daily Maintenance is Required?
Let’s start with daily maintenance – brushing and combing as this is what you will spend the most time doing.
First, the right tools are essential and surprisingly you don’t need many. The most important, and every Doodle owners’ best friend, is a metal comb preferably double-sided, with wide teeth and fine teeth. I start with the head, paying particular attention to furnishings and comb through thoroughly right down to the skin.
This might sound like it would be very time consuming but if you do it every day it only takes around ten minutes. I do this after our walk every morning as Doodle fur is like Velcro and I find they bring lots of foliage home in their coats. After combing thoroughly, you can go over the coat with a slicker brush to leave a nice fluffy finish.
How Long Does Bathing a Doodle Take?
Bathing is another part of the grooming routine that we have to think about with our dogs, especially our heavily coated Doodles. Bathing is more time consuming than brushing and combing but unless your Doodle has found something unpleasant to roll in (which they do from time to time) this doesn’t need to be done too often.
Every few weeks to a month is enough. Bathing takes around 30 minutes depending on the length and thickness of the coat. A good tip to help save time is to make sure you get the coat really wet right through before you apply the shampoo. Rinsing is the part that takes the longest, around 15 minutes to make sure you have removed all the suds from the comb.
Should you choose to dry your Doodle’s coat, rather than leaving to air dry which takes even longer, you have two options. You can either rub excess water away with a towel or drying robe, which takes five to ten minutes (again depending on the length of coat and the size of your Doodle) or blow-drying. I love to blow dry my dogs but even with a specially made dog blaster, this takes at least an hour unless your dog has been clipped very short.
How Long Does It Take to Clip my Doodle?
Clipping is another thing that you have to consider with Doodles, and this is the part of the grooming routine that takes the longest. How often you have to clip your Doodle depends on several factors. The type of coat your Doodle has – the very curly fleece coats that many people love is the most time consuming of all. If your Doodle has a very curly Poodle type coat, clipping will need to be done every six to eight weeks. The curly coat also tends to be very thick and you may want to consider using a professional groomer. Even for a professional, this can take between two and three hours to complete.
It is important that the coat is completely clean and dry before clipping as this not only prolongs the life of the clipper blades but also gives the best finish. The head and legs are usually scissor cut which makes it take even longer. The looser coat, which is more shaggy or wavy can be left slightly longer between clips as long as you are diligent about your daily brushing and combing.
If you decide to have a go at clipping yourself, you can find some great tutorial videos on YouTube. Professional clippers are a must, I use Andis 2 speed. Take your time and make sure to take breaks to prevent the blades from becoming too hot which could potentially hurt your dog and damage the coat.
The biggest thing to remember however is that the coat grows quickly, and your dog doesn’t care what he looks like. Practise makes perfect and you will get quicker as well as better the more times you clip your dog. However, even for a professional groomer or experienced owner, this still takes two to three hours. The best tip I can give you to help save time is to thoroughly bathe, dry, and brush your Doodle the day before you plan to clip him and clip before you walk him. This will literally take hours off the whole process.
Other Areas of Grooming
The next part of the grooming routine is oral hygiene – how to keep those pearly whites, well pearly white! There are a couple of options here depending on you and your dog. You can buy toothbrushes especially for dogs in your local pet store or from Amazon and you can even get meaty flavored toothpaste.
This process should only take five minutes per day but it is vital, perhaps even more so than with the other grooming procedures, that you start this from day one so your Doodle learns to accept this. Obviously, it is an alien concept to your dog as usually anything out in his mouth is for him to chew but practice is the key.
Do it daily and it will soon become normal. The other option is a good old raw bone or an antler to chew on a couple of times a week.
Another thing to keep on top of are those beautiful furnishings, the features that give our Doodles their signature look. These do take a little maintenance to keep your dog looking tip top between clipping sessions. Comb through the furnishings, eyebrows, moustache, legs and tail daily and as needed give a little trim with thinning scissors. This avoids the ‘mum cut my fringe’ effect that I think we all know.
The furnishings only need trimming about every 4 weeks depending of course on the speed at which your dog’s hair grows. Also trim around your dog’s bottom every few weeks. We call this a hygiene trim and it’s a good idea to make this part of your routine when maintaining the furnishings.
Ears and Nails
Two other things we need to remember are ears and nails. The inside of your dog’s ears do need to be gently cleaned at least once a week during grooming. The best thing to use here is a baby wipe, a quick wipe, literally a few seconds per ear is sufficient.
The last thing we need to cover is nail trimming. Grooming your dog’s paws daily gives you the perfect opportunity to keep tabs on the length of the nails. You can purchase nail clippers for dogs also from your pet store or Amazon and every time you see the tip of the nail growing into a hook, quite simply clip it off. Be careful not to go too short or you could catch the quick. Trimming the nails should only take five or ten minutes every few weeks.
All in all, grooming your Doodle is quite time consuming but it is essential, and enjoyable if done from day one and it’s part of owning a Doodle. I see it as spending quality time with my dogs. It’s also an excellent bonding exercise and one that hopefully both you and your dog will come to enjoy and look forward to.
Your daily grooming session does not have to take long so long as it is truly done every day. Ten to fifteen minutes per day for just a brush, with longer sessions as needed to maintain the furnishings, bottom, teeth, ears and nails will keep your furry friend looking at his best and will also help to prevent him ever having to be clipped or even shaved really short.