Do you own a Labradoodle (Australian Doodle, GoldenDoodle, Doubledoodle, Multigen Doodle, Cobberdog) , an Oodle (Poodle mix breed) or a Water Dog (Spanish Water Dog, Barbet (French Water Dog), Portuguese Water Dog or (Lagotto) Italian Water Dog? Then you know how much is involved in keeping all that hair under control and tangle-free. Doodles and Water Dogs are the most maintenance-intensive dogs in the world. Try thinking of a breed with a similarly thick coat. There isn’t one. Such thick coats were naturally bred for the function the dog had to perform (for Water Dogs: “retrieving” shot birds from the water or assisting with fishing or herding sheep) or their living environment. For Labradoodles, it wasn’t so much about the function (although cuddling might be the most important function of all, and many Doodles are also ideal service dogs, but I don’t believe these qualities were considered in creating the coat) or climate, but more to prevent shedding. And although the coats are often more hypoallergenic, they do shed and because all those loose hairs weave through the coat, the coats are actually more prone to tangles and all Water Dogs and Doodles come with a special user manual for optimal coat care. You can bury your head in the sand as an owner, but sooner or later you will be confronted with this fact.
Misinformation about Doodle coat care.
And the fact that so many specialized Doodle groomers and Doodle grooming courses for owners have emerged in 10 years (in the Netherlands anyway) is indicative of this trend. Since I started the first Doodle and Water Dog grooming workshops for owners and made the first information about Doodle and Water Dog grooming public in 2011, many owners are still insufficiently informed and this is because too much incorrect information is being shared online and offline. While there is also a lot that does go well: many owners already know the benefits of the pet dryer and many know that grooming requires attention. But unfortunately, it is still a given that Doodle grooming is often thought of too easily.
No user manual for Labradoodle coat care.
Most dog owners do not receive a “user manual” when purchasing a puppy. Common information often does not go further than “regular brushing,” not specifying which brush to use or how often and how to brush properly. Incorrect brushing is one of the main reasons why many Doodles between 7 and 12 months become matted. Manuals that some breeders do provide often lack sufficient information for maintaining an adult coat correctly. Therefore, many owners search for the right information. Some knowledgeable owners who extensively read and research before getting their Doodle serve as examples for others overwhelmed by grooming. Most owners must learn by themselves and unfortunately also learn from their mistakes, which can be harmful to their puppies.
Doodle and Waterdog grooming involve more than regular brushing, and to keep the coat healthy and mat-free, a dog needs to be trimmed every eight weeks from the age of five months, which can be expensive. Many owners opt to trim their dogs themselves, which is fun and essential. During the pandemic, there was a noticeable increase in self-trimming Facebook groups for Doodles, but many owners resorted to the clipper, which is not really supportive of Doodle comfort. Now that the pandemic has subsided, many owners have stopped trimming their dogs themselves, but it has many benefits.
30 reasons to groom (and trim) your labradoodle yourself.
Your sensitive Doodle needs special care
Doodles are sensitive dogs, especially those with light-colored fur, which makes them excellent assistance dogs and great companions for children, but also has its downside. Many Doodles can quickly become overstimulated, making a busy grooming salon with multiple dogs too intense for them. As someone who grew up in a home-based grooming salon run by my mother, I can attest to this. Training and discipline happen on the grooming table, and it is here that you can establish a strong relationship with your Doodle. If you can keep them relaxed during grooming, they will be more likely to listen to you day-to-day. It’s a shame to leave your Doodle’s upbringing entirely in the hands of a groomer. Learning how to groom your Doodle yourself is essential, as it will save you thousands of euros over time in trim costs. It’s up to you to take responsibility for your dog’s well-being, and taking on their grooming is part of that.
Wrong examples of coat care
For those owners who DO choose to trim their Doodle, Oodle or Water Dog themselves, I notice that trimming is often thought of too lightly. Perhaps this is because of financial reasons, but most likely because many people on the internet (I am referring here to certain FB groups and forums where owners advise each other on coat care and health issues) make it seem as if trimming your Doodle by yourself is a piece of cake. Many owners learn the “trimming art” from YouTube videos that do not always set a good example.
Also, many owners think that a Doodle or Water Dog coat must be shaved, so they buy clippers to randomly shave off the coat, which can be dangerous and completely unnecessary for Doodles with sensitive skin (due to allergies) who need the coat as protection against various harmful external influences (Doodles are much more sensitive to these than other breeds).
If owners start trimming by hand, they often use straight poodle scissors because they believe (or have been taught) that the coat should be cut with straight scissors as with poodles. Although this is a method to get the coat shorter, it is not the most beautiful and natural method, and not the most thorough either.
Trimming is not just about the outside that has to look good. It’s mainly about the inside: the coat that is first prepared completely (thinned and made tangle-free), so that it becomes healthy and then trimmed to a practical, beautiful in-between length that honors the bone structure and personality of your Doodle or Water Dog. How many Doodles. Oodles and Water Dogs walk around with matted, long coats or a very short, unpleasantly shaved coat that makes them vulnerable because owners do not have the right information about optimal coat care?
Doodle trimming is a profession
Dog grooming is a profession, a craft. Trimming Doodles and Water Dogs is a specialization within that craft that goes far beyond simply cutting some hair. It takes more than just a few hours to learn (learning to prep the coat and basic grooming alone takes a few hours, no trimming included). That’s why I always split my VIP grooming courses over two days instead of trying to do everything in one day. This is easier for both the Doodle and the owner. Learning is best achieved through repetition, so I always offer a complete package that includes all the professional grooming tools and my online video training as a digital reference.
If you truly love your Doodle, Oodle or Water Dog and you want to learn how to keep them looking their best with the proper body contours, full bear paws, a head that reflects their personality and, most importantly, the fluffy, huggable coat they had as a puppy, then learning to trim them is like learning to sculpt. You bring your dog out from under a bunch of hair with an artist’s eye and the right, specialized grooming tools. This type of trimming is even more enjoyable because you can see your dog transform right before your eyes and become younger, as they did when they were puppies. What owner doesn’t want their Doodle to stay a puppy for life?
No time or desire? Then only do the basic coat care for your Doodle.
So, you want to trim your Doodle or Water dog yourself? Definitely YES and preferably DIY, because you have complete control, but in a responsible way for both you and your furry friend. No time or interest? Keep in mind that every Doodle or Water dog requires proper grooming to maintain a healthy and mat-free coat. Interestingly, I’ve noticed that many Doodle owners are willing to learn how to groom their pets themselves because they enjoy doing as much as possible with their dogs. Of course, you don’t have to do everything yourself. My mission is to ensure that every Doodle owner learns how to become self-sufficient in managing basic coat care. This not only benefits your Doodle’s wellbeing, but also provides a WIN-WIN-WIN scenario for everyone, including you, your Doodle, and the groomer (indirectly). Think of trimming as an opportunity to enjoy your Doodle even more. That is part of what DoodleComfort stands for. You and your furry friend are worth it! If you want my assistance, check out the online courses and download my free book preview.
I wish you lots of Doodle grooming joy!
Joy (my French Waterdog) and me
Do you also want to take the first step towards a stronger bond with your Doodle and a freer, more comfortable life for both of you?
Great! Because I have made it as easy as possible for you to learn how to trim your Doodle or Oodle YOURSELF in the natural, fluffy look you love WITHOUT shaving: make him look like an adorable puppy forever! Check out my offer HERE! But of course, you can also start by downloading my FREE book preview.