How to Groom a Poodle

Poodles are known for their interesting haircuts. But grooming a poodle goes beyond cutting its luxurious hair. They need general grooming at least once a week, and a full grooming every 6 to 8 weeks. Here are some tips for keeping your poodle looking its best:

1. Brushing the hair: Brushing out the hair is a standard grooming step for most breeds of dogs. For poodles, you will need metal combs as well as a slicker brush. This is because the poodle has a double coat. There is a protective “guard coat” which covers a shorter “undercoat” layer. Carefully comb through the hair to prevent the cottony undercoat from getting matted. Use the slicker brush to put the finishing touches on this step. If there are mats which are too tough for the regular comb and brush, break them up with a mat rake and splitter. Make sure not to yank or jerk on the dog’s hair too hard, so you don’t hurt him.

2. Check the ears for ear mites. Poodles have a lot of hair in and around the ears, which makes them a big target for ear mites. Sometimes, it is good to trim the hair in a poodle’s ears, in order to minimize this problem.

3. Clean the dog’s teeth. This can be done with a toothbrush using a paste made especially for dogs.

4. Cutting the hair: For, there are special cuts worn by dogs which are participants of shows. These are the types of haircuts people normally think of when they hear the words “poodle cut.” But for regular pet poodles, the “puppy cut” or “lamb cut” is typical.

For a lamb cut, all that is required is to cut the hair the same length all over. It’s easy and neat.
For a show cut, a pattern is cut into the coat. According to Angela Pollock, the most popular pattern is the “kennel clip.” There are, however, several cuts worn by show poodles. Check the rules of the show you are going to be entering to be sure that the pattern you are considering will be accepted by their judges.

When cutting a pattern you are not familiar with, it is a good idea to find a book, website, or video with images of the result you want. That way, you know if your cut is coming out correctly. With a video, you can observe the technique of the dog groomer as the job progresses, but with a book, it is easy to refer back to parts you want to study in more depth. It is probably best to refer to both books and videos to get a full understanding of all the nuances of the procedure.

5. Washing the hair: The type of shampoo you use will depend on things like how oily the dog’s coat is, and what color it is. Poodles are known for being white, but can come in other colors as well. There are shampoos specially made for bringing out the brightness of a white coat, whereas dark coats often do better with cleansers meant to increase the shine. You may also need to use a special product to remove tear stains from around the eyes of white coated animals.

6. Trim the dog’s nails, making sure not to cut into the quick of the nail.

This is a general guide to grooming your poodle yourself. With practice, you should be able to do as well as a professional groomer. I advise that, like with any new thing being learned, that you practice at a time when the result is not crucial — don’t test out your grooming technique for the first time just before a show! Instead, practice when you can be relaxed, and there is time for any initial “beta effect” in your haircutting to grow out. If you keep these things in mind, you should soon be able to do all of your poodle’s grooming yourself with good results.

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February 16, 2012
Posted in Pets — Knowledge Buff @ 11:16 PM

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