Classic Cut Professional Dog Grooming

Caring for your Poodle

©Koolandra, January 1999

After purchasing your first poodle, be it Toy, Miniature or Standard, there are some simple procedures for keeping him/her in top condition. If you made your purchase from a registered breeder, you may already be aware of the care a poodle needs, if not then please read on:

At 8 weeks of age your puppy should already have its feet, face and base of tail clipped. This should be done every 4 weeks until the pup is 6 months old, this enables the pup to become accustomed to the feel and noise of the clippers. Ears should be plucked at this time and also the nails should be trimmed. Check ears weekly and clean them with a good ear cleaner. As an adult, it is recommended that poodles be clipped every 6 to 8 weeks. If you prefer your poodle to have a longer feet and face, they may need to be trimmed more regularly as the hair needs to be kept away from the eyes and the feet will need to be checked for grass seeds etc. between toes and pads (long feet also make messy foot prints in the house when wet).

Brushing with a slicker brush every day while the pup is young will get him into a routine and will keep him knot free. Run a steel comb through the coat after brushing just to be sure no knots were missed. As an adult, thorough grooming three times a week is sufficient.

Grooming and removal of knots is essential BEFORE bathing. When brushing, part the coat and brush from the roots out. Poodles DO MOULT, but they do not drop their hair, when they moult they need to be brushed more regularly, otherwise the dead hair stays in the coat and will become matted. Mild, medicated pet shampoos are recommended, most products will contain a moisturising agent, and conditioning is not usually needed. Always ensure ALL shampoo is rinsed, otherwise dandruff will occur and may make the dog itch.

If your puppy objects to brushing, you must persist and be consistent (just as for toilet training). Place your puppy on a table and spend a few minutes every day and don't stop because he's trying to bite or yelps, as this is his way of teaching YOU! He will soon learn that the job gets done quicker when there's no fuss. Always remember to praise when he has been good. Do not play with the pup while he is on the table, otherwise he will not understand the difference between playtime and groomtime.

A common thought amongst pet owners is that a poodle should be kept long during the winter because "he will get cold". This is OK if you are prepared to do the work to keep his coat knot free. If you leave your dog to be a long matted mess because its too cold, your groomer will have no alternative but to strip the dog bald. If you prefer a short, maintenance free cut for your dog, it is best to be short all year round as the body will climatise to the changing weather. It is no problem if the dog is inside all day and night, and if he is an outside dog, a weatherproof kennel will keep him warm. Doggy jumpers come in handy for your shorthaired poodle when you go out in the weather, but can cause the longer coat to matt twice as fast.

Groomtime is just as important as Playtime and helps the bonding process between owner and pup.

Caring for your Saint Bernard

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