Grooming your dog is a great way to bond with him/her.The bonus is I get to do something I love. I have groomed and exhibited many Australian Champion poodles- both toy and standard- poodles for over 40 years.
It will mean you will always have a clean and well groomed dog and save money at the grooming parlour. This applies particularly if you have more than one dog as many poodle owners do. The guide below also applies to people with any long coated breed- not just poodles. Poodles are non- allergenic and do not shed coat thus they must be groomed regularly.
Poodles come in 3 sizes – toy ( under 11 inches) Miniature ( under 15 inches) Standard (over 15 inches- usually 24- 26inches). In Scandinavian countries there are 4 sizes which include the dwarf.
Basically the trims are the same for each. Usually the standard has a much thicker coat than the toys and it is easier to hold their shape. The hair on a poodle continually grows and consequently they must be bathed and clipped regularly. I recommend a bath every 2-3 weeks and a full clip every 6 weeks. The in- between bath is usually called a " Maintenance clip" and may involve clipping the face , feet and tail.
Poodles come in a variety of colours and once again the colour can make a huge difference when clipping. The blacks/ silvers usually have a blue ( dark grey skin) and when choosing the correct blade for face , feet & tail ( FFT) I choose a #30/ 40 whereas a white or apricot poodle often has a lighter skin and may clipper rash so proceed with caution and do the FFT with a # 15 blade.
The picture above is "Teddy" in a traditional lamb clip- an easy to maintain and smart clip. There are many basic poodle clips and it is a matter of personal choice.
To initially commence grooming you need the right basic equipment, a quiet well lit location and if possible access to assistance or lessons from a professional. If these are not available there are many videos on youtube and you can google sites which will help. There are also books available which will help. Remember ebay and google will help you find and compare so many items- both to buy and for instructional purposes.
Rosie - groomed for her adoring Mother- Cynthia's wedding day- both looking beautiful.
I offer basic lessons to people in Wagga Wagga and the surrounding areas for a minimal cost and they have found these very helpful. I am also prepared to offer assistance by email or phone if this is helpful. I know that many professionals/exhibitors do not have the time to help or feel people want to learn and start up in competition. As a retired teacher and also exhibitor and owner of poodles for over 40 years I have the experience and ability to help and gain a great deal of satisfaction from this.
The equipment I recommend is:
barrel type dryer
While this may seem a daunting list- it can be purchased as the budget allows but will be invaluable over time.
For that finishing touch- optional extras are:
A very good site that explains in more detail the clipping procedure is: http://ridgewoodpoodles.com/Grooming.htm
Books on grooming( e.g The New Complete Poodle Clipping & Grooming Book by Shirlee Kalstone - $26 incl freight) may be obtained from:
Useful sites to access grooming equipment include:
Clipping/ Grooming your dog
When choosing to clip and trim your dog you need ample time and a suitable quiet location in which you can approach your work professionally and concentrate on what you are doing. It should be a pleasurable experience for both you and your dog- not a stressful one. Your dog becomes more used to grooming and is easier to manage if it is done regularly with maintenance grooming in between to ensure the dog is used to brushing, combing and handling. This should start at an early age.
If possible your dog should be brushed/ combed out gently to ensure no knots- this can be done the day before. Always handle your dog gently but firmly.
Ensure the bath and all equipment are ready and easy to access.
Walk or exercise your dog prior to commencing grooming to ensure they haverelieved themselves & are comfortable. I also give my dogs a break during grooming as it can be a long process & tiring.
A little tip: I use a Butler tray - $35 from Fantastic furniture beside my grooming table to hold my grooming equipment.( It is a service tray on legs with raised sides). They are perfect to ensure your clippers cannot be knocked to the ground & all blades etc are easily accessible.
Place your dog on the grooming table and you are ready to commence. The dog should stand quietly and gradually learn your instructions such as sit, stand, turn etc. Puppies may initially be a handful and squirm etc but they will learn with regular training.
I commence with clipping the face, feet and tail with a size 40 ( 30 or 15) blade. I also clip their underneath private parts- taking care in this area. Private areas should be clean but to short as this will prickle the dog.The face and feet are clipped against the grain. There is an imaginary line from the ear to the corner of the eye. Then scoop down the neck. Clip the nose and the remainder of the face.
At all times check whether the blade is heating up- just touch the blade on the back of your hand. If too warm allow to cool on an ice pack for a few minutes. I have more than one blade and so swap to a cool blade.
When the feet are clipped the hair is removed to show the feet to the top of the back pad. It is then easy to see the nails and I carefully trim the nails. I like the nails to be short ultimately and so often the nails are trimmed every week even if not grooming. Short nails make it more comfortable for the dog.
Shave the tail to leave a pom/ brush/ plume at the end.This should be trimmed neatly.Also the under tail area should not be too short.
I also clean the anal glands on a toy poodle ( your vet can show you this). By keeping these clean it reduces the possibility of an anal abscess. I t was once explained that your fingers are placed at the location of a 7 & 5 on a clock face- then squeeze anal contents ( foul smelling) into a tissue. This should be done prior to a bath & some do it while the dog is standing in the bath.
The body is clipped with the grain of the coat with a size 5 blade or blade of your choice- from the base of the skull all over the body to and tops of the shoulders and tops of the back legs. This is just a basic trim to remove excess hair prior to their bath, trim and final tidy up. The number 5 blade is easy to work with and leaves a good length on the back, chest and under the body.
As with all tools, the clippers, blades and scissors become easier to use with practice.
When finished ensure the clippers & blades are cleaned.
Bathing / Drying
Place the dog in the bath and using your hose spray ( medium temperature) fully wet the coat. Then shampoo your dog being careful not to get water or shampoo in their eyes or ears. Work the shampoo into the coat-, massage well & then rinse. Repeat with conditioner. Using a wet cotton ball clean the area under the eye. ( This may need doing prior to clipping the face).
I also use a product called Chris Christensen's "After Bathe" available from Petcetera for a great final rinse- leaves the coat feeling very good.
When fully rinsed place a towel over the dog and either dry in the bath or move to table and dry. When the excess water has been removed use the dryer to dry the dog. The coat must to totally dry. Be careful not to blow air into the ear canals or too forcefully on the face.
Professional groomers choose a hydrobath in which to bath their dogs. There are a number of different brands. I prefer and use the one from the Melbourne Dog Centre. It is suitable for both small and large dogs with a removable door for larger dogs to step in. I use a non slip mat in the bottom of the hydrobath for the bigger dogs & a small table for smaller dogs if the bath is large.
When I have finished grooming I also blech the bathh and clean all equipment.
Also available from the Melbourne Dog Centre is the Turbo dryer- a fabulous dryer used by professionals. While both the hydrobath and turbo dryer are for people clipping a number of dogs they are invaluable for the professional groomer, exhibitor or owner of large coated dogs. I have used one for many years and use it for all breeds of dogs for a professional finish.
Also available on ebay is a smaller blow dryer Approx($1-$200) which is vey suitable for your pet.
A site which offers a more indepth explanation of clipping steps & procedure is :
Trimming- Lamb Trim
Now the coat is fully dry, gently comb/ brush the coat to ensure it is as straight as possible.
Using your scissors and comb commence on the leg. I start on the rear leg. Comb the hair upwards and out and trim a small amount each time following the shape of the leg. After trimming several times, comb the leg again. Repeat the procedure until the shape is achieved. Blend the top of the leg to the shape of the body. Repeat on other rear leg.
The front legs are like cylinders and the tops are also blended in. There should be a smooth finish with no floppy pieces of hair on the legs.
The topknot is shaped like a round ball. Once again comb and scissor- ensuring the eyes are shown and clear.
The tail is shaved to leave a pom pom or brush shape. This is neatly trimmed.
The ears may be trimmed to the length required or shaved. Check that the inside of the ear is clean and non smelly. If smelly they chould be checked by the vet.
To clip a poodle for show is a very specialised skill and requires years of experience and dedication. For your interest I have included the 3 trims in which poodles are shown. All these dogs were very successful in the showring,
1. Puppy clip- for dogs up to 12 mths of age- Pictured is Teddy ( toy poodle)- Australian Champion.
2. Lion clip pictured is Solo ( toy poodle)- Australian Champion.
3. Continental trim -pictured is Harrison ( standard poodle)- Australian Champion.
Now you have finished the poodle you may wish to add bows, spray etc. Bows may be made or purchased on line. These are on small dental rubbers and may be placed in the topknot or on the hair of the ears. ( Never put bands on the leathers of the ears.)
. Beautiful bows
Two escellent products are Plush Puppy Odour Muncher & also Lustre Aid Grooming cologne - both are great sprays to make your poodle smell very special after grooming.
To help all aspects of your grooming google & check out 'You Tube" videos on poodle grooming. Even if you learn a little from each it will help you understand the different aspects of grooming.
Congratulations- clipping and grooming your poodle is a big job and very rewarding.
If the job is too much for one effort- do it regularly in small steps.
Georgia & Gigi ( toy poodles) fully trimmed.
Looking good & feeling great!
In winter I always add a colour co-ordinated knitted or polar fleece coat. These should be well fitting & comfortable. Knitted is my preference & the pattern on my webpage www.sherzam.com is easy to make.
My poodle wear small, lightweight diamante collars & matching leads.
Have fun & enjoy your poodle.
Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia
Phone : 0408227712
Email : [email protected]