Hello, my name is Valerie and I am the proud owner of Bentley, who is a Clumberdoodle. He is three years old, so all his puppy fur is gone, and his adult fur is thick and wavy in the Spaniel areas, short and curly in the Poodle areas.
One of the things I had found very challenging was to groom my pooch. While he is the most adorable dog in the world, and in fact my whole life, he is still a lot of work when it comes to keeping him beautiful.
When Bentley first came to live with me I realised that grooming him would need to be a daily routine to prevent his fur from matting, and I made the mistake of using the wrong tools for the job.
Ordinary brushes simply do not do the job. On a check-up visit to the vet I asked her why I was not getting his fur all smooth and knot free. It turned out that there are special brushes for grooming Doodles.
My friend has a Goldendoodle and was also unsure on how to groom him herself. Together we researched the right tools and the right way to groom a Doodle.
First generation Goldendoodles are a cross between a Golden retriever and a Standard Poodle. If you have one of these adorable dogs you will know that the fur varies from dog to dog, even in the same litter.
Mostly the fur is a combination of straight to wavy fur mixed in with the tight coils from the Poodle side.
The areas which are wavy can be anywhere on the body, as can the tight curls. The wavy areas are soft and smooth, but it is normally the tight curls which cause the matting, and it is here that we needed to start sorting things out in order for her dog’s coat (and Bentley’s) to be mat free.
So, we found that if you leave a Goldendoodle’s coat un-clipped, it can grow to a length of about 8” and it will be a nightmare to keep neat. Most dogs have their coats kept to around 2”, nicely trimmed and brushed.
Does Dog Shampoo and Conditioner Work?
Yes, absolutely! And yes, it should be designed for dogs, not your own, no matter how much you like the smell of it. There’s a good reason for this, which I found very interesting.
Human and dog skin have different Ph balances. Did you know that skin has what is called an acid mantle?
Neither did I. But it does, and this is responsible for protecting the top layer of skin from anything that can contaminate it. It also keeps the body hydrated by reducing evaporation.
Every time we bath or shower we wash the mantle away. This is why most soaps and shower gels are made to re-hydrate and keep the skin moist.
For the mantle to work well, the correct Ph balance is essential.
We’ve talked about this before in another article here. So I won’t go into too much detail.
However, your dog’s skin Ph is between 6.2 and 7.4, while your own skin is about 5.5.
The dog’s skin is far more neutral than our own skin so using our own shampoo on our dog destroys his own acid mantle, leaving him open to bacteria and parasites.
Not only that, but his skin will be itchy and flaky and generally in poor condition.
Phew! So now that the technical explanation is out of the way, let’s just say you should use a shampoo and conditioner that is designed for your dog.
What About my Poor Back?
Yes, this could be a problem if you can’t get your pooch to a comfortable height where you are not stooped down. It is just as important that pet owners are comfortable when doing the job because it will take at least an hour to groom a dog.
If you are comfortable on the floor, then that’s ok, but if not, there are grooming tables which you can buy. These come with an attachment which holds your dog in one place, so he doesn’t fall off the table.
You can set the table to a comfortable height for you and get the job done without your back breaking while you are doing it.
The table should be sturdy and stable, not wobbly. The harness should be adjustable, and your dog should not be able to walk about on it, it should keep him in the same spot while you work.
If you have a friend, then you could even share the cost of the table. Grooming by a professional can be expensive so doing it yourself will save you money quite quickly.
Having a professional table will not only keep your dog safe at a height you can reach, but it will save time in the long run. This is something I will definitely be investing in.
On to Grooming a Goldendoodle
Thankfully a Doodle does not shed profusely like other breeds. Having said that, they still need to be brushed daily just to remove the dead hair and stop the hair from matting.
It is not necessary to bath a Goldendoodle more than every couple of months, unles she has rolled in mud or something awful and you can’t take the smell anymore!
Even between baths you should take care of trimming the hair that grows over their eyes. This serves two purposes, as far as I am concerned. Firstly, it prevents their eyes from excess gunk which seems to build up.
Secondly, because Doodles have the most wonderful expressive eyes in the whole world, keeping the hair trimmed means that you can see then all the time.
Toenails should also be kept trimmed, this is the same for any breed of dog. I have found with Bentley that because we do a lot of walking out in the country and on country roads, his nails seem to grind themselves down quite well, similar to me using a nail file over my own nails.
If you are not fortunate enough to have this sort of ground to walk on, you may have to trim them more often.
I’ve worked out a step-by-step guide to grooming a Goldendoodle. It works for me and my friend and seems to cover all the relevant points for our pooches.
We’ve also put together a Golgeendoodle grooming guide in another post, so that you can get it done yourself, which can be found here!
Get everything together
Have all your ducks in a row here. You will not regret it. The last thing you want is to be running to find extra towels while your dog escapes!
Get Your Dog Shampoo
Make sure you have the right doggy shampoo for your dog. Don’t be tempted to use your own shampoo, it is not suitable for his skin.
It may also contain additives that may irritate him, particularly if it gets into his eyes. If you want to use a conditioner, it should also be suitable for dogs.
Get a Good Slicker Brush
Treat yourself to a good slicker brush for this. Again, don’t be tempted to use a regular brush for your dog. It simply will not get to the base of the hair to get the tangles out.
I have to say that it took Bentley a while to get used tome using this brush, but now he is fine with me working through his skin. The brush gets right down to the base of the hair, so be careful not to scratch him.
Golden Doodle Grooming scissors
Kitchen scissors don’t work when you groom your pooch. There are excellent grooming scissors on the market, which are designed to do the job.
While they are sharp and pointed,they are far shorter then human scissors, so less chance of jabbing your dog if he moves while you are working.
A Pin brush for Your Dog
These look a lot like a brush that I would use, with straight bristles and little knobs on the end of each one. You should buy one specifically for dogs and use it to brush him out after you have used the slicker brush.
A good pin brush will help to keep the fur smooth and tangle free. Make sure you buy a brush that has bristles which reach to the base of the hair as they are designed to work through all the fur.
Dog Nail clippers
You can get these from your vet or from many online places. Make sure you buy from a reputable dealer otherwise they will fall apart and may even hurt your dog.
If you really don’t enjoy trimming his nails, take him to the vet and they will do it for you.
Electric Dog Clippers
These are very good for swiping down the sides of the face. They are small enough not to get too close to the eyes, yet good enough to shave his face. I also use these to get under Bentley’s chin as this is where he gets really matted and grubby.
They are great for shaving inside his ears. You should make sure that he is shaved at least 1” out from the ear hole. You will need these to do around the genital area.
Thinning Shears for Your Dog
I found that some Goldendoodle owners like to thin out the dog’s fur. This is not essential, if you like it that way then do it, otherwise don’t worry. If you do want to thin his fur, you can buy a pair of thinning shears, very similar to what the hairdresser would use on your own hair to thin it out.
When I started to groom Bentley, I decided to invest in a complete grooming set for him. Not only did this keep everything in one place, but it came with all the grooming tools I needed for him. It just made sense to buy the complete set so that I was not looking for things when I wanted to groom him.
There are many ‘bargain basement’ sets around, I decided to stay away from these. I’ve learned that it never pays to buy the cheapest as things will break or stop working.
Here’s a selection of products I have researched and bought myself, you may want to consider adding them to your own ‘dog basket’.
Yes, Bentley has a basket of things which are all his own. I keep it all together and always know where everything I need is.
The Best Grooming Tools for Goldendoodles
1. Pro Pet Works Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo + Conditioner
This has actually been recommended by vets, so it is safe to say it will not harm your dog’s skin.
There are no additives or alcohol, no colours or chemicals and the fragrance is of cherry almond.
All the ingredients in the shampoo and conditioner are natural and organic so won’t burn your pet’s eyes.
The conditioner means that the fur is easy to brush through and tangle free, and his coat will stay soft and shiny.
The company offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied, which is always a good thing because they must be very sure that their product is safe.
2. PetTech Professional Dog Grooming Kit
I think that this would be an excellent choice for any dog owner grooming their own pet.
It’s a complete set of everything you will need.
The clipper is quiet so even a nervous dog will not be agitated by them, and the blades are made from titanium so come with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
Becausethe clippers are cordless, you can groom your pooch wherever you arecomfortable, and then recharge them afterwards.
3. iSeaFly Dog Grooming Kit
This is a great set of shears, scissors and combs, which should be all you need tog room your pooch.
All the scissors have rounded tips so less chance of injury although they are very sharp.
This is a good thing as it means that you get the job done quicker and any trimming you do is a nice clean cut.
I like that the scissors are made from heavy duty stainless steel so will last a longtime, and also that they are ergonomically designed so as not to stress your own hands out.
4. Pro Quality Self Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs and Cats
This slicker brush can be used on dogs and cats and is perfect for getting rid of dirt and tangles.
This comes with a recommendation from both vets and groomers.
An interesting thing with this brush is that it comes with a handy little button which releases the hair, so it literally takes about 5 seconds to clean the brush.
You get a free e-book with the brush and it’s nice to know they offer a lifetime money back guarantee.
5. Boshel Dog Hair Brush 2 In 1
This is very handy to have as it is two brushes in one.
On one side you have a slicker brush and on the other side the pin brush.
The pin side has rounded edges so is comfortable for your pet and won’t hurt even a sensitive skin.
You will find that the handle is very comfortable, so you can hold it for a long time before your own wrist gets tired.
6. Professional Adjustable Heavy Duty Dog Pet Grooming Table
I think if I was to buy a grooming table, this would be the one I would choose.
The reason? It can take up to 250 pounds of pooch standing safely on it.
There is a rubber mat, so your dog is stable and feels safe.
This table is sturdy and tough, and the height can be adjusted.
There is a very handy tray underneath where you can store all the tools you’ll need so no running about trying to find things.
When you are finished with the table, you simply fold it up and store it out of the way.
Well, I hope that you have found this as interesting as I did when I researched it. One thing that I have realised is that it is important to have the right tools for the job.
Using tools which are not designed to groom a dog will only lead to frustration and a job badly done.
Buying tools from reputable places is also important, cheap things don’t last and could break or stop working half way through.
So, the tools that you need to groom your Goldendoodle are a slicker brush, pin brush, clippers, grooming scissors, nail clippers, thinning shears, doggy shampoo and conditioner, and towels. Plenty of towels!
Once you have all these together in one place, make sure that you set aside enough time to do the job without rushing, because your pooch will know if you are stressing out because you have something else to do.
I try to make this a relaxing time with Bentley. He loves the bath and shampoo – as will most Doodles. Be prepared to get wet yourself and wear something you can chuck in the washing machine afterwards.
Then enjoy getting your fingers into that lovely fur and make it a good time for both of you!