A dog laying down being groomed

The Ultimate Guide to Doodle Grooming

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In this post, you’ll learn how to groom your Doodle-type-dog, including a groomer’s secret trick for removing stubborn mats. When I first wrote this post, I wrote it for Sheepadoodle owners (as I owner a Sheepadoodle), however, these grooming tips can be applied to many different doodle dogs. As their hair and coat-type is quite similar, you’ll be able to use many of the same tools for a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle. Keep reading to find out more!

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Grooming your Doodle at home (whether you have a Sheepadoodle, Labradoodle, Goldendoodle) is a great bonding experience. You may choose to groom your Doodle for a variety of reasons. We decided to groom our Sheepadoodle because the cost of grooming was starting to add up!

While the cost of the grooming tools at first might seem pricey, it quickly pays for itself. Over one year, we spent roughly $1,500 on grooming alone which we have now cut back on significantly.

Why Should Your Groom Your Doodle at Home?

There are many reasons why someone might want to groom their Doodle at home. Some dogs don’t like going to the groomer, and it causes much stress and anxiety for them. Others might want more control over what their dog looks like after a groom. And some might want to save a bit of extra money.

Whatever your reason is for grooming your Doodle yourself, I’m going to be showing you all the tools we use for our Sheepadoodle grooming so you can begin your at-home-groom routine today!

Tools Needed for Doodle-Dog Grooming

These are the tools that we use for our Sheepadoodle grooming (which you can use for your Doodle):

Brushes

There is a minimum of four types of brushes that you need to groom your Doodle. These brushes should be used weekly (if not daily) to tame tangles, knots and avoid mats:

  • Pin brush: for removing tangles and knots
  • Comb: for removing any tangles that the pin brush missed (the pin brush works great, but won’t work down to the base of the skin. The comb is excellent for that, especially when your doodle’s hair is longer)
  • Slicker brush: for removing loose undercoat hair, getting rid of mats, debris and tangles (and fluffing up the hair)
  • Dematting brush: for removing any mats
dog brushes

Grooming

In terms of actual grooming, there are a few products I highly recommend:

  • Wahl Clippers: these work very well for sanitary areas, face and paws. We’ve used them for several years to groom our Sheepadoodle
  • Body Clippers: For the Doodle’s thick and long hair on their bodies
  • Scissors: These come in two different sizes and have rounded tips to avoid accidentally poking your Sheepies
  • Nail clippers: On the rare time our dog lets us, we trim her nails (but usually we take her to the pros for this)
  • Dremel: If your dog hates the nail clippers, you may want to try using a dremel. We had better luck with a dremel.
An assortment of dog grooming tools on a white sheet
Sheepadoodle grooming tools. Not pictured: slicker brush, thinning scissors and body clippers

Steps for Grooming Your Doodle

1. Brush/Comb your Doodle and Remove Any Mats

Mats are incredibly painful for our furry-friends. While frequent brushing should keep them at bay, sometimes they sneak up on us. The most frequent spot you may find mats on your Doodle are:

  • underarms
  • behind the ears
  • chest
  • belly
  • on the ears (if the hair is kept long)

As you groom your Doodle and get more familiar with their specific coat type, you’ll begin to notice which spots mat more frequently than others. For us, our Sheepadoodle is prone to matting behind her ears and on her ears.

Here are some things to keep in mind about mats:

  • never bath your dog before removing tangles, knots and mats. Water makes mats tighter
  • never try to cut out matted dog hair. The mat can be very close to the skin and you might accidentally cut your dog’s skin in the process
  • mats trap bacteria and are painful. Try your best to avoid them on your pooch

If you feel your dog is severely matted, it’s best to call a professional groomer and get help.

Now, if your dog has manageable mats that you feel you can work through on your own, you can do so in a couple of different ways.

Use Cornstarch (A Groomer’s Secret Weapon)

Cornstarch is a grooming secret that can help work out mats. Sprinkle some cornstarch on the mat and gently work it in with your fingers. Then, take your slicker brush and gently start brushing through the mat.

Use a Dematting Brush

A dematting brush is a bladed brush that can cut through stubborn mats and knots. You need to take care when using one of these on your dog as the blades are sharp and can slice through skin. We recommend the Safari dematting brush as the thumb rest helps you remember how to hold it properly so you don’t accidentally misuse it (and hurt your dog).

a man combing a dog's fur

Once you have brushed, combed, and removed mats from your Doodle, you are ready to move onto the next step. It’s essential to make sure there are no knots or tangles before moving on.

2. Bath Your Doodle

It’s a good idea to bath before beginning any cutting or shaving because dirt and debris will dull your blades. Before bathing, you must make sure all knots, tangles, and mats are removed or else they will become worse afterward.

If your Doodle has a white beard that you’d like to keep white (a problem many Sheepadoodle owners face), Cowboy Magic Pet Shampoo is a must! This whitening shampoo will help keep your dog’s beard beautiful and white.

Don’t forget about cleaning the inside of your Doodle’s ears! We use this ear cleaner to wipe down any wax or debris from time to time.

Our vet advised us personally not to pluck our Sheepadoodle’s ears as her hair type does not require plucking. She does not mat and the hair inside her ears doesn’t grow thick.

However, some Doodles will require plucking of the ear hair. I suggest speaking with a vet or a groomer to see which category yours falls into.

3. Dry Your Doodle Fully

After the bath, it’s time to dry your Doodle. As Doodles have thick hair, using a regular blow dryer will take hours to dry completely.

I recommend using the Shelandy Pet Hair Dryer.

Shelandy Pet Hair Dryer
  • ①Output power: 2400W adjustable / Voltage 110/120V
  • ②Airflow variable: 65MPH-135MPH, Fits from tiny cats to large breeds
  • ③New tech for noise reduction & Two options for heating temperature

This dryer is a heatless, high-pressure dryer specifically made for drying dogs. With the Doodles’ thick coat, a drier such the one above will help you achieve that at-home grooming look in a snap.

If you are looking for a stand dryer instead (which can free up both hands) take a look at this list of the best stand dryers for dog grooming.

4. Shave and Cut

Now that your pooch is clean and free from mats and tangles, you can begin to shave!

One very important tip for using clippers while shaving: some clippers can get very hot which can burn your dog’s skin. You should make sure to check the blade of the clippers often to ensure it isn’t too hot.

You can test it the same way you’d test a warm bottle of milk for a baby: if the blade is too hot for your wrist, you need to let it cool before continuing to shave your dog.

You can purchase some clipper cooling spray to cool your blades down if you need it. You can also take frequent breaks if you don’t want to purchase the spray.

In terms of grooming, we have trained our Sheepadoodle to lay down when it’s time to groom. We are very lucky that she doesn’t mind to be groomed and will fall asleep as we shave her.

Sheepadoodle sleeping while getting shaved

Others might not be so lucky, so it’s very important that you have patience and only groom if your dog remains calm. Do not let grooming turn into something that causes anxiety for your dog.

If your dog doesn’t lay or standstill, a grooming table is a perfect solution (and is the cost of roughly one visit to the groomers, so it pays for itself after a few months)!

Shelandy Grooming Table
  • Flying Pig Heavy Duty Grooming Table. 32"L x 21"~18"W x 31.5"H
  • Table Surface: Bone Shape Texture Non Slip Rubber
  • Table Frame: Rust Resist Stainless Steel (Can Hold up to 330 Ibs)

We use clippers on our Sheepadoodle’s body, legs, belly, for her sanitary cut, and between her paw pads. For excellent grooming tutorials, check out My Favorite Groomer on Youtube.

We then use Scissors for more delicate work, such as trimming her mouth, trimming around her eyes, trimming her paws, her tail and taking a little bit of length off her ears.

dog clippers and two scissors

You also may want to consider getting thinning scissors to cut around the nose and the muzzle. Thinning scissors aren’t necessary, but are something that we decided to invest in about a year after grooming our doodle ourselves. They help eliminate blunt edges create from the scissors around the face.

Here are some tips for Doodle grooming:

  • don’t forget between the paw pads. This area can mat and needs to be cut.
  • your Doodle needs a sanitary cut (around their genitals and anal area). If you aren’t comfortable doing this area, seek out a groomer’s help.
  • clean the inside of the ears and speak with a professional if you are unsure whether or not your Sheepadoodle needs the hair removed from their ear canals.

Some of these areas take lots of time and practice to get right. The sanitary cut, in particular, can be a bit tricky for someone new to grooming their dog, especially if their dog doesn’t sit still.

Trimming around the face is also another part of the Doodle grooming process that can be challenging!

If there are any parts of the Doodle grooming process that you aren’t quite comfortable doing on your own, you can always send your dog to a professional groomer to get help with those specific areas.

For example, our Sheepadoodle will not let us trim her nails. She will let us do everything else, but the moment I bring out the nail clippers, she’s gone. Rather than try and do this at home, we take her into our groomer.

So for any parts of the grooming process that you can’t perform on your own, your groomer will be there to help!

Maintenance Between Grooms

You can easily prolong the time between grooming sessions by daily/weekly brushing. One product we can’t live without is our MudBuster. The MudBuster makes cleaning dirty paws a breeze and keeps your Sheepadoodle from tacking in dirt into your home.

A bottle to clean dog's paws

The inside of the MudBuster uses silicone bristles to gently remove debris and dirt from their paws and lower legs.

birdseye view into a pink bottle with rubber spikes

Before getting this handy contraption, we would need to put our Sheepadoodle in the bath and wash her paws nearly every time she came in from a rainy-day-play. During rainy and wet seasons, this is a lifesaver!

Doodle Grooming Ideas

Now that you know what tools you need to groom your Doodle, let’s look at some incredibly gorgeous doods for grooming inspiration! Here are some pictures of Sheepadoodle haircuts to help you find what style suits your pooch best.

Shaved Sheepadoodle

The shaved look is low maintenance and perfect for a summer cut!

Shaved Sheepadoodle

@luna.the.sheepadoodle

Shaved Sheepadoodle

@tofu.mcfluffen

A dog sitting beside green bushes, long grass and a pinky/blue sky

@dananicoledesigns

Teddy Bear Cut

The teddy bear cut is quite challenging to do at home. If you want your Sheepadoodle to have a teddy bear cut on the regular, you’ll likely want to visit a pro for this (but you’re more than welcome to give it a go).

Teddy bear cut sheepadoodle groom

@elvis_the_sheepadoodle

Shaggy Sheepadoodle

The shaggy Sheepadoodle cut is easy for beginners as it is easy to hide mistakes! It’s “imperfectly perfect”. The shaggy look is so adorable and is our go-to look. Just look at some of these pups to see for yourself.

Shaggy Sheepadoodle

@sheepadoodlebertie

Shaggy Sheepadoodle

@doctormollydoodle

As you can see, there are lots of different ways to groom your Doodle. And don’t forget to go follow the above pups on Instagram for more cuteness!

Doodle Grooming Tutorials

As there are so many different ways you can groom your Sheepadoodle, the best way to find tutorials that suit the style you are after is to search for one on YouTube.

YouTube has tons of great grooming tutorials that will help you understand how to do a sanitary cut, how to groom paw pads, ears and so much more.

When looking for tutorials, searching for “doodle grooming” as opposed to “Sheepadoodle grooming” or “Goldendoodle grooming” will provide you with more results! Grooming for doodles is very similar, so you will have better luck finding a grooming video tutorial if you search for “doodles”.

In Conclusion: Doodle Grooming at Home

Grooming your Doodle at home is a great bonding activity! With practice, you’ll be able to groom your dog from the comfort of your own home. Don’t be discouraged if your dog doesn’t look as good from your groom as they do from the groomers. Grooming takes a lot of practice!

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image with text overlay: what you need to groom your doodle dog breed at home
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