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Learning to groom my Sheepadoodle at home took me years. Over time, I learned what to do, but more importantly, what not to do.
I put together this post to help you learn how to groom your Doodle-type-dog. In it, you’ll find grooming tips, what not to do, and a groomer’s secret trick for removing stubborn mats.
As the hair and coat types are similar for all Doodles breed dogs, you can apply this guide to whichever Doodle you own! Whether you want to groom a Sheepadoodle, Labradoodle, or Bernedoodle, this guide’s for you.
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Benefits of Grooming Your Doodle at Home
If you’re still on the fence about grooming your Doodle at home, consider these three points:
1. You’ll save money
The biggest benefit to grooming your Doodle at home is the money you’ll save. We began our own Sheepadoodle grooming several years ago and haven’t looked back since.
At first, the cost for home-grooming felt expensive, as we had to buy all the tools. But the cost of the tools paid for themselves rather quickly.
We were spending nearly $1,500/year in grooming expenses and once we learned to groom our Sheepadoodle ourselves, we cut that expense by almost 90%.
2. Your dog is reactive
Some dogs get incredible anxious at the groomer, often times becoming reactive or aggressive.
By grooming your dog at home, you can get them used to the sounds and feel of the different tools in a situation they are familiar with.
Note: if your dog is reactive or anxious at the groomers, please speak to a trainer to make sure at home grooming is a suitable idea as it may make the situtation worse.
3. You don’t need to worry about finding a groomer you like
Have you ever brought your dog into the groomer and picked up a completely different dog…? Grooming your dog at home gives you complete control over how much hair gets chopped off.
4. It’s a great bonding experience
Grooming your doodle is a great bonding experience and will cause you and your dog to grow closer together.
5. You will have a newfound appreciation for professional groomers
As you groom your dog, you’ll start seeing things from your groomer’s perspective—and you’ll appreciate all the hard work they do even more. Your back will likely hurt, and you may need to take several breaks throughout the process. It’s certainly a lot of work but absolutely worth it!
Whatever your reason is for grooming your Doodle yourself, I’m going to be showing you all the tools we use to groom our Doodle’s hair (yes—hair! Doodle’s have hair not fur), 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):
There are 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
- Best brushes for Labradoodles: check this post out to see how to brush your Labradoodle to ensure they remain tangle and mat-free!
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 Doodle.
- 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 nail clippers, you may want to try using a dremel. We had better luck with a dremel.
How to Groom Your Doodle at Home
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:
- behind the ears
- 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 and more difficult to work out.
- 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 on your Doodle. 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 the 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).
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. Bathe Your Doodle
It’s a good idea to bathe 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.
As for plucking the hair, 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.
We use the below pet dryer and it’s a game-changer. Prior to getting ourselves a drier, we used a regular old hair blower on the cool/low heat setting and it took AGES to fully dry our dog. Not to mention, she didn’t have that “just-from-the-groomers” fluff to her hair.
- 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 high-pressure dryer not only makes our dog look way better, it cuts down drying time. It has two heat settings (cool and low heat) and comes with a variety of different nozzles to help you dry your Dood with ease.
With the Doodles’ thick coat, a drier such as the one above will help you achieve that at-home grooming look in a snap. I can’t recommend this drier enough!
If you prefer a stand dryer (to free up both hands) I recommend the Free Paws Pet Dryer 4.0.
- Stand is 35.5”- 51.2” height adjustable, providing you a perfect height saving you from bending
- Bracket rotates 360°horizontally and also can be adjusted to 120°elevation to 120°depression
- Stand comes with a hands-free drying arm that is compatible with our 4 HP pet dryer
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. (These Wahl Clippers don’t get hot. Even after using them for over an hour straight.)
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 being groomed and will fall asleep as we shave her.
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. When we groom our Labradoodle he tends to move around a lot, so we try to keep grooming sessions short for him, with plenty of rewards for when he keeps still!
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 grooms)!
- 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, and 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 (be careful not to cut the ear itself).
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 of DIY Doodle grooming. They help eliminate blunt edges created 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 Doodle from tacking in dirt into your home.
The inside of the MudBuster uses silicone bristles to gently remove debris and dirt from their paws and lower legs.
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!
How Often to Groom Your Doodle at Home
How often you groom your dog at home depends on many factors, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. You should be grooming your dog frequently enough, so they have a healthy coat free of tangles and mats. I recommend starting with grooming in between every professional groomer visit to see how you like it. If you enjoy it, you can increase the amount of home-grooming you do.
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 Doodle haircuts to help you find what style suits your pooch best.
The shaved look is low maintenance and perfect for a summer cut!
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). Just look how beautiful (and teddy bear-like) Stoli looks:
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.
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”.
A summary of grooming your Doodle 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. Here’s a quick summary of how to groom your Doodle at home:
- Brush and comb your Doodle to remove mats and tangles
- Bathe your Doodle
- Fully dry your Doodle
- Shave and cut
And don’t worry if you’re Doodle doesn’t look as good as they do from the groomers—grooming is a lot of work and takes practice!
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Veterinary Disclaimer: travellingwithadog.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice and does not intend to provide any type of veterinary advice for your animals. Please consult your vet for any questions you have regarding your pets health.
About the Author:
Dana owns a Sheepadoodle and a rescue merle Labradoodle. Her first dog growing up was a white Toy Poodle and she’s loved dogs ever since. She has years of experience fostering dogs and has helped find homes for a variety of different breeds, both large and small! After seeing so many dogs end up unwanted and in shelters, she began blogging about different dog breeds (specifically Doodle dogs, since that’s what she knows best) to help people make informed choices when adding a new member to their family.
When Dana’s not brushing her Doodles’ hair (it takes a lot of time for two!) you can find her playing nose work games and fetch with her two amazing pups.
Learn more about her here.