When we think of our dog’s health, we typically think about Fido’s food and exercise as well as vet check-ups and vet care. However, for dogs that require a certain amount of hair brushing and trimming, grooming is an important part of keeping your dog healthy too. In fact, when a dog is prone to develop mats and tangles that can actually cause pain when they develop, your pup’s happiness is at stake if proper grooming isn’t employed.
All dogs require some amount of grooming. Brushing and bathing our dogs is a minimum of grooming requirements for all dogs. The Goldendoodle is a special case, however. The Goldendoodle is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. As such, the Goldendoodle could inherit one of three types of coat: wavy, curly, or straight.
More than likely, the Goldendoodle will have either a curly or wavy coat, although on occasion the Goldendoodle will end up with the straight hair of its Golden Retriever parent.
To make matters more complicated, it is difficult to determine exactly what kind of coat a Goldendoodle will have when it is still a puppy. Your dog’s coat often changes as he grows older. Although it is difficult to tell exactly what type of coat your Goldendoodle will have as an adult, some are able to look at the hair around the puppy’s face and muzzle. This is perhaps the best indicator of what type of coat your Doodle will have as an adult. A puppy with “crimpy” hair will often have a curly coat as an adult; if the hair around the face and muzzle is smooth, you will likely have a Goldendoodle with a straight coat.
Different Types of Goldendoodle Coats
Let’s take a look at the grooming each dog’s coat type requires before exploring how to groom a Goldendoodle.
The wavy coat (sometimes called the “shaggy” coat), from the Golden Retriever coat, is the easiest to care for. You’ll have to brush the wavy coat of the Goldendoodle weekly. The good news is that the wavy coated Goldendoodle doesn’t shed much, and, if you’ll keep her brushed regularly, she won’t develop painful tangles.
The curly coat is inherited from the Poodle parent, and most Goldendoodles will end up with the wavy coat rather than the truly curly coats. It is a common coat among Goldendoodles, but not as prevalent as the wavy coat. This is the most demanding of Doodle coats to maintain. The curly-coated Goldendoodle will require daily brushing so that its fine hair doesn’t become tangled and matted.
Remember that these Goldendoodles have hair that is more like human hair than dog fur. The hair does fall out, much like we lose a minimum of hair each day when we wash and brush our own hair. The potential formatting comes when the curly-coated Goldendoodle’s hair is not brushed daily, and any hair that falls tends to stay in the coat. This can become matted, and it is very painful for your dog. Grooming scissors with straight cuts are good for curly coats.
A rare trait in Goldendoodles, the straight coat requires the least amount of care. You can brush Fido weekly to eliminate any excess hair in this Goldendoodle.
Five Reasons to Groom your Goldendoodle Regularly
- It’s easier to spot any potential skin problems.
- Grooming actually promotes circulation in your Goldendoodle, which in turn promotes good pet health.
- Grooming helps you to bond better with your pup.
- Grooming, when done properly, actually massages your pup’s skin.
- (Perhaps the most important reason to groom your Doodle properly) Grooming helps to prevent matted dog hair and tangling.
What is the best way to groom my Goldendoodle?
1. Brush the Goldendoodle thoroughly.
While it is usually fine to brush your Goldendoodle weekly, if he has a curly or wavy coat, it’s actually better to brush the pup thoroughly three times per week. This is supposed to prevent matting. However, there are some instances where you’ll still find small mats. If this occurs, then simply cut out the small mats rather than attempting to brush them out. Mats are very painful for dogs, and it’s likely the rest of the coat can be blended so that the spot you cut out can’t be seen.
Use a slicker brush to brush your Goldendoodle each day. When you use the slicker brush, brush a line of hair in the direction the hair grows, and pull a line of hair away . This is an effort to search for any mats or tangles you might miss otherwise. You want to see the skin and make sure the skin is healthy.
Be sure to brush around his tail as well as his armpit; these areas can develop mats easily, and many pet parents don’t think about regularly brushing these areas.
After you finish with the slicker brush and you’ve removed any matting, you’ll want to use a metal pin brush to go through Fido’s hair one more time. Once the brush moves easily through Fido’s hair, you can be reassured you removed all mats and tangles.
2. Shave the “trouble spots.”
Because of the texture of their wavy or curly coat, Goldendoodle grooming often requires having to shave a few places that become tangled or matted. The belly and genitals are typically areas that have to be shaved with clippers regardless of how well you brush the area. In fact, you may prefer to shave these areas anyway in order to prevent matting or tangling.
Be sure to shave about an inch below the ear in order to open up this area and allow the ears to “breathe.” Goldendoodles are prone to ear infections, and shaving the area below the ear canal promotes ear health.
3. Speaking of ear hair
The hair INSIDE your Goldendoodle’s ear is just as important as the hair on the outside. Before you bathe your Goldendoodle, you’ll want to pluck the hair in the ear canal. Again, the hair inside the ear can become a breeding ground for infections. It’s important to reach in and get these hairs before bath time and keep them plucked each month.
Use your pointer finger and thumb in order to quickly and painlessly pull these hairs. If you try to pull hair that isn’t part of the inner ear, you’ll find Fido can experience pain as you do (the inner ear hair isn’t nearly as painful to pluck).
It’s also a good idea to put cotton balls inside the ear before you bathe your Goldendoodle. This will prevent any excess water from getting in Fido’s ears. Be sure to remove them once the bath is over. It’s also important to know how to clean dog ears safely.
4. Time for a Bath
You can bathe your Goldendoodle at home as well as carry out other grooming duties, too. However, it is best to put off the task to bathe a puppy, especially a new puppy, until he has gotten used to you and your home (a week or so after bringing him home for the first time).
It’s also best to socialize your puppy to the grooming process first, too. Because grooming is an integral part of a Goldendoodle’s life, she needs to be comfortable with bathing. It must be a positive experience or you’ll spend the rest of her life chasing a wet Goldendoodle through the house.
That first week she is home with you, get her used to you touching her feet and ears. Get her used to the sound of running water. Take a dry bath cloth and rub it over her body and her feet. If you’re going to blow dry her hair, then you’ll need to run the dryer on a low speed near her so that she can get accustomed to the sound. As you do all this, offer her treats and speak in soothing sounds so that she sees grooming as a good thing.
Okay, now let’s talk doggy shampoo. It is important to choose a truly all-natural dog shampoo (and conditioner, if you wish). The best way to determine whether the shampoo you’re considering is natural is to look at the ingredients. If you see artificial colors, parabens, phthalates, sodium Laureth sulfate (or any type of sulfate)—stay away from that brand. Once you’ve looked at the ingredients, then open the bottle. The truly all-natural product should be a dull yellow color (or almost clear). It should have a very faint fragrance (if any). If you pour just a tad out, the consistency of the shampoo will be like that of water. Don’t be surprised when you get home if the shampoo doesn’t produce much lather. The sulfates mentioned earlier? They are the chemicals (yes, you read that right) responsible for lather in a shampoo. These chemicals are actually very harmful to your dog’s tender skin.
Okay, so you’ve got the right shampoo for Fido. You’ll want to have a rinse cup (if you have a detachable showerhead, this is better), a flea comb, and lots of towels.
Be sure that you never pour rinse water over your dog’s head. Excess water can get into Fido’s ears and cause an infection. If this water gets into the eyes, it can cause irritation to her eyes at the very least. Plus, if your dog consistently gets water in her ears and eyes, she may begin to associate bathing with a bad experience, and this makes grooming more difficult.
It is often best to use a damp bath cloth to wash a dog’s face so that you don’t get soap and water into tender areas of her face.
Always make sure, before bathing, that all mats and tangles are removed.
5. Avoid “ruffling” the hair.
When blow-drying your Doodle’s hair, always use single direction motions with your hands. Finger comb conditioner through the Doodle’s hair, and rinse it thoroughly. When drying Fido, pat rather than rub or ruffle the hair to prevent post-bath tangling.
Blow-dry the hair in the direction in which it grows to prevent tangling and matting.
6. Use the flea comb.
Once the coat is completely dry, then you can use the flea comb to go back over Fido’s hair. This is to eliminate any tangles that might have come about while the bath took place.
7. Nail grooming
You can cut the nails with traditional clippers, however, the best dog nail grinders today assure well-shaped nails. If you choose a nail grinding tool, you’ll want to make sure that she is accustomed to the sound of the machine before attempting to use it on her.
1. How do you groom a Goldendoodle at home?
There are several steps to grooming your Goldendoodle at home. You’ll want to have the right tools, and you’ll want to have socialized her to the process. You’ll need to clean the ears and brush the Doodle thoroughly before the bath. After the bath, you can trim the Goldendoodle if you so wish.
2. How should Goldendoodles be groomed?
The best piece of advice for keeping a Goldendoodle groomed is to make sure you brush the Doodle thoroughly three or four times each week. Some coat types will require daily brushing and the removal of mats.
3. How do you groom a Goldendoodle face?
It is best to wash the Goldendoodle’s face with a damp bath cloth (no soap). How you groom the face will depend on the coat type.
4. How often should I take my Goldendoodle to the groomer?
You can groom your Goldendoodle at home, but, if you wish for the groomer to clip her coat, then about every six weeks is the rule of thumb.