Never in my career have I heard so much groomer bashing. Groomers are frustrated too!
I’ve been a groomer for 15yrs and been contacted by several frustrated doodle parents searching for yet another groomer because the last one shaved their dog too short.
For several years now Doodles have been gaining in popularity due to their hypo-allergenic, anti-shedding fluffy coats. They are also highly publicized on social media for their size and loveable personalities. Doodles are a mix breed, which was not all that popular in the prior years when most pet parents preferred purebreds. Whatever the cross breed may be, often times the end result is a mix between two very different coats. For example, Golden Retrievers have two layers, a thick undercoat and a water resistant outer coat that is fine, soft and luxurious. Poodles on the other hand have coarse curly hair. Combine the two and it could go either way making it difficult to maintain.
Often times too much time passes, in between grooms with no grooming practices at home. I get it! Grooming can be expensive starting from $75 up to $200 (depending on size and condition of the coat) and its the groomers job to send them back just as the client requested, fluffy. Unfortunately, if they are not dried and combed out properly after a bath at home or swimming, it accelerates the tangles and matts. They may seem soft and tangle free on the outside, however, the undercoat tells a much different story. Often times a shave down is the only option and it comes off like a pelt. The main concern for the pet parent seems to be vanity, however, often times these ungroomed coats cannot be de-matted due to the severity. This condition can be VERY painful for dogs that when shaved exposes bruising, hot spots, excessive dander and other skin issues.
Below is just a few examples of this. (their faces are hidden to avoid embarrassment ;))
Honestly, doodle parents need to be responsible for the daily home maintenance of these complex, fluffy coats. Groomers only see them once a month, best case scenario. Can you imagine only combing out your own hair once a month? It’s plain and simple, if its too matted, it has to be shaved short. Shaving a matted dog is difficult for the pet and the groomer. It takes significantly more time, skill and expertise in order to not nick, cut or burn the dogs skin with the over worked clippers and sharp blades.
For daily grooming of a longer fluffy doodle coat, use a slicker brush all over from head to toe focusing on the spots that matt the most, i.e. armpits, neck area (specially if they are walked with a harness), rear end and legs. Then use a metal comb from the root outward. If the coat has matts that are too hard to remove by brushing or combing, its best to use grooming scissors or clippers to remove those specific spots. If the fur is fairly long and fluffy, you will never notice these little spots that need to be removed. It is also important to brush and comb PRIOR to at-home baths as well as after being dried. There are products available to lessen the comb out process such as all natural shampoos and conditioners.
In closing, if you work with their groomers on a plan to maintain the luxurious coat of these wonderful companions, all involved will benefit. Skipping around to different groomers just puts more stress on you and your pet. Pick a groomer you feel comfortable with and stick with them. Keep communication open at each and every grooming to build a relationship.
Be kind to one another, we all have struggles. Tell your dog I said “HI”.