Grooming your ALD
Non- Shedding does not mean Low Maintenance
The Multigenerational Australian Labradoodle's coat requires regular upkeep and maintenance to keep it looking and feeling spectacular. The ALD coat requires regular brushing (30 min, 3-5/week) and regular full grooming (every 5-7 weeks). Failing to be consistent will result in pain and hardship for you and your pup. Your 30 minutes of relaxed brushing and bonding will turn into 1.5 hrs full of stress and frustration. If matting sets in, your groomer will be forced to completely shave your pooch.
Below you will find some tips, tricks, resources and products that will set you up for success and keep your purdy poochy pupper looking positively perfect.
When brushing your ALD, you absolutely must make sure the coat is completely brushed out, down to the skin. Line Brushing is the best technique you can use to accomplish this goal. Your dogs coat type, activity level, and environment will determine how often you will need to brush him.
Always make sure your dog's coat is dry before brushing. Wet hair will break easier and matt tighter. A high velocity dryer is a great investment. Not only will it cut down on drying time, but fluffs and loosens the hair which makes brushing significantly easier.
When you begin Line Brushing, keep a couple of things in mind. 1) Work bottom to top and back to front. In other words, work from the toes to the hips and the tail to the head. 2) Pat and lift, do not drag the Slicker Brush across your dog's skin. Let the brush do the work. Place the brush on the coat and lift away at a 45 degree angle.
Begin by using your weak hand or a Greyhound Comb to lift a section of fur. Lift the fur in the opposite direction from which it grows. Typically, this will be tail to head, belly to spine, feet to hips. When you lift away this hair, hold it against the body. This will create a line below your comb or hand. You will now address the hair below this line. Pat the Slicker Brush on the section of fur below the line and then lift it away from the body, at a 45 degree angle away from your line. You do not need to pull hard, let the brush do the work. On your first pat/lift, it will sound like velcro being separated. Repeat the pat/lift on the same section of fur until the brush lifts off smoothly, without making a sound. Work systematically from one side to the other, at the same level. Then move your comb up a few inches, make another line and continue working at this level.
Once you have finished an area, check your work with the Greyhound Comb. You should be able to work the comb from the skin to the tip of the fur, without meeting resistance. If you find a tangle or a tight spot, you can use the line brushing technique with the comb, or go back to the Slicker Brush until the comb will pull through smoothly.
High Velocity Dryer
Getting The Most From Your Trip To The Groomer
Everyone loves those picture perfect Instagram doodles, however, replicating the look can be a lot of work, even when you take your photogenic
While it is true, not all groomers are created equal, there are many things you can do to get the most out of your puppy's grooming. Good preparation before your pups first groom, and good practices between grooming will go a long way toward that perfect groom.
Cutting puppy's hair before 6 months old will ruin/change the coat.
Puppies don't need to go to a groomer until they're 9 months old.
Going to the groomer every 6 weeks means I don't have to do anything at home.
Groomers charge so much because they're just greedy.
Groomers charge more for doodle cuts because they are purebreed loving snobs.
Groomers shave matted dogs because they are lazy.
Prep begins on day one.
Begin preparing your pooch on the day he comes home. If you have the storage space, a grooming table is a great investment. Even if you don't ever groom your dog yourself, it is wonderful having a place your dog is able to stand securely to allow you to work with him in a standing position. Not only does it make it easier to trim nails, clip off a small mat, comb out burs, brush teeth, or clean ears, it is a great way to get your young puppy used to this tool and this position before going to the groomer for the first time. Start by placing your pup on the table and immediately give him a high value treat. Continually provide these treats until the puppy forgets where he's at. Do this as frequently as you can. Gradually increase the length of time between treats, and begin requiring your puppy to stand still. Then introduce the neck loop. He'll be a table pro in just a matter of days.
Touch, hold, and manipulate your dog several times a day. Get you puppy used to being handled in the way your groomer will have to handle him. Hold and manipulate his paws. Press the pads to extend the nails. Your puppy will likely pull his paw away from you. Reward him, only when you get the desired behavior. You want your puppy to sit, stand, and lay still and calm while you hold the paw and extend the nails, until you are ready to release. Build to this with short training sessions broken up with play and snuggles.
Touch, hold, and manipulate your puppy's ears and face. Gently, yet firmly, hold your dogs ears between your index and middle finger. Slide these fingers from the top and middle to the bottom and outside of the ear leather. Practice stopping and holding the ear between these fingers, right where the ear leather ends. This is the position your groom will need to be in to trim the ears. Touch and gently pull the inner ear hair. Practice covering each eye individually and together. Gently, yet firmly, hold your puppy's beard. You want to be able to hold his face still while looking at him at eye level. This is how your groomer will hold him to trim around his eyes and face, and to check for symmetry. At first, puppies will fight, pull, squirm and get vocal in protest. Remaining calm, gentle, and firm, not releasing until he relaxes, will quickly teach your puppy that this position is safe and not scary at all. Remember to frequently reward your pup when he stands still and calm, allowing you to touch, hold and manipulate him.
Take puppy to the groomer early
Schedule a trip to the groomer as soon as your puppy has his final puppy vaccines. Your puppy is far more accepting of new situations before 9 months old. This initial trip will likely consist of a bath, blow drying, brushing, nail trim, and possibly a face trim. Groomers usually have a special puppy package specifically designed to get young dogs used to the sights, sounds, and sensations. This will give you the chance to talk to the groomer about the look you are going for. You can ask about their experience with Australian Labradoodles, and give them a copy of the WALA grooming card. Ask if the groomer has any pictures of doodles they have groomed.
One persistent myth is that early grooming, or shaving (close trimming) damages, or will change a dogs coat forever. This is absurd. Cutting your dogs hair, no matter how early, or how closely will not alter the dogs genetics or change the hair follicles. Your puppy's hair will change. The puppy hair grows out and is replaced by the dog's permanent hair. An early grooming will take away much of that puppy hair a little earlier, but rest assured, the hair that grows in is the hair that was always going to grow in.
Care between groomings.
Having your ALD professionally groomed can be expensive. It's difficult and time consuming, doodle owners tend to have exacting expectations, and improper care between grooming can exponentially increase the amount of work. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. The first time I groomed my mini ALD, it took me approximately 10 hours, over two days, to get it done. I hear it time and time again, from DIY doodle groomers, after their first attempt, "Professional groomers should get paid twice what they charge." If your dog has mats, your groomer will either have to painstakingly demat the coat, or shave (clipper trim very close to the body). Dematting, if it is even possible, takes a very long time, and is very stressful and irritating for the dog. Dematted hair tends to re-mat very quickly and the hair comes out looking frayed and damaged. Groomers usually charge a special rate, by the minute, for dematting. It's usually better to shave the dog down and start over with the coat. The good thing is, hair grows back.
There are some things you can do to make sure this doesn't happen. Brush regularly, and brush effectively (See Line-Brushing above). Keep the coat clean. If your dog gets muddy, allow the coat to dry before trying to brush or bathe him. Once the coat drys, much of the dirt will fall out. you can shake the coat to release the trapped hair. Then use a comb to pick out any debris. Use a high velocity dryer to loosen the hair and blow out any remaining dirt. Work out any kinks, knots or mats using a slicker brush and comb. Brush the coat completely. This usually removes the majority of the dirt. If a bath is needed, make sure you do the steps listed above, BEFORE bathing the dog. An Australian Labradoodle should only need a regular bath, every three weeks, or so. Using a detangler, like Show Sheen, between baths, will make brushing easier, and reduces mats.