Grooming your Goldendoodle and other sham-pooch tips
This article will hopefully help you in grooming your Goldendoodle and give you some other sham-pooch tips. Goldendoodle grooming and health go hand in hand. Good grooming not only helps your Goldendoodle dog look good, it is also important for your doodle’s physiological as well as the psychological health. While some doodle owners take their doggies to their groomer, many instead decide to groom their Goldendoodle dog themselves at home. If you begin grooming your Goldendoodle when he or she is very young, they will come to enjoy bathtime and your doodle will not be difficult to groom at all.
Brushing your Goldendoodle thoroughly every day is an important part of dog grooming and health. A shaggy or curly coated Goldendoodle will need to be brushed and groomed more often than the smooth coat doodle. Because brushing and trimming isn’t natural to a dog, your doodle will need to be trained in order to accept this kind of handling. It is recommended by many dog groomers and doodle breeders that bathing and trimming start at an early age. It is best to proceed slowly at the beginning, giving your Goldendoodle lots of praises when they relax and enjoy the process.
As a breeder since 1996, I always begin the grooming process with our doodle puppies when they are approx. 4 weeks of age. I do recommend that a rubber mat be placed on the bottom of your tub which will help prevent your doodle from slipping and possibly getting injured. Some puppies yelp and show fear when they are first introduced to water. This fear will subside as your Goldendoodle is bathed more frequently, over time. I personally use a small cat slicker brush on the coat of my Goldendoodles. The slicker brush has many different sized bristles which will help pull out any dead hairs in the coat. Some groomers do not recommend human shampoo. However, I never use shampoo which is made specifically for dogs. There are many harsh chemicals which can cause your doodle to have not only dry skin, but can cause skin allergies over a long period of time. Instead, I use non-tearing shampoo made for humans such as baby shampoo. If you want to use shampoo with various fragrances, the best ones are those with “apple” or “cherry” fragrances. High quality shampoo can be purchased at hair specifica stores such as “Sally’s”. I purchase my shampoo in bulk so that it lasts a very long time. Before rinsing the coat of my Goldendoodles, I spritz their coat with a nice detangler. Some can be left in the coat and some have to be rinsed out. However, make sure to take a large, human comb and comb the detangler through the coat. Rinse well. You’ll find your Goldendoodle’s coat extremely soft to the touch after you have taken a blow dryer and dried your doodle completely. In the summer, you can simply hand towel your doodle’s coat and then let him or her dry naturally.
If you have a grooming table, you can trim your doodle’s coat very easily. A great place to purchase a grooming table is by ordering it online. Revival Animal has a nice list of grooming tables you may find for a low price. Some groomers use a clipper called “Groom Master”, however, I will personally tell you that I found better success with the “A5 Turbo” clipper. I began with the “Groom Master” clipper but found myself going through three of them before discovering that the “A5 Turbo” clipper worked entirely better and I could also find replacement blades locally instead of having to specically order blades that were only for the “Groom Master”. The “A5 Turbo” clipper has two speeds and will allow you to shave down your Goldendoodle in less than 30 minutes! This clipper is very quick and reliable. There are also various sized blades that will work great for this particular clipper and allows you to give your Goldendoodle various types of hair cuts.
If you decide to groom your Goldendoodle yourself, you will want to go to your local “Sally’s” store and purchase an apron which specifically helps repell hair. It’s a great investment. Some groomers spend hundreds of dollars on scissors, but you can find some great scissors that will last a very long time at your local department store in the “Crafts” or “Sewing” section. A $15 pair of nice scissors will work and last just as long as the $150 pair. Let me forwarn you that using scissors can be dangerous on your doodle if your Goldendoodle is not calm and relaxed during the grooming process. You can easily cut your doodle or yourself. I can’t even tell you how many times in 13 years I’ve cut myself or a dog, accidentally, if they turned their head quickly or jerked their foot away at the exact time as beginning to trim. Some doodles have “ticklish” feet and will constantly jerk their feet as you try and trim around their pawpads. Over time, they get use to the scissors touching their feet but in the beginning, you will need to be very careful with scissoring.
Your Goldendoodle also has to learn to sit still or lie on his or her side as and when needed. Teaching your Goldendoodle to enjoy the grooming process is just a matter of time and repitition. Other grooming tools needed are various types of brushes, combs, a wash cloth, ear cleaners and spritzer bottles.
If your shaggy or curly coat Goldendoodle’s hair is tangled, grooming can take longer and become a bit tricky. Proceed gently to avoid irritating your Goldendoodle’s skin. Despite some doodle breeders’ claims that Goldendoodles do not shed, your doodle will lose some hairs, particularly during the dry winter months. Some Goldendoodles can even have bouts of dry skin, so care is necessary when grooming him or her. Don’t over bathe your doodle! Unless your doodle dog is outside every single day getting into muddy situations or doing a lot of swimming at the beach or lake, do not bathe your doodle more than twice a month. Bathing more frequently will cause your doodle to have dry skin. Even if you own a smooth coat Goldendoodle, who needs relatively very little coat maintenence, you will want to groom him or her on a regular basis simply because this process is good for your doodle’s over all grooming health.
Grooming your Goldendoodle helps keep the dog’s skin healthy and coat nice and shiny, not to mention, it helps him or her smell good. Grooming your doodle dog helps to improve the blood circulation; helps keep the coat free of ticks, fleas and other less welcome visitors. Remember to trim the hair underneath your doodle such as the inside of his or her legs and under the belly. Close attention to your Goldendoodle’s ears are especially important! Hair can grow into the ear and that can cause yeast infections or ear infections. Another important area for your Goldendoodle is around the eyes. Shaggy coated Goldendoodles have the most problems with their hair growing over or around the eyes. If you do not pay careful attention to this, hairs can curl inward and cause a corneal abrasion by touching the eye itself. Always keep the hairs trimmed around your Goldendoodles’ eyes when he or she is an adult dog. Puppies do not require this type of trimming because their coat will change and go through 10-15 different coat phases before he or she turns 1 year of age.
Not all varieties of dogs need a bath everyday. Some short haired dogs require very little coat maintenence. Some can make do with a bath once a month. For smooth coat Goldendoodles, you can simply use a washcloth to wipe the coat gently if you do not want to fully bathe him or her. Shaggy coat and curly coat Goldendoodles have facial beards. These beards tend to collect food particles or even dirt or grass if your doodle is outside playing. I never recommend using shampoo around the face of your Goldendoodle. Using a wash cloth that is damp and without soap or shampoo is best. Some doodles require their mouths to be cleaned every day. Coat staining can occur around the eyes or the mouth if this area isn’t cleaned every day. If you want to help your doodle not have a “tangly” coat, spritz your doodle’s coat prior to bathing with a “detangler”. Comb it thoroughly through the coat. Then wet your doodle’s coat completely and use your slicker brush to brush through the coat as you are wetting his or her coat. This will help remove any tangles in the hair before their shamoo/bath. Always keep soap away from your doodle’s eyes and ears and make sure to use an ear cleaner to help clean the insides of the ears. An inexpensive ear cleaner can be made with White vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Use a spritzer bottle and mix an equal portion of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together. This not only helps clean your doodle’s ears, but helps them smell nicer too! Never use Q-tips for cleaning the insides of your doodle’s ears! Never! Use a washcloth or cotton balls.
Grooming your Goldendoodle also helps you bond with your loving, wonderful tempered new pet! It should be quite obvious why dog grooming and dog health are so closely associated. Even if your Goldendoodles does not need daily brushing, it is necessary to check your doodle every day. Keeping the skin of your Goldendoodle and his or her body parts cut free and sore free is also an important part of your doodle’s grooming and health. If you discover fleas on your Goldendoodle’s coat during the grooming process, fleas have to be removed with a fine-toothed comb, and embedded ticks have to be removed carefully with tweezers and alcohol. Pouring a small amount of alcohol on the tick will help loosen its grip prior to removing it from your doodle’s skin with tweezers. A new flea prevention product called “Comfortis” is on the market and we use this on our Goldendoodles as well as other dogs. It is a once a month tablet that helps flea prevention. Always examine your doodle’s nails, ears and teeth as part of your dog grooming routine, each and every time you groom your lovely Goldendoodle dog.
Goldendoodle and other dog grooming and health are so closely associated also because the skin is the first indicator of the state of your pet’s health. Flea allergies, contact allergies, skin rashes and irritations need to be stopped at the earliest. Ears should be regularly checked. The insides of the ear should be a pale pink. If they show any discoloration or give out an unpleasant odor, this could be a sign of an ear infection or mite infestation. Have your Vet look into the matter before proceeding with medication to treat the problem. Make sure to take your doodle to your vet for a closer examination if you see discoloration inside of his or her ears or smell an odor coming from the inside of the ear. Your doodle’s toenails have to be clipped every two or three weeks, depending upon how much exercise your doodle gets every day. Nails can be trimmed with human nail clippers if your doodle is a puppy. If an adult, the guillatine type of nail trimmers works great but you must use these type of nail clippers with extreme care. You can actually lose a toe or your own finger if you are not care. Have your vet show you first, how to properly clip your Goldendoodle’s toe nails before you do it yourself. If you do not feel comfortable in nail trimming, always have your groomer or your vet perform this procedure. Examine your Goldendoodles’ paw pads to see that there is nothing stuck between them. Sometimes hair grows between the pads and pebbles or small rocks or twigs can get tangled up inside of the hair that will cause your doodle pain as he or she walks. Make sure to check your doodle’s pads every day. If hair is growing around the pads, you will need to carefully trim the hairs with scissors.
Teeth cleaning is important to your doodle’s over all health maintenence as well. Your doodle can develop cavities or periodontal diseases, just like humans, too. Cleaning the dog’s teeth twice a week with pet toothpaste and a small toothbrush is advisable. There are some very good teeth cleaning products on the market. You can also clean your Goldendoodle’s teeth during his or her grooming process.
Regular grooming not only helps keep your doodle healthy, it also offers bonding time for you and your Goldendoodle. In the natural world, dogs lick each other and groom each other. I don’t think you want to lick your Goldendoodle in order to clean him or her? This licking by other dogs reinforces pack behavior and subordination. But you can reinforce pack behaviour and subordination by regularly grooming your doodle with brushes and combes. Brushing or combing your Goldendoodle’s coat for 10-20 minutes every day or as often as necessary will bring your Goldendoodle immeasurably closer to you, immense pleasure and will also help keep your doodle healthy. Goldendoodles can live up to 20 years under ideal circumstances and if immaculately cared for.
Some Goldendoodles may require professional grooming to maintain their hair and coat health if you are not experienced in grooming your doodle, yourself. If you do not have the time to groom your doodle on your own or if you do not feel comfortable in grooming your Goldendoodle on your own, then your doodle will have to be trained to stand properly and to tolerate the attention of a stranger. Dogs that have no hair on the skin will need special skin creams to keep the surface oily and germ free. If you own a hairless dog, then of course you will want to also use a sun screen to help protect your dogs’ skin from harmful sun rays.
Dog grooming and health are mutually dependent. Without grooming, your dog will not be able to retain good health; Without grooming, your dog could have a shorter life span. In spite of all the exercise and good food you give to your canine, without proper grooming health, your pet will have a shorter life. In case of dogs that shed heavily, regular grooming helps you to combat floating tufts of hair and speed up the shedding process. Dog grooming is not only about dog health, it is also about bonding, trust and love.
**About the author: Dee Gerrish of Goldendoodle World has been a private, professional, hobby breeder since 1996. Dee Gerrish has written extensively about the Goldendoodle dog since 1999. More information can be obtained about the Goldendoodle dog at http://www.goldendoodleworld.com
*Copyright protected March 9, 2009.