Oodles of Doodles

Doodles of every kind are becoming more popular since 1980’s.  Just recently the “inventor” publicly regrets what he started with this combination.

They are being sold with the idea that they are hypoallergenic which I have yet to find.  No dog is 100% non-allergenic, but some dogs are basically “low-allergy.”  Though they shed little to no hair and less dander than typical dogs, all dogs will shed some dander – even hairless dogs.  Its great marketing and if you study coats, you have to smile.  The coat is  high maintenance that maybe won’t shed on your couch but will empty the wallet and your time of up keep on a daily basis.   They have a good personality and are sweet dogs.

Groomers all over the country dread them but not for the breed itself but from the lack of proper coat up keep done at home with pleas of “Don’t make him look like a poodle” even though he is part poodle.

Thick, curly type coat. Mats up very easily

They come in every size and different coat textures  and colors but one thing is united, 98% of them have mats that come into the salon.  The idea that they don’t shed isn’t entirely true but it definitely sells on a marketing standpoint.  Dogs that shed will do so on our clothes, upholstery, furniture.  Hairy dogs that “don’t” shed,  get matted.  The hair is dead and gets trapped into the live hair instead of falling onto your belongings and starts its process of matting up, only taking 48-72 hours to do so.  Combing from root to tip, head to tail will prevent this every other day.

Another helpful tip is a rolled leather collar to help prevent matting around the neck area versus a traditional flat collar.  Doodles are great dogs for the right people and you will definitely be seeing them more so in the future.

I swear I brush and the next day its matted….

90% of clients have this problem with high maintenance coats. Unfortunately most the time the coat is surfaced brushed and each stand is not being separated properly especially near the roots. Top layer is mat free and then as we get deep into the sections, our combs can’t penetrate.

Tips of hair is nicely brushed, roots are totally matted.  When we shave to releave the skin, it comes off like a pelt

Tips of hair is nicely brushed, roots are totally matted. When we shave to relieve the skin, it comes off like a pelt

Here is one solid matted piece.  This is a haven for fleas, fungus, bacteria among other skin problems.

Here is one solid matted piece. This is a haven for fleas, fungus, bacteria among other skin problems.

Some excuses used:

*It’s been raining–Important to comb and brush after any water interaction

*I went out of town–Leave them with someone who can adequately care for them internally and externally.

*He/She doesn’t like it or cries–Repetition, consistency, practice two times a week with positive reinforcement will help.

*He/She has been chewing herself–If chewing is apparent, comb and brush daily

*The weather is so dry–Moisturize with spray or conditioner and comb/brush every other day

*His/Her collar is matting the neck–Collar to prevent matting called a Rolled Leather Collar or brush/comb daily after removing it flat collar

*I’ve been busy–No words to say looking at the nice manicure and fresh highlights

For some it may have to be done every other day and for others once a week.  Imagine our hair if we didn’t comb it.

In fact I did get a call from a father whose daughter was in a very serious car accident with serious head trauma.  The blood and hair not being brushed for days became matted.  They wanted my help on tips how to help.  Same concept except with water, dirt,sand, dander, saliva or food caked into the hair.

Depending on the hair texture, find your spot where the comb can’t go through then use a slicker brush to break apart the mat. You can use a de-tangling spray from a pet store which will lube the hair shafts to help slide out tangles better. I usually let the spray sit in for 10 minutes and work on a different section in the meantime.
metal comb

slicker brush

Back again, go with the comb, if the comb gets stuck then get the slicker brush and break apart and then comb to see if you got it out then back again. Needless to say this is very time consuming and the reason why some groom shops shave instead of demat or apply demat charges. And severe cases only option is shaving. There are mat breakers which are great but keep in mind you have a row of razors with a handle and if you don’t know what you are doing, your dog may need stitches.
mat breaker

The dangers of cage drying

Cage drying has gotten negative attention in the news about pets being heated to death.  What a horrible thought, I cannot imagine my little Beet being in a heated cage to the point of death.

The truth is that not all cage dryers are bad, some use the air in the room and directs it into the cage, never using any heating elements.  It’s similar to a  fan in front of the kennel to help the drying process to get your pet dry and back in your arms as soon as possible, all with room temperature air.  These are helpful with dogs that have seizures, elderly pets, or puppies scared of loud noises like the fluff or force dryer.

Have you ever put your head out of a car window on the freeway and find it difficult to breathe.  This is similar to the  process of  cage dryers in front of a narrowed nostril pet who are also sensitive to these type of dryers.

Heating Element Cage Dryers

The other cage dryers that have heating elements are to be watched under strict supervision and some even have timers that go off after 15 minutes.  These are not to be used with any short nosed or trachea problematic breeds.  Leaving a pet unattended for long amounts of time can cause death.  In the circles of groomer’s message boards I participate in, I’ve noticed many groomers are definitely not using these like in the past, now that non-heating cage dryers are available.

Dogs that are sensitive to cage dryers are brachphalic breeds and or stenotic nares ( narrowed nostrils):

Affenpincher, Brussels Griffon, Bostons, Chichuahua, Yorkie, Frenchies, Bulldogs, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s,  Toy and Mini Poodles, Cavaliers, Pugs, Persian Cats and other breathing challenged pets.

HEAT STRESS – Because of all these upper respiratory obstructions, the brachycephalic dog is an inefficient panter. A dog with a more conventional face and throat is able to pass air quickly over the tongue through panting. Saliva evaporates from the tongue as air is passed across and the blood circulating through the tongue is efficiently cooled and circulated back to the rest of the body.

In the brachycephalic dog, so much extra work is required to move the same amount of air that the airways become inflamed and swollen. This leads to a more severe obstruction, distress, and further over-heating.

For myself,  I use a fluff or force dryer after the bath then proceed with the haircut.    I have met many responsible groomers who use non heating cage dryers with the strict safety standards with close monitoring and continue to be incident free.

If its not safe, I’m not using it, period.  When I work on any person’s beloved pet, this is who I am reminded of.  My own dog.


Shampoos & Conditioners

There are so many types of dog shampoos out there,its hard to keep track.  Can people shampoos be used on dogs?

I have read that we have a different ph level than dogs but I don’t have hard facts to prove.  The only thing I have is my own experiences of clients coming in and explaining skin reactions to human shampoos.  For this, I don’t use them on Beetle or clients.

I tend to make my choices by scent, ingredients, and results.  If the label has a huge paragraph of ingredients with words I can’t pronounce or understand,  I usually shy away from the product.  I also take notice where its manufactured.  With all the scares of oversea facilities going the cheaper route instead of safety, I tend to go with products made in the USA.  England and Germany also have an excellent reputation  being involved with grooming supplies.   Be sure to read  the label,  leave on recommended time, age requirements, etc. This is especially important for vet recommended shampoos,  follow the instructions to get optimum results.

So far I really like these brands.

http://www.naturesspecialtiesmfg.com/ —I use these in the salon, they are scented nicely and a quarter size of shampoo goes a long way.  Made in California

http://www.earthbath.com/products.html –also used in the salon, they also make soap bars which go a long way on  short coated breeds (found at some stores including Pet Food Express).  I have only bought two bars in 12 months for bathing Beetle every 10- 14 days.   Made in San Francisco, CA

Wags shampoo & conditioner

wagsshampoo1Found at Petsmart or other boutiques,  excellent smell and benefits. Unfortunately this is the only size bottle available. Made in USA


They are optional and can help with dry or easily tangled coats.  If your dog gets bathed often then conditoner would be helpful to replenish the moisture.  Beet gets a bath with conditioner every two weeks otherwise he itches himself into a dandruff mess.   I usually do not use conditioner on oily coats.

Grooming for your puppy

Bringing in your puppy before its completed its vaccinations may not a good idea and most reputable salons wouldn’t allow it due to the safety of the puppy. Parvo can kill a puppy in one week if not detected and other viruses can be just as deadly. However frequent home grooming practice is better than a one time visit at a groom shop every 4-8 weeks.

Combing and brushing two times a week is important. Root to tip, head, ears, face, tail, legs, all over. Most puppies will try to nip or scream, try to make them comfortable but also be focused. Make it rewarding with treats or with praise with what the puppy will allow. Give breaks if necessary.

Getting your puppy used to having its feet and nails touched. One helpful tip is to tap the nail with a pencil or pen, one by one just to get it used to the act of being handled in the future. If you are not able to trim the nails for whatever reason then when the groomer does it for the first time, it will be routine for your dog’s feet to be handled and not as traumatic.

For long haired dogs, trimming near the eyes may be apart of its future. One of the scariest tasks to trim near the eyes of a wiggly puppy with scissors or thinners hoping that no accidents happen. A helpful tip is use your fingers to piece the hair together near the inside corner eye including wiping any debris. Doing this two times a week should make an impact.

If a client works with their puppy two times a week=8 times a month, it definitely shows. They never put up a fight or flinch, for them its routine by the time they see a professional groomer making a comfortable situation for everyone.