Guest Article: What To Tell Your Groomer To Get That Perfect Doodle Haircut

Both Allie and I get the question “how do you keep your floof so floofy!”…”We also get how do I tell my groomer what to do with my dog?!” Below Allie Schamburg (@thelifeof.polly’s mom!) complied all of her grooming goodness into a guest article here at Leader of the Pax.

Allie also just launched her own blog, The Life of Polly, which you can check out here! Allie writes about all things polly and all things dog mom! She’s also been featured on leader of the pax for her extensive research how to guide on how to find your lost dog.

Make sure to check out this post before heading to your next grooming appointment.

xo, Nikki

Everything You Need To Know About Bringing Your Doodle To The Groomer.

by Allie Schamburg


“What do you tell your groomer to get Polly’s hair to look like that?!” Out of all the DMs and questions I get about Polly, this is hands down one of the most common! While doodles are some of the cutest, cuddliest, and fluffiest dogs out there, doodle owners know all too well that it comes with a price - grooming. Because they are often non-shedding, goldendoodles and other poodle mixes are some of the most high-maintenance breeds when it comes to grooming. In addition to at-home grooming care, this also means taking your pup to the groomer every couple of months for a haircut and spa day. The groomer can bring up anxiety for a lot of dog owners, and it’s understandable. If you’re spending that much money for a hairdo your precious pup will sport for the foreseeable future, you want it to look just right! I finally took the time to write out all of my tips and tricks to help you get that perfect, short-but-not-too-short puppy cut for your doodle.

Why do I like to get Polly’s hair cut so short? I have 4 main reasons:

  1. It gives her that puppy look we love.

  2. It is all-around more comfortable for her. The shorter cut keeps her from overheating, helps her to see better, and keeps food out of her hair.

  3. We can see her cute features better! Her adorable puppy eyes, the shape of her face and body, even her little tongue and lippers - all much easier to see when it’s not covered in long overgrown hair.

  4. It’s easier to upkeep and brush in between her grooming appointments! Less tangles and mats, quicker baths and blow dries equals more time for cuddles and playing.

    Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional on this subject! I am just a dog owner. If you want a professional opinion, I would definitely recommend to go speak with your professional dog groomer. If you do like Polly’s grooming style, hopefully this article can help provide you with some specific language and photos to better communicate the exact style you’re looking for to your groomer.

Find a Groomer You Trust

This is the best place to start! Without a great groomer, it will be much harder to achieve the look and style you’re going for. If you’re picky about grooming, don’t take shortcuts on this! You need to pick a groomer based on reviews and referrals, not geographic location. There is a grooming salon 5 minutes from our house, but we take Polly to a place that is 15-20 minutes away instead because it’s our favorite. We always schedule the appointments for a Saturday or Sunday, drop her off, and then go run errands, try a new restaurant or explore the city while we wait. Make a day of it!

To find a good groomer, ask your friends or go online. Do you have a friend or family member with a doodle that gets cute haircuts? Ask who they use! Referrals are always the easiest way to make sure you’re picking a trustworthy business. Make sure you ask for the specific name of their groomer, so when you call the salon you can make an appointment with the same person.

If you don’t have a friend to ask, go do some internet sleuthing. Google and Yelp reviews are great places to start. If you want to get even more specific info, go on Facebook groups. Facebook groups are the BEST for finding out really specific information and reading forums! For me, I wanted a recommendation for an individual person to do the grooming, not just a highly rated company. So I went to the “Dogs of MSP” Facebook group since we live in Minneapolis. If you’re not a member of one yet, search Facebook and you should be able to find a dog group in your city. Once there, I searched “groomer” “grooming” “doodle groom” and other similar keywords in order to read posts and comments that matched what I was looking for. Try to find ones with pictures so you can make sure it’s the style you like. It wasn’t long before I realized a pattern - a lot of the pictures I liked all used the same groomer! From there I was able to make an appointment with her, and we have used her ever since. If you can’t find past posts with this kind of information, try creating a post in the Facebook group to ask.

Find Pictures To Show Your Groomer

Once you’ve made your grooming appointment, it’s time to have your research ready to show your groomer! What’s the saying “a picture says a thousand words”? Expressing your desired style with words is definitely necessary, but sharing pictures is invaluable because it minimizes the chance of a misunderstanding or miscommunication. Use Instagram or Pinterest to find great pictures! Save or screenshot 3-5 pictures of dogs with haircuts you’re aiming for to show your groomer when it’s time to go drop off your dog. Pick photos from a few different dogs and different angles. If Polly is your ~*hair goals*~, save a couple of your favorite pictures of her to show them! When looking for photos, also make sure you pick dogs with similar types of fur. So if your dog is super duper curly, pictures of Polly may not be very helpful or attainable.


Get the Language Right

This is the part that I think is the most mystifying for owners. How do I get the picture and the words in my head across correctly to my groomer?! It can definitely be a complex thing to try to explain. My first tip is to try explaining things in a couple different ways. Don’t be afraid to use specific and descriptive language to get your point across, and say things in different ways so you give your groomer a better chance at understanding what you’re trying to say.

As far as explaining the specific style, if you want your pup to have a look similar to Polly, here ares some notes for what to say:

  • Don’t use electric razor on body. Do an all over scissor cut. This means using scissors for the entire haircut. This will probably cost a little extra.

  • Body

    • Make it one length all over.

    • Some groomers will make the length on the legs longer. Ask them to make it the same length as the body.

    • Trim the tail down. You don’t want it to look huge and unruly with long and stringy hair, want it to look more like a puppy tail with shorter hair.

    • Do a “sanitary” on the private parts, and shave all around that area.

  • Face

    • Want the face to be very very short. The way I request her face to be trimmed is pretty extreme by dog grooming standards, I think. I find that a very short haircut on the face is the cutest because it’s how she looks most like a puppy, we can see all of her features the best, and she is definitely the happiest that way too.

    • Trim eyelashes. I like the puppy eyelash look - you know how they were basically human-length eyelashes when they were first puppies? Trim so they are closer to that length. They will still look beautiful and you should still be able to see them - just want to avoid that look where they are all starting to gather together and go way past the eyes, or even droop down.

    • Top of the head: just want to make sure it’s not doing a hair part down the middle of the head.

    • Trim the ears, don’t let them grow out and get super long and stringy. I think our groomer layers them a little bit. You want them to look like puppy ears. Make sure they trim on the inside by the ears too so that gets cleaned up.

    • Don’t “scoop out the eyes”. This means don’t shave around the eyes. You want the fur around the eyes trimmed very well so that you can see their eyes fully. No fur should be impeding their vision or growing up or down into their eyes at all. But only do this by trimming; don’t shave around the eyes. (FYI: I only say this because I trim around Polly’s eyes on a weekly basis to make sure hair stays out of them. If you don’t do face trims in between grooms, then I would recommend that you do let them shave this area so that hair won’t grow up into their eyes. You want to be able to see their cute eyes, and you want them to be able to see you!)

    • Don’t shave the top of the nose, or in other words don’t shave the bridge of the nose. Just trim.

    • Cut the hair on their beard or chin very short. Don’t want a long beard. This will help keep their face from getting as dirty or messy.

    • Definitely no mustache! This is probably the #1 thing to ask for. Basically, the hair on the snout should pretty much “stand up” versus drooping down and forming a mustache. Ask for them to cut the hair on the whole nose or snout area very short. If done right, their nose should almost have a circle shape if you’re looking at your dog head on, if that makes sense. It should be cut the same length the whole way back on their nose, so it’s like a cylinder. This is hard to explain, but that’s the best I can do! You want it to look puffy and kind of give a chubby cheeks look. Pictures will be helpful in explaining this.

    • Trim the cheeks so they will look short similar to the nose.

Feedback & Adjustments

Try to remember that your dog will come out from the groomer with a blow-dried look. Their fur will look very different, and won’t have that shaggy wavy look that most owners love. Don’t freak out, and try to cut your groomer a little slack. It just looks that way because they have to blow dry them. The fur should look normal again in 2-4 days. So when you’re looking at the haircut, pay attention to shape versus the texture.

When you go to pick up your pup, be sure to give feedback! My groomer always asks if there’s anything we want adjusted or fixed while we’re still there, and I take her up on it if needed. If I want the face shorter or the tail trimmed a little more, it only takes 2-3 minutes for her to go fix it. Your groomer is happy if you’re happy, so be honest about what you like and don’t like. If you go home and then realize there are a couple things you want differently, write it down. The next time you go in, tell them you want the same cut as last time but with a couple adjustments.

Another thing I do is trim Polly myself in between cuts. If I realize in a few days that I wish her beard was just a little shorter, I just do it myself!

Lastly, make sure to tip your groomer well! It is a service that you are supposed to tip, and these groomers do a LOT more than just the haircut itself, so be generous and build a good relationship. We always tip 20%.

Have fun with it - It Grows Back! :)


The most important one to remember! Don’t sweat the small stuff, at the end of the day it’s just a haircut. For your dog. Even if you hate it, it will grow out in a few weeks and you can try again next time. If you’ve tried a few times with your groomer and don’t think they can get it right, then go try a new one.

A couple more tips:

  • Start bringing your puppy to the groomer at an early age! This will get them used to the environment and ensure they will think of going to the groomer as a fun experience for years to come. I brought Polly for her first “groom” at about 4 months old. She was too young for her first haircut but she got a bath, nail trim, paw trim, and sanitary to get her used to being there.

  • We got her first full hair cut at 6 months old.

  • I can do another post on at-home grooming soon, but in the meantime, make sure you brush your pup’s hair and teeth regularly! Brushing their hair will help prevent mats, which will help prevent having to get your dood shaved.

I hope this was helpful for your next groom! Let me know what you think or if you have any questions on this topic that I didn’t answer, and make sure to show us your before and after success stories!

Thanks Allie! Make sure you reach out to her for questions and subscribe to her blog, and follower on instagram to make sure you catch her upcoming posts!!

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Want to share some tips or tell your story? Fill out the form and let me know! We are always looking for contribution writers!

Vito's No Bake Dog Treats

One of my favorite things about having Pax’s account is getting to connect with other dog mama’s. Vito’s mom, Jovita, recently posted about these no bake cookies on her stories and I couldn’t wait to share them with you! Here’s a little treat how to tutorial by Jovita & Vito! Enjoy xoxo

P.S. These look so good I might just eat them myself!


What you need:

Silicone Tray (Amazon)



Coconut Oil

How to make:

  1. Combine half a banana, 1/2 cup blueberries, 1/3 cup slightly melted coconut oil into a bowl

  2. Mash everything up together and then stir until well combined

  3. Pour into silicone tray and freeze for about 30 minutes or until firm

  4. Serve with love <3

Thanks for sharing Jovita & Vito! We love you guys!

Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with us? send it in below!

Name *

Dog training tips with Think Like a Pup


One of my clients, the talented and beautiful, Pam Ogonowski, is a certified dog trainer and owner of, Think Like a Pup. I love receiving training tips from you guys and I’m always happy to answer when I know the answer. However, I always like to check with the behavioral experts who understand dog lingo and behavior better than anyone! Recently, I got a request about leash pulling and polite greetings and Pam gives some fantastic tips below!

Dog Training Tips on Leash Pulling & Polite Greetings

by Pam Ogonowski

Pulling, jumping, and barking are pretty common issues in the human/dog world. This is because these behaviors are self rewarding. If you take a second to think like a pup, you’ll quickly understand why. I bark - I make things disappear. I bark - I get attention. I jump - I get attention. I pull - I get to see what I want. I pull - I get to smell delicious things and maybe even roll in them. Lucky for us humans, it’s not too complicated.

Now that you understand the self rewarding nature of these behaviors, you can change how your pup acts with a little bit of dog logic. Let’s take a look at the following scenario.

Dog on leash sees person. Dog gets excited to see person. Dog barks and pulls toward person. Dog greets person. Dog Learns: Pulling and barking gets me what I want.

Let’s change this scenario to something more desirable.

Dog on leash sees person. Dog gets excited to see person. Dog barks and pulls toward person. Human stops. Human waits until dog is quiet and calm and leash is loose (this may take a little time). Human and dog walk calmly toward person. Dog has all paws on the ground. Human gives dog permission to greet person. Dog politely greets person. Dog learns: Calm behavior gets me what I want.

Maybe today’s one of those days and you know that you’re not going to get your desired behavior. Here’s a smarter choice.

Dog on leash sees person. Dog gets excited to see person. Dog pulls toward person. Human stops when dog pulls. Dog starts pulling. Dog continues to act crazy -  barking and chewing on leash. Human turns and walks away. Dog follows. Dog does not get to greet person. Dog Learns: Acting crazy does not get me what I want. Also, the undesired behavior is not being reinforced.


This same logic applies to barking, counter surfing, loose leash walking, etc. To get the behavior you want, you just need to ask yourself a couple questions - What is my dog doing? Why is my dog doing it? What is the “reward?” What do I want my dog to do instead? How can we get there? If you #thinklikeapup, you’ll know what to do!

Here are a few tips for the “real world.”

  • Eliminate your dog’s opportunity to practice undesired behaviors. The more they practice, the more the behavior is being reinforced. If you don’t want your dog dragging you down the street, don’t let them pull. Pulling = stop, loose leash = go!

  • Be consistent. Dogs don’t generalize well. For example, if you don’t want your dog jumping on random strangers in white pants or your two year old nephew, then you cannot allow them to jump on you.

  • Crazy behavior does not get rewards.

  • Set your dog up for success! Practice at home or in an area with minimal distractions and slowly work up to more challenging situations.

Hope this helps! Be sure to check out for more training tips and all things dog related!

You like my hair? Gee, thanks, just bought it.

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YAY! Let’s talk grooming!

Luckily, we as a family have had the privilege of working with some fantastic groomers. They listen to our desires, concerns, and follow through with those wishes. I have also had the opportunity to be close by while the grooming magic happens and gained an education on the process.


Doodle hair can be extremely complicated to take care of and when it mats- it’s super frustrating for everyone including your pup. The longest we’ve had Pax’s coat was 5inches. As much as I loved my darling little puff ball he was miserable. Stickers would trench themselves in his hair, paws, and belly… we had to spend so much time working out tangles that it took away from fun things he could be doing. That wasn’t ok for us, so after our most recent road trip vacation we cut Pax down to 1 1/2 inches- and it’s made the biggest difference. We went from having mats covering his body and brush outs on the daily to no mats and brush outs 1-2 a week. Pax has more fun, it’s much easier to maintain his coat, and I can tell he’s happier not having to be groomed for 7 hours :)


It’s not your groomers fault if your dog comes in matted and leave the salon looking half its size. Some dogs mat more than others and if you aren’t diligent about brushing, combing, and detangling you’ll most likely have to shave your pup. Once the mat’s get attached to the skin, there is really no other way. Mats are NOT GOOD for your dog- they can cause infection and carry bacteria. Yuck. We use a bunch of products on Pax’s coat, and they are located here in my FAQ sheet. Try combing your dog once a day or a few times a week as you get started. Right now pax gets cut every 6 weeks and he gets a bath and blowdry every 3 (right in between) this helps with keeping him clean, that fur looking shiny, and us letting him sleep in our bed.


When researching for groomers - ask around, or your doggo community at the dog park or even on social media can help you with referrals. Yelp and other trusted sources such as daycare centers could be helpful. Talk to your breeder or vet and do research on your breed in regards to how often they need to be bathed & how to take care of their coat.


Communicate with your groomer. Show pictures, talk to them about the lines you like (ex: round head, round face & paws) learn about their process. Ask them how long they will take and if they hand scissor or razor. It’s ok to be a rookie- they’re the expert.



So I use to believe it was rude for me to be so specific in Pax’s haircut. Like that it was ridiculous to want my dog to look a certain way. You guys- who cares! It’s your dog and the groomer is there to make you happy! Lesson learned! I’ve since mildly calmed down and only send in a powerpoint presentation followed by text messages every so often now a days :). When you communicate accurately to your groomer they get to learn what you want! How else are they going to know what you’re envisioning?


Your dog is going to look different with a blowout and a haircut. Just like you do when you leave the salon. I think people have an unhealthy attachment to an image (myself included) and we get comfortable with one look - ESPECIALLY if you have an Instagram account! I’m just going to write it out loud that I have honestly thought about Pax getting a bad haircut and people not enjoying his content anymore. What a load of shit! WHO CARES. Hair grows back, it never looks as bad as you think it does, and keep your expectations low, so you’re always pleasantly surprised. Your dog doesn’t give a fluff how they look as long as they can eat hotdogs and run after tennis balls. Main point? Keep it light, keep your expectations low, and get over it. Trust me, you’ll still have followers. We have two ways to look at shitty situations - #1 let it define us “omg my dog got the worst haircut EVER” or #2 “haha he looks like a cheeto”… Cheetos sound way more optimistic to me don’t ya think?


It happens. It happens with human things too. Like I’ve literally walked out of the hair salon HATING my hair and telling the hairdresser that it’s ok. And instead of dealing with it and communicating to the person I was too uncomfortable and bailed and found someone else. You’re allowed to be unsatisfied or have questions about the service provided. If you like the reasoning you get then cool- if not, find another groomer. It’s all good. At the end of the day this about the well being of your dog, not about if the groomer likes you or not.

Below is my checklist that I share with my groomer. I would also suggest saving a few photos of what you like and what you don’t want.

Fun Ideas for Charity Infographic-2.png

Haircut ready?

Comment below on what your biggest fear of getting your dog groomed is!

Searching for Polly: The ultimate guide to finding your lost pup.


A dog parent’s worst nightmare is the thought of their furry child getting lost or stolen. This nightmare came true for Polly’s parents when they out of town with Polly one weekend. Luckily, Polly was found safe and sound! Allie, Polly’s mom, learned so much about lost dogs and how to find them during the experience. With all this learning Allie wants to spread the word to make sure that if this happens to you - you know what to do! Take a read below & make sure to check out @thelifeof.polly on instagram!! These are incredible tips and I feel so grateful that Allie has shared this guide with all of us!! Happy reading & hug your furry baby close tonight!

Comprehensive Guide For Losing Your Dog: What To Know & What To Do

By Allie Schamburg

I decided to make this guide after losing my 5-month-old petite Goldendoodle puppy named Polly in a remote area I had never been to before. Trying to spend time fielding all the social media messages, advice, and internet articles while still looking for her, trying to gather the correct supplies and technology, make posters, leave scent trails, etc. made it really hard to figure out the best way to spend our time in each second. I am not a professional and this is just my opinion. But if someone is struggling I believe the information included here can provide most information needed in a consolidated place, so you can get back out there and spend more time looking and spend less time researching and gathering info.

First Things To Do:

DO NOT START SCREAMING FOR YOUR PET, calling loudly, frantically, shouting, or saying anything in a distressed or fearful voice. Even if you think you are masking your fear, dogs can often still pick up on this. If they hear distress in your voice or loud voices, they assume the situation is not safe. Then they may not come to you. Try using clapping and whistling. The crinkle of a treat bag. Your running car. Use calm, friendly, happy, conversational voices. Use words like their name, treat, or come. Don’t drag out your words in a calling tone. Try calling someone and talking on the phone while walking around. Them hearing your casual conversational voice could lead them to come out if they can hear you. If you are an owner, do try to talk in a conversational voice, so if your dog hears someone coming they have a chance to recognize your voice.

Look for them, look for them, keep looking! Most pets are found within 5 miles of where they were lost. Get as many people as you can to help look. The more people you have looking, the better your chances are. You don’t even need them to catch them, all you need is a sighting. The people that find their dogs the fastest are the people that do not stop looking from the moment they go missing.

Post online! (Details on how and where below.) Many towns have active Facebook groups specifically for your neighborhoods, lost and found pets, etc. Social media should absolutely be utilized. It is much easier to find a pet when an entire community is keeping an eye out for your furry loved one!

Flyers and Posters are the #1 way that pets get home, so be sure to get posters up and hand out flyers to your neighbors. (Details on how below).

Leave out Scents for them. Smells are the # 1-way dogs can find their way back to you. Cook up hot, smelly, and/or greasy food and put it outside. Rotisserie chicken, pizza, sausage, etc. The heat makes the scent travel further. Try breaking up the food in pieces to emit more scent. Put their dog treats or dog food in a bowl with water, heat it up and place that outside. If you can obtain a grill, even one of those mini portable grills from a convenience store that already has the briquettes in it. Get that and cook up some chicken or meat. This will keep the heated scents going longer. Place out articles of clothing of the owner(s). Underwear or things like jackets that you have worn a lot. Pillowcases or blankets you’ve been using. Place out items that smell like the dog - dog bet, blanket, harness, collar, etc. I have even heard to bottle owner’s urine and sprinkle out in the front yard. If the dog has been peeing and pooping where they were lost, that’s good too because they will pick up on the scent.

Article for what to do first:

Great info for losing your dog while camping or in the wilderness:


Microchip your pets. Microchips do not have GPS but they have information, so if someone brings them to an animal facility, they will be able to identify you as the owners and will have your contact information. We use Save This Life. Save This Life also helps by creating a poster if you lose your pet.

Always wear a collar with name tag and phone numbers on it. 

If you are in an area that you think they may get spooked, be extra careful. Have them leashed. Do not leave doors open.

Buy a GPS tracker for your dog that attaches to their collar. Whistle Labs is one company that makes these.

More Tips:

If you are not familiar with the area, find a local(s) that can help you with the geography, correctly canvas the area, and even will know a lot of locals that can help go door to door letting neighbors know to be on the lookout. When I lost my puppy in an area I didn’t know at all, I had almost a sort of liaison for the city. She helped me understand the geography and terrain, which roads connected to which forests, who lived at which houses, who else could help us, best places to look, etc. This was an invaluable resource for us.

If you or someone else finds your dog, do not shout or chase after it. Sit or get low to the ground and stay still and calm. Have some treats on you. Try tossing the treats out at the dog to lure him/her towards you. Slowly inch towards the dog as you are doing this until you can grab them. If they run away, do not chase them as this will cause them to run further and make your search harder. Make sure you tell others helping this information.

Try to have one of the owners home in the early morning. This is often a time dogs feel safer because there is less going on, and they will try to find their way back to you.

Always be carrying treats with you, in case you see them so you can lure them to you with treats!

Leave lights on, and the door cracked open if safe so they can get back in if they find their way again.

Even if there are coyotes in the area, don’t worry or lose hope! Coyotes actually very rarely bother lost dogs. It is technically possible but much less common than perceived.

Even if it is snowing or below freezing, don’t lose hope! Dogs are actually very hearty and able to survive below freezing temps.

Try and look for dog paw prints in the dirt when you are searching.

Write “MISSING DOG” with phone number on all you vehicles. As you are driving around people may notice, and some people have found their dogs this way.

Try using a dog whistle. They may be lost in the woods and could be able to follow the sound.

Call and report your missing dog to the following:

  1. Your Microchip company

  2. Any local or state-wide animal rescue/non profit organizations (Humane Societies, Animal Rescues)

  3. Local police and sheriffs departments

  4. All local vets

  5. Local animal shelters

  6. Local news - request them to share your Facebook post

  7. Complete online listings on the following:

  8. Helping Lost Pets - pick your state:

  9. NextDoor -

  10. PawBoost -


Create a Facebook post with details on the situation, location last seen, contact information if sighted, and picture of pet. Include something sentimental about how much you love your dog and need to find them! Ex. “Our dog is truly our family and we are devastated he/she is missing. We will do anything to be reunited as a family again. Please help if you are able!” Post it to the following:

VERY IMPORTANT that you post this directly from your own FB account and make it PUBLIC. This way, if people see your post on a private group they can still go to your profile and share it.

The Facebook group for the town that your dog is lost in. Ex. “Harpers Ferry, IA” This one is the most important to post on!

Facebook group for lost dogs in your state. Ex. “Lost Dogs Iowa”, “Iowa - Lost Dogs, Cats & Pets”, “Lost/Missing Dogs of Iowa”, “Cedar Rapids, IA - Lost Dogs, Cats & Pets”. Use the search function to find more.

Facebook groups for the kind of breed you have. Ex. “Goldendoodles Rock!”, “iheartgoldendoodles”.

Local buy/trade/sell page

Any other lost pet Facebook groups you can find


If you have Instagram, copy and paste your Facebook post and put in on Instagram as well.

Posters and Flyers:

Some local pet rescue organizations may be able to help you make these. Otherwise, supplies and instructions below:

Sign materials:

  • Neon poster board - 2 per sign, front and back - Dollar Store

  • Fiberboard - 1 per sign - Dollar Store

  • 36 inch Wooden Stakes - Hardware Store

  • Magnum Sharpie - Hardware Store

  • Gallon size ziplock bags - non-pleated bottom - Dollar Store or Hardware Store

  • Print 8.5x11 pics of your dog

  • Print 8.5x11 pic of your phone number - Word Doc or your can write the number with the thick marker

  • Staple Gun

  • Clear Packing Tape

  • Large clear plastic bags to cover the whole sign - Hardware Store or you can cover with clear packing tape or clear contact paper. The tape and contact paper hold up longer but is more costly than the bags.

Sign Making Tutorial:

Flyer Template - Get about 100 made and distribute to the area residents, stores, animal shelters, etc.

Example shown in photo above with heading “LOST DOG”


Don’t Get Scammed:

Be careful about walking on to people’s property without asking first. Most people are incredibly kind and want to help but some can be dangerous so be careful.

If you are in an area with bears, be careful about leaving out food.

If it is hunting season and you are out in the woods, be careful. Buy orange hunting clothing.


Notes from speaking with pet rescue professionals:

Dogs will do one of three: fight, flight, or freeze. If your dog is extremely small, it MAY freeze. This would mean hiding or burrowing. However, VAST MAJORITY of lost or scared dogs will flight. This means they will be moving on the run. Unless your dog thinks it could beat a coyote or wolf in a fight, it’s not going to fight. This being said, do not assume your dog is nearby cowering and hiding. Yes it is possible, but it is likely they have been running. They likely have traveled 1-2 miles. As time passes, this number could increase.

When dogs are afraid they run run run until they are less scared, then they slow down and explore, until they pick up a familiar scent…then start back tracking. If safe, leave house door open while you go searching.

Sometimes dogs won’t come out for one owner but will for another.

Leave the car door open anytime you get out to look while searching. Dogs have made a run for it and jump in while the owner was out hanging flyers.

Don’t expect your dog to act normally in this situation. It may be very scared and acting based on instinct. This could mean they will not come even if you call them, because they are too scared and considering everyone and everything a predator.

7/10 found dogs are found because they make their way back to you. 3/10 are found because someone searching spots them and is able to pick them up. 

Dogs go by scent more than anything else. 

Many dogs will come back and try to find you early morning when things are calm and quiet outside.

If at all possible, have the owner bring a chair and sit outside in the place the dog was lost from. They will be most likely to come up to you. Your scent will help them find you. Keep hot and smelly or greasy food out with you. Dog treats. Their dog blanket. Your underwear. Anything that smells like them and you will help them by providing a scent. 

Is your dog typically friendly or skittish and scared around humans? If friendly, they may “turn themselves in” to a human eventually. If skittish, they may be too scared to.

Does your dog like other dogs? If you have access to another dog bring them out to search with you. Their scent, especially if they pee and poop, could help lead your dog to you.

They will rarely make noise because they are scared of predators. If any noise, it would be crying.

Supplies to consider getting:

  1. Fat Max Spotlights

  2. Live Trap

  3. Drone

  4. FLIR Thermal Imaging Camera

  5. Orange hunting clothes if in woods

  6. If you can find someone with a blood hound, they may be able to help track

  7. Recommended Pet Rescue Organizations (that I personally worked with):

  8. HEART (Helping Every Animal Rescue Team) - Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin

  9. Humane Society of Northeast Iowa

  10. The Retrievers - Minnesota

  11. Missing Dogs Massachusetts

Pet Recovery Professionals:

These people can bring dogs that can track the scent of lost dogs. They can be very expensive especially if they have to travel. Make sure you have correct expectations; there is no guarantee they will definitely find your pet. In fact in my case, even though I was willing to pay, I was basically told the chance was so slim they felt it would not be ethical to accept the money and take the job at all. The longer your pet is gone the harder it will be for the tracking dog to find the missing dog.

  • Bonnie Hale, Pet Detective, Texas:

  • Angie, Lost Pet Professionals, Arkansas:

  • Karin TarQwyn, K9 PI:

  • Buddha Dog Rescue & Recovery, New York/Tri State Area (have been told they are very hard to get ahold of, and they were not responsive to me):

  • John Keane, Sherlock Bones:

Don’t lose hope! Dogs can survive weeks and even months on their own, even in the cold. I know a lot of information can be conflicting, even in this info packet. I want to leave you with the thought that YOU know your dog. The truth is, they could do any number of things. The whole time I thought my puppy was hiding somewhere near, she had actually been on the move and traveling a very far distance. I was thinking more about her tendency to be fearful, but thinking back, she is a Goldendoodle who loves to run so I should have thought about that possibility sooner. As long as you are trying, what ever you are doing is NOT WRONG! Think about your dogs personality and maybe what they would do in this specific situation. I know you cannot predict it but there is no one answer, so go with your gut. Or better yet, try multiple different tactics. Keep switching it up. Remember to give them clues so they can try to make their way back to you. And don’t give up until you find them!

Stories - To Give You Hope & Ideas:

Polly’s Story:

It is truly a miracle that we were reunited with Polly. Here is a picture of her right after she got back to us. Some friends and I were staying out in Harpers Ferry, IA for a fun cabin weekend. On Sunday morning she got spooked while the front door was open and took off sprinting. I went screaming yelling after her as fast as I could but she was gone just like that.

What was a fun relaxing weekend with friends quickly turned into a nightmare in a remote unfamiliar area in the country. No lights, vast, heavily wooded areas with extremely steep cliff-like angles, slippery mud leading down to creeks. Huge fields with tall thick brush, huge thorny branches and burrs everywhere. Coyotes and the possibility of eagles or wolves. Our hope was that Polly make it out of the forest without getting stuck or eaten and would get back up to a house, but many of those were empty as many are weekend homes. This was in freezing cold rain and heavy winds in the low 40s. We didn’t even have boots or coats for the first maybe 7 hours. We just kept walking through forests fields or around houses looking. It was also hunting season there. One of the most terrifying parts was when a man actually lock and loaded a gun and pointed it at me for being on his property even though he knew I was just looking for my lost puppy.

We took turns sitting out on the porch all night in case she showed up. We each slept maybe 1-2 hrs total. I have never been more scared than I was this weekend in my whole life.

However, the most fantastic part of this story is the people. Every time I was about to lose hope and break down, someone was always there to hold me up. Strangers and family alike. There is no way we ever could have done this alone. Our family and friends, all the non-profit organizations and volunteers, professional pet rescuers and the social media communities were all amazing in helping us. HEART (Helping Every Animal Rescue Team), Humane Society of Northeast Iowa, The Retrievers. But the most amazing was the people of Harpers Ferry and the surrounding areas. The entire community dropped what they were doing to help search for her and gather any resources possible. I was astounded at the non-wavering hope in finding this tiny dog and their relentless efforts to find her. Debbie Mink, thank you for being my guardian angel throughout this entire situation. We could not have done it without you.

I am tearing up again writing this. So many tears throughout this weekend. But the best was Polly’s tears of happiness when she was finally reunited with us. A kind man found her out in his yard 3 miles from our cabin. As soon as he came outside, she walked right up to him. She wanted to be found by humans and was essentially turning herself in. He brought her right in with dog food after 26 hours out in the wilderness, read her dog tag, called us, and we came and picked her right up. It’s estimated she traveled 10-11 miles based on a sighting the previous morning. I’m so proud of Polly for getting out of the forest and finding a home with people there.

It was truly a miracle she was brought back to us, and I am so happy our family is reunited again. Thank you again so much to everyone for your love, support, advice, help, & prayers. And GO POLLY for making her way back to us!!

Pax's Pumpkin Poofs!


Pax recently had a spout of giardia. While he had it, we had to switch his diet a few times. First, he was eating chicken and rice with his medication and a probiotic. Once we saw he was starting to feel better, we switched him back to his my ollie. It’s essential to change their food gradually- and even then there may be some tummy issues. It’s common for dogs to struggle with a bout of diarrhea and then to constipation. When it comes to constipation here are some signs to look for: 1) straining to go to the bathroom 2)scooting on their booty 3)hard or dry stool 4) not going to the bathroom for several days.

A few recommendations that our vet gave us were to feed Pax 1-2 TBS of canned pumpkin & 1-2 TBS of low-fat Keifer. It was also recommended to bake a pumpkin loaf or bread that is dog-friendly. I found a couple recipes and put one together.

Pumpkin Puppy Ball Ingredients:

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin NOT pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1 cup quick cook oats

  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut oil

  • 1 egg

  • ½ tsp. Vanilla

  • 1 Tbsp. honey

  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. Ginger

  • ¼ cup water


Pumpkin Puppy Ball Directions:

  • Preheat oven 350° F.

  • Lightly grease or spray the cookie sheet (we lined foil on the sheet)

  • Place oats in blender or food processor and pulse until oats are about half powder.

  • Then place all remaining items from the list in a large bowl and mix together.

  • Grab spoonfuls from the ball and roll the dough into a ball.

  • Sprinkle oatmeal on top of each pumpkin ball to add crunch.

  • Bake for 15-16 minutes until tops are golden brown.

When muffins have cooled store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Check out this article by the AKC on dog constipation and support they need.


Sick as a dog - no pun intended


It’s a helpless feeling knowing that your dog can’t engage in conversation with you (although I swear pax understands English) especially when they are feeling under the weather! There are clear-cut signs that you can be on the lookout for if your dog has caught a bug. Dogs pick up actual bugs all the time- parasites are common in young dogs as they build their immune system. Recently, Pax was diagnosed with giardia which is a single cell parasite that lives in his intestine. It can impact older dogs, but it is more frequent in younger ones. Dogs become infected with the parasite when they drink water or ingest other substances that have poo particles in it. Or even have rolled around in the grass that is soiled with feces…such as the dog park and then cleaning themselves. For most dogs, their reaction when infected with giardiasis is diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, decreased appetite, and the symptoms can range from dog to dog, and some dogs don’t show signs at all! Luckily, Pax got a mild form, and he’s on the mend with some antibiotics and rest. Giardia is contagious and also be spread to humans so it’s important to do a deep cleaning of areas that could have contamination such as bedding, crates, toys, dog food, and water bowls.

So a couple questions I’ve been asked is 1) how did I know he was sick and 2) how can they prevent it from happening to their dog.

First off, I am very in tune with Pax’s routine and his energy levels. If he’s sleeping more than usual, not eating at his usual times, I like to check a couple things. First, I check his gums to make sure that they are pink and healthy. I also press my forefinger on his gums to make sure it bounces back quickly. I then look and smell in his ears to make sure there is no infection. Change in behavior is definitely an indicator that something could be off. But don’t worry it could just be an off day for them as well. If your dog is continually irritable, lethargic, showing signs of agitation, withdrawal, or needy behavior and it’s new that’s definitely something to check into.

Of course, there are other clear signs that something is wrong like if your dog isn’t breathing or they are wheezing and choking. A persistent cough could indicate kennel cough which is common in young puppies.

Checking your pup’s poop is essential as it will give you a lot of indication something is going on. For us, there was mucus in Pax’s stool that looked different than normal. He was also vomiting bile a few times which brought concern since he does not do that regularly. If your pup has trouble passing urine or stool that’s something to be aware of. And the opposite, if your pup is having diarrhea and is having tummy troubles that last over 24 hours take your pup in. I ALWAYS call my vet when something seems off. Pax vomited once on one day, so I figured maybe he ate something that upset his belly and he seemed fine. But he then vomited 4 additional times on different days which was very usual. We contacted our vet who advised us to come in. Be aware of your dog’s patterns of eating, going to the bathroom, and what their stool looks like.

Here are some tips that I’ve compiled from different sources:

  • Does your dog have a fever? you’ll need a thermometer to get an actual reading.

  • lumps bumps?

  • sudden weight gain or weight loss?

  • persistent itching

  • persistent shaking of head or scratching at ears

Here are 5 helpful suggestions:

1. Wash all bedding, toys that could be infected

2. Wash your floors, your bedding, and anywhere that could re-infect them

3. Go to the vet where they can determine if your pup is dehydrated and give them fluids, a diagnosis, and medication

4. Follow the medications prescribed by your vet. Your dog most likely won’t like the taste of some of them so be patient and “trick” them into it. For example, Pax has to take a liquid right now, and I pour the liquid over chicken I made him, and he eats it away.

5. Remember your energy when you are giving them medications- stay calm, patient, and kind. They are most likely scared or nervous about the new item and don’t like the taste. I sit with pax on the floor and hand feed him until he’s ready to take the medication. Come up with a creative way to have them take their medicine.

To get additional tips to check out:

Doodle hair I DO CARE.

Here’s how Pax stays so fluffy.

  1. A tired dog is a good dog to groom. Best time to do this is after your pup is worn out from a walk or from the park.

  2. Squeeze a small amount of cowboy magic in your palms, rub your hands together then through your pup's coat.

  3. You must always use a comb in addition to a brush for a doodle coat. Start with a comb (check out FAQ on some of these products) and gently brush through your pup's coat while grabbing the fluff with your other hand and comb through. Do it this way so you aren't pulling at their skin.

  4. If you have some tangled areas or matts use the de-matter (in FAQ) to get through these tough areas.

  5. After this use the brush to fluff out your up.

  6. Make sure to give them lots of kisses and treats during/after.

The general rule of thumb is that you should be able to comb through your pup's coat without much of a challenge. I brush Pax 1-2 times a day. ALWAYS after he rolls around while playing, after a bath, and after he's worn the harness for several hours. The younger you start this the better. You pup will just get use to it and will know it's part of his routine. In the beginning use treats such as bully sticks, teething bones, spoonfuls of PB, kings, anything to keep them occupied! Video to come! 

Grooming tips!

Ok, as a doodle mom I take a lot of pride in Pax's hair. I comb, brush, dematt him 1-2 times a day. I often get asked what I use, How I use it, best products, and what to tell your groomer when you go. Luckily, I have found a doodle hair angel named Tasha here in San Diego. If you live in the area make sure to check her out at Dunk n Dogs in Clairemont. Tasha is patient, has excellent communication skills, and listens to everything us crazy dog mom's want. Most importantly she absolutely loves the dogs. Before I found Tasha I cut pax a bit by myself around his eyes but wasn't really sure what to do next for the rest of his coat. I have compiled bullet points of the top wanted and unwanted details to share with your groomer. The best advice I would share with you is to find pictures of dogs hair you like and dogs hair that you dislike and show it to your groomer. Remember, communication is key. You cannot expect your groomer to know what you are thinking- it's the same with men, so this should come easy for some of you. Remember to always be OK with sharing your concerns and needs for the dog's spa day. If you don't feel comfortable or heard, it's OK to walk away too! Another big thing to remember when your dog get's a grooming session they are going to look different when you go pick them up. If they did not have to shave your pup down they will come out extremely fluffy and blow dried. Their coats will look different and it may be alarming. Remember, it is temporary, it is not forever, hair grows back, your baby is still your baby, and if you spritz some water on their coat it will wave back up a bit and look a little more textured. Stay tuned for all my favorite grooming products in another post!

Ok, as a doodle mom I take a lot of pride in Pax's hair. I comb, brush, dematt him 1-2 times a day. I often get asked what I use, How I use it, best products, and what to tell your groomer when you go. Luckily, I have found a doodle hair angel named Tasha here in San Diego. If you live in the area make sure to check her out at Dunk n Dogs in Clairemont. Tasha is patient, has excellent communication skills, and listens to everything us crazy dog mom's want. Most importantly she absolutely loves the dogs. Before I found Tasha I cut pax a bit by myself around his eyes but wasn't really sure what to do next for the rest of his coat. I have compiled bullet points of the top wanted and unwanted details to share with your groomer. The best advice I would share with you is to find pictures of dogs hair you like and dogs hair that you dislike and show it to your groomer. Remember, communication is key. You cannot expect your groomer to know what you are thinking- it's the same with men, so this should come easy for some of you. Remember to always be OK with sharing your concerns and needs for the dog's spa day. If you don't feel comfortable or heard, it's OK to walk away too! Another big thing to remember when your dog get's a grooming session they are going to look different when you go pick them up. If they did not have to shave your pup down they will come out extremely fluffy and blow dried. Their coats will look different and it may be alarming. Remember, it is temporary, it is not forever, hair grows back, your baby is still your baby, and if you spritz some water on their coat it will wave back up a bit and look a little more textured. Stay tuned for all my favorite grooming products in another post!