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?
IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR SERVICE.
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.