First things first…
Groomers always try to read the body language of the dog before they begin and try to make the pooches feel comfortable so they can enjoy the process and feel at ease. Different dog breeds have different temperaments and require a variety of techniques to groom them.
Here comes Ambassador…
Ambassador is a Golden Doodle (Poodle and Golden Retriever mix) – a young puppy who just arrived from the USA and has never been groomed before.
Labradoodles can vary in their coat types; so each one must be taken on an individual basis when it comes to grooming. But, as a general rule, Scruffy Doodles will just need a good brush and comb once a week whereas Doodles with fleece/wool coats will need an intensive grooming regime to avoid having to be clipped short. Ambassador had a very wavy fleece coat, he was very fidgety as a young puppy would be and would not sit still. Other than that, he needed a lot of brushing before and after the bath to make the hair clean, matt free and fall properly so they could be cut and clipped neatly. The most taxing part was brushing, which needs to be done meticulously and is very time consuming!
We used a combination of a slicker brush and comb on Ambassador and started with the technique of line brushing, which basically means lifting the coat up and brushing each section. Start at the skin as matts start to form at the skin. Matts are basically loose dead hair trapped in the coat; since it doesn’t shed out, it forms a tangle web that can get as hard as concrete over time.
Ambassador had a few matts on his back, belly, under his ears, underarms and inside his paws as he is one playful puppy! We needed to get out all the matts before we bathe him. The process was very tedious and required a lot of patience and good arm strength and focus! It took us a total of 45 minutes to completely comb out Ambassador and remove all the matts.
Other aspects of grooming…
His ears were cleaned with ear cleaning solution and nails clipped. The next step was to trim
his paw pads. Ambassador did not like the clipper, so we used scissors to trim his hair in between the paw pads and to remove matts. Now, he was ready for a bath!
We used biogroom bronze shampoo for Ambassador as it contained moisture to soothe his skin and coat. The technique to remember here is that we cannot scrub his coat in different directions as it can matt his hair. So, we had to apply the shampoo and rub in one direction only. After the second wash, we used an isle of dog conditioner on his coat to make his hair softer and tangle free and then after two minutes rinsed it off. We then squeezed out the excessive water from his coat and towel dried him before using the hair dryer. As Ambassador was a jumpy puppy, we dried him in the tub by simultaneously brushing in the same direction to avoid tangles. He did not like the sound of the hair dryer, so one person covered his ears during the process!
Once he was completely dry we got him back on the table for his haircut! By this time, he was completely agitated and wanted to go home. We tried to distract him by giving him some treats. We used a combination of clippers and scissors to neaten his legs and shorten the length of his coat. The finishing touches included doggie perfume, mouth freshener and facial spray. The whole process took a total of 2 hours and 30 minutes but it was worth the effort. Ambassador looked angelic and his parents were thrilled!
Always brush the dog before a bath, not just after, as this will help get rid of all the dead hair in the undercoat and in case of long-haired dogs, the mats can be removed before so that they do not become worse after the bath.
(Sadhwi Sondhi with her sister Sakshi Sondhi runs Red Paws Pet Spa in New Delhi delivering perfect and high-quality standards of grooming. This spa has its own boutique of unique dog accessories, treats, toys, collars, leashes and goodies).