Laurel Mountain Labradoodles

Grooming Tips

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This page is intended to offer some grooming tips on some of the common problems and FAQ's that I encounter with labradoodles
 
1) What should I expect my labradoodle to look like when he/she returns from the groomer?
 
Well...that all depends on the coat type and the length you wish to keep and how much time and money you are willing to spend to maintain that 'look' . Not all doodle coats are the same and so It's not one-size-fits-all answer.
 
I could start by showing you a picture of what I consider to be an ideal 'doodle look' for those who have a curly wool or curly Fleece coat and wish to keep the coat on the shorter side. 
 
This is beautiful Bailey. Bailey is a 2 yr old medium wool/fleece labradoodle  He is the son of our gorgeous stud Dewey. 
Notice how his ear length is kept level with his beard length. You don't want the ears longer than the beard. Notice how the hair on the sides of the face frame the face.
Since many groomers really don't know what a labradoodle should look like...they end up either cutting them like a poodle and even a Bischon. AS you can see...Bailey looks like a handsome labradoodle          


 

bailey21mons.jpg

2)   Removing and Preventing Matting
 
If you take a matted dog to the groomer...they will shave your dog!!
 

What I have found out is ... most people that continually have matting problems are not combing their dog properly. They are not giving attention to each and every inch of the body.

One good grooming session a month should keep your dog pretty much matt free EXCEPT during the puppy coat change, which typically starts around 10 months old and can last 6mons to even a year..depending on how much effort you put into stripping 'out' the puppy coat. It may  have to be done every few days or weekly. Many owners opt to keep the hair cut short during this time period.

 

Proper combing is done in the following manner to prevent or reduce matting:

 

You must lift the coat up (have your dog lay on his/her side) and push the coat upward in the opposite direction it grows. Then start at the area of the body closest to the bottom and comb back down in 1/2 inch sections. MAKE SURE YOU PLACE THE COMB STARTING AT THE SKIN. MATTS START TO FORM  AT THE SKIN. IF you aren't getting down to the skin level and parting the hair in these small sections to ensure you are getting all area of the body...you will wake up one day to what appears to be matting overnight! It did not happen over night...you just didn't see it coming since and you weren't aware of how matts form in the 1st place. So take heed! Matts form from loose dead hair trapped in the coat since it doesn't shed out..it stays in there and forms a tangle web that can get as hard as concrete over time. DO NOT BATHE A DOODLE until the coat is matt free and the loose dead hair is combed out. This will turn 'matts starting to form', into matts,  and it will turn existing matts in concrete matts!  

Yes...this takes time but it's worth it if you want to maintain a matt free coat  especially for those that want some length to the coat. If you want to maintain length..the Breed Standard recommends a length of 4 " , but you will need to find a groomer who is knowledgable and does scissor cutting. You can't  maintain much length to the coat with electric clippers. 

 

Remember..Most matts are from trapped loose dead hair or undercoat hair that never got 'stripped' out properly...that were ignored too long or gone unnoticed and  ended up forming a tight balled up web of a nightmare!. 

 

 The best tool I have found for getting  the loose hair out and or undercoat BEFORE it turns into tight matts close to the skin, is the double toothed combed (the one with short and long alternating teeth). Just keep combing and combing through the coat by lifting the coat up in the opposite direction that it grows, and then layer by layer in ” sections start  combing the coat back down. You will see how the undercoat/loose hairs just builds up on the comb. Double tooth combs are specifically for dogs with double coats so if your dog has an undercoat (cottony fluff) this will work well.. Dogs with undercoats are considered double coated. The Les Pooches brush works good too...but takes longer to get  all the loose coat out  . If I use the Les Pooche brush...I also go over the same area with a steel comb (double toothed or single) to get even more hair out. The Les Pooches Matt Breaker (emergency brush) is great for breaking up matts that have NOT developed into a huge massive impossible matt. 

 

Now if you already have what appears to be hopeless bad matting...the double tooth comb is not going to work and you will end up doing nothing but bring pain and discomfort to your dog.

So...take a pair of sharp scissors with a good point on them. Open them up like you were going to cut, but place the tip of the pointed end close to the skin and pierce through the matt and start cutting the matts into little strips in the direction the hair grows..(your are going to start cutting as close to the skin as possible in the direction AWAY from the body. You are NOT going to cut the mat sideways...this will leave holes in the coats) or if the matt isn't too tighly packed...instead of actually cutting the matts into strips you can just keep the scissors opened and
MOVE it, PUSH it, or SAW it through the matt similar to cutting gift wrap paper by just opening the scissors and moving them through the wrapping paper which actually is slicing the paper.
You may have to do a sawing motion (back and forth)if the matt seem a bit to tight  that  the scissors won't PUSH through. You need very sharp good scissors.
This is actually going to end up dividing the matt into workable small strips than can be combed out then and leaves more of the good coat intact. When combing the broken up divided strips of matted coat out..take your left hand first and pinched the coat area closest to the skin so if there is some tugging when your combing..it's not pulling the dog's skin.  
If you can manage to use the pushing/gliding motion of the open scissors to get the undercoat/matts broken up ...it will be the least damaging to the rest of the coat but there will be some tugging so pinch the coat with your left hand near the skin as described above..but if your doodle has really sensitive skin you may be better off just CUTTING them into the little strips instead of the SAWING motion. If some places on the body are just too packed and hard you may have to do the cutting into little thin strips anyways, then comb the cut little strips out. But...NEVER cut a matt sideways (left to right) This will no doubt leave a gaping hole!

 

If the matted area is too big and hard packed..cutting into strips may NOT even work for salvaging the coat in that  area, since the amt of strips you will need to cut will probably leave no coat left in that spot anyways. So be mindful to matts  BEFORE they get that big and solid 

The open scissor sawing motion is great for under the chin too, which is sometimes a hard area to get to unless your dog is good with tilting their head way back. I come in from an angle of the side of the chin with the open scissors and just start the sawing motions without really even looking what I am doing. I can just do it by feel becuase of the resistance on the scissors. Of course this does take some practice and a pretty co-operative dog so you don't cut them .

Hopefully you can understand what I am trying to descibe. It's the best method that does the least damage to the coat. Of course the least damage to the coat is to deal with matts when they are just forming and are tiny or not tighty packed like concrete. If the matt is huge and like concrete...you will most likely end up with a bald or very sparse area even if you followed  my matt removal method, since too many strips will have to be  cut  to rid the matt completely 

 

Common body areas where matting seems to be more of a problem

1) If your dog waers a collar all the time..check the neck frequently.

2) Elbows stomach, rump or under the front arm pits. These are areas that come in contact with either floor from laying or sitting. The armpits because of friction as the dogs walks.

 3) And any area of the body where dog frequently scratch, such as behind the ears.

 

Common areas that owners seems to overlook.

1) the end of the ear flaps where the leather ends and the coat begins. Most dogs get severely matted there. Proper combing of this area needs to involve seperating the hair all along the edge of the ear leather to remove loose hair (use a comb..not a brush to work in these smaller areas more efficiently

 

2) between the toes. Dogs will chew between their toes if a matt is bugging them there.

 

Aside from the cosmetic and grooming nightmare matts can me..many people don't realize what discomfort and medical problems that can results from severely matted coats left unattented to or unnoticed too long 

 

1) Matts are uncomfortable for a dog. Severe matts become so tight that they actually cause the skin to become too taunt  and pulls the skin.

 

2) It can cause skin conditions (bacterial skin infections)since these areas of the skin can't breath (no air flow) and dogs may chew these areas more to relieve the discomfort of the taunt matt which in turn cause the matt to get worse.

 

 3) Fungal skin infections can result if a matted dog is bathed.

The skin under the matts can't dry out due to lack of air flow. 

NOTE: If you bathed your matted doodle and have not tended to removing the matts yet, check for the smell of mildew close to the matted skin. If you smell mildew..remove the matt ASAP!    

 

Hopefully I have provided you with some details to help maintain a matt free doodle

 

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