Grooming Your Labradoodle Puppy
Most puppy’s coat require little brushing. However, they need to get accustom to being handled. They should be brushed, have their ears and teeth looked at, and nails handled or trimmed every day. At around nine to sixteen months the adult coat starts to grow in. The puppy coat does not fall out and will start to cause matts. Brushing thoroughly to pull the puppy coat out from the new adult hair is necessary. This could be a good time to consider a good clip to ease the amount of brushing and formation of mats.
It is important to start introducing your puppy to the groomer early so when he is older he will be comfortable with the grooming process. Once your Labradoodle puppy has had all of his shots, he can safely be taken to the groomer. Up to this point, handling and brushing your puppy everyday will prepare him for his first trip to the groomer. Let the groomer know you have a puppy and want to have an introductory visit. Even just for your puppy to meet and have a nail clip might be enough to start a good, calm rapport with the groomer. Follow up visits can begin to include a simple session of brushing, washing, drying, nail clip and ear hair pluck. Your puppy and groomer will be thankful for these small visits every 3-4 weeks so puppy can get used to all of the sights, sounds and sensations till he is ready for a full clip.
Grooming Your Adult Labradoodle
You can maintain a long fleece coat with thorough brushing weekly. A curly fleece will need more attention than a wavy fleece. Curlier coats will be easier to maintain if it is kept shorter. Many owners have their labradoodles clipped two to four times a year depending on personal preference, lifestyle and curliness of the fleece. I like to take my Labradoodles to my groomer every 4-6 weeks for a brush and/or bath. They get a full groom with a 1.5-2 inch clip twice a year. For your doodle to not look like a poodle, talk to your groomer about what you want. Pictures of a well groomed labradoodle can help. Regular bathing is mostly unnecessary. Even after getting muddy, it will dry and fall off or can be brushed out.
Note: Ask your vet about giving your puppy a bordetella shot when he gets his last set of vaccinations, to protect him from a dog flue/cold like viruses easily contracted in places where many dogs go. (i.g. groomer and boarding)
Nails should be clipped regularly (every 4-6 weeks) depending on wear. If you take your Labradoodle to the groomer regularly, they should take care of the nails adequately.
Pay special attention to the ears. The hair in and around the outside of the ear canal clogs the inside and prevents air flow. This can cause ear infections. The hair needs to be pulled out of the ear canal and kept trimmed around the opening and under the ear. This can be done every 2-3 months. Your groomer should be doing this and will keep it maintained. Also, if you do not use a groomer often, make sure the hair around the anus does not get too long and cause problems with waste build up.
Brushing Your Labradoodle
When your Labradoodle has short hair, an inch or two, regular brushing with a pin brush or slicker can work just fine. Once the hair gets longer, it is important to make sure you are reaching all the way to the base of the hair. If not, loose hair is not removed below the surface and matts will begin to form. If that hair builds up, it is not going to be possible to clip the hair at a decent length and the only alternative will be to shave the hair close to the skin. In order to keep a coat longer than and inch or so, you will want to use a technique called line brushing.
It is simply done by parting the coat with your free hand and brushing the loose hair on the other side of the part, starting at the base of the hair. With every other stroke or so, you can bring down a small bit of the hair being held up by your hand. This continues so that every stroke you are brushing through a new, thin “line” of hair. You will slowly move your hand up that section of coat. Start low on a section of the body and work your way up. This method can be done with a pin brush, slicker brush and/or comb.