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Doodles will mat, and mats are painful for them. Think of your hair being in too-tight pigtails, and how that pulls at your scalp. Now consider that behind your ears, around your neck, under your arms, hips, elbows.... Ouch. These dogs are beautiful, but be assured it takes work to keep them that way. The tradeoff for nonshedding is lots and lots of grooming.
Dead hairs that remain become entangled in the rest of the hair and result in painful mats. Mats result in shave downs, not the most flattering "cut" for a Doodle. I use the slicker brush and steel combs (I have several with varying tooth widths). Brush your
puppy regularly to keep mats at bay. Les Pooches makes amazing brushes. They are pricey, but you’ll never buy another once you start using them - and they last forever.
Don't just run the brush over the top of their hair - you have to get all the way down to the skin (where the mats start) to be effective. I brush in sections holding one palm flat against their coat, and brushing from the skin out little by little. The combs will ensure you didn't miss any hiding mats. Lots of videos on YouTube to help with technique - if you're doing it right, you will stay on top of problem areas with a once/week brushing and combing.
Another note about their coats and word about “nonshedding”. Why is the brush full of hair if they don’t shed? Well it’s because they don’t shed that you get all the hair in the brush. If they were shedding, that hair would be on your couch, your bed, their crate, your clothes, etc. But the hairs do die, just like the hair on our heads. The brushing pulls out the dead hairs that don’t naturally fall away like in other breeds. Your puppy is going to lose hair profusely at two points in his life. Don’t be alarmed, this is completely natural - it’s almost like a molting process.
The puppy coat will change to an adult coat right around the 6-8 month mark. 7 months is where I typically see it occur. They are getting a ton of new hair growth at this time, and the puppy coat is dying off to make way for the new coat. Brush, brush and brush during this transition or you will end up with a very matted mess. I like to cut their coat down to 2” at this time to cut down on the molting maintenance. It grows fast and they won’t be short for long. It will save you grooming costs if you outsource. And if you home groom, it’s save you time/energy/effort.
The 2nd coat change age has varied for all of my dogs. The youngest I’ve seen it is 18 months, the oldest at 3 years.
All of the puppies have had baths, nails clipped weekly, brushings, dryings, face/feet/fanny trims and ear cleanings. Continue with that conditioning so they won't pull away from you at grooming time. Bathe once a week to begin with, less frequently (as needed) later.
Use baby shampoo on her head and face so as not to burn the eyes. Touch her everywhere - between the pads, in her ears, in her mouth. Focus on any body area she shies away from and desensitize her. Your groomer will thank you for this later, and it will make the grooming process enjoyable rather than stressful for her. The home grooming you do is a wonderful way to bond with your puppy.
Desensitizing her is important not only for future groomings, but also in the case of an injury. One of my studs once tangled with a barbed wire fence. Another had his paw clamped shut in a coyote trap. Can you imagine trying to free an injured, scared dog who didn't want to be touched? Impossible! Because he has been groomed and desensitized to touch from a young age, he laid quietly and allowed us to attend to him, keeping him from additional injury.
Doodles will get ear infections if not cared for properly. Buy some ear powder, ear hair drying cream, and cleaning solution. You can usually find these in a kit at PetSmart or the like. They'll need regular cleanings, and the powder is helpful for pulling hair out of her ear canal. I also toss a handful of cotton balls in a mason jar, pour witch hazel over it, and store it for on the fly touchups.
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