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Basic Grooming

Preparing for grooming

Its very important that your poodle get used to regular grooming as its something it'll have to have done all its life. My puppies are accustomed to regular handling and grooming so all I ask is that you continue to groom and handle them regularly so grooming is never a traumatic experience for them. This is easy to do - every time you hold your pup run your hands over its body, in and around its mouth, its ears, its paws. Every time you do this the pup will become accustomed to being touched and will make grooming that little bit easier.

Grooming your poodle - the basics

Firstly, you'll need to buy some equipment, and as my father always said 'get the best you can afford, its cheaper in the long run'. There are a number of good professional dog clippers on the market so buy a good one. I would recommend the Wahl or the Andis as they don't heat up like the Osters do.

You'll also need clipping blades - the blades you buy will depend on what type of clip you'll be keeping your poodle in. Good all round blades for pet trims are #5 or #7, #3  and #15. You'll also need a decent pair of shears or scissors to finish off the clip. Ask me if you need any help with getting the right equipment.

There are some good books available on poodle grooming and there are plenty of nice groomers out there who can show you how to use the clippers.

Another thing you'll need is a grooming table. Its OK to groom a toy poodle on the washing machine - its the perfect height. Just put a non-slip rubber mat on the surface and you're in business. With a standard you'll need something lower. Grooming tables are available from professional type pet stores, but with a bit of imagination you can adapt an old desk just as well.

Here is a list of some of the other things you'll need:

a slicker brush
a pin brush
a greyhound comb
ear cleaning solution
a toothbrush
nail clippers (I prefer the guillotine type)
nail files or a dremel (see DoberDawn for information on how to dremel nails)
a hair dryer (if you keep your poodle in a short trim you can get away without one but if you intend to keep a showcoat on your poodle you'll have to invest in a large dog dryer)

The best book I can recommend for grooming is Poodle Clipping and Grooming by Shirlee Kalstone published by Howell Book House. This book is currently in its 3rd edition so you might be able to find a cheap older edition on www.ebay.com or www.amazon.com. The basics are the same so an older edition will do just as well if you are beginning.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about grooming equipment.


The best advice I can give is that you brush and groom your poodle often. This will do a number of things: firstly its a great way to bond. Secondly you will always notice anything unusual before it has a chance to become a problem. And lastly, by doing it regularly your poodle will not develop an aversion to being groomed and the whole experience will be one of enjoyment. My dogs love to be groomed and will jump on the table for some special one-on-one time with mom.

I have a table set up in the living room most of the time so I can watch my favourite TV programs or visit with friends while I brush out my dogs.

Make sure to always brush the poodle coat down to the skin. Too many people only brush the top while the underneath is matting. The way to do this is to separate the coat with one hand so you can see the skin, then brush with the other, taking in small amounts of hair each time as you work your way through the coat.

After every bath (usually every 1-2 weeks) I clip all nails and file them down to a smooth edge. You can use a fine metal file to do this, or do what I do and use a dremel. But be careful when using one of those! They are powerful things and can tangle in the coat and burn the dog.

After every bath I also clean ears by plucking out excess hair and putting in some ear cleaner (available from your vet).

I trim face, feet and tails and tidy up their haircut when necessary - usually once a fortnight. A poodle in a pet trim is quick and easy to care for, no harder than any other breed of dog.


2nd Puppy Trim

Continental Trim

Pictured above:

1. Pin brush
2. Slicker brushes
3. Greyhound comb and comb with handle
4. Poodle comb (used for fluffing up show dogs)
5. Straight scissors
6. Curves scissors
7. Round nosed scissors
8. Hemostats
9. Guillotine nail clippers

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