Poodles require frequent grooming to keep them healthy and free from tangles. Your puppy should have had a great introduction to grooming from their breeder already but to ensure that they become used to grooming you must continue to brush and comb them at home, handle their feet and face, and book regular groomings with a professional groomer if you don’t plan to cut your puppy’s hair yourself.
Nails should be trimmed every four weeks or so depending on activity level. If you take your puppy on frequent walks on pavement their nails may not need to be trimmed as often as the rough surface will wear the nails down naturally.
Poodles have hair in their ears that can collect wax and dirt and cause infections. If you notice any wax buildup or dirt, the ears can be gently cleaned with ear cleaning solution on a cotton ball. Plucking the ear hair is usually not necessary and attempting to pluck deep rooted hair can cause abrasions in the skin and irritation in the ear. For puppies with very hairy ear canals the hair can be shaved out.
Your puppy should be fully groomed every 4 weeks for the first six months to help the get used to grooming and every 4-8 weeks thereafter depending on the type of haircut you would like to keep them in. Frequent grooming will help your puppy get used to the process and learn their “table manners”. Most poodles are very tolerant of grooming if they are started early. You must also brush and comb your puppy at least once per week to help get them used to being groomed as well as keep them tangle free. Mats form easily in friction-heavy areas such as the ears, behind the ears, tail, base of the tail, armpits, back legs, and anywhere the dog has a collar, harness, or clothing. A slicker brush is good for day-to-day brushing but a metal comb will get right down to the skin and ensure that there are no tangles.
Poodles can be groomed into many different styles to fit your taste and lifestyle. Ask us or your groomer about what they would recommend!
Practicing certain behaviours with your puppy will help them behave for the groomer and for you! When your puppy is in a low-energy mood, have them stand on a table or countertop (with care that they cannot fall) and hold your puppy's feet one by one, turning them over and pressing gently between the pads. Treat them Reassure them with treats or praise if they try to pull away. Practice holding your puppy's muzzle if they have a shaved face, or holding the hair under their chin if they have a furry face. Once they are comfortable with you doing this, try moving something around their face to simulate scissors (a pen or pencil or a closed set of scissors works well). Only practice for a few minutes at a time so they don't become frustrated. If grooming becomes something that happens very frequently it becomes a regular part of life, rather than something to fear.
Puppies have only one hair per follicle and their fur is finer and straighter than their adult coat. Between 9 months and 1 year, your puppy will begin to grow their adult coat which is up to 25 hairs per follicle and is curlier and thicker than their puppy hair. When these new hairs grow in, your puppy will be especially prone to mats as the adult hair mixes with the base of the puppy hair. Make sure you are combing your dog at least every other day to help keep them tangle-free! Coat change can last several months and can be a difficult time for coat maintenance but once their adult coat is in it will get much easier!