I received a very nice comment from Adina, the Admin of a Social Network for Labradoodles and Goldendoodles, www.Doodlekisses.com .
I spent the morning looking at and reading the website.
It is a very nice and well put together site.
I will recommend it to my Doodle customers.
I do have to say that some of the Doodle owners comments frustrate me.
They do not surprise me, I have heard them before.
After about an hour of reading their grooming group forum, I have found that what I have believed all along, that the official groom for a Doodle is SHAGGY, SHAGGY, SHAGGY!
Let me just say as a groomer, I have always struggled to keep a dog shaggy.
The groomer in me just wants to neaten everything up, even if I am only doing a trim to neaten.
One of the Doodle owners had a link to another Doodle website that showed the Correct way to groom a Doodle.
You know I click on that link in a flash.
I had to see the Correct way.
There where before and after pictures!
I love pictures.
Bet you couldn't tell. ;)
The pictures where very nice, but, there was hardly any difference in the before and after.
The grooming mostly talked about trimming.
The Author suggested that Doodle owners copy these pictures and take them to the groomer.
The Author also stated that most groomers were not trained to groom Doodles.....
Trying really hard to bite my tongue here.
Ouch, I hurt myself.
Damn, now my tongue is bleeding.
I am about to toot my on horn here, and the horn of any groomer out there worth their salt.
Any decent groomer, myself included, knows what they are doing.
I will admit that I am NOT a By-The-Book groomer.
Don't get me wrong, I can groom By-The-Book, no problem.
It is just, that after 26 years of grooming, I feel that all pet dogs should be groomed for comfort and it's lifestyle.
If the owners don't have the time and commitment for a full coat, then that pet should be kept short.
That does not mean shaved, just short enough for the owner to handle.
*If the dog swims in the summer...short.
*If the owner can't afford regular grooming to keep up a full coat....short to medium.
*If the dog does not like to be brushed regularly.....short to medium.
Just because a breed standard calls for a long, full cut, does NOT mean that that dog has to have the Breed Standard cut.
If the owner is not showing the dog, why not clip the pet anyway you want.
This is my opinion, not all groomers agree with me.
I groom for the dog and the owner, not a show judge.
Stepping down off of my soap box now.
Can you tell that this is a touchy subject for me?
I have no problem with an owner bring in pictures for me, to show me what they want on their dog.
The problem I do have, is that nine times out of ten the customers dog does not have the coat required to copy the picture.
The Doodles that I have groomed over the years have so many different coat types and textures.
Some are long and silky and don't shed.
Some are thick and plush and actually have an under coat that sheds.
Some are very thin, dry, and wiry.
Last but not least, there are all various stages of curly coats.
The biggest problem that I have with Doodle owners is, when they bring in their dog wanting the long or medium shaggy style and their dog is matted.
"I like him the way he looks now, just take a little bit off," the owner will say.
Meanwhile I have been running my hands all over the dog and feel that it is matted.
"He is pretty matted, I will most likely not be able to keep him as long as you would like." I inform the owner.
"I don't want him shaved," the owner demands. "I have been brushing him."
"He is not matted," the owner insists.
"I can see that you have been brushing him, unfortunately you have only been brushing the top of his coat," I say as I part his hair to show the owner the matting under the brushed hair.
"You can see the mats here under the part of the coat you have been brushing," I say as I show the owner the mat.
"I should be able to part the hair and see all of the way down to his skin," I continue.
"I have no choice but to find a safe blade length that will safely clip between the matting and your pets skin," I explain.
"The severity of the matting will determine how short I have to clip your pet." I finish explaining.
"I don't want him that short!" the owner states. "You just don't want to do the work!"
"Your the professional, you should be able to get the mats out!" she demands firmly.
"I don't want to hurt your pet." I explain, while chanting in my head...stay calm, stay calm, stay calm.
"Some mats will brush out easily without hurting the dog, these will not." I continue.
"I will not take your dog any shorter then needed to clip him safely."
"I will also show you the correct way to brush him so that this will not happen again." I finish.
I can not tell you how many times I have had this same conversation with Doodle owners and many other dog owners.
Groomers that know what they are doing are not the bad guys.
I can say for myself, that I got into grooming to help make pets feel good.
This Labradoodle's owner admits that he does not brush his dog.
At the same time he does not believe that his dog is matted.
He was told by a Doodle breeder that his dog has a very tight curly coat.
"It will not mat."
The breeder also told him "don't let your groomer tell you the dog is matted."
It took a lot of talking to convince this owner that his dog was matted.
I truly do not think that the owner believed me when he left the dog.
The picture above is a picture of the dog after the bath and HV dry.
I am sure that most people would look at this dog and say, "He is not matted."
Most groomers would look at this picture and say, "He is probably matted."
The groomers would be right.
As I have said in other blogs, I bathe ALL of my dogs before the groom.
This matted Labradoodle was no exception.
Because, I professionally know how to bathe and HV dry a matted dog in order to get the mats as far away from the skin as possible.
This helps me to safely clip a clean, matted pet.
It also pulls the mats away from the skin, possibly letting me leave the pets hair longer.
**I DO NOT recommend that an owner bathe their matted pet, unless they have been shown to correct shampoos and way to thoroughly HV dry a matted dog.**
In some cases, bathing a matted dog with special shampoos and HV drying it will remove most of the mats.
Not in the case of the Labradoodle above.
This Labradoodles mats did not come out with the bathing and blow drying, but it did loosen up enough to use a longer blade on the dog.
I took these pictures to show the owner that his dog was truly matted.
This particular dog will not let the owner brush him.
This owner also only gets the dog groomed 3 to 4 times a year.
This Labradoodle needs to be kept in a short clip, for the dogs comfort and the owners lifestyle.
I have noticed that most of the white and creme colored Labradoodles that I groom have the curly poodle coats.
Most of the Black Labradoodles have wavy,plush coats or wavy, thin,wiry coats.
Some of these pictures date back a few years.
Wavy coat with a plush undercoat.
Scissored 1/2 off.
Both could pass for Standard Poodles.
Both have thick curly coats.
Tails have been docked.
Both Labradoodles get Lamb clips.
Body: 5/8 blade and scissor.
Legs: scissor a little longer then the 5/8 blade.
Head: Full and round.
Ears: Long on one, shorter on the other.
Tail: Long and full on one, same length as body on the other.
This Labradoodle is kept very short.
He is clipped 3 times a year.
His owners like everything shaved off with a #7f blade.
Labradoodle Before -->
This was one of the very first Labradoodles that I ever groomed.
He has a beautiful coat under all of that shaggy hair.
<-- Labradoodle After.
The owners wanted everything short but not shaved.
I used a #4f on the back and 5/8 blade and scissor the legs.
Short and tight face and ears.
Apparently this is not a correct Labradoodle head.
It should have been left shaggy.
This is exactly what the owner asked for.
Full, all Hand Scissored Puppy Cut.
Very full head.
Goldendoodle Before -->
According to the Doodle websites, this is the correct look for a Doodle.
<-- Labradoodle After.
This is what the owner wanted.
Scissor all whispies off the coat, down the the plush coat underneath.
Not short enough....
Wanted shorter next time.
This Goldendoodle started out as a very long Hand Scissored Puppy Cut when I first started grooming her.
Over time, her owner has asked for her to be clipped shorter and shorter.
She now gets a #4f on the body and legs, scissor her head in proportion with her body.
The owners do still like her ears long.
This Goldendoodle, one of the biggest I have ever groomed, has a wonderful owner that is trying her best to keep up with his coat.
Although I have a feeling that his cut will get shorter over time.
Mom has three little ones and he is a job.
Oh, and Mom understandably has a hard time with the cost of his groom, and I only charge her about half of what I should for his size and coat.
As some who read my blog already know, I no longer accept new Labradoodle and Goldendoodle customers.
I know that it is a pet peeve of mine, but most of the Doodle owners that I have dealt with, have a big problem with the price of a groom on a Doodle.
I am on the cheaper side and don't come close to what the work involved is worth, so I can only imagine what the owners think when they are quoted some of the prices that I know other groomers charge.
Most groomers charge in the $XXX range.
I am still in the middle to high $XX range.
I was getting too many calls for these extra large dogs.
I love what I do, but I am still a business that has to pay overhead and payroll.
I don't come close to charging what I would need to charge to cover my time and overhead.
I am also very tired of trying to justify my prices to people who want a lot of quality work done for next to nothing, because, "it is only a dog, it can't be that hard to give it a bath and hair cut."
Grooming a large Labradoodle or Goldendoodle is very time consuming no matter what type of coat they have.
Personality and behavior of the pet also counts in the grooming.
If the dog is untrained and misbehaves, or does not like being bathed, brushed, or clipped, the cost of grooming should be higher.
Quality grooming takes time.
Depending on the behavior of the pet, coat type, how long the hair is and how dirty the dog is, a bath on a Doodle can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.
The time it takes to HV blow dry a Doodle depends on the pets behavior, (this pet lays down for most of the drying, requiring more time) coat type and whether or not the coat holds on to the water or lets it go.
HV drying on a Doodle can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 45 minutes.
If the pet does well with the HV dryer and the groomer is able to get the pet around 95% dry, the fluff drying should only take about 5 to 10 minutes.
If the pet does not allow the groomer to use the HV dryer to dry the head and ears, it will take another 10 to 20 minutes to fluff dry the head and ears.
The time that it takes to do the main cut depends on the pets behavior, whether the pet is being clipped with a clipper or Hand Scissored.
The time also depends on the groomers skill level and experience.
Some groomers are fast, some are not.
Just the Hand Scissoring on this pet could take between 1/2 an hour to an hour.
This does not include the time for clipping nails or plucking and cleaning ears.
Grooming is an Art.
It takes skill and patience to Hand Scissor.
The groomer is working on a moving target.
Even well behaved pets are known to move at the most inopportune moment.
A groomer must always be ready to pull the scissors or clippers out of harms way.
Grooming safely takes time.
A Doodle owner should only schedule their pet when they can give the groomer as much time as need to do a safe and proper groom.
I feel sorry for the Doodle owners.
I do not think that some of them understand the work and commitment that is involved in taking care of these dogs.
If you are a Doodle owner and feel over whelmed by your dogs coat, don't feel bad if you would like to keep it short.
Do what is best for you and your pet.
I my humble opinion, the only correct cut on any pet breed of dog, is a cut the works for the comfort of the pet and its owner.
If you are a Doodle owner that loves the full shaggy coat, and are able to keep it in good condition, more power to you, that is great!
I also noticed on a few of the Doodle websites that a lot of the Doodle owners groom and clip or scissor their own dogs.
Once again, more power to you.
That is great that you care so much for your pet.
I have one last pet peeve for Doodle owners.
PLEASE do not tell me that I made your dog look like a poodle!
I don't know a groomer out there that has not been told this.
Yes, I understand that some groomers out there do tend to make Doodles look like a Poodle.
Some Doodles can't help but have a little (or a lot) of the Poodle look because...they are part Poodle!
I don't see where any of the Doodles on this blog look like my Poodles.
In my opinion, even the two Labradoodle sisters on this blog don't look like my Poodles.
I just don't see what other people see when they say their dog was groomed like a Poodle.
I hope that some Doodle owners see this blog and it helps them to understand and appreciate their groomer.
If your groomer can't seem to understand what you want, keep looking, there are really good groomers out there.
Happy Grooming, MFF