Never in a million years I’d think that one day I would be an obsessed Doodle Mom. It was not my choice – my husband fell in love with an Australian Labradoodle Dog he met locally and before we knew it, Bruno became part of our family.
Since I was a "Non-Dog Person", I had no idea what to do with a puppy, however I took the time to research puppy potty & crate training and enrolled our new labradoodle puppy in socialization classes. I also took way too many pictures of him and as a result ended up creating an Instagram account. Yes, I fell in love with my then fluffy little Bruno.
When Bruno was 8 months old, we left him at doggie day care to go on family vacation; we came back home to a very sick puppy and almost lost him to pneumonia and sepsis. I knew I loved Bruno dearly, but when I saw him almost die, I understood the meaning of pure love and that the love a dog gives is a million times more valuable than a pretty & clean house. I then also realized how invaluable having an Instagram family was, they gave us so much support and love during Bruno’s sickness and recovery.
After Bruno recovered, I thought I had it all under control, he was potty trained, sleeping through the night, had excellent leash manners, and a new health insurance policy (which we should have gotten on day 1).
Later that year my husband surprised me with a second Labradoodle puppy as my birthday present, we named him Luca. Let me tell you, bringing a second puppy home is just like giving birth to a second child. The first 3 months were very challenging, but I embraced having two Doodles in our lives and found the way to make it all work.
Fast forward to this summer, Bruno and Luca were soon to be 2 and 1 years old respectively. One hot summer day they had a bad grooming experience. When they came home from their regular groomer appointment and I just could not believe my eyes! Bruno and Luca looked like a Turtle and a Goat!
I then realized that the one thing I overlooked since getting Bruno & Luca was Grooming. Yes, I was that "Crazy Doodle Mom" that asked the Groomer to keep their coats long but did not brush them enough at home to keep them mat free. To my defense, during this horrific grooming session my boys' former groomer did not ask permission to shave their neck (Bruno) and entire body (Luca) off.
When my “Post Grooming Depression” got better, I decided that instead of crying about how bad Bruno and Luca looked and getting upset about the clipper burns, it was not too late for me to start learning about grooming. Let me be clear and thank all the wonderful and talented Groomers out there; I just felt that instead of looking for a new Groomer, it was time for me to take matters into my own hands.
So, what did I do? I asked our beloved Instagram Doodle friends for at-home grooming advice. I also watched countless hours of YouTube grooming tutorials and received so many products, grooming routines, and tools recommendations. Here is a summary of my learnings about Doodle grooming:
- Get your Doodle Puppy used to touching their paws and entire bodies
- Spray your Doodle’s coat with a detangling spray or leave in conditioner, then brush & comb multiple times a week
- Do research about local Groomers by you, once you pick a Groomer, make sure to have they have plenty of Doodle experience
- Book a puppy cut once first round of vaccinations are completed
- Have very clear conversations with your Groomer about how you want your Doodle to look like (my mistake was that I didn’t know how to describe the look I wanted for Bruno & Luca and kept saying "keep their coats long")
- It is ok to show your Groomer pictures of the haircut style you want, be specific about the legs, face, ears & tail (researching blade sizes and coat lengths could be very helpful)
If you decide to do home maintenance routine at home for your Doodles, these are my tips:
- Get yourself a Grooming table! Even if you aren't giving your Doodles a full haircut at home, putting them on the table to brush them and comb would be a great practice for their grooming appointments
- Invest in good quality grooming tools, you don't have to be a professional groomer to purchase slicker brushes, metal combs, clippers and scissors; Ryan Pets Supplies is the place to go!
- Ears must be cleaned frequently; ear plucking isn’t as frightening as it sounds
- Brush their teeth at least once a week, dental chews are helpful
- Purchase an ultra-absorbent or microfiber towel and a shower attachment to bathe your doodles at home.
- Keep beards short as food can get stuck in it and create bacteria (I love BioGroom Facial Cleaner)
- Wipe beards off with a small towel after your Doodle drinks water (they tend to be messy)
- Don’t be afraid to trim the hair around the eyes, I do it every week to prevent hairs getting in their eyes and causing possible damage
In my short Groomer want-to-be history, I have given a full haircut to Bruno, I have trimmed Luca’s face and ears and have mastered brushing & combing. Bathing them at home is getting easier, the one thing I am struggling with is nail trimming & grinding, but I won’t give up until I learn how to do it.
I am no longer a “Non-Dog Person”, I now love all doggies and have a soft spot for Doodles. My goal is to continue to learn about grooming at home, and hopefully go to Grooming school.
In the meantime, you can catch me on Instagram: @bruno.luca.doodles
Perla (one obsessed Doodle Mom)
Perla, thank you for sharing your story with us! Doodle parents are a different breed we swear But while those that bring Doodles home may frequently be first time dog owners, that doesn’t mean that the love shared between these two is any less.
Doodle parents, your dogs require a lot of at-home maintenance, please be understanding with your groomer as they are not magicians! If you don’t want your dog to suffer matts and clipper burn, you will need to learn how to properly brush you pup at home. Groomers, don’t be afraid to educate your owners on what to do at home. Chances are, they just don’t know and can greatly benefit from the education!
Even though the creator of Doodles says they are a Frankenstein breed, that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the love and care that other dogs deserve. All we can do is try to educate educate educate!
We <3 Doodles!