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We need to talk about your doodle.

Updated: 6 days ago

We know that doodles get a bad rap in the grooming world. We feel that is unnecessary. Let's talk about it.

First, let's discuss why matting is a problem and answer some of the most common questions we receive about it.

"Why is matting so bad?"

Matting occurs when a pup's coat is very thick (double-coated dogs like Samoyeds), very curly (doodles), or long and sometimes curly (Maltese, Havanese).  It typically begins in areas frequently rubbed by us petting them or just walking around. The most common locations are behind the ears, legs, or under the collar. 

The hair begins to get tangled and then wraps around itself.  It begins in a small patch, like behind the ear. But the mat will grow and pull closer to the skin as time passes without brushing or a detangling attempt.
As the matting worsens, it can cut off the airflow in your dog's hair and trap moisture, which can cause irritation, painful sores, hematomas, and infection. (I won't show you the pictures. They are too upsetting.) At this stage, it could also mask other health issues or parasites.

In its most severe form, it is referred to as a "cast mat” where the only way to free the dog is to shave it almost to skin - like sheering a sheep. This is extremely painful for the pup and must be done by a grooming professional or under sedation in a veterinary clinic as soon as possible to prevent life-threatening infections.

"Why blame the doodles?" 

Dogs of various breeds can fall prey to matted dog fur. 
However, doodles are some of the most common that we see here in Utah.  Many people get a doodle for what they believe will be a dog with a great temperament and a low-maintenance, non-shedding coat.  We aren’t sure where the communication breaks down, but when getting a doodle, it is essential to understand that no matter how you like their coat, they may need daily, weekly, and monthly routines to keep them happy and healthy.

Breeders don’t always disclose this.

"Can I blame the groomer?"

One of the most angry complaints we receive is when a gorgeous, floofy doodle comes into us and they must be shaved down. The outrage is fierce and typically directed at the groomer and/or business. And most often, it ends with them ranting in a bad review on Yelp or Google. If we are being honest, though, it is our responsibility as dog parents to keep the coat properly maintained between grooming.

If months go by and you have a pup that cannot be brushed through, it will be a painful shave down for them. This is horrible for you, the pup, and the groomer. I have seen more than one groomer begin to cry at the sight of a matted pup, knowing how it must be hurting them.

"My pup hates to be brushed."

I get it. I have one of these. But brushing training is a thing and can begin as early as three weeks old. The sooner you begin to desensitize pups to all aspects of grooming, the better, as they will be groomed throughout their lifetime.

New doodle owners should take about five minutes each day to brush their puppy. We advise giving high-value treats while brushing to make this a pleasant bonding experience. Having someone help you by holding a stick of string cheese goes a long way. Not only does this instill the new habit of brushing your dog, but it also helps the puppy associate daily brushing with yummy treats and good feelings!

If you have an older doodle, it is not too late. You can begin brushing training in the same way, and by using positive reinforcement, they will begin to tolerate it better.

“But I like my pup long and fluffy.”

This is what I like to call a muppet cut.  We all love a floofy pup.  It brings back all the memories of having stuffed animals as a child, but this one is alive and running around our house! It's amazing.
Unfortunately, this is the highest maintenance of all the lengths and will require the utmost diligence in keeping to the following routine. These rules still apply at any length, but you might have more wiggle room if you miss a day when your doodle has shorter hair.

"What kind of brush should I use?"

Brushing with the wrong brush, at best, will not do anything. At worst, it can make the matting worse. Here is what practically all groomers recommend:
  1. High-quality, long, curved pin slicker brush

  2. Stainless steel metal comb

  3. Detangling spray (optional)

We offer our recommended slicker brush and metal comb at Pups. You can pick one up today or when you come for your next appointment.

"I have the tools. Now what?"

(click to expand)
Daily Maintenance Brushing
  1. Once a day, check your pup from nose to tail and brush the areas common for mats, such as behind the ears, where the collar rubs, under the arms, and around the tail. See the diagram below.

  2. Brush those areas thoroughly with your slicker brush, and then check with the metal comb by holding the comb perpendicular to the skin and combing through until the comb runs smoothly through their coat and doesn't catch on any tangles.

  3. In addition to regular brushing, using a detangling spray can also help prevent mats from forming. This spray helps to lubricate the hair strands and make them easier to brush through without causing breakage or pulling.

RED: top priority

YELLOW: medium priority, brush next

GREEN: low priority, brush last or least often

Weekly Line Brushing to Prevent Matting
Routine Grooming Visits
We can't stress enough how crucial it is to keep up with regular grooming routines to ensure the health and happiness of your furry friend. Keeping your doodle's hair shorter is okay if these routines are too time-consuming.

There is a common grooming adage: humanity before vanity. Dogs don't care how they look. But they do care when they are in pain. Keeping to a good schedule and knowing what to do to prevent severe matting will go a long way in keeping your pup happy and healthy. It will also mean we will not have to shave them much shorter than you'd like.

Don’t have time to brush?

Drop your dog off for 15-30 minutes of line brushing. We can also check your pup as we brush to determine their next grooming appointment.

We are here to help you get the best results for your pup. We are happy to share our knowledge and support your efforts to keep your pup's coat healthy, regardless of their breed.

We love your pup and want to be a trusted partner in your pup's care. 🩷


Sonya Droguett
Pups Founder, Owner, Dog Lover
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