Goldendoodle Grooming 101: 7 Steps for At-Home Care
Hello, my Doodle loving friends! If days of quarantine have you searching for Goldendoodle grooming ideas, I’m glad you’re here. There are so many Goldendoodle grooming options! Almost as many ways to groom a Goldendoodle as there are types, colors, and sizes of Doods! But with so many choices, you may feel a little overwhelmed. In this post, I’ll guide you through the basic principles of Goldendoodle grooming that I’ve learned.
While I’m not a professional groomer or vet, I am a Goldendoodle dog mom who loves to research, learn about all things Doodle, and master DIY dog care. I tell you this because if I figure out Goldendoodle grooming, you can too!
Goldendoodle Grooming: Setting the playing field
First, grooming is an essential part of caring for our Goldendoodles. While all dogs need regular grooming to keep their coats clean and free from dirt, the adorable Goldendoodle requires more grooming than some other breeds that naturally rid their coat through shedding.
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: Grooming is a critical part of caring for a Goldendoodle.
For example, I puppy sit a Labrador Retriever—a high shedding dog. I’m constantly finding adorable white hairs floating through the air like angel wings and landing on the sofa, on the wood floor, and on my black leggings.
On the other hand, Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe sheds much, much less (i.e. dust bunnies here and there). But that means her curly Goldendoodle locks must go somewhere! Yes, her coat needs to be brushed and groomed to keep loose hairs from getting trapped in her coat and cause matting. Brushing with my favorite slicker brush rids her coat of loose hairs, rids it of bits of dirt, and keeps the mats away.
Why I (heart) grooming my Goldendoodle at home
Now that we’ve established that grooming is an essential part of Goldendoodle care, let’s talk about why you may find grooming your Goldendoodle at home personally rewarding. For me, it’s truly a chance to bond and enjoy one-on-one time with Chloe.
Beyond that, I can groom her on my own schedule and work toward achieving the cute teddy bear Goldendoodle look that I think suits Chloe best! (Plus, I’m saving money on professional grooms that, very understandably, cost $80 or more.)
I have to say, I think it’s in my nature to want to try my hand at dog grooming. There is something creative and fulfilling about accomplishing a goal together with my dog. I guess, Chloe and I have more “high paw” moments when we work together.
So I’ve watched videos, joined Facebook Goldendoodle grooming communities, purchased grooming tools, talked to a pro groomer specifically about how to trim a Goldendoodle’s face, and practiced. Over the last few years, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an art!
Since Goldendoodles are a cross between the Golden Retriever breed and the Poodle breed, there is a ton of variation in Goldendoodle coat types. Some coats are a plush curly, some loose wavy, and some straight. That’s why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the trimming piece of the grooming puzzle. And it’s why I have so much admiration for pro groomers who groom all types of Doodles. Your groomer (or even your vet) may help you determine what’s best for your Doodle’s specific coat type.
Chloe’s coat is loose curly to wavy. It’s not super hard to take care of because it’s not a thick coat.
Goldendoodle grooming principles: My “3Ps”
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, you may want some basic principles of Goldendoodle grooming. So I created “3Ps” of grooming:
- Positivity: Much like our sweet, enthusiastic Goldendoodles, having a positive attitude goes a long way toward the goal of giving your Goldendoodle tender loving grooming care. Make every single step positive and enjoyable. Use heaping amounts of love and praise and make sure your dog is enjoying every step in the process.
- Pace Dividing the Goldendoodle grooming process into shorter sessions can make the experience a happier one. For Chloe, I space out grooming tasks across the course of a few days. Also, pacing is important within one session. Your Goldendoodle may need a break, a quick romp, a drink of water, etc.
- Patience: Grooming is an art. The ultimate goal of grooming is good health— for your dog to be happy, mat-free, and well-cared for. Plan to take your time and view grooming as an enjoyable bonding time with your Dood.
When to start grooming a Goldendoodle puppy
Set the stage for a lifetime of happier grooming for your Goldendoodle puppy by starting a routine early. If your little Muppet is just a couple of months old, now is the time! Try simply finger-combing as the very first step. Handle or gently massage those cute puppy paws daily.
Just like teaching your Goldendoodle to go potty outside, teaching grooming is part of the responsibility of caring for your sweet pup. Even if you plan to take your Goldendoodle puppy to the groomer, you need to set your puppy and your groomer up for success by helping your puppy get accustomed to the process. If your Goldendoodle is comfortable and used to being handled, then you’re on the right track!
Recipe for Goldendoodle grooming
Many Goldendoodle owners wonder which comes first, bathing or brushing? Trim first or brush first? Here is how I organize Chloe’s at-home grooming schedule:
STEP 1: Brushing and combing before bathing
Brush then bathe or bathe then brush, which? This is an important question with, in my opinion, only one answer:
“Golden” doodle tip: Brush first. Then bathe.
Here’s why: If your dog has any mats, bathing will “set the mat” and make it tighter. After I brush using the best brush for Goldendoodle grooming that I’ve found, then I comb using a fine-tooth comb (starting at the bottom and working up) to make sure the tangles are out.
Days of the Week Goldendoodle Grooming
Dividing brushing into shorter sessions may work better than tackling a head-to-tail brushing session in one day. So I put together a days-of-the-week brushing schedule that breaks brushing up by sections. Plus, I gave each day’s activity an alliterative name. Please use mine or come up with your own!
- Cute Mug Monday: Groom your Dood’s face!
- Two Paws Tuesday: Brush your Dood’s front paws and legs.
- Waggy Tail Wednesday: Brush your Dood’s tail.
- Lovely Legs Thursday: You guessed it. Today’s the day to brush your Dood’s back legs and paws.
- Fannie Friday: Focus on brushing your Dood’s body and fluffy butt.
- Saturday Saves: Save some time on Saturday for a quick brush and touch up any places you missed.
- Sunday Funday! Just have fun with your sweet Dood today!
STEP 2: Bathing
Once you have completely brushed your Goldendoodle’s hair, it’s bath time. Some Goldendoodle moms and dads prefer to hop in the shower with their Goldendoodle dogs. Since you’re going to get wet anyway, why not get soaked!
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: For safety, use a bath mat in the bottom of the tub or shower so your dog doesn’t slip.
I give Chloe a bath in the bathtub. She gets excited for bath time because she loves drinking from the tub spigot. Remember, the concept of “no more tears” applies to our gently shampooing our sweet fur babies too. Use dog shampoo (no human shampoo), avoid getting shampoo in your dog’s eyes, and keep water out of your dog’s ears.
STEP 3: Towel dry. Work with the grain of the coat.
After a bath, gently towel dry your Goldendoodle working with the grain of the coat rather than ruffling it up or working against the direction of the coat. Why? Everything we’re doing is in an effort to avoid mats and tangles.
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: Your Goldendoodle will probably shake all that water off so be prepared for your own mini shower!
STEP 4: Blow dry
Before going on to step five, clipping your dog’s hair, you’ll want your Doodle’s hair to be 100% dry. Blow drying smoothes out the coat so that the hair is straighter, which results in a more even trim.
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: Love the ragamuffin, Muppet look more than the fluffy look that comes from blow-drying? Don’t worry. The cords or ringlets will come back after a few days.
STEP 5: Trimming
Many Goldendoodle moms and dads use dog clippers for trimming the hair. Learning to clip Chloe is on my “to-doodle” list! Others, like me, use round-tipped grooming scissors. Even with a round tip, use grooming scissors carefully! To ensure that I do not ever accidentally cut her skin, I hold the hair that I’m cutting in between the fingers of my free hand. This way, my hand is always a buffer between her skin and the round-tipped scissors.
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: Unlike a human sitting quietly for a hair trim, your dog may be excited and wiggly. Acclimate your Doodle to each step first. Your Dood’s comfort and safety are more important than perfection.
Step 6: Dog nail trims
Don’t forget, Goldendoodle grooming includes caring for your dog’s toenails. But even the most confident dog mom can be fearful of nail trims. I know I was!
I took a super-easy online course and now I’m trimming Chloe’s nails and Little Bear’s puppy nails toenails too. To learn more, check out my article: Searching for How to Cut Your Dog’s Black Nails? I Was Too Until I Tried This.
“GOLDEN” doodle tip: For the price of about two nail trims, you can learn to trim your dog’s nails yourself at home. My readers can take the online e-learning course, Dr. Buzby’s Nail Trimming Without Fear, for $39 with the code HAPPY.
7 days a week: Toothbrushing
If you have a Goldendoodle puppy, you may be asking, “Do I need to brush my dog’s teeth?” “Is there such a thing as doggie toothpaste?” The short answer is, “Yes and yes!” Daily toothbrushing is one of the best ways to keep your Doodle healthy over his or her lifetime. And you should only use dog-safe toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste.
BTW…dog toothbrushing is my thing. Here’s why: When Chloe was two, my vet explained that Chloe’s teeth had enough plaque build-up to look like a 7-year-old dog. After a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia, I’ve made it my mission to take care of her teeth through daily brushing. It’s working! You can watch my video and learn more here: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth: A Dog Mom’s Pearl’s of Wisdom for Pearly Whites.
Additional Goldendoodle dog grooming resources
If you’re searching for more tips, pointers, and support from both Doodle parents and professional dog groomers, I encourage you to check out the Facebook community, DIY Doodle Groomers. This is a fun community of both Doodle parents and professional groomers supporting and encouraging one another. The purpose of the group is to provide information to Doodle parents who want to learn to groom their Doodle dogs at home.
That’s Goldendoodle grooming 101! I hope that I’ve guided you along the way and that you feel encouraged. Most of all, I hope you ENJOY every moment with your cute Goldendoodle by your side.
Are you thinking about grooming your Goldendoodle at home?
Please share your tips! We can all learn together.
Note: These are tips that have worked for me. I share this information for reference only. Of course, it is not a substitute for the care or treatment of your veterinarian or other professional. Always seek competent, professional advice from your vet if you believe your dog has a grooming or medical problem.