This is something I hear all the time at the grooming salon. “Don’t poodle my doodle!” But when I explore a little more about what that means to the owner, the responses vary widely. Some people think a poodle has a fluffy snout, some people think a poodle has fluffy feet, some people think a poodle has a shaved body with puffs of hair on their hips and shoulders…so you see, what you have in your head about what a poodle looks like may differ from what your groomer has in her head about what a poodle looks like.
More types of Poodle Haircuts
Typically, a groomer at Powder Hounds Grooming Salon thinks of a poodle as having a shaved snout, round top knot, longer, fluffy ears, column shaped legs and shaved feet. (see below) Is that what you were thinking when you said “don’t poodle my doodle!”?
It would be better to tell your groomer exactly what you do want, such as “I do want my doodle’s face and head to be long and scruffy/same length as the rest of the body/rounded muzzle with a short chin and fluffy head/etc. There are so many variations on how a doodle can look! And since a doodle is a mixed breed, there is not a breed standard on what they should look like. So, it’s up to the owner and the groomer to come to an understanding of what the owner would like and what is able to be done considering your dog’s coat (how curly or wavy it is), the condition of the coat (if there is matting), and the temperament of the dog (a dog that has behavioral issues may not be able to get certain types of cuts).
The other way to communicate to your groomer what you want your doodle to look like is to have a few pictures on your phone. Make sure the pictures of dogs that you choose have the same type of hair that your dog has. For instance, if your doodle has tight curls, don’t choose a picture of a dog that has long, loose waves. We will not be able to change the way your dog’s hair grows! Also, when you choose your pictures, study the pictures to be able to communicate what it is you like about the picture—is it the length of hair, the way the face looks in the picture, the length of the hair on the muzzle…what is it about that picture that you like and want your doodle to look like?
Doodle Haircut Examples (Curly hair, Wavy hair, In Between Hair)
This may take a few times to figure out—the first time is a bit of a trial and error, the groomer trying to get what you had in mind in line with what she understands and what is possible with your dog. After the first time getting your dog groomed, take note of whether you like the length or if there is anything different you would like done the next time. We keep notes on the length and haircut, so it is easier to reference the previous groom than to go through the whole process of guessing what’s in the owner’s head of how you want your dog to look for a second time.
And lastly, have patience! Dogs are wiggly beings, especially as puppies. If this is your puppy's first haircut, it may end up looking slightly different than what you had in your head and it may not be a perfect cut if he is very wiggly. Groomers are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. And we don't want it to be a bad experience for them! We always try to get your dog's haircut as close as possible to what you want, so it's important to take the time to communicate that but also to know that it may take more than once and it may take some time to train your dog on how to behave for the grooming.
That's also why it's important to start bringing your doodle in to the groomer's as soon as he is old enough, which is as soon as he has had the last of all his shots, typically around 4 months. Even if he is not getting a haircut, it's important to get him used to being in there without you, get acquainted with the sounds and the smells, get used to being bathed and blow dried (with the high velocity dryer--not a human hair dryer). We offer a free first time visit with puppy conditioning (see our Services page) help them get comfortable in our salon and we encourage all puppy owners (especially doodle owners) to take advantage of that service. When you bought your doodle, you should have done some research to know that you were buying a dog with hair (not fur) and that having hair entails a commitment to your dog's lifetime of being groomed. It's up to you to make it a good experience for your dog! Make sure you are taking the steps to get him comfortable with getting groomed. Do not wait until your pup is a year old and getting matted to be the first time he's ever encountered the groomer. It's not fair to him and will be a more scary experience.
Doodles are wonderful dogs to own--they are fun, have generally good temperaments, and are loyal companions and great family dogs. We love grooming doodles and look forward to working with you and grooming your doodle!