Whether you have a Poodle, a Doodle, or another fluffy, long-haired breed, it's important to remember that mats are your enemy - and your dog's enemy, too! Matting is caused by shedding hair getting caught in the layers of the coat. These dogs do shed, just not on your floors and furniture. It sticks in their coat. This dead hair must be brushed out often and regularly so that it doesn't mat.

Mats can be very painful, and they can overheat your dog. I've heard some horrid stories. One lady told me she adopted a dog from a shelter that had mats in its legs that were tangled with mats on his belly so that he could not even stretch out his legs. They need to be brushed out THOROUGHLY at LEAST a FEW times a WEEK. Between the pads of the paw (moustache trimmers work great for cutting out mats in these areas but be cautious not to cut webbing between toes!), in the arm pit, the beard, around the ears, under the tail, on the elbows - these are spots you want to check often for mats. Don't just brush it out if you find one, as that can pull and hurt them just like it would hurt you. You can spray it with a conditioning detangler and then comb the mat out, or you can simply cut out the mat. Use a brush with long teeth, a comb. A Poodle comb works best.

The only time we find dog hair around our house is when we put it there, either because we are brushing or cutting the hair on one of our dogs. The hair does not blow all over like in shedding dogs, it stays in clumps in the comb until we remove it from the comb. We then pile it on the floor until we are done and then discard the pile or we sometimes put it in a trash bag as we remove the hair from the comb while we are grooming them. When we are done brushing or cutting hair, we then pick up any clumps we may have left laying around and then vacuum and no messy pet hair is left behind.

I've been asked about clippers. For a long time I used scissors. My dogs did not get introduced to clippers by me at an early age, or often enough, so clippers often turned the hair cut into a wrestling match. Doodles require heavy duty clippers. I got the Andis 2 speed at Petco and it works like a hot knife through butter. Just beware that it does get hot so watch for that and let the dog have breaks from grooming while you let the clippers cool.

Another grooming issue with long-haired breeds is ear grooming. Dogs with lots of long hair in or around the ears like Poodles and Spaniels especially are more prone to ear infections often caused by unsanitary ears, not just because of mats and ear wax, but the warm, moist conditions from the long hair. The ears can become a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast. Poodles, Doodles, and Newfoundlands all need their ears cleaned, or at least checked, as often as they are brushed, several times a week in some cases. Some dogs may need hair plucked from the ear so that the long hair in the ear doesn't become matted.

To keep your dog smelling good we recommend a bath, as needed. If your dog doesn't stink, he doesn't need a bath. Maybe he just needs his ears cleaned or his hair brushed or trimmed. If you keep the sanitary areas (beard, ears, under the tail where feces may accumulate or areas where urine might be sprayed) trimmed you won't have as many problems with odor before bath time. If you keep your dog in a long coat he may sweat and start to stink more than if kept in a shorter coat. You don't want to dry out the coat or the skin. He won't need baths as much in winter. We found a shampoo at the local feed store called Everday Fresh by Fresh 'n Clean. It's Hawaiian scent, but smells much like Fresh Linen. It's made of oatmeal, baking soda, and aloe vera. Not only does it smell fresh and clean, but it makes the coat softer after a bath.

Newfypoos prefer cold air, it makes them happy. In the Lower 48 they like to lay on the A/C vents in summer. They may choose to sleep on the cool floors instead of in your bed or on the couch at night. If you have heated floors or you keep your home toasty, you may have to keep your Newfypoo in a short cut even in winter, and they may prefer the couch to the heated floors. They will let you know if they are too hot and uncomfortable. They will pant, whine, pace, sigh, go outside a lot or drink a lot of water resulting in a constantly wet beard (if you choose to have them in a beard) and wet floors. Remember, Doodles can't shed if they get too hot. We used to keep our house at 63 degrees in winter, if they are in a short or medium coat they can easily stand 65 degrees.

I can't stress enough how important it is to start grooming your puppy often and early. If for nothing else you want them to get comfortable with being touched in different areas for grooming. They need to learn to not fear the sound of clippers or scissors around their ears, the sound of the nail trimmers chopping at their nails, or the blow dryer. The last thing you want is a dog that's almost as big as you or bigger fighting and wrestling with you or your groomer because of anxiety about something that needs to be done regularly its whole life if your dog is to be happy and healthy. Grooming can take minutes, hours, or days, depending on how cooperative your dog is about being handled for grooming.  Do yourself a favor and get them accustomed to it early!

Grooming

I'Our male Newfypoo at bath time at 5 months old's easy.

Tsaphah in a summer
cut at over 2 1/2 years old.

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