The other day, I got to groom two Poodles from the same family. One was an adult Toy Poodle, and the other was a 5-month-old Standard Poodle puppy. They were quite an interesting pair! Anyway, I took a lot of photos to give you a sense of the process I go through when grooming Poodles.
Here is the before picture of the Toy Poodle. She's all nice and curly and straggly, and when dogs look like this, you wonder how much of the curl will come out with the bath and blow dry and how much will be matting left over after the dryer.
Here she is after the bath and blow dry. See how her front legs and body are now fluffy, but her back leg still looks scraggly? Those are pin mats that I will need to brush out. Not fun, but they aren't bad enough mats to require shaving. Brushing those legs was a little time consuming, but it wasn't very hard on the dog; I was very gentle.
This is her all brushed out and with her feet and face shaved, but no haircut on her body yet. All groomers have a different order that they do things in; some groomers may do the feet and face very first or very last, for example. This is just my order.
I do what is called a Town and Country (or sometimes called a Lamb) clip on her. In this picture, I have cut the hair on her body but not her legs yet. This gives you some sense of the pattern involved.
Next I take her legs a little bit shorter. I haven't yet blended the pattern or trimmed around her feet, I've just taken the length of her legs down.
Lastly, I neaten up her legs and cut her topknot. This is the final product.
Isn't she cute? She took me a solid hour and a half from start to finish.
Here's the Standard Poodle puppy. 5 months old. Isn't he huge?
Just in case you can't tell exactly how big he is, here he is next to his Toy Poodle sister.
This guy is going to be ENORMOUS.
Anyway, that is how he looked when he first came in. They wanted him to get a full haircut for the very first time. Since he had a TON of hair to wash and dry, I quickly shaved his face and feet before the bath so that I would have less hair to wash and dry, especially since most dogs don't like having their faces dried. I wasn't going for perfect here; I just wanted to get some hair off before the bath.
Here he is after the bath. I've already gone back and fixed his face and his feet and brushed him out, but I haven't cut any of the hair on his body yet.
And yes, this guy was surprisingly mellow for such a young puppy. They started bringing him in November when he was 3 months old and have brought him once a month since then - the change in him from that first groom to now is AMAZING - he is so much calmer and relaxed now that he knows the whole process and has gotten used to me. That is why it is SO important to start puppies of any breed as young as possible, so that they can get used to everything before getting a full haircut.
Anyway, they wanted a little bit of length taken off, but not too much. They wanted a longer cut than any of my guard combs would provide, so I had to hand-scissor his entire body. Here's a picture of how scraggly his hair was before the cut.
Here is how that same spot on his back looked after I scissored all the straggly pieces off.
I have to say, I'm rather impressed with how my hand scissoring has improved over the last six months or so.
Here's the final product. He looks so grown up now!
He is also clearly a Poodle now, where before he looked an awful lot like a Doodle. This guy took me a shade over two hours from start to finish.
If anybody was wondering where else I do things in my process, I cut the nails very first thing after the bath on all dogs (unless they HATE it, in which case I leave it for last - or do it before the bath if they like to pee and/or poop when they get their nails cut), and if the dog needs its pads shaved, I do that right after the toenails. I then proceed to shave the sanitary areas, and most of the time I will go shave the corners of the eyes next. From there I work on the body, legs, then head. I clean or pluck the ears very last thing, then add perfume and a bandanna or bows.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into how one groomer does Poodles!