Many doodle owners find themselves perplexed on how to care for their puppy’s coat or adult dog’s hair, especially if they’re first-time doodle owners. We don’t want that for you and your Beloved Bernedoodle, so we’ve compiled all the best tips for you in order to take the mystery out of doodle hair. My number-one tip is to BRUSH your bernedoodle’s hair at least twice a week. Depending on the coat type, some may need it every day or every other day. Be sure to use the right tools.
I share my favorite tools and shampoo in the Products We Love page of my website. I have found that a metal comb and a slicker brush are best. There is even a detangling and de-matting brush you can use when you encounter tougher spots.
At-home weekly grooming:
It’s important to establish a good habit of sitting with your doodle and brushing his or her hair while you’re watching your favorite show in the evening…or whenever you are most likely to have some downtime each day. Start early and get your puppy used to the brush right away.
Be sure to get the bristles of the brush or the teeth of the comb down to the skin — gently of course. Some doodle owners make the mistake of just brushing the top of the hair, while the hair underneath gets matted. They think they have been staying on top of at-home grooming… until they take their pup to a professional groomer and learn there are terrible mats beneath that top layer of hair. Then their pup has to be shaved.
How do you know you’re getting down to the skin when brushing? A doodle’s hair will part, just like human hair and you can see their skin. If you can’t see the skin, that probably means you already have a layer of matting and your doodle may need to be shaved. Brush down to the skin, gently, from the start to avoid this layer of matting near the skin. Your doodle — and your groomer — will thank you!
Problem areas that often get neglected, so make sure you give these areas attention while brushing:
- The ears and just behind the ears.
- Around the collar.
- The haunches (thigh-buttocks area)
- The tail.
- The “armpit.”
- The chest and tummy area.
Face Trimming at home:
This is an great YouTube video that teaches you how to safely trim the hair around your doodle’s face in between professional grooming visits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWdvcWaMOCg
Please note: I would not use the scissors they use in the video. I would use these, as they have rounded tips for extra safety. Click on the photo to be taken to the product on Amazon:
Getting out mats and tangles:
I’ve collected these tips from real bernedoodle owners on Facebook. When you encounter a mat or tangle, here’s what you can try:
- Coconut Oil – Apply to the mat and work in with your fingers. Let it sit, and then brush or comb it out. I’ve been getting Nature’s Way for many years, and it’s one of the most affordable brands:
- Corn Starch – Place a little corn starch near the skin at the mat and work it in with your fingers. Let it sit for a bit. Then, carefully start to break apart the tangle with your comb.
- GloCoat Pet Conditioner and Detangler is one of the best! Every doodle owners should have this on hand. This instant coat conditioner quickly penetrates mats and tangles for faster comb-outs.
- For tougher mats, some people swear by using a plastic letter opener. PLEASE research this and/or watch a YouTube video tutorial. You do not want to hurt or cut your Beloved Bernedoodle’s skin.
- Cowboy Magic Concentrated Detangle and Shine
- Safari Pet Products De-Matting Comb – This baby is only $7.99 on Amazon!
- The Shelandy Pet Dryer is the BEST for quickly and efficiently drying your doodle after a bath. Sometimes it can take a while for your pup’s hair to air dry, and then his or her coat can become stinky. That stinks (no pun intended) because the whole point of bathing your dog is to get them clean and smelling good. Since most people don’t want to sit there for 45 minutes with a regular blow dryer, the Shelandy Pet dryer is an absolute game changer.
How to communicate to a groomer what look you want:
I’ve seen it a hundred times on Facebook in the Bernedoodle and Doodle forums. A person takes their beloved doodle to the groomer for the first time and he or she comes back unrecognizable. We don’t want that to happen to you!
- The first thing I would recommend to is to find a great groomer. Ask your friends and family, post the question on Facebook, or check Yelp reviews. Find a groomer who is kind, caring, understanding, professional, and communicative. It’s okay if you don’t hit it off with the first groomer you find. Try a new place until you feel comfortable!
- Many doodles are cut with the puppy cut, lamb cut, teddy bear cut, or lion cut, but even those terms can mean different things to different groomers. We recommend you bringing lots of photos of bernedoodle hair cuts you like to your groomer and communicating very clearly what you want.
- The Facebook Bernedoodle groups I recommend here (scroll down to the bottom of the page), are a great place to get ideas and ask questions.
A note about shaving your Doodle:
I personally never shave my dogs. I request that the groomer use one to two levels up from that on the clippers. I understand that some people live in very hot, dry, or humid climates and believe their dog is much cooler with a shaved coat, or they like the look of it shaved. If that is what you’ve found personally for you and your dog, fantastic! Research has shown that shaving a dog during the summer may not actually keep them cool. Their coat is designed to keep them cooler and protects their skin from sun burn.
“A pet’s coat is designed by nature to keep it cool during the summer and warm in the winter. By shaving your pet you usually interfere with this built-in temperature regulation.”– WebMD Pets
“Dogs’ coats are designed to capture air and use it as an insulator. In the winter, this keeps the cold out and holds the heat in. During the summer, this system holds the heat at bay and helps your dog regulate his body temperature. Without this insulating layer of hair, he is susceptible to heat stroke.
“Dogs do not cool down the same way that humans do.– Doghealth.com
When humans are overly warm, our skin perspires and the evaporation of the perspiration helps us to cool down. We have the advantage of perspiring skin over our entire body. In dogs, this evaporative cooling is limited to a very small area—the footpads, which sweat, and the lungs, where panting allows for latent heat to be removed through evaporation. Shaving the coat will have no effect on these areas.“
Although this is not what the above-cited research indicates, some say the do-not-shave rule only applies to dogs with a double coat such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, and huskies. Doodles don’t have a double coat, and of course poodles get shaved all the time. At the end of the day, you have to do what you and your vet think is best for your dog. I have personally found that shaving changes the coat texture and it can become more coarse…or that, a dog who was once nice and wavy can become curlier, or vice versa.
We hope that you’ve found these tips helpful! If so, please hit the like or share button below! 🙂