Brushing Your Poodle
Brushing a Poodle, whether it be for show or looking glamorous at home, is a developed skill. Correct equipment is a must to get good results. A proper Grooming Table, Pin Brushes, Metal Comb, Coat Conditioning Sprays, a High Speed Blow Dryer, a good Finishing Dryer and proper Slicker Brushes are key to getting the job done. This equipment must be of superior quality and cannot be purchased at the local pet supply. Investment in professional grade equipment is well worth it, as lower-quality equipment will not get the same results, nor will they last. Chances are you’ll end up frustrated and weary.
Bathing your Poodle once every 7 to 10 days is a must. Brushing should be performed every other day in between baths. This is a time-saving maintenance schedule that will save tons of dematting time and keep your Poodle in fantastic condition. Of course coat management is also effected by using a good shampoo and conditioner combination.
Banding the top knots and mane area is also required for keeping coat tangle-free and not suffering damage from breakage.
Growing coat on a Poodle also requires good nutrition with supplementation and a life style that is fun while keeping coat care in mind. Lots of tugging and pulling by other pets is a hindrance and will result in non-optimum coat condition. Show Poodles need to play with human friends or pet friends that are not inclined to grab and pull those valuable locks on the head, ears and back of neck.
Poodles must be trained to lay on the grooming tables both in a Sphinx-like position and on their sides in a relaxed laying position. Start this early when they are puppies and you’ll be have a much easier time.
When brushing a Poodle’s top knot and mane have the poodle on the grooming table in a Sphinx-like position. I start near the tail end and work my way up to the top knot when brushing. I use a good conditioning spray or if the poodle has some matting I use some even more concentrated conditioning spray. The golden rule here is NEVER BRUSH A DRY COAT! I use my long pinned Pin Brush when brushing coat that is not clean or could have some tangles.
Using the Finishing Dryer on a cool, not-too-high air flow setting, I start brushing at the edge of the long coat along the back. It’s a very light touch with a slowed flick of the wrist upward motion as if to sort of gently “pluck” the matts out of the coat. Remember any coat that comes out on the brush means that you are brushing too hard and trying to get through the process too fast. When grooming a Poodle, time is not an issue. You must relax and enjoy the time you are spending with your poodle. The poodles like being groomed if they know you are not stressed and just trying to “get-er-done”.
If you run into heavy tangles, take your metal comb and work through the mat starting at the edge using only the end tooth of your comb a tiny bit at a time. Be sure to keep the dryer air flow pointed directly on the area you are working on – the air flow helps to separate the tangles and lets you see that you are making progress. You can also gently separate the big clumps of coat by pulling them apart with your fingers, then continue with your comb and then your Pin Brush. Be sure you have plenty of conditioner on the mat when using this method so you don’t break coat. Brush at the mat, working from the sides of the mat first. You can hold the mat with your other hand so that you get into it with your brush. Brushing in every direction breaks the mat up more efficiently. I never cut mats with my scissors or any other instruments to get through them. If matting is particularly heavy I use a Dematting Comb to break them up further after brushing. When brushing or combing always start with the comb or brush that has the widest space between the teeth then go to a comb or brush that has teeth closer together and so on.
A NOTE ON BRUSHING OUT TANGLES
If the proper technique is used most tangles will just melt away. One thing one must have is faith that the technique works and not get into too much hurry. If your poodle is very tangled then try many short sessions to get the brushing done.
Brushing the sides of your poodle is done basically the same as the instructions above. However the poodle is laying flat on it’s side. This takes training to get a poodle comfortable in this position. Once a poodle learns that they have nothing to fear from being in this oh-so-vulnerable position, they learn to relax and enjoy the attention. My rule is that if I clip or scissor the coat in an area, then it’s ok to use a Slicker Brush to brush through the coat, providing the brushing is done in a gentle manner, not scraping skin or causing skinned areas in the coat from brushing too hard.
Always follow up with your Metal Comb after you have brushed the coat to make sure all tangles are found and handled. Never bathe a matted coat. This will only set the mats and make them much more difficult to brush out.
Okay, so you’re now ready to bathe your Poodle! Well Done!