Let’s Talk Doodles!
The first thing I am going to stress to you is YES, YOUR DOODLE WILL REQUIRE A LOT OF GROOMING!! Your breeder should begin bathing, blow drying, clipping sanitary areas, cutting nails, etc. at 3 weeks of age. This helps your puppy get used to the sights, sounds, and sensations that go along with grooming. When your puppy comes home, he should be freshly bathed and groomed. That will set you up so that he/she will be ready for their next grooming session. This will be around the time that you get all shots finished up! YES, your puppy needs to be groomed regularly, starting as soon as they have their shots finished. That doesn't mean you have to have their puppy fluff cut off, or any drastic haircuts, but they need to continue their training, so that grooming is not a scary experience for them. Dogs that haven't gone through the proper "ramp-up" process, usually try to escape or jump off the table. The dryer is particularly scary and they often try to "eat" it. If they get really nervous, they will often express their anal glands, usually all over the groomer! That will ruin anyone's day!! So, to prevent that, take your puppy to the groomer and ask them to give them a bath and blow out and trim up their sanitary areas and between their paw pads.
Your doodle is going to need to be groomed every 4-6 weeks. Much like a poodle (they are at least 50% poodle after all) you should expect grooming to cost $80-$120+ per time depending on how big your dog is, how often you get it groomed, how much hair you want to have, and how complicated your desired cut is. To give you an idea of how much work your groomer is doing, to DRY a standard size doodle with just an inch of hair takes about 45 minutes to an hour. In order to do a proper cut your dog's hair MUST BE BLOWN OUT STRAIGHT! If we don't dry it straight you would get a choppy horrible haircut. Your groomer is going to spend 2-3 hours minimum working on your doodle..... and that is if they are calm and not matted!
YOU will have to PROPERLY brush your dog at home. The longer you want to keep the hair, the more brushing you will be doing! And it is important to brush/comb your doodle CORRECTLY! One of the biggest issues' groomers see with doodles is MATTING! So, if you want to keep your groomer happy and avoid having to shave your dog down bald learn to" line comb" your dog. Line combing is how you ensure that you brush ALL the hair ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE SKIN! Many people think they are brushing their dog well and in reality, they are only brushing the outer part of the hair while the part by the skin becomes a tangled matted mess! It is Important to comb every hair from the root to tip. If you don't know how to line comb, ask your breeder to show you. If they don't know how then ask your groomer to teach you! Don't want to have to comb your doodle EVERYDAY? Then plan on keeping their hair shorter! The longer the hair, the more brushing required! If your dog is going to wear a collar you MUST brush their neck hair and behind their ears regularly. If you want a lower maintenance hairstyle have your groomer, take your doodle's body hair down to 1/2-3/4 inch and scissor their legs a Little longer so they don't have chicken legs.
Now let's talk communication. Your groomer has spent a lot of time and money learning how to groom dogs so, for crying out loud don't go in and give them step by step instructions like they don't know what they are doing. You don't want someone telling you how to do every aspect of your job, so don't do it to your groomer!
Doodles do not have a "breed standard cut" and unless you have a poodle that you are going to show, there is no such thing as a "puppy cut". That does not give us enough information. Find a picture of a dog with a hairstyle you like, print it, and bring it with you. Please realize that your groomer does not have a magic wand, and they cannot make your dog look like the picture if your dog's hair is not the same type, or length. If your dog is built differently from the dog in the picture, it may be impossible to duplicate. Talk to your groomer when you pick up your dog. Let them know what you'd like the next time. For example, can we leave this part longer? Or make this shorter? Or this more round, less rounded, etc." Communicate with your groomer when you pick up your doodle. They can make a note on your chart about any changes for next time while it's fresh on their mind. Grooming is a very artistic job, and if you ask a dozen artists to paint the same picture, they will all look slightly different. Talk to your groomer if you want something different! Just like you would talk to your own hair stylist if you want your hair cut done a little different.
The last piece of advice I have for you is don't tell your groomer not to "poodle your doodle". 🤦♀️ Be Proud of your dog's heritage, they are 50% or more poodle, they ARE going to look a little like a poodle sometimes. That's like taking your kid to the hairstylist and saying "I don't want him to look like his father"!! I promise your groomer has no intention of shaving your doodle's feet, face, and tail base unless that's what you want. If you don't like the straight hair fluffed look when you get home lightly mist your doodle with water from a spray bottle and let them air dry...... you'll have your scruffy wavy look back...... and remember your groomer HAS to dry their hair straight to cut it properly!
Remember, your groomer is human. Talk to them and treat them with respect. Sometimes haircuts don't turn out the way you expect..... it always grows back.