Bathing and equipment
BATHING AND EQUIPMENT
If you wish to bath your puppy then use a mild shampoo, baby shampoo or frequent-wash is fine; purpose made puppy and dog shampoos are readily available. Be careful to keep ear flaps down when spraying water, and take care not to get shampoo in the eyes. Be vigilant about rinsing. Many novice people leave traces of shampoo in the coat and then wonder why the puppy is itching after a bath. The puppy or adult Poodle will need careful drying. This is not a breed one can wash and leave to dry. The coat must be thoroughly combed through when wet and brushed or blow-dried until completely dry. If you leave the hair wet a puppy could get dangerously cold and the hair will mat if not groomed properly as the puppy matures. Do not hold a hand drier close to the puppy’s eyes. Use it on low speed and just warm setting on the head.
With a pet trim it is relatively easy to keep control of the coat, provided the dog is trimmed regularly. New Poodle owners are often shocked that a Poodle needs to be trimmed so often. The coat hair grows very quickly and needs constant attention, rather like our own hair.
Good shampoos are essential to keep the coat healthy. Some are very harsh and strip the coat of all the natural oils, the dog begins to itch, the owner thinks the dog has fleas or something, washes again in harsh shampoo or some dreadful violent insecticide shampoo and hey presto! We have a skin problem. If in any doubt at all use baby shampoo. If you wouldn’t put it on your head certainly do not put it on your dog!
Some people may only own one or two dogs which they do not object to putting into their own bath. Whether you have a proper grooming room with its own bath for your dog; or you use your personal tub, a rubber bath mat will be an essential piece of equipment. In order to get a good finish on your clipping and scissoring, as well as brushing, your Poodle needs to be scrumptiously clean. Most Poodles like water and enjoy their bath and you must insist that they stand still while this toilet is carried out. Otherwise you are likely to swamp the floor. A bath that is waist- high is a great asset. Have the grooming table beside the bath for ease in getting the Standard Poodle in and out of the bath. Some people have a ramp which their dogs walk up to get into the bath. And if you are extra lucky you can purchase a bath that has the mechanism to go up and down - either by foot pump, or electric means. If you have strong arms and a good back you can, of course, place your arms around the chest and back legs of the dog and lift it into the bath. Back pain however, seems to get to us all in the end.
Always use a spray or shower unit to bath your Standard Poodle. It is impossible to get the coat adequately wet and rinsed just using jugs of water. Good dog shampoos are essential. Some shampoos are very harsh, stripping the valuable oil out of the skin and subsequently causing the dog to itch and scratch. If you are unsure, use a baby shampoo.
Before starting the ablutions, be sure your dog has its ear flaps down, or to be on the safe side, pop a little cotton wool just inside the ear to prevent the water and shampoo saturating the ear canal. It is also a good idea to groom out any tangles before bathing, if necessary using an anti-tangle spray. With some coats it is easier to split felts and tangles with the finger-tips when the hair is wet. Hopefully though, because you have taken care of your Standard Poodle’s coat, it will be tangle and felt free.
Wet hair thoroughly; with the full coat it is advisable to wet from the base of the body upwards, otherwise the water tends to run over the top of the coat without making it sufficiently wet. Next, using a squeeze bottle, distribute the frequent-wash or suitable shampoo systematically over head, down body, legs and tail, adding water where necessary to encourage a good lather. Don’t forget under the tummy and hygiene area. Take care not to get shampoo in the eyes. Once the coat is well lathered and feeling clean, you can start the rinsing. Do be sure the water is warm, Rinse systematically from the head, tipping it back slightly to allow the water and shampoo to run away from the eyes. Rinse ears, down neck, the body, legs and tail. Do be sure also to rinse underneath, lift the full coat to ensure that each layer of hair is thoroughly free of all traces of shampoo. Rinse, rinse, and rinse until the dog is squeaky clean. Shampoo left in the coat will encourage scurf, and it can make the dog itch, and sometimes even cause eczema. Rinsing a large coat takes time. Double check that all the shampoo is removed from the coat before allowing the dog to leave the bath tub.
Conditioner can be applied if required. Spray in conditioner can be used before you start drying. Select shampoos that suit your dogs coat and skin. Your Standard Poodle can be bather frequently as required with no fear of damaging the coat. In fact, clean hair tends to grow faster that dirty hair and is less likely to break.
DRYING THE COAT
If you keep a Standard Poodle as a pet you will probably have its hair cut short into Sporting or Lamb trim. In that case you many be satisfied with one of the many hand-held dryers on the market, although I still advocate that life in the grooming room is so much easier with a stand dryer for all coats and trims. The average price of a dryer may at first give you a sharp intake of breath, but when you consider their use and shelf-life they are definitely worth every penny you spend on them.
For pet owner or those who want to show their dogs the stand dryer is a wonderful piece of equipment, as it will leave you with two hands free to work bushing the coat. Puppies and adult dogs soon get accustomed to the force of the dryer, and usually quite like it, going to sleep sometimes in the process. When drying the coat, do take into consideration that your dog will feel heat more intensely than you.
Having completed the thorough bathing, and having towelled the dog well, allow the dog to return to the grooming table. Turn on your dryer pointing the muzzle to the area you want to dry, and brush continuously as you go, from the foot upwards in sections until the hair is fluffy dry. When completed run you comb through the whole coal to be sure there are no tangles. Wet hair left to dry without brushing and using your dryer can easily tangle or mat.
With the show dog, once it is accustomed to the dryer, it is a good idea, as with brushing and combing, to get the dog used to laying on its side so that you can dry the full mane underneath, and then in sections up the rib cage to the spine. Using stay-in conditioner will greatly help the grooming process. Complete one side and then turn the dog over to repeat on the other side. Next stand or sit the dog up and check that the mane is thoroughly dry at the front. You can dry this part before laying the dog on its side if that is preferable.
Top-knot bands can be used on the long head hair to keep it out of the dog’s eyes, and enable it to see where it is going. Ear fringes can be wrapped with wrappers or banded to keep out of food. Pet dogs look gorgeous when they are considerately trimmed. Show dogs need far more attention, but they invariable look wonderful after a bath and groom out.
Most pet shops and garden centres sell pin brushes, slicker brushes and wide tooth combs, which is all most pet owners require for everyday grooming of a Standard Poodle. If you intend to clip your Poodle yourself you can purchase all the necessary equipment from one source. Ask your breeder for the address of a supplier or buy one of the dog papers or magazines where you will find advertisements from suppliers. And of course the Internet will guide you to professional outlets. No matter where you live in the world it is relatively easy to obtain good quality equipment.
It is not a good idea to learn the art of trimming on a puppy. You will get frustrated and the poor, naturally excitably puppy will suffer for it. Better to find a good, experienced trimmer who is willing to help you. (Don’t expect this advice for free). There are courses available but they are very expensive and there is the risk that you may not take to trimming at all and you will have wasted as much money as it costs for your dog to be trimmed for a couple of years. Far better to choose your breeder wisely and have a few lessens with them. While some Poodle owners quickly pick up the rudiments of trimming, others find it an impossible task and take their dog to the Poodle Parlour for its whole life. There is nothing wrong with this, provided you are in a position to pay. Poodles must be trimmed regularly. Every four to six weeks. Most show dogs are trimmed and bathed every week.