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How to Groom a Toy Poodle

By Lisa McQuerrey
 

Overview

Grooming a toy poodle can be a challenging undertaking, primarily because of the dog’s small stature combined with his often excitable personality. For this reason, many toy poodle owners opt for simple cuts such as the teddy bear or the kennel cut, which provide a nearly uniform length trim across the dog’s body. If you are uncomfortable attempting grooming on your own, consult a trained professional for lessons or hands-on advice.

Step 1

Get your toy poodle used to the sound and sensation of hair clippers before a grooming session begins. Start by introducing the sound and then the feel of the vibrating clippers.

Step 2

Use a pin brush and brush in short strokes from the top of the head to the tail; across the sides and belly; from the top down on the chest; and from the top down on each leg.

Step 3

Hold your dog still while brushing and correct him any time he starts to wiggle or pull away.

Step 4

Take your dog’s lead as to when he seems comfortable with the routine. Some exceptionally nervous toy poodles require light sedation for grooming, though this is something that should first be discussed with your vet.

Step 1

Fill a basin, sink or tub with lukewarm water and set your dog inside. Pet him and talk to him as you pour water from the bath across his body.

Step 2

Use a conditioning commercial dog shampoo in the amount recommended on the shampoo’s label. Wash your poodle following the same pattern you use in brushing to get him comfortable with the order of grooming events.

Step 3

Towel your poodle dry and use a damp cotton swab to gently wash the underside of his ears. Never use anything sharp in your dog’s ears and never use a Q-tip or any instrument that can reach into the ear canal itself. The swab will allow you to gently clean the inside of the ear surface to remove debris without accidentally hurting your toy poodle.

Step 4

Use a wet washcloth to wash around your dog’s eyes, gently removing any debris that collects in the corners. Toy poodles are prone to runny eyes and tear stains on the fur around their eyes. You can clean it regularly with a damp cloth to control the problem or use a commercial product formulated especially to remove the discoloration from tear stains.

Step 5

Clip any errant hairs inside your dog’s ears using blunt-tipped scissors, taking care to avoid the ear canal. If the ear canal has a bad odor or excessive ingrown hairs that are red or swollen, consult your vet to assess the situation and decide the best course of action.

Step 1

Use a greyhound or pin brush to gently comb through matted hair. Toy poodles are exceptionally susceptible to frequent matting, which makes regular brushing and grooming a necessity.

Step 2

Hold sections of extremely matted hair as close to the skin as possible and use short, quick brushes to remove the tangle.

Step 3

Ask a professional groomer to shave your toy poodle in a tight cut if you are unsuccessful in removing stubborn mats on your own.

Step 1

Decide on a grooming style, if you plan to clip your toy poodle’s hair as part of the grooming process. Popular cuts for toy poodles include the kennel cut, in which the hair is the same length across the body, with a shaved face, topknot of hair on the head and a fluffy ball left on the end of the tail; and a teddy bear cut, which is similar to a kennel cut with the face left fluffy, yet trimmed around the eyes and muzzle.

Step 2

Place your toy poodle on a raised, non-slip surface. Shallow basin sinks and utility sinks with bath mats are good places for grooming, as your toy poodle will be safely contained, yet easily accessible.

Step 3

Set clipper blades in the desired length and shave your toy poodle from front to back on his back, belly and rear; shave from the top down on the legs, chest, throat and tail.

Step 4

Hold your toy poodle’s face gently yet firmly for face and exterior ear shaving. Excitable dogs can become extra jittery when the clippers are where they can see and hear them, and they may pull or struggle. If possible, have a friend or family member help you by swaddling the dog in a towel while you trim his face and ears. Use extra care around sensitive areas, including the ears, genitals and feet.

Step 5

Use a hair dryer on a low setting to blow cut hair away.
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