Grooming a pet Standard Poodle

I’ve been asked this so many times and I have avoided doing a blog post on the subject, because I am not a professional groomer.  I’m a simple pet owner who decided to groom her own dogs to help save some money.  When you start out, you probably will not do a very good job.  That is ok.  The great thing about Poodle hair is it will grow back and you can try again.  It is pouring buckets of rain, so I am not going to groom River today and show how to scissor the head and tail.  I am going to post what I have done and either edit this post or put a third grooming blog on that subject alone.  The two hardest aspects of grooming are the head and tail.  Everything else can be shaved down with a clipper, and during the summer my guys are often shaved all over with a clipper, so that is an option as well.

This group of videos will focus on a few key points.  I’m going to ask you to watch all of them.  I go over trimming the face, feet, and the butt area twice.  Once on the puppy, and once with Jazz.  You need to watch both.   I describe what to do better with Jubilee, but you can see what I am doing better with Jazz.  I was set to far back with Jubilee and she is a black dog, which makes it even worse.  The Jazz videos also cover brushing out, blow drying the dog, how to blow dry short coat vs long coat with the forced air drier.  I also go over how to shave the body and make it even and smooth for a clean look.  Lastly, I briefly cover scissoring the legs and trimming up her head so she can see.  I am not going to embed the videos into this blog.  Instead I am going to provide a link to the YouTube channel.   I have uploaded very large files so that you can watch the video full screen.


Jubilee puppy groom.  Face, Feet, Rear I was a bit far back on this and it is hard to see at times.  Watch in large screen if you can.

Jazz pre-bath.  Brushing out, when to use clippers before you bathe.
I talk about this in the video, but I have a ‘dirty coat’ blade and a ‘clean coat’ blade.  Most of the time I do not shave my dogs down before I groom them, because dirt dulls clipper blades.  There are occasions when I do shave before I bathe.  If the dog has 4 inches of hair and I plan to shave it off, I do not want to brush out, bathe, then have to blow dry all that coat.  If you do not blow dry, then you can bathe, let the dog dry overnight, then shave the coat the next day short.  If it is a long coat and you bathe without brushing you are going to need to shave it short, because you are going to felt the coat (start the cording process) with a bathe with no brush out or blow dry.  Just decide if you want to use the clipper on dirty coat or not, how short you are going to shave the coat, etc.  You can get under most black or white dogs with a 5 blade if they are starting to felt.  A 7 blade is easier as it cuts shorter and works better for light blues, some browns, and silver dogs who have the cotton textured undercoat.  It is very difficult to shave with a 3 3/4 or 4 blade on a coat that is felting at the skin.  Puppy coat doesn’t mat.  You are safe until about 1.5-2 years of age.

Jazz blow dry.  How to use the forced air drier (no heat!  Just fast blowing air) to dry your dog.  Why would you want to blow dry?  Well, it gives a very nice look.  It also allows you to trim the hair even.  It is so hard to give them a nice round head and tail if you do not blow dry the hair.  Many people just let their dogs dry over night and then the next day do all the grooming.  Again, that is perfectly fine.  Just be aware that once the dog steps foot outside to go potty, they now have dirt on the paws.  This means your blades are going to dull much quicker shaving dirty paws.  You have to weigh the cost of blade replacement or sharpening over drying the feet and shaving them.  You could wait for the face and rear, but think hard about at least drying the feet then getting those shaved down.

Jazz being trimmed.  Face, feet, tail, and body shaving.  Quick scissor of legs and around eyes.
Closer shots of what I am doing and a bit more detail on how to hold the clippers and what direction to go in.  It shows you have to brush and shave the body after your shave down.  Jazz was shaved down with a 5 blade a month ago on her body.  Today I just shaved her body down with the 3 3/4 blade, which took just a touch off her.  I left her legs, as I am going to grow those out over the next few months.  I will not shave her legs, but I will maintain her body short with this technique, then just scissor in the legs up to the shaved area.

I found a really good website on how to Dremel Dog Nails.  I am not going to re-invent the wheel on this.  Go to the site and read it over.  It is very in-depth and covers every aspect of the process.

Also, I’ve said this before but it bares repeating.  Go to YouTube and watch grooming videos.  You will pick up tips and tricks from just about every one you watch.  There is no way to cover every aspect without forgetting something, and again I am not a professional.  Teaching obedience is something I know how to do.  Teaching grooming is something I have done a handful of times in 15 years.  Each of those times it was the person watching me or me helping them with their own dogs and we were not doing detail work.  Just body cut downs.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful.  I’ll be putting up a video of River’s head and tail trim once the weather breaks.

Useful links on this subject:  BLOG POST ON THE TOOLS I USE.




So we have a visitor of the puppy kind!  This past weekend we decided to take a quick road trip out to Gloria’s (Tintlet Poodles) to see some sights and pick up River’s daughter.  It was a great trip, even if there were some ‘issues’.  First, I forgot my tripod and filters for my camera.   Both are almost required to take photos of waterfalls.  Still, I didn’t cry over forgotten items.  Keith, Aiden, and I took unexpected ‘dips’ in the river at one stop, due to slippery rocks.  As luck would have it the worst fall was mine.  Thankfully the only thing injured was my pride.  I was able to keep my camera above water, though laying on your back in 6 inches of freezing stream water leaves a lot to be desired.  Just a little heads up; when you are crossing a stream and jumping from rock to rock… you might say to yourself “Hmm, maybe I should go the way Keith is going, less risk”.  Listen to that little voice people!  Do not squash it down with things like “Oh, I can make it!”.  Even if you can make it this time next time you might not be so lucky.

After driving the amazing scenic waterfall drive from Franklin, North Carolina up to Highland, North Carolina; the check engine light came on the van.  I’m not sure if I posted this, but I was unlucky enough to hit a deer on Thanksgiving day (that’s a story for another day).  ANYWAY… I’ve had the car back for about a month.  I noticed a small amount of oil on the ground where I park and mentioned it to Keith, but it was tiny and he thought maybe it wasn’t a problem.  We made a trip to Arkansas over New Years without an issue, so we were not worried.  When the check engine light came on near Highland, I told Keith my gut says we are low on oil.  We drove up to Highland and checked the oil, which was indeed a quart low.  At least we knew the issues.  Instead of staying overnight in Franklin, I called Gloria and told her we probably needed to pick up the puppy and start heading back towards Huntsville, so we could get the car into the shop the next day.  She thought that was a good idea, so after adding in a quart of oil we arrived at Tintlet Ranch.  It has been 4 years since I have visited Gloria.  Jazz was about 2 weeks old when I saw her litter at the grooming shop.  My sister Lisa and I were picking up Quincy and his siblings from Julie Tune, who was at a Flyball match in North Carolina.  Nothing had changed, except for a few new Poodle faces.  River, Jazz, and Lina just walked in and acted like they were moving in.  Gloria turned loose the girls who were not in season so everyone could play.  We hung out there for about an hour, but really needed to get on the road.  It was going to be 10PM before we made it back to Huntsville.

Jubilee is fitting in nicely with the pack.  Lina wasn’t keen on the idea of a puppy for the few two days, but now she is playing with her just like she does with Jazz.  River is very good with her, but he sure wishes she would grasp a few key rules.  His most important rule: Do not jump on mom or the kids!!  He runs over and growls, shoves the puppy off, and stands there looking at her as if to say “Try it again, little rude thing!”  River has this thing with anyone playing rough with each other, kids, dogs, anyone.  Jazz likes playing with her… or not.  Doesn’t matter to Miss Jazz.  She just goes with the flow.  “Oh, new dog.  Yeah ok.” is Jazz’s mentality.

I groomed up the baby today and took video of how to shave face, feet, and around the tail.  “Hopefully” that video turned out and I will use it on the follow up grooming blog post tomorrow or Friday.  For now, enjoy some sweet puppy photos.



Grooming equipment needed to groom your own poodle.

QUESTION from Heather, one of our Std Poodle owners: “I’m considering grooming Afton and Sasha myself. What are the basic tools that you recommend for a beginner? Do you have any tips on the process? I’ve been watching some YouTube videos, but value your opinion and advice.”
 I’ve helped many people over the years learn to do some basic upkeep on their dogs.  If you are seeking to save money, this is a good option, but it will cost you a lot of time and energy.  The monetary savings will add up much quicker if you have more than one Std Poodle, but it will cost you twice as much (or more) in time.  Please note and I am going to state this loudly, YOUR DOG NEEDS TO GO TO THE GROOMER AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR!  “But Becky, I have been grooming my own dogs for years, I don’t see why this is needed.”  Someday during your dog’s life you might become sick, or somehow unable to groom your dog.  Maybe you are pregnant with twins and placed on bed rest, as I was.  Maybe you develop a disease which causes pain in your joints, making it extremely hard to groom your own dog.  Maybe you want your dog looking professionally groomed once a year for the holidays.  All those reasons and more are why you should expose your dog to being groomed by someone other than yourself at least once a year, more often when they are young.  Having a professional train the puppy will give them the experiences they need to be lifetime good grooming clients.  Yearly trips will remind them it isn’t something to freak out about.   There is nothing easy about grooming a Std Poodle.  It takes time, energy, and hours of your day.  Many pet owners break up the grooming into several days, it is that time intensive unless you know what you are doing and have the tools needed to speed up the process.  You have to decide how much your time is worth and how much time you are going to put into this to make your dog look good.  Professional groomers earn their money 10 times over, but if you have the time, desire, and ability to learn new things then I will do my best to help.
If you are undaunted by all this, keep reading.  Below are two links that provide detailed list of tools most of us use to groom our dogs.

Both Ridgewood and Bijou Poodles have great web sites with tons of grooming information.I’m guessing you looked over that list and fell over thinking “Really?  I need ALL THAT??”  No, not to start.  For home grooming here is what I would suggest you get first and why.

1.  Andis 2 speed clippers.  I’ve had mine for 20 years and they have never skipped a beat.  Two speeds because sometimes you need high to get through harsh poodle coat.  I have not used a corded Wahl with blades, but I have heard they are good.  I have stuck with Andis because I can run down to Petco in a pinch and pick up a blade as needed.  Almost everyone carries their blades along with Oster clippers and blades.  I’ve used Andis and Oster clippers and I perfer Andis because the blades get hot before the housing on the clippers themselves.  The Oster would give me more time with a single blade, but once the clippers themselves got hot, the unit couldn’t perform fast enough to cut my dogs coat.  Maybe there was something wrong with my clippers, but both mine and my sisters Andis have never gotten hot, even running for an hour.  The blades get hot on the Andis pretty quick, but you can change the blade and put the hot blade on an ice pack, using your other blade while that one cools.  Which brings me to number two.

2.  Blades:  If I had to pick I would get two #5 full cut (FC)  blades for body cuts and a #15 blade for the face.  The clippers generally come with a #10 blade, but the #15 cuts a touch shorter.  Use the 10 on the feet and the 15 on the face.  Never buy a skip tooth blade as a novice.  You will just slice your dog open.  I am not joking… full tooth/cut or nothing.
3.  Blade wash and oil.  Most new clipper sets come with the oil, but you will need to buy the wash.  Taking care of your blades will save you money.  Wash and oil them right when you get it out of the box to remove any manufacturing residue.  Then wash them and oil them after each use.  Keep them away from moisture.  If you use ice packs to cool them, make sure the ice pack is not wet, keep a rag or something on it to keep the blade dry.  Wet plus metal = rust = useless blade = $40-60 dollars wasted unless you know a good blade sharpener.
4.  Brushes:  Regular slicker, soft slicker, pin brush, and comb.  Regular slickers are for longer coats, de-matting, etc.  You can scratch a dog with these, so you must learn to use them right.  Soft slickers are for short coats, blow drying coat, fluffing already brushed out tangle free hair.  Pin brush is for brushing between baths, keeping the coat mat free, and dealing with longer coat in general.  Pick a pin brush without ‘balls’ on the tips if you value coat thickness and length.  Those balls pull out the dogs hair and cause more damage than good.  Comb is needed for ‘comb overs’ to scissor the top knot, tail, and any poms you are growing on the body / legs.  Get a metal comb, preferably anti static.  I think both links above listed brands and types of combs, brushes, etc.  Read it over and pick a few things you want.  If I were going to be stuck on a deserted island with my poodles and could only take two of these, it would be the regular slicker and the comb and I would use a human pin type hairbrush for maintenance brushing for all of us.

5.  Scissors.  Buy a pair of good of 8.5 inch shears (scissors).  Geibs is a good brand and they have some nice entry (entree) level shear that will not break the bank.  10 inches is probably to long for most people to handle starting out and really not needed unless you are a professional.  I rarely use my 10 inch shears.  Around 8 inches will get the job done and save you a ton of time dealing with a Standard Poodle’s hair.  Using human size scissors on a Std Poodle is just painful.  I’m not going to put a link to anything because in a year’s time that link will be broken.  Just search for Geibs canine shears and see what you can find.  Entry level should run $70-80, a nice mid range Geibs Gator will be about $120-150.  You might think $80 dollars is a lot for a pair of scissors, but let me tell you these things save time and keep your hand from falling off.  They are balanced and will last a lifetime.  They come in curved and straight.  Just get the straight.  The curved has limited uses for beginners.

6.  Nail care:  I’d suggest a cordless small Dremel from the hardware store with the sandpaper heads.  Don’t go off and buy one of those ‘pet’ versions.  Just get a normal Dremel, it will cost about $30 and be useful for more than just your dogs nails.  It is safer and easier than cutting nails, especially if your dogs nails are black.  If you bought your puppy from me… likely they are black as I rarely have light colored dogs or pups.  If you want to trim them with a cutter, go watch some videos on YouTube and learn what you are doing.  Personally, I would suggest taking them to the vet and letting them trim their nails a couple times a month if you do not want to grind them.  It will save you pain and suffering and cost you about $15.  You could also ask your favorite groomer to do this as well on a drop in basis.  It is to complicated to explain how to do it without causing a bleed and making your dog hate the process.
7.  Ear care I covered in a previous blog post.  Do a search on this blog.  I’ll put a link up later. :)
1.  Grooming table.  You can use your coffee table or the picnic table outside with a nonslip bath mat, but really a real grooming table is a back saver and keeps the dog contained to a small space.  The dogs have good traction so they aren’t slipping while you are picking up feet to shave them and they can’t back up while you are working on them.  They all like to creep backward as you work, so this stops from happening.  You can get a grooming arm, which has a loop on it to keep the dogs head steady and you can even use a leash to hold up their rear so they don’t sit.  Just a word of caution: NEVER leave the dog in the noose and walk away.  I don’t care how well trained your dog is, just do not do it.  Something could scare even the best trained dog, and cause them to panic, fall off, and hang themselves.  Take the loop off them, and tell them to stay if you want to work on not leaving the table.  If they jump off, they have not risked life or limb.  You can get a cheap starter table that will work for many years for about $100.  Get 36 inch x 24 inch for the table size.
2.  Wahl Moser Arco Cordless Clippers are my favorite thing on the planet, but they have limited use which is why they are not listed above.  These little guys are almost silent, light weight, and carry a charge that can last though an entire litter of pups face, feet, and butts!  They come with an adjustable blade that will clip short to bald in length (#9, #10, #15, #30, #40).  This is the only blade it uses and few places will sharpen this blade.  It is considered ‘use and toss’ and must be replaced unless you find a nice person who will sharpen them for you.  However, if you take care of this blade you should not need to replace it for a year or more.  It is good value for what it does.  I use this exclusively for my dogs faces, feet, belly area, and tails / butt area.  Keeps everything super short and clean.  This is a true pro touch to a home groom job.  If you are someone who is looking for a way to keep your dog looking spiffy between pro-grooms every few months, this would be the single most important purchase you can make.  Just make sure you only use this on a freshly bathed and dried coat.  It will save the blade.  Seriously, I love this thing.  It runs about $140

3.  More Blades:  To round out your collection, I would get a single 7 full cut blade for the summer body cuts, then you can use the 5 blade on the legs and make the dog look like it came fresh from the groomer.  I also like my 4 blade, which is a touch longer than the 5 blade.
4.  Dryers.  My most used dryer is my forced air Metro Commander 2-Speed.  I’ve had this same drier for 20 years and it has never needed a single repair.  This drier does not heat the air flowing though it.  What it does is blow super hard and forces the moisture off the dog.  It is not the fastest dryer, but it is great at taking 90% of the wet off the dog in a matter of minutes.  It can give you a really good professional look and not break the bank, plus this drier will not pop your breaker as it doesn’t use a heating element.  Using this paired with a basic human hairdryer to finish off the coat will speed up grooming and give you a great looking poodle.  They cost about $150.  If you want to save your back and have money to burn you can get a stand dryer.  A decent heated stand dryer will be $300-500.  Unless you are growing show coat, I don’t suggest investing in this.  If you keep your poodle fairly short, you can blow off the wet with the forced air dryer then touch them up with the human dryer and be done.
The next blog post (likely next week, we are going to be busy this weekend with our 4 day holiday!) will give details about the order I groom in.  Bathing, brushing, clipping, scissoring, etc and why I do those things in a specific order.   If you want specific help with items and for me to do a search for something, please post in the comments below or drop me an email.  I do not want to post links in this blog, because in a year’s time the links will probably be broken.
Heather - January 15, 2015 - 6:15 pm

Thanks so much! I can’t wait to read about your process!

Ziva and Cory pups due in March 2015!

I am happy to announce we have a litter on the way!  Our beautiful blue girl, Ziva has been bred to Cory, an amazing sweet blue boy.  Both dogs are calm and on the smaller side, though Cory still has a very male head and bone structure.  I’ve been wanting to do this breeding for several years, after I first met Cory in 2012.  We expect these guys to make amazing pets, therapy dogs, and light/moderate performance prospects.  First time Poodle owners would be happy with a puppy from these two stable Standards.  These two dogs can produce Black, Blue, Silver, and White/Cream in solid colors.  We expect a nice variety from with these two.   This will be Ziva’s second and last litter.

This litter is a co-bred litter and will be whelped and raised at Cory and Ziva’s breeder’s / owners home in North Carolina, due to some travel plans I have already in place for spring.  Gloria (mother) and Kelsey (daughter) are the owners of and breed amazing dogs who are expertly cared for and raised in their homes.   There are few breeders I am willing to own dogs with, but these two ladies are the best.  They are also amazing groomers who will start your puppy off right with frequent baths, brushing, and shaving training.  When the pups turn 7 weeks of age, I will pick up the pups and temperament test them.   I plan to bring the litter to ‘Camp Baxter’ for training and socialization and final placement.  I am traveling again the end of May, so those pups not picked up by mid May will return to Gloria until we return from our trip.  Gloria is located 4 hours from me, in Franklin, NC.  This is very convenient for puppy socialization and training fun!  All this traveling produces really resilient pups who rarely get car sick and do not stress over change.

Purchase price for a pet puppy with limited registration is $1600.00.   I am not looking for foster homes in the Alabama region, as I believe we will only be here for 2 years.  However, Gloria is looking for a few select foster homes for litters this year.  If you are interested in fostering and live within 4 hours drive of her home in Franklin, NC, contact her!  Foster homes keep our dog populations down but allow us to be active breeders.  It is a win / win for everyone involved.  Her website has contact information.


AKC name, photos, health testing, pedigree for the litter, and COI all located below.

SIRE: U-GRCH Tintlet Curtain Call

Cory’s Health Testing Results:

PO-SA4129/26M-VPI SEBACEOUS ADENITIS Jan 27 2014 Feb 27 2014 26 NORMAL
PO-EYE798/27M-VPI EYES Feb 14 2014 Feb 28 2014 27 NORMAL
PO-21465G26M-VPI HIPS Jan 27 2014 Mar 7 2014 26 GOOD
PO-EL2132M26-VPI ELBOW Jan 27 2014 Mar 7 2014 26 NORMAL
PO-TH2664/26M-VPI THYROID Jan 27 2014 Mar 13 2014 26 NORMAL

DAM: U-GRCH Tintlet Livin’ So Divine

ZIVA’s Health Testing Results:

POS-375734 CERF Mar 16 2012 Mar 16 2012 * 21 TESTED: 12
PO-20446E29F-VPI HIPS Nov 30 2012 Dec 27 2012 29 EXCELLENT
PO-EL1794F29-VPI ELBOW Nov 30 2012 Dec 27 2012 29 NORMAL
PO-VW901/33F-VPI-CAR VON WILLEBRANDS Mar 15 2013 Mar 25 2013 33 CARRIER
PO-EYE800/33F-VPI EYES Mar 15 2013 Feb 28 2014 * 33 NORMAL
PO-CA1903/47F/C-VPI CARDIAC May 31 2014 Jul 16 2014 47 NORMAL – CARDIOLOGIST
PO-EYE800/47F-VPI EYES May 31 2014 Jul 18 2014 47 NORMAL
PO-TH2792/49F-VPI THYROID Jul 11 2014 Aug 12 2014 49 NORMAL


COI for Litter


River’s puppy boy looking for a great home!

UPDATE:  12/14/2014:  SOLD!!

As some of you might know River sired a litter for Gloria at Tintlet Poodles in North Carolina.  All the pups were spoken for, but as sometimes happens one male is back up for adoption again.  He is a lovely black male and should stay black.  He is 9 weeks old and cute as a button.  Calm, sweet, easy going.  Would do well in a show or pet home.  He is not high drive and will make an excellent family member.  Contact Gloria at : Evening and Weekends: (828) 524-1055 /  Weekdays: (828) 349-5100  / / if you are interested in this puppy.



Marlane - December 12, 2014 - 9:10 pm

So cute…and look at him stacking like a big boy! Seems like only yesterday Mycroft was 9 weeks…time flies!