Grooming a Poodle Mix: A Step By Step Guide With Videos


While taking your poodle mix to the dog groomer is probably a best practice, professional groomers tend to be very expensive and not always in an owner’s budget. If this is the case for you, grooming your poodle mix at home can be a great cost-effective option. Successful grooming at home is just a matter of following some simple steps and using the right grooming tools for the job.

Grooming a poodle mix Involves the following steps:

  1. Gather Materials Needed to Groom Your Poodle Mix
  2. Bath Your Poodle Mix 
  3. Prepare your Poodle Mix for Grooming
  4. Clip Your Dog’s Hair 
  5. Clean The teeth of your poodle mix 
  6. Trim Your Dog’s Nails

To get the best possible results, you need a step by step guide to give you all the information necessary to be successful when grooming your pooch. Luckily, You are in the right place, so keep on reading! 

How to Groom a Poodle Mix Step by Step 

Grooming your poodle mix should not be done in a haphazard way. The grooming process should be done in a purposeful way, following all of the appropriate steps. First, you should make sure that you have the appropriate materials before getting started. Then, you will need to clean and dry your dog thoroughly before cutting and shaving. 

Dog grooming doesn’t stop at shaving the hair. Many people don’t know that brushing a dog’s teeth and trimming his nails is a vital part of grooming. Equally important is bathing your pup and keeping his fur well-manicured and under control. 

The following steps will guide you through all of the information you need to properly groom your poodle mix:

Step 1 – Gather Materials Needed to Groom Your Poodle Mix

The first grooming step is to gather the materials that you’ll need for the grooming process. Using the correct tools for the job will save you time and hassle and ensure you can achieve that professional look at home.

Some of the most essential tools to groom your dog include: 

A Professional Dog Grooming Kit

If you don’t already have a dog grooming kit, the right time to get one is now.

Clipper kits that are made for humans are not ideal for grooming dogs because they are not designed to reach the unique nooks and crannies of the canine form.

The best dog grooming kits include several guards and a titanium blade. 

I recommend the PettingPal  Electric Hair Cutting Kit for Dogs. This trimmer is professional-grade and includes 4 guide guards and is one of the quietest trimmers out there. Check out this dog trimming kit here on Amazon here is see more information and the current price.

Dog Grooming Scissors

If you don’t already have scissors, you need to grab some immediately. Sensitive areas of your dog should be clipped away with scissors versus shaved off with clippers. Scissors are often less intrusive to a skittish or anxious dog. High-quality scissors are usually made of stainless steel.

Make sure that the scissors you use are blunt at the end for your dog’s safety. 

Curved Slicker Brush

This brush comes in handy, as it can control dog hair relatively easily and is efficient at removing debris. A curved slicker brush is perfect for any area where the hair is short. A regular boar bristle brush or paddle brush just will not stand up to the toughness of your dog hair. In addition, everyday brushes do not adequately remove debris.

Rubber Tipped Pin Brush

For pooches with medium to long hair, a pin brush like this one will remove stuck-on debris from the dog’s coat. This brush will also remove shed hair without much effort. A brush like this is necessary if you want to groom your dog, as the pros do! 

Dog De-Matting Comb

When your dog’s fur is matted, any old comb won’t do. You need a specialized comb to loosen up the mats.

A de-matting comb is designed to detangle fur that is either coarse or long. You aren’t likely to need this comb is your dog’s hair is short- one of the previously mentioned brushes will work fine in that case. 

A Dog Grooming Table

Since you are grooming your dog at home, you may be considering grooming your dog on the floor or your bed.

Grooming your poodle mix on the floor or on a bed is not recommended, as you need your dog to be restrained (to an extent), and you’ll be able to groom your dog better if you are standing up.

A Grooming table will make the grooming process safe and easy. 

I use the Polar Aurora Dog Grooming Table for my dog. I love the way this table easily folds up for storage so I don’t need a dedicated space for grooming my dog. Check out this table on Amazon here.

Dog shampoo and conditioner

Chances are you’ve already got shampoo and conditioner at home for your dog, but if you don’t, you should grab some. You’ll need to get your dog nice and clean before you start the trimming process. 

Check out this article I wrote on the best shampoos for poodles. In it, you’ll find the pros and cons of many of the most popular dog shampoos to help you determine the best product for your dog.

A Blow Dryer for Dogs

After your wash up your dog, you will need to dry him quickly and completely in preparation for trimming and cutting his hair. A blow dryer should be quiet, perfect for anxious or apprehensive dogs, and it should have a flexible hose to make drying nooks and crannies a breeze! 

Now that you’ve gathered all of the materials you need for grooming your dog, let’s move onto the next step, which is bathing your poodle mix. 

Step 2 – Bathe Your Poodle Mix 

Bathing your poodle mix is the next grooming step. Before you start fiddling around with clippers and scissors, you have to make sure that the dog’s coat is free of tangles and debris. This is crucial follow these steps once your dog’s coat is dry. 

The following sections will tell you exactly how to bathe your dog so that the hair is properly prepared for the clipping/cutting process to come.

1. Brush Out Your Poodle Mixes’ Hair

You don’t want to skip brushing out your poodle mixes” hair! Failing to brush the hair will result in knots and tangles while the hair is wet, and this will only frustrate both you and your dog. 

So, take some time to brush out your dog’s hair with the appropriate brush. If your dog’s hair is short, you can use a curved slicker brush.

If your dog’s hair is medium to long, I recommend using a rubber-tipped pin brush.

And, of course, if your dog’s hair is terribly matted, a de-matting comb is in order. 

Set aside ample time to brush out the dog’s hair so that you don’t feel the need to rush.

Rushing the hair brushing process may result in pulling healthy hair out, potentially injuring your dog. You need to be as gentle as possible as you brush. 

2. Put Cotton Balls in the Ears

To protect your dog’s ears from infection, you should put cotton balls in each of its ears. It’s crucial to do this because if the inside of your dog’s ears gets wet, bacteria can grow, causing an infection.

Depending on the size of your dog, you may need to tear the cotton balls up into smaller pieces. You don’t want to stretch out or irritate your dog’s ears. 

 3. Rinse Your Poodle Mix Thoroughly

Now that your poodle mix has been combed out and his ears are protected, it’s time to get him wet.

Place your dog in a tub filled with a few inches of water and get him wet. If your dog has long hair and you don’t have a detachable showerhead, you should wash your dog outside with a hose. You need to make sure that the dog is wet all the way down to its skin. 

4. Shampoo and Rinse Your Poodle Mix

Here is the fun part! Apply a good quality dog shampoo all over and work up a rich lather. It’s best to use a shampoo that has been formulated for dogs instead of humans. 

lathering your poodle mix is a very important step, and you should be careful not to miss any spots. Lathering the shampoo through the hair will help to lift away obvious debris, as well as dirt that you can’t see. 

After you are done lathering up your dog, rinse him off repeatedly.

Rinsing the dog’s hair and skin thoroughly will help to prevent post-bath itchiness and irritation. Dog shampoos are not meant to be on the skin for an extended period of time. So, even when you think you’re done rinsing, it’s a good idea to rinse one more time. 

If your dog is very soapy, and you’re washing your dog in a tub, you may find that throwing water on him from the bottom of the tub is not enough. In this case, use your detachable showerhead or fill a large bowl with water and dump the water on him. 

5. Apply Conditioner and Rinse

Apply conditioner to the dog’s hair and skin. Applying conditioner liberally is recommended, especially for poodle mixes. Conditioners are what will keep your dog’s hair soft. You can leave the conditioner on a dog for a few minutes if the directions on the bottle say so. 

Then rinse your dog’s coat and skin thoroughly. This rinse should be more significant than the first time since this is the last chance to get all of the products off of the dog’s skin and hair.

Use adequate water to fully saturate your dog. As you rinse, run your fingers through his hair and scrub a bit. This will help you to rinse away all of the conditioners effectively.

Here is a video that demonstrates how to properly bathe a poodle mix:

Step 3 – Prepare your Poodle Mix for Grooming

You may be thinking by this point that grooming your poodle mix is a lot of work, and you are right. But if you keep following the instructions, you will be done in no time! The next step is to prepare your dog for the grooming process.

The following steps will prepare your poodle mix for grooming:

1. Wrap your poodle mix in a towel.

After the final rinse, your dog will be obviously cold. So, immediately wrap him in a towel to absorb any excess water. Do not rub him with the towel, as this could create tangles and mats that are difficult to remove. 

2. Take the cotton balls out of his ears.

Leaving cotton balls in your dog’s ears can trap moisture in the ears and potentially cause an infection. As a result, plan to remove these cotton balls promptly after your pup is dry.

3. Remove the towel and blow-dry.

Use your dog’s blow dryer to completely dry your pup’s fur. You could use your own personal blow dryer on cool, but it is not often recommended. A blow dryer created for dogs is stronger and better able to get to the inner portions of his coat and skin dry without burning him. Brush the hair as you blow-dry.  

Step 4 – Clip Your Poodle Mix’s Hair 

This is the most difficult part of grooming your poodle mix because it is easy to make a mistake when you have clippers or scissors in your hands. However, if you take your time and follow the below instructions, you will do well, so there’s no need to worry. 

1 Restrain Your Dog

If you’ve already purchased a grooming table, you will be able to easily secure your dog with its provided restraint system. If you don’t have one, you must come up with a way to keep your dog still as you finish grooming him. You may have to ask a friend to hold your dog still as you begin cutting the hair. 

Your dog should be standing on a table with a non-slip mat. This will reduce the chances that your dog will slip and fall as you snip away fur.

If you put your dog on a slippery table, you could injure your dog. This is why you should obtain the proper equipment before grooming your dog. 

2. Begin Trimming Your Poodle Mix’s Face 

Turn on the pet trimmer and start with the dog’s face. This is the perfect place to start because you want to get this over with as soon as possible. Your dog could get agitated as the grooming session goes on. 

Some dog grooming experts recommend using scissors to trim off excess fur around the eyes and the rest of the face. They prefer this method because scissors give you the most control and allow you a high degree of precision. Others recommend that you use a trimmer for the face to reduce the chances of poking the dog in the eye.  

Whether you use scissors or a clipper to remove hair from your poodle’s face is based on your personal preference. Just make sure that you hold your dog’s face still as you work so that you don’t injure your dog in the process. 

Note: When you hold your dog’s face still, make sure that you are not squeezing too hard. You can frighten or hurt your dog if you aren’t mindful of how tight you are squeezing. You should hold the face with just enough strength to keep your dog from moving.

3. Trim Your Poodle Mix’s Body

Start clipping the hair at the back of the neck. Turn the clipper on and attach a clipper comb/guard to the clipper before you start. There are several clipper combs to choose from, and each one corresponds to a specific length of hair. If you’re not sure which guard to choose, take a quick look at your clipper manual for instructions.

Once you have prepared your clipper for the job, you can use the following list to avoid a hacked-up job:

  • Move from the back of the neck toward the tail.
  • Clip in the direction of the hair. When clipping the hair on the dog’s back, you should go with the grain. But when shaving the hair off of his belly, you can shave against the grain. This will help you avoid nicking the dog’s privates. 
  • Do slow strokes to avoid harsh lines. If you go too fast, there will be obvious lines, and this will make your trim job look amateur.
  • Hold the dog from its underside. Without being harsh, hold the dog as you are cutting. This will stop the dog from moving around too much. 
  • Take your time. It may take several strokes to get the hair down to the desired length. It may take around 10-15 minutes to finish the shaving process. 
  • Brush as you go. If you are having trouble getting the hair even in a certain area, you can use a brush to lift the hair. This can be done by combing against the grain. After brushing, you can go back in with the clippers to even things up. 

During this trimming stage, you should focus on removing hair from the dog’s belly, back, and rump. You may also be able to remove some hair from the shoulders and hind legs. 

Grooming your poodle mix puppy’s hair can present some unique challenges for new and experienced owners alike.. Check out this article I wrote on grooming a poodle puppy. In it, you’ll find not only the puppy hair grooming process but also answers to common questions owners experience while grooming their pups.

You can watch this video for a quick demonstration on how to use a clipper on a dog.:

4. Scissor Cut the Limbs and Tail

Once you have removed enough hair from the dogs back and stomach, you should turn your attention to the hair remaining on the following body parts:

  • Front Legs
  • Back Legs
  • Tail
  • Paws

Extreme precision is required when using scissors on these areas of the dog, as you can accidentally clip your dog’s skin if you’re not careful. So, take your time and remove hair from each of the above body parts. Try your best to get these areas down to the same length as the dog’s back and stomach. 

Ensure that the scissors are always pointing away from the dog’s face and parallel to the body.

Don’t be afraid to get close to your dog to get a close up look at the hair that you need to cut. Pick up your dog’s paws to clip the hair there and lift the tail to even up the hair around your dog’s rump. Cut the tail however you want- make it thin or leave it thick. 

Note: The goal is not to remove as much hair as possible. Instead, you should be removing enough hair to make your dog look good. What looks good to you may not look good to someone else, but this doesn’t matter. As long as you are happy with the cut by the time you are done, that is all that matters. 

Step 5 – Clean Your Poodle Mixes’ Teeth 

There are a few nuances to be aware of when cleaning your dog’s teeth. The sections below will tell you all you need to know to keep your dog’s teeth healthy and clean. 

1. Gather Your Tooth-Cleaning Supplies

To clean a poodle mix’s teeth, first, you should make sure that you have all of the necessary supplies. You need: 

  • A dog toothbrush – It is not advised to use just any toothbrush to clean your dog’s teeth. You should use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs. Dog toothbrushes are designed to fit a dog’s distinct mouth structure. The best dog toothbrushes are made of rubber and are dishwasher safe. 
  • Dog toothpaste –  Just like it’s necessary to use a special toothbrush for dogs, you should also use specialized dog toothpaste. A good Dog toothpaste should be formulated for daily use to keep your dog’s breath fresh and teeth free of plaque.

I recommend CET Enzymatic Toothpaste. This dog toothpaste is manufactured by Virbac, the top dental brand for dogs, according to veterinarians in the United States. Check it out on Amazon here.

2. Give Your Dog a Taste

Before you start brushing your poodle mixes’ teeth, allow your dog to have a little taste. This will help your dog get used to the taste before having a mouth full of the toothpaste. If your dog doesn’t like the taste, he will not likely cooperate with the process.

If your dog hates the taste or vomits, wait awhile before reintroducing the toothpaste. You can try another toothpaste made for dogs, or you can skip toothpaste this time and go straight to brushing. 

Note: You should use toothpaste on your dog’s teeth to reduce the incidence of tooth decay and bad breath. 

3. Begin Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Now that you’ve gotten your dog used to the taste of toothpaste, you can start brushing your dog’s teeth. Apply the suggested amount of toothpaste to the toothbrush (per the instructions on the toothpaste packaging), lift your dog’s lip, and then begin brushing. 

When you brush your dog’s teeth, make sure that you aren’t using too much pressure. Allow the toothbrush to do the work. Use gentle motions to lift away the plaque and tartar. Start by cleaning the outside surfaces of the teeth and then move slowly towards the back of the mouth. Take your time so that you don’t accidentally activate your dog’s gag reflex. 

Do your best to brush all surfaces of every tooth. If you miss any, you may notice that your dog develops bad breath and tooth decay. 

Here are a couple of tips that you can use to keep your dog’s dental hygiene in check: 

  • If your dog doesn’t allow you to brush his teeth, there are alternatives that you can try. Dental chews will clean your dog’s teeth as he eats them. You can also try feeding your dog a diet that is formulated to support oral care
  • You should have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned once per year, at least. If your dog has a history of dental problems, you may need to get his teeth professionally cleaned more often. 

I wrote this article on 5 simple ways to brush your dog’s teeth. In it, you’ll find teeth brushing options that may even be a better fit for you and your dog.

Check out the teeth brushing process in action in this video demonstration:

Step 6 – Clip Your Dog’s Nails

Clipping a dog’s nails is an often-neglected part of the grooming process, and this is because dogs don’t need to get their nails trimmed often. Still, you should examine your dog’s paws and make sure that they don’t need to be trimmed. If you hear your dog’s nails tapping as he scampers through the house, it is time for a trim.

Lack of nail trimming can be painful for your dog, as untrimmed nails can lead to the following consequences: 

  • The nails can break off and bleed
  • The nails can become overgrown, curve around, and grow into their feet. 

1. Obtain the Proper Clippers/Grinder

It is vitally important to use safe and effective tools to clip your furry friend. There are three main options for grooming your dog’s nails:

  1. Guillotine Clippers: This clipper type surrounds the nail and clamps down on the nail like a guillotine. Similar to pliers, you squeeze down to cut the end of the nail.
  2. Scissor Clippers: Scissor clippers cut like a traditional pair of scissors. these clippers are better for large dogs because they offer more force to cut through thick nails. 
  3. Grinder Tools: Another way to groom a Poodle mix’s nails is to use a grinding tool. This tool will take longer to do than clippers, but it can be an easier solution for larger dogs and for dogs that are uncomfortable with clippers.

f you choose to go with clippers, I recommend opting for more quality tools as opposed to those that are the most budget-friendly. You will be using them often, so invest in a good pair! 

2. Reveal Your Dog’s Nails

To reveal the nails, you should push on the pads of your dog’s paws. This will make the nails stick out and make them easier to cut.

Be cautious not to push too hard as you could damage the pads or your dog’s food if excessive force is used.

3. Trim Your Dog’s Nails

you should trim the nails at a 45-degree angle. You should clip the nails down to 2 millimeters from the quick (which supplies blood to the nail). 

The following tips will help your Poodle Mix’s nail trimming session progress as smoothly as possible: 

  • Take your time If you rush through the clipping session, you may clip off more of the nail than you meant to. This can cause bleeding, as well. 
  • Use a nail trimmer that was designed to be used on dogs – A good nail trimmer will be designed to fit comfortably in your hand without slipping out. It will also have sharp blades that are made of stainless steel. 
  • Hold your dog close as you trim his nails If your dog is not used to having his nails trimmed, there will likely be some hesitation. Holding your dog close will help him to feel more comfortable. 

recently, I wrote this article about clipping a poodle’s nails. In it. you’ll learn exactly what steps to take to trim your dog’s nails like a pro!

If you’re a more visual learner, here’s a video demonstrating the nail trimming process:

Cost to Hire a Professional Dog Groomer for Your Poodle Mix

According to Homeguide.com, the average of prices for services provided by professional groomers are as follows:

Dog Grooming Price ListAverage Cost
Full Service (small dogs)$40
Full Service (large dogs)$75
Nail trim + buffing$15
Nail trim$10
Teeth brushing$10
Breath Refresh$10
Ear cleaning$10
Gland expression$10
Face, feet and fanny trim$15
Flea & tick treatment$15
Blueberry facial$5
Paw balm$5
Nail Polish$7

Poodle mixes can be expensive, but most owners will tell you they are well worth the costs Owners can potentially save money by taking on certain tasks themselves, such as grooming.

If you work or have other obligations, however, you may feel more comfortable hiring a groomer who is trained to provide services for your pet.

3 Mistakes Owners Make When Grooming a Poodle Mix

There are several mistakes that people make when grooming their poodle mix at home. It’s good to know about these mistakes so you can avoid them. 

Avoid making these mistakes while grooming your poodle mix:

1. Grooming an Untrained Dog at Home 

If your dog has not yet been trained, you may have a rough time grooming him. He may nip at you and try to get away the entire time. Commands like “sit” and “stay” will go in one ear and out the other. 

2. Not Grooming Your Dog Regularly

If you don’t groom your dog regularly, not only will he be unkempt, but he won’t be used to the process. It’s imperative to make grooming sessions regular in your home. This will help your dog get used to being groomed, which will make the process easier for both of you. 

3. Getting Shampoo in Your Dog’s Eyes

Just because a dog shampoo is formulated for use on dogs does not mean that it won’t burn your dog’s eyes. You should take your time and be careful when bathing your dog’s face and head- this will help protect your dog’s eyes. 

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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