How to Groom a Poodle Puppy: A Complete Guide


When you think of a dog that needs grooming, you picture a high-maintenance fur-baby like Maltese, Pomeranians, and especially poodles! This loving breed has secured a spot in the Top 10 most popular dog breeds for a reason, and they deserve the best from their owners. If you own a poodle puppy or plan to adopt one soon – this guide is for you and will include everything you need to know to groom your poodle puppy!

So how do you groom a poodle puppy?

  1. Prepare your workspace
  2. Bathe your pup
  3. Secure him with a harness
  4. Start with his face, holding the poodles face still
  5. Clip slowly with the sharp tip facing away
  6. Have him sit down or lay comfortably
  7. Trim the tail
  8. Even out your poodle’s body with the electric trimmer.
  9. Clip his nails
  10. Brush his Teeth

We will also cover tips for how to care for your poodle puppy and help them develop into the healthiest canine possible. Being a pet owner is a great responsibility. A bit of research will go a long way in caring for your fur-baby, so bookmark this page and prepare for all the puppy wisdom in store. You’re going to be a poodle grooming expert in no time!

How to Groom a Poodle Puppy will include the following categories:

  • The Process To Groom Poodle Puppies at Home
  • Common Q&A on the Basics of poodle puppy grooming
  • Puppy Hair is Different from Adult Poodles
  • Most popular ‘clip’ styles for poodles
  • Poodle Grooming Tools
  • Best Brushes for Poodle Curls
  • Grooming their Nails and Paw-care
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Overall Cost to Groom Them

The Process to Groom Poodle Puppies at Home

Grooming is obviously expensive. However, you can absolutely groom your poodle from home. It will take proper care and education, preferably by studying on YouTube to get a visual example of how to groom your pup.

This time can not only save you money but be very meaningful to your pup. This is a bonding time for you and your poodle, and no groomer will love your dog the way you do. Treat your pup with tender care, and it will be met with much less fight and combativeness on their part.

The steps you should take to groom from home properly are:

1. Prepare the space – since they are often medium to large in size, trimming their hair on the kitchen counter or the Foldable Dog Grooming Table are the best spots for their grooming session. Make it cozy with blankets and towels, so they know they’re allowed to get settled and stay for a while. If it feels like a cold metal table, they will be miserable like any living creature, so find them a spot as serene as your salon.

2. Bathe your pup (with the recommended shampoos and conditioners above) and dry with a hairdryer to get that voluminous style that the poodle is notorious for. DO NOT place the hairdryer on a high temperature and keep in mind they have sensitive skin. Keep the temperature on warm, not hot. Also, keep the hairdryer moving the entire time to avoid holding direct heat on one spot for too long, which can burn your poodle’s skin.

3. Secure them with a harness to be sure they’re not going to jump quickly near scissors.

ALWAYS face blades away from their eyes, face, neck, and bodies.

Keep the blades parallel to the body, with a safe distance from their skin kept during the entire trimming. Close trimming should be done with an electric razor that has a protective plastic covering over the sharp parts.

4. Start with their face, holding the poodles face still and secure (gently but unable to move), and clip towards the ear. Keep the blade facing away from their eyes and basically flat against their cheek, just trimming the long hairs that have grown around their face and neck.

5. Clip slowly and always with the sharp tip facing away, and the blade parallel to the body. Take your time and leave as much hair as looks flattering on your pup. Be careful to move slowly because you don’t want to cause clipper burn on your dog.

6. Next, move to their feet. Have them sit down or laying comfortably if possible. If not, be sure they’re balanced well on all 4 legs.

Hold one in your hand and allow them to naturally pick up their paw and hand it to you if they’re willing.

Clip around the extra fluff on their paws and separate the toe pads to clip superfluous fluff between their toes. You can also gentle take the electric clipper around the feet from outside toe to inside, careful to mind the nails.

7. Now you can trim the tail to as thin or round and silly as you prefer!

8. Lastly, even out the entire body with the electric razor/trimmer.

The rest of the body can be trimmed to as manageable of a length as you prefer while balancing out the visual appearance of the face, feet, and tail you’ve just trimmed. This is why the body will be trimmed last. Use the more sensitive parts of their body to set the framework for how short of a trim looks appropriate for your pup.

Most Common Q&A’s on Poodle Grooming

First, I want to cover some popular questions and answers that get asked about poodles in case your answer could be covered early-on. A little Q&A never hurts, and it may answer your question to save you some time.

Can you Shave a Poodle Puppy?

Yes, you absolutely can shave a poodle, but they will look like this. It’s all about personal preference for your dog, but if you want to shave them down, it will not cause any long-term issues.

The time to do it is when the weather is warm because they’ll enjoy a fur-coat in the winter. Their skin is quite sensitive to extended sunlight though, so practice good animal-skin-care to be sure they’re not burning in those warm, summer days.

When can you Groom a Poodle Puppy?

You don’t want to groom them while they’re under 10 weeks of age but also not waiting until they’re over 6 months of age. A grooming company, Chona Shears says, “As a general rule, puppies should be no more than 16 weeks old, as younger pups are easier to train.”

Getting them started in the grooming practice if you plan to keep them in regular maintenance as most poodles will be, starting sooner will be better. Old dogs can learn new tricks, but, in this case, you won’t want to delay this behavioral conditioning too long, or they may be stubborn against grooming.

Do Poodles Have Fur or Hair?

Pets The Nest says that the actual reason behind this breed being hypoallergenic is because they have hair instead of fur.

They describe that “poodle people may not be constantly vacuuming up furballs or spending hundreds of dollars on lint rollers, but in return, they must have their dogs groomed on a regular basis. If they don’t, the dog’s hair will just keep growing, like that of a human, and become matted.”

How Much Does it Cost to Groom Your Poodle, and How Often Should you do so?

Around $50-100 per dog per visit, depending on location and nearby rates. You can also add an additional tip, and paying over $80 will usually get your dog’s high-quality grooming. Some go by the rule that it should be $10-15 more than a human’s salon visit price and to measure affordability by that standard. It’s really about what you’re comfortable paying and finding a reputable groomer your pup is safe with and that you trust.

The top-rated answer on Quora, with over 15K views and upvotes, says, “right now, I’m paying more like $80 per dog. I could probably find cheaper, but I’m picky and want to take them someplace that has experienced groomers and well recommended.”

Around 4-8 grooming sessions, a year should be sufficient, and you can do a quick trim in between or buzz off the tangled mats. It will be less necessary in the colder months when dogs enjoy having an extra layer for warmth.

Here’s a great resource to guide you about finding the right dog groomer here.

Puppy Hair is Different from Adult Poodles

Poodle hair does not shed hardly at all, which makes this breed the perfect choice for those with allergies or who don’t want dark furniture to be covered in light fur for the next 10-20 years!

They actually shed a bit more than one would realize, but because their hair is curly, it actually traps some of the fallen hair and doesn’t allow it to fall out as easily. The curls actually give the poodle the appearance of not shedding at all, but they do.

Puppies hair will be different than adult poodle hair because it will be more sensitive and even softer. Poodles will be as hypoallergenic and non-shedding as most any dog can get.

Since their hair is very fine in the first few months, be extra gentle while grooming them, just like you would with any sensitive baby’s skin.

Get Your Poodle Puppy Ready For Grooming Early on

It may take until around 18 months for their hair to mature to adult poodle hair. They may be 3 years old before their full adult coat comes in.

It is very important that you get your puppy comfortable with grooming and brushing during these early months so that they are not stubborn or fighting you during grooming sessions.

They may try to play with the brush and bite it at first, but don’t give in to their playful behaviors or yank the brush around like a toy. Keep it strictly-business and try to make it a serious but soothing practice that will help them bond to you.

Grooming is a time where you let them know they can relax while you brush out their mats. It can be annoying as with any puppy to get them to do what you want, but regular brushing will train them that this time is not for play.

Not only will this make your life easier, but also your groomers, so train them early!

Popular Clips (AKA Hairstyles) for Poodles

The most popular styles you will see on a poodle are as follows (with linked pictures for a visual):

  • The Puppy Clipthis look received its name because it is common for poodles under 12 months to use this haircut. It shaves the face, feet, and tail with an optional topknot.
  • The Teddy Bear Clipthis cut is incredibly endearing, especially on smaller poodles. It gives them the rounded facial angles like a fluffy teddy bear and clips the hair evenly all around.
  • The Lamb Clip – when you picture the fancy and poufy poodles at dog shows with the thin legs and well-proportioned lines, this is the Lamb Clip. This style is like your pup is wearing a thick bathrobe or fur coat, but it can be very glamorous if adapted to a certain style.
  • The Lion Clip – just as it sounds, this clip shaves their body but leaves the upper and lower parts of their body fluffed and mane-like.
  • The Town and Country Clip – this look is great for summertime because they have a belly, face, neck, and feet all shaved. What remains is left to grow out on its own.

There are so many other popular clip styles for your pup, so here’s a great image of many popular looks all on one poodle hair clip chart. Also, be sure to utilize this hilarious resource of wild and crazy poodle haircuts for inspiration!

Poodle Grooming Tools

We will cover brushes in the next section because they need their own category, but you will want some back-up tools for at-home appointments.

You can take them into the groomers each month or do some maintenance in-between from home to save time and money. Especially in the winter months when it is less important to have them groomed.

Regardless, your poodle will need daily brushing to untangle mattings and knots that easily occurs in their soft hair.

For in-between trips to the groomers, you’ll need these (see pictures on Amazon) :

My picks for the best shampoos and conditioners for poodles on Amazon:

If you want the least amount of fuss or pain for them in daily brushing, keeping their hair short will be the best technique.

If you’ll be 100% grooming from home – you really should consider investing in a Foldable Dog Grooming Table, which will be the safest way to secure your poodle to the table with the noose and comfortable non-slip rubber tabletops so that they don’t try to run while you have scissors. Here is my favorite Table on Amazon here.

Best Brushes for Poodle Curls

Since the brush will be the most utilized tool in your grooming kit, it warrants an entire section committed to finding the perfect brush for your poodle

The best brushes for poodles will be as follows (based on top ratings and high recommendations on Amazon):

  • Professional Bristle GoPets Grooming Brush – this little gem is made for your comfort and your poodles. With fine wires that will not harm your pup’s skin, the handle is made of silicone for a comfy no-slip grip. The bristles can be the harder side with rounded points – optimal for knots, and the bottom side has a softer bristle for fluffing your poodle.

With nearly 400 reviews and nearly 5-stars, you should absolutely give this brush a look. One reviewer mentions, “My dogs love being brushed with this. The two different brushes in one is very handy for me, as I have one dog with very short hair and one with long hair. They both come running to get brushed when they see me with it.”

  • Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush– I couldn’t leave the slicker off our list because, with nearly a 5-star rating and almost 10,000 reviews, this brush is a showstopper! One reviewer says, “This is an upgrade from any other pet grooming brush I have ever owned. I never expected such a great product from a great company when spontaneously ordering a flash deal, but to my surprise, this has exceeded my expectations beyond belief.”
  • Wahl Large Bristle Brush – this will be our extra affordable recommendation because it’s only $11. It’s nothing fancy but does the job right, and one reviewer says, “I’ve had quite a few of these types of brushes. None have measured up to this Wahl brand. I like the grip a lot and this brush seems to be made better than others over the years. The test of time on my past brushes has been the pin side. This one not only looks like better quality, but it was very reasonably priced.”
  • At Ease Accents Natural Bamboo Eco-Friendly Pet Groomer Pin & Bristle – here’s another 2-sided gem that will suit a variety of poodle types whether they have long hair or short. This product has nearly a perfect 5-star review from 173 purchases on Amazon, is made of all-natural bamboo, which will not be toxic for your pet.

Check out the article I wrote on the best hair brushes for Poodles. In it, you’ll find exactly what brush you should be using for your Poodle or Doodle to get professional grooming results from home.

Grooming Your Poodle Puppy’s Nails and Paw-care

Oh, you thought you were done with the hair?

There’s much more to grooming a dog than simply bathing and clipping their hair. Their nails also need to be trimmed.

You need to care for more than just their curly locks, so follow the process to tend to the nails as follows:

  1. You can see great nail Dog Trimmers on Amazon here.
  2. If they are an outside dog or get many walks on cement payment, trimming will be required less frequently.

The rule you should go by is – if you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, they’re too long.

  1. Cut at a 45-degree angle, taking tiny bits off at a time and not cutting too close to their paws, skin, or cuticle. Cutting too close is incredibly painful and can result in a split nail on some dogs. If this occurs, get them to a vet straight away. It’s best to leave the nail longer to avoid accidentally hurting your poodle.
  2. Get the long parts trimmed and do the rest with a nail file.
  3. Give your pup treats as a reward at the end of the grooming session or from start to finish. This positive reinforcement is the actual key to their hearts and will make all grooming sessions a relaxing feast instead of a scary procedure.

Important Takeaway: It can cause long-term damage and short-term pain to your canine if done improperly, so if you are uncertain of your proficiency with the process, I urge you to have a professional groomer or vet do it for you. I think it cost me $11 at my last vet appointment, and they can easily add it on. It is not worth the risk so do consider this as an easier option.

Oral Hygiene

You will also need to have your dog’s teeth cleaned, as dogs commonly have gum disease.

According to PetMD’s article on the consequences of neglecting your dog’s teeth,

Poor oral hygiene is also linked to other health issues, including diabetes and heart disease, and can lead to a broken jaw. It’s a painful condition, but because dogs are experts at hiding pain, you may not even realize there’s a problem.”

PetMD

Periodontal disease (aka mouth, tooth, and gum disease) is shown to have a relationship with heart disease. The reasoning is through bacteria that enter the bloodstream from the mouth. Because of these risks, you need to take the following steps to include oral hygiene to your grooming routine:

  1. First, you want to touch your dog’s teeth, brushing the side of their gums gently against their teeth. Press them down so the dog can feel for himself how sharp its teeth are. This gives them an awareness they don’t usually have that they have sharp teeth and should not bite you. It’s also a moment to ease into the process while getting them used to the feel of you touching their mouth.
  2. Introduce the Dog Toothpaste and NEVER use human toothpaste on your canine. Not only does it have harmful chemicals for a dog, but it also comes in meaty flavors that make the process less painful than trying the human-preference of mint.
  3. Rub it onto their teeth and brush with your finger. You can also use a finger toothbrush or one of your soft brushes, careful to stay on the teeth and not far to the back of their throats.
  4. Brush for about 3-5 minutes, and you can dip a bit of water into their mouth to cleanse, but the doggy toothpaste is safe to swallow.
  5. Invest in some teeth-cleaning chew toys to do some maintenance work for you between brushings.

You will repeat the cleaning process every two to three weeks, at least once a month for proper upkeep.

The most common and serious issue a poodle can have is an “abscessed tooth. However, there are many issues that may occur, keep a close eye for the beginning stages of the following:

  • Red gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Teeth that appear to be growing crooked
  • Your poodle experiencing pain when eating
  • Extremely bad breath
  • A cracked tooth

Early treatment or prevention is always the best care. Including simple oral care in the grooming routine of your dog will go a long way in helping their heart health, proper nutrition, and overall the potential of a longer life.

For even more detailed information on oral care for poodles, check out my article: How to Take Care of Poodle Teeth: The Ultimate Checklist.

Cost to hire a Dog Groomer for Your Poodle Puppy

According to Homeguide.com, the average list of prices are as follows:

Dog Grooming Price List Average 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

But it can also be priced based on weight or breed, with the average for poodles per session being $55.

If you are going to take them to a professional, aim for a monthly grooming session.

Adding $10 tip, let’s call this $60-$80 a month in case you want to add a tooth brushing or nail treatment.

So a $70 a month average (including tip)

X12 Months

= $840 a year

That’s not to mention vet bills, flea and tick prevention, medications or specialty food, and anything else to spoil your poodle.

Final Thoughts

Owning a poodle pup isn’t cheap, but it is one of the most rewarding relationships that one can ever experience.

Whether you already own one of these sweeties or are planning to adopt one soon, poodles are undeniably one of the most wonderful breeds out there and will be a very meaningful part of your family. I hope this guide has been useful to you and your one-stop-shop for all thing’s poodle grooming!

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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