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Factors That Determine the Timing of a First Haircut
Before getting your dog’s hair cut for the first time, there are a few things you need to take into account, such as the following:
It’s best to wait until your puppy has reached 10 weeks old and has left its mother before getting its first haircut. Ideally, you should wait until your dog becomes familiar with your home and builds a good bond with you as their owner first. I recommend you wait a bit longer than 8 weeks, though, around 12-16 weeks. They should not get them before 10 weeks, as they’re too young.
This age is a great introduction to the world of grooming. At their first appointment, they’ll often get a bath, blow dry, have their nails clipped, and be trimmed slightly. For their first time at the groomers, we don’t recommend your puppy getting a full haircut, as it will take a lot of time.
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Coat length and texture
Compared to an adult coat, a puppy is much softer and more sensitive. As their hair is quite fine, the groomer must be extra gentle. It’s also important that a dog is not given a full or big haircut for the first time, as they will need to be still for 90 minutes.
The best time of the year to give your dog its first haircut is when the weather is warm. In the winter, they depend on their coats to keep them warm. Just be careful in the summer if you cut their hair. Sometimes skin can be extra sensitive to sunlight, so you’ll want to ensure they have sufficient shade.
Health of the puppy
Before a puppy has their first haircut, it’s best to have full vaccinations first. When you visit groomers, they often ask you to fill out a card with important details. The card will have info like their health, types of vaccinations, and vet’s contact details.
Whether you want your dog to enter competitions, be kept as a family pet, used for hunting, herding, or anything else can completely determine when to get the right haircut. For instance, sporting dogs like Poodles, Retrievers, and Spaniels were originally bred for water activities and hunting. Most of them have thick curly coats that are used to keep them warm. Therefore their first haircut should happen when they have excess hair around their paws, eyes, and ears. That’s just one example!
Top tip: To know when is the right time for your dog’s first haircut, it’s important to research the grooming requirements of our dog’s breed and speak to a professional groomer.
When Should You Get Your Standard Poodle Puppy’s First Haircut
If you’ve got a Standard Poodle, then the time to get their first haircut depends on the following:
A Standard Poodle should be clipped, groomed, and trimmed between 11-16 weeks old. Anything before 10 weeks is classed too young as they’ve just left their mother. But never wait any longer than 8 months, as this may make them anxious and nervous about visiting a groomer.
Ideally, as soon as your Poodle puppy has transitioned well into their new home and is relaxed and familiar with the surroundings, you can start thinking about grooming.
When thinking about your Poodle’s first haircut, you have to consider the style of the cut for them. There’s a lot out there, from natural, sporting clips, continental, English Saddle, lion, and more. Every style of cut has different patterns and lengths, so it’s best to speak to a professional groomer to know the best coat for your Poodle.
The length and type of your Poodle’s first haircut completely depend on where you live. If the weather is cold, you might want to stick to a longer haircut so your Poodle stays warm. You might want an English Saddle or Continental clip to give you an idea. This cut will allow the fur to stay long on the head, torso, legs, and ears to keep warm.
Whereas if you live in a hot temperature, short hair can help keep the Poodle cool. Because of this, it’s best to have a sporting clip or shorter cut to keep them cool. To truly decide what type of haircut to get and when is the best time, you should speak to a groomer for advice.
Health and breeding considerations
It’s important to consider certain health conditions before your Standard Poodle’s first haircut. Sometimes skin allergies and sensitivities can react to specific grooming products and can worsen their condition.
Importance of consulting with a professional groomer
Before grooming your Poodle, you should get advice from a professional groomer. After all, they have a lot of experience and can suggest the type of grooming your Poodle will need based on their coat type, age, and health. They’ll also give you peace of mind instead of looking for advice for hours online.
Preparing for the First Professional Haircut
If you feel it’s the right time to give your Poodle a professional haircut, you will want to do the following:
Finding the right groomer
Selecting the right groomer for your dog can completely be down to personal preference. When looking for the right groomer, you might want to check the recommendations. Perhaps ask friends, family members, or even your local vet.
Similarly, you might want to see if the groomer has any qualifications or certifications to their name. Ideally, they should be registered with the Pet Industry Federation (this is a governing body for grooming salons).
When enquiring with local groomers, you’ll want to know about their costs and prices. Make sure you gain a full understanding of what each service entails and the cost for each one. You should also ask the groomer questions based on their experience.
For instance, if you have a Standard Poodle, you’ll want to know if they have experience with curly coats and the different types of cuts available. Similarly, if they have specific medical conditions, you must ensure the groomer is experienced enough to deal with them.
Lastly, when looking for the right groomer, you should always visit their site first. You should always see what the facility of your local groomers looks like.
Look at the lighting and equipment and see the atmosphere with the other dogs. Most importantly, you should see how the groomer behaves which each dog to help you decide if you’ll feel comfortable leaving your canine in the hands of your groomer.
What to expect during the grooming session
If you take your Poodle or any other dog to the groomer for the first time, you should anticipate your dog being hesitant, nervous, or slightly fearful. But don’t worry; this is completely normal, as it’s a new environment for them, full of smells, people, and dogs!
For Poodles, it’s not unusual for them to be fearful. Many groomers feel their fear comes from the loud noises from grooming tools like scissors, clippers, nail trimmers, buffers, combs, and more. When coming to the appointment, your groomer will likely ask you to fill out a customer card.
You can think of this card as a medical record containing information about your dog’s health, type of vaccinations, and contact details for your vet. Once this is filled in and details are inputted into the system, your groomer will become acquainted with your dog.
Typically your groomer will be a bit playful stroking your dog, cuddling, and bonding with it on the floor. Once they’ve befriended your dog, the groomer will explain what the package involves and the service your dog will receive.
Often the grooming process involves a bath, blow dry, trim, and clip. You can typically expect the grooming session to last between 60-90 minutes.
The Process of Grooming Poodle Puppies at Home
While professional grooming is undoubtedly efficient, it can be costly. On the contrary, if you wish to groom your Poodle from home, you can do to save money. But to ensure you do this properly, you’ll want to research and look up on Youtube how to groom your dog effectively.
It’s also a great way to help strengthen the bond you have between you and your Poodle. Therefore to help get you started with the grooming process, you’ll want to do the following:
1. Prepare the grooming area
Before grooming your Poodle, you’ll want to think about the space in your home first. Ideally, you’ll want an area to pick up their hair easily. Because of this, the kitchen counter or getting a foldable grooming table can be a great spot.
When preparing the space, you should add towels and blankets to allow them to sit comfortably and not feel cold from the surface. Your goal is to make it comfortable for your dog as much as possible, just like how you feel when you go to a salon.
2. Bathe your Poodle and dry
Next, you’ll want to wash your Poodle with dog friendly shampoos and conditioners. Once bathed, you should use a hair dryer to soften their coat and help achieve that nice style that Poodles are known to have. When drying, you must not keep the hair dryer on high heat; warm will do.
Poodles have sensitive skin, and it could make them worse. When drying, you should steadily move it across the body and not keep it in one place. If you keep it in one spot for a long time, your Poodle’s skin could burn.
3. Keep them in place with a harness
Once dry, secure your Poodle in place with a harness. Doing this will help keep them safe and stop them from jumping in front of dangerous tools like scissors and clippers, reducing their risk of injury.
4. Hold the blades
Before beginning to groom, you should hold the blades correctly. This means you should always keep them facing away from their face, neck, and body.
You’ll want to keep the blades parallel to the body and an ample distance from their skin. If you plan on trimming close to them, i.e., towards their nose and eyes, you should use an electric razor with protective plastic covering the edges.
5. Begin with their face
Next, you’ll want to start grooming, beginning with their face. To do this, keep the Poodle’s face still and secure, clipping towards their ear. Ensure it faces away from their eyes and is flat on their cheek. Only trim the long hairs that have grown too long on their neck and face.
6. Keep clipping slowly
Carry on clipping slowly, but make sure the shart tip faces away and the blade is kept parallel to the body. You’ll want to ensure you stay slow when clipping, as if you go fast, you could accidentally burn your Poodle.
7. Progress to their feet
Once you’ve done with their face, you should move towards their feet. To do this, ensure they’re sitting comfortably on the floor as much as possible and balancing on all legs. Then you should gently pick up a paw or let them give it to you.
Start to trim around the extra fluff, separate the fluff on the toe pads, and clip in between their toes. If you wish, you can gently get the electric clipper around the feet from the inside to the outside of the toe, but watch the nails.
Then move onto the tail and gently trim it. Compared to the face and legs, you can trim their tail as round or thin as you like.
9. Trim the rest of the body
Finally, you’ll want to trim the rest of their body to the appropriate length you prefer. Remember to keep their hair trimmed well enough to balance out their feet, tail, and face.
8. Lastly, even out the entire body with the electric razor/trimmer.
The rest of the body can be trimmed to as manageable 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.
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Marko is the founder and author at PoodleHQ, where he blends profound expertise with formal training in Animal Behavior and Canine Genetics. With multiple generations of poodles under his care, he’s a breed connoisseur, honored with the Canine Care Excellence Award and lauded by the International Pet Enthusiasts Association.