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Line Brushing Video Tutorial: Prevent Your Doodle From Being Shaved

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It is no secret that Doodles are the most adorable dogs in existence. However, us Doodle parents know all too well that their cute and cuddly appearance comes with a price tag. Most of us find ourselves spending a lot of time maintaining their coats at home, and spending a lot of money getting them professionally groomed.

Daily brushing is very important – a necessity, really – when you have a Doodle. (This is especially true if you have an F1b Doodle.) Otherwise, your Doodle will unsurprisingly get a lot of hair mats, or in extreme cases, a pelted coat. Neither are fun to deal with.

Many professional groomers have been complaining about Doodles and their owners. They complain because owners have high expectations on keeping their Doodle looking “Doodle-like”, but they oftentimes end up needing to shave off the coat entirely because of severe matting or pelted coats. And then the owners freak out, unaware that they were responsible for preventing the shaving in the first place.

So in this article, we will teach you an effective brushing technique that keeps the mats and tangles at bay, so your Doodle can avoid being shaved down at his next groomer’s visit.

How Often Should You Line Brush?

As Doodle parents, we need to be more mindful and acknowledge that the signature Doodle look requires daily upkeep on our part. This is why brushing is something you need to do everyday.

But let’s say it’s been a few days (or weeks…#guilty) since you last brushed your pup. If that’s the case, you’re going to need to do something a little more intensive: line brushing.

While brushing is required daily, line brushing is probably not needed as often. Line brushing in particular is more of an “intensive treatment” if the dog hasn’t been brushed in a while.

But if you want to line brush everyday, be my guest! It will certainly keep the knots and tangles at bay, and will prevent hair mats from forming at all. It’s also a good thing to do frequently if you don’t want the groomer to shave your Dood. 

“But It’s Just a Little Mat…”

You might think hair mats are not that big of a deal. On the contrary, matting is extremely uncomfortable for dogs and can cause a host of health problems. Imagine if your hair was all knotted and tangled together, pulling at your skin…all over your body. Could you see how uncomfortable that might be?

Two Tools You Need for Line Brushing

The two tools you need for line brushing are a good greyhound comb, and an even better slicker brush. Please don’t use any old cheap slicker brush, especially if you are using it to brush your Dood every day. Low-quality brushes can cause brush burn and make your pup hate being brushed altogether. 

I personally use the Safari metal comb and the Chris Christensen Big G slicker brush. They have been a wonderful addition to my DIY grooming tool box. I have also personally experienced a significant decrease in the time I spend brushing Chloe with the Big G slicker brush.

best brushes for line brushing

Comb Before Brushing

Before you begin, use your comb and just try to run the comb through the hair, all over the body. If the comb gets caught in the hair, that’s a sign that you’ll need to work on that area further. 

If at any point you part the hair and cannot see the skin when combing, that means that the dog has deep matted hair.

After you’ve determined how much of the dog’s coat will need special attention, you will take your slicker brush and get started with line brushing.

Line Brushing a Doodle

Line brushing is not a difficult thing to do, but it is relatively tedious and time consuming. This is because it involves brushing very small chunks of hair at a time.

Start by brushing the hair at the lowest point on the body. Meaning, instead of starting to brush at the top of the head, you would start down near the butt area. You would also start by brushing the feet when working on the legs.

The point of starting at the bottom is to “clear a path”. If you start at the top, you’re constantly fighting tangled, knotted hair. This would make your pup quite uncomfortable, and is the reason why many dogs hate being brushed.

Additionally, prioritize the areas you brush following this image:

how to brush a doodle
Brush the red areas first, then the yellow areas, and lastly, the green area.

Line Brushing Steps

First off, here’s a great video tutorial on how to line brush. Be sure to watch it through to understand the three steps laid out below.

YouTube video

Step 1) Part a Small Portion of Hair

You can part it with a comb if you want to be extra precise.

line brushing
Here you can see all the way down to Chloe’s skin. This means there’s no matting in this area.

Step 2) Brush the Hair Beneath the Part With the Slicker Brush

line brushing

Be sure to brush the hair all the way down to the skin. I REPEAT! The key with line brushing is to make 100% sure that you are brushing all the way down to the skin.

Brush until the brush runs smoothly through the hair.

Step 3) Part the Hair Above and Repeat

Part the hair about a half-inch above the previous part and brush the hair beneath the part.

Again, the point of starting at the bottom is to “clear a path” so as not to be constantly fighting knotted hair.

Keep doing this gradually, until you’ve brushed your way up the body, line by line. (This is why it’s called “line” brushing!)


If at any point during brushing you cannot see the skin, or cannot brush all the way down to the skin, then the dog has matting.

If this is the case, you can gently work on the area with the slicker brush until the mat is gone.

Keep in mind that the longer you try and get mats out of the dog’s coat, the more discomfort and pain your dog will experience. The absolute last thing you want is to traumatize your dog to the point that it gets scared of being brushed ever again. “Humanity over vanity”, fellow Doodle parents.

If you’re spending more than a total of 15 minutes on de-matting but there’s no end in sight, then your dog will need to be shaved.

If your dog must be shaved, don’t worry. It’s just hair, and the hair will grow back sooner than you know it!

The information on this page is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional groomer advice. Always seek the advice of your groomer, veterinarian, or other qualified animal health provider with any questions you may have.

6 thoughts on “Line Brushing Video Tutorial: Prevent Your Doodle From Being Shaved

  1. Greatly appreciate the info!! My doodle is being poodled as I type due to pelting. I feel so bad!!!! Now I know! AND, I will be better at grooming!!!

  2. This is an explosive idea; this is most probably the best and most successful thing about line brushing doodle. I love this blog and really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. I’m a new doodle parent. I really like D’Artagnan’s coat with all his curls. When I brush him they go away and he turns into a big fluffy doggie. I’m not sure that’s normal or if I’m using the wrong brush.

    1. Totally normal! If you want the curls to come back quickly, you can spritz a bit of water on his coat after brushing.

  4. Love your blog! We were very fortunate to find a hobbyist in home groomer who owned poodles. She patiently acclimated our Goldendoodle puppy Grace to the grooming process. She definitely poodled our doodle at first and gradually moved to more of a puppy cut. We had briards for years so I was familiar with line brushing. Christiansen brushes are the best! Grace is an f1b and i find it more difficult to move through her coat as it is dense and somewhat curly. I used to spray watered down conditioner on my briards to line brush. I have not done so with Grace. Do you feel that this could be helpful when brushing Grace?
    We have moved and are blessed to have a professional groomer in our neighborhood who does mobile grooming. She is thrilled with our Grace cause she does very well when being groomed. I love that your blog has pictures of styles of cuts as it helps me to share what we want for Grace as seasons change.
    Definitely going to keep track of your website.
    Thank you!

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