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.
In fact, 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 their next grooming 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 1) a good greyhound comb, and 2) 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 are ineffective, can cause brush burn, and make your pup hate being brushed altogether.
I personally use the Andis metal comb and the Chris Christensen Big G slicker brush. They have been a wonderful addition to my DIY grooming tool box. With the Big G slicker brush, I have also personally experienced a significant decrease in the time I spend brushing Chloe.
Chris Christensen Big G “Coral” Slicker Brush
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 at 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:
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.
Step 1) Part a Small Portion of Hair
You can part it with a comb if you want to be extra precise.
Step 2) Brush the Hair Beneath the Part With the Slicker Brush
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 should 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!)
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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.