How to Groom Your Poodle at Home
Grooming your poodle at home can save you money and increase the bond between you and your pet. When you take your poodle to a groomer, no matter how reputable, you really do not know how your pet is treated. Groomers may be kind and love your pet, but they have deadlines and quotas, and just don't have the time to attend to your poodle with the kindness you would desire. Grooming your pet at home ensures that he is groomed well and with the attitude that you would want for him.
Prepare a space to groom your dog and get all of your supplies together, such as a kitchen counter top. For dogs that need some assistance to hold still, install a small screw hook under your cupboard so that you can attach a slide collar. The counter makes for easy cleanup as it helps to keep the clippings all in one place. A table will also work.
Clip your poodle's face. Secure your dog if necessary. Most poodles who have had some experience with grooming will be accustomed to this procedure. Hold your poodle's head in one hand with your fingers on the top of his head and thumb under his chin, holding back the opposite ear. Place the clipper, with blade flat, against his opposite cheek and clip back toward the ear. Clean this area, holding his nose up to clean under his neck. Do the same procedure on the opposite side. Clip around his eyes, leaving any facial hair desired. Clip slowly and steadily, trying not to go over an area more than once or twice as this can cause clipper burn.
Clip your poodle's feet. Be sure that your poodle is able to sit or stand without sliding by placing a rubber mat, a taped-down newspaper or a towel under him. Pick up one foot, nails facing you, and run the clippers over the surface. Separate the toes with your fingers from underneath and clip the hair between them. Bend the poodle's leg so you can see the bottom of the foot. Separate the toe pads, and clip the hair from between them. Repeat on the other feet.
Hold your poodle's front feet in one hand and lift him to stand on his hind legs. Trim the hair from his belly button back. Trim the hair from the insides of his hind legs, to about a third of the way down. Hold the poodle's tail by the end and trim from the base of his tail to about and inch and a half from the end. Trim the hair under his tail and from his bottom.
Bathe your poodle. Depending on the size of your poodle, either the bathtub or the kitchen sink may work best. Towel dry. Place your dog on the grooming surface, then dry him with a hairdryer. As you use the hairdryer, use the pin brush to brush the hair against the growth pattern, fluffing his hair. Be sure to not dry in one place for too long as the dryer can burn your poodle's skin. It is best to keep the dryer moving as when drying a human's hair.
Trim your poodle's coat to one length if you have clippers with length attachments. If not, trim him with scissors. Use good, sharp scissors, and keep them flat against the poodle's coat to make a smooth surface. Trim legs by holding the paw and trimming in straight cuts up the leg. The top knot is trimmed by brushing it all forward and trimming it into a round circle when looking from the top, then brush it all back and do the same, then to each side. When all four directions are done, your poodle will have a nicely shaped top knot. Trim the tail into a ball.
Trim your poodle's nails, taking care not to cut into the quick. If your poodle's nails are white, you can see this portion where the blood vessels stop. If they are dark colored, use care here. If you do nick him, a stiptic pencil or a product called "Quick Stop" can be applied.