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How to Groom a Standard Poodle at Home

Standard tan poodle standing on grassy hill

Can you groom a poodle yourself? This is one of the most common questions that poodle owners ask. Keeping a poodle well-groomed is probably the most daunting task of owning this breed. According to AKC, immense attention and best grooming practices are needed to achieve (and maintain) the signature look of Standard Poodles. Whether you own a poodle or planning to get one, this article will teach you how to groom a standard poodle at home.

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Steps to Groom a Standard Poodle at Home

There is no denying that poodles are high-maintenance canines that will require a lot of grooming. However, if you have the willingness and patience, every owner can learn the skill to groom these furballs. Read on to know about all the important steps which are necessary to groom a standard poodle at home.

Prepare the Space for Grooming

Dog grooming tools on a blue background.

Kitchen counters are often considered the best spots for grooming canines. This is because they provide ample space for your dog to lay down and stay there for a while. However, you will need to create a comfortable arrangement for your pooch by using blankets and towels.

Poodle Report suggests that you can also purchase a foldable dog grooming table (paid link) for your pup. This will make things even cozier because this product is specifically designed for this purpose.

Ensure the Three B’s

The dog must be bathed, blow-dried, and brushed before starting the trimming session. This is important because the coat should be completely clean and dry to ensure a smooth and pain-free experience. Use a pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner to bathe your pooch. Make sure that these cleaning products are removed properly from the fur.

Dry your dog with a towel to absorb most of the moisture. Then, use a hairdryer to complete the drying process. Be very careful while using the blow-dryer and keep it moving all the time to avoid burning your poodle’s skin.

Once your pup is completely dry, take a slicker brush and start brushing him/her from head to tail. Be mindful of difficult-to-reach areas, like armpits, and untangle all the knots before proceeding.

Groom the Face and Neck

person grooming face of a white poodle with a pair of scissors

Start by ensuring that the head of your poodle is secure (and still). The grip shouldn’t be too strong as you don’t want to make your dog uncomfortable. When the pooch is in position, start clipping the hair towards the ear. Keep the blade flat against the cheek and facing away from the eyes at all times.

Once you are done with the face, shift your focus towards the neck. Start shaving from the neck towards the chin while keeping the nose upward. This will allow you to pull the neck skin taut, which is quite helpful for preventing painful nicks.

NOTE: Always clip such that the sharp tip is facing away and the blade is parallel to the dog’s body.

Trim the Hair on the Back

Now, it’s time to use the clipper to groom the back of your pup. Dogington Post advises the owners to use the same blade setting to get a uniform trim. Move the trimmer from the nape of the neck towards the tail while keeping the blade parallel to the back.  

Move to the Torso and Legs

Woman shaving the torso of a white poodle

Once you are done with the back, you can start grooming the legs of your dog. Try to make him/her lay down so that you could access the torso region, easily. If your canine friend is not willing to lie down, make sure they are well-balanced while trimming their legs. It’s recommended to brush the fur away from the body (before clipping) to get a more even trim.

Clip downwards from the chest towards the belly and then from the base of the rib cage towards the armpits. Keep brushing the body while trimming to ensure a smooth finishing to the coat.

For the legs, begin at the top of each leg and groom all the way to the ankle. Don’t forget about the inside of the legs. You can clip the hair from these parts by gently lifting the opposite leg.

Clip the Hair on the Feet

One by one, hold a paw in your hand and trim the extra hair on the paws. You should also remove the superfluous fluff between the toes by separating the paw pads. Move the trimmer from the outside of the toes towards the inside. Stay very careful about the nails as you don’t want to hurt your pooch.

Groom the Tail

Close up of a shaved poodle's tail.

The tail of your poodle can be trimmed as thin or round, depending upon your preference. Irrespective of the style you select, observe a lot of caution during this step.

Balance Out the Entire Body

After trimming all the body parts, you need to even out the hair of your poodle. This step is extremely important to give the desired visual appearance to your pooch. Start by setting up a standard for the length of coat you want. It’s highly advisable to use the sensitive parts of your poodle’s body for this estimation. After that, use the trimmer to even out the entire body of your dog.  

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