Unlike other dogs, Australian Labradoodles have a distinct coat that is coveted because of its non-shedding and allergy friendly qualities. Many people who have problems with dog or cat fur because of allergies are extremely surprised how well they can tolerate the coat of an Australian Labradoodle and can actually enjoy the company of a pet without having difficulty breathing or constantly sneezing. Caring for this coat is very important.
Australian Labradoodles need regular brushing and grooming. We brush our dogs a few times a week. We have done that since we first brought them home and I think the routine teaches them how to behave on a grooming table when they are older. That may be over doing it a bit, but basically a good brushing once a week will be essential.
The Australian Labradoodle’s coat grows rapidly and needs to be brushed to prevent tangling and matting. Your dog will grow out of his puppy coat around 8- 14 months of age and you will definitely want to go to the groomer then. Or if you are so inclined, you can give it a try yourself! Remember nails need to be trimmed monthly and if your pup has a lot of hair in the ears they will need to be "pulled". The process is taking tweezers and pulling the hair out of the ear canal. It is not painful to the dog but is necessary to minimize the chances of an ear infection or mites.
Using the proper tools while grooming will permit you to accomplish your goals faster and your dog will be happier for it. Master Grooming has a good brush that will work well on the coat and also helps with de-matting if that becomes a problem.
Start at the back or bottom of your dog, on the belly, at the bottom of a leg or the base of the tail. Make a part in the hair and brush beneath your hand thoroughly, making sure that you have brushed out all the way down to the skin. When the hair is tangle free, you can allow a little of the hair which has been held fast to slip from under your grasp. Again make sure that this hair is thoroughly brushed all the way down to the skin. Repeat this process layer by layer until you have worked your way through the entire coat. Starting at the bottom and working your way back gives you a good brush angle which allows to to put some extra power into stubborn tangles! Some coats are more easily maintained by with a comb with widely spaced rotating teeth, brushing in the same manor as described above. Make sure when you are brushing the forelegs that you are aware of the fifth toe and do not accidentally brush it as this can be very painful.
When the coat is very matted, you can can use a talcum powder which will make it easier to brush out tangles. When really bad tangles have developed in the coat, you can cut the matted area with scissors, angling the scissors downwards. Don't be afraid! When you've later brushed out the coat it will still be beautiful and you won't be able to see where the mat was cut out. Brushing the tail is very sensitive and many dogs dislike having their tail brushed. To minimize discomfort, have your dog lay on his or her stomach with their tail resting on the ground then, firmly but gently grasp the tail bone, carefully brushing the hair first on one side than on the other. After you have brushed out your labradoodle you can spray them with a spray bottle of water or leave in conditioner and your dog will have his beautiful curls back in no time! For thicker wool coats, however, it can take a little longer. We advise you to comb twigs, pine needles or anything else out of the coat of your dog to provide it from matting.
Because the hair follicles open when you brush your dog thoroughly, a bath with a soap free baby shampoo after brushing is recommended. This ensures that the follicles close again and the coat will stay in nice condition longer and reduce matting. We recommend that you give your dog a proper bath every one to three months, depending on how dirty he is. If he's been playing in a ditch or rolling in horse manure you may want to use a proper dog shampoo and conditioner to rejuvenate the coat. Regular brushing and bathing will keep your doodle fresh and make him a delightful cuddling partner.
The average coat of the Australian Labradoodle grows quite quickly, especially on the face, so in no time at all the loving gaze of your dog will disappear behind his bangs! It is important when clipping the hair around your dogs eyes to consider how your trim affects the overall appearance of his head as well. The hair between the eyes should be cut very close to the skin from the top of the eye to approximately 1/2 inch lower. This gives your dog an "open face".
The hair under his ears and neck is best kept quite short as this will help your labradoodle stay cool. You can make a solid strip of short hair approximately 1 inch wide from the ear to the jaw. Any short hair covered by that area will not make any visual difference if you trim it very short. Another added benefit of this short strip is that your labradoodle will mat less where his collar sits. Your dogs mustache and beard should be around 1 1/2 inches long all over the muzzle. Rounding the edges towards the mouth will reduce the amount of food that gets caught in your dogs hair. Rounding towards the ears is also recommended to create a nice soft line.
Opinions about whether or not you should pluck the hair in your dogs ears are divided. Some vets say that plucking the hair will cause inflammation and soreness leaving open follicles for bacteria to infest. Other veterinarians say that gentle plucking over several days keeps the ears free of hair which reduces moisture and decrease the likelihood of yeast infections. If you choose to pluck the hair from your dogs ears it is always recommended that you do a little at a time and that you keep the ears well cleaned afterwards to diminish the risk of infection in the hair follicles.
When the hair on your dogs lower legs and feet is very long, a lot of dirt and sand will stick to the hair and more tangles or mats will develop. Protect the hair that falls over the toes with one hand by holding it up and out of the way then trim the hair between the toes and between the pad of your dogs feet quite short. When the long hair is dropped down again, the shorter hair on his "bare" toes will be nicely hidden. It is not intended that the toes should be as visible as they are on a poodle. You can cut the hair on the legs marginally shorter than the rest of the body, but make sure that it blends nicely with the hair on the sides and the back. Keep the hair on the belly and under the armpits of your dog nice and short as it will keep your dog clean, cool and comfortable without being very visible.
You can also trim the hair around your dogs anus quite short to ensure that no waste fastens to it.
Australian Labradoodles have tendencies towards ear infections if not monitored closely. They usually grow hair in their ear canals and they also have waxy ears so the combination can cause dirty ears and a lack of air flow that leads to infection. The recommended maintenance for a labradoodle’s ears are to purchase an ear cleaning solution from your veterinarian and use this in their ears once a week, we also suggest that you trim the hair underneath your Australian Labradoodles ear flaps and also pluck the ear canal to help with air flow. Groomers use a powder to make the hair easier to grip and pull out hair a bit at a time. It’s not painful and the dogs get used to it. By doing this you will help to ensure that your labradoodle does not have ear infections. For puppies I like to soak cosmetic pads and clean their ears. When they are older you can pour the solution in the ear and wipe well with the pads, going as deep as possible to clean any brown that is in the ear.
Royal Diamond Australian Labradoodles has incredible videos on grooming your Labradoodle.