Brushing Your Dog the Stress-Free Way
For dog brushing on curly coated or long-haired dogs, we recommend a technique that’s called “Line Brushing”.
This works great for the dense areas of your poodles’ coat, like the shoulders, hips, and topknot.
In fact, it’s impossible to brush thoroughly down to the skin without using line brushing.
The process sounds slow and tedious but actually saves a lot of time, once you get the hang of it. And most of the detangling stress is eliminated!
Grooming Tables For Dog Brushing
For dog brushing, it works best to place your standard poodle on an elevated skid-free surface.
There is a range of dog grooming tables available from budget-friendly folding tables to high-end hydraulic grooming tables. We prefer the convenience of an adjustable height table. Look for a table that is 36″ or larger for a standard poodle.
But any sturdy, secure surface will work, as long as it’s large enough for your poodle and not slippery.
Step by Step Dog Brushing Instructions
Have a system – When you use a systematic approach with your dog brush, your standard poodle will be comfortable with the process and will know what to expect.
Step 1 – Conditioner
Begin by lightly misting your poodle’s coat with a spray conditioner.
This is an optional step, but highly recommended to
- re-hydrate the hair
- restore a sheen to the hair
- and eliminate static
Some spray conditioners also include a sunscreen.
My personal favorite conditioning spray is Laser Sheen by Farnam, which is actually a spray for horses, not dogs. It was recommended by a professional dog groomer, and I love it.
But if that’s not available, a misting bottle with plain water will also work.
Step 2 – Light Overall Dog Brushing
Begin with a light dog brushing using the Pin Brush. The Pin Brush is a styling brush but is also recommended for de-tangling on long-haired dogs.
Some groomers prefer using a slicker brush.
Don’t worry about getting down to the skin with this step. This is just to get the hair moving in the right direction and assess the degree of tangling and matting.
Step 3 – Line Brushing
Next, for a thorough brushing, I definitely prefer the pin brush. Again, some groomers prefer the slicker brush. It’s a matter of preference.
Watch as Andis international grooming consultant Diane Betelak demonstrates proper line brushing technique.
Line Brushing – Head To Toe
Expand each section below to see the steps for line brushing your dog from head to toe.
- Starting at the back of the top knot – form a part and lay the hair back away from the area you want to brush first (take small sections at a time).
- Brush through the first small section with the pin brush (or slicker brush) until it’s tangle free.
- Then form a new part and brush that section thoroughly until tangle free.
- Continue until you’ve worked your way through the entire top knot.
- Finish by combing through it with a combination coarse/fine tooth metal comb. The coarse side helps to gently remove remaining mats and the fine side removes loose hair.
- Brush the bottom of the ear first, working your way up the strands to the top (this prevents extra tangling). Don’t forget the underside of the ear.
- Follow that with the metal comb to make sure there are no tangles.
- As with the ears, brush the tail by starting at the bottom of the hair strands and inching up until you reach the base of the tail.
- Comb through to make sure there are no tangles.
- Starting at the feet – with one hand, lay back the hair above the area you are brushing to form a part.
- Then brush the hair below the part, starting at the edge of the hair and working in toward the skin.
- Move upward a small section at a time, forming a new part, brushing that area, etc.
- Don’t forget the inside of the leg and high-friction armpit areas.
- Finally, comb through the entire leg with a coarse/fine tooth metal comb.
- Repeat this process for each leg.
- Use the same line brushing technique on the sides, back, and neck that you used on the legs – start at the tummy and work upward until you reach the spine.
- As before, comb through the coat with a steel comb to catch any remaining mats.
Step 4 – Finishing Brush
For the final step in dog brushing, a boar bristle brush works great for grabbing all those cottony fine hairs that the comb missed.
It also helps to remove dust and debre and redistribute the natural oils throughout the coat.
Brush through the entire coat with the boar bristle brush. You’ll be surprised at how much additional loose hair it picks up.
If you come across a mat that’s too tight to gently loosen with either a dog brush or comb, don’t struggle with it. It’s just not worth the discomfort to your dog.
Reach for one of the de-matting Tools instead. Your dog will thank you!
They have sharp blades that cut through the mat while protecting your dogs’ skin. Some can be adjusted for right or left-handed use.
Using the de-matting tool, work gently from the outside of the mat and move inward toward the skin. Once the mat is removed, use the same brushing technique described in Step #3 to smooth out the hair in that area.
Check out this example of mat removal from one of my favorite YouTubers – “Jun the Groomer”