The Doodle Groomer chick's protocol to

Awesome smelling and looking doodles

The secret sauce to keep your doodle smelling great and looking fancy between haircuts.

What causes a stench?

Typically stinky doodle results because of two reasons. One is medical (ear infections, skin infections like on the chin, bad teeth, etc.), the other is grooming-related (mats, poop, pee, wrong order of grooming steps at home).

In this post, we'll discuss the grooming related reason. To keep your doodle smelling great, you'll need to work on the coat in a specific order. In three words, I like to call the basics of the method "Brush before the wash." Let's see what that boils down to!

After grooming, your doodle looks stunning and feels totally clean and soft. That's because, for a haircut, groomers are doing serious prep work for the coat before the final haircut. Actually, the prep work takes about 2/3 of the grooming time. WOW, right? That means you can replicate the looks and feel at home.

Getting a grip on the todos

There are three critical parts of the protocol. We need to 

1.) Prep-work before the wash - finding and removing tangles and mats, loosening up the coat
2.) The bath - getting the coat clean
3.) Drying - getting the coat dry

Step 1. Prep work before the wash

To be able to do a thorough wash, we need to loosen up the coat and find and remove every and all tangles and mats.

Loosening up the coat

Especially for longer coat 1"+ I like to start brushing with blow-drying first. It's a super-fast way to loosen up the coat and will cut the brushing process in half. It'll help you locate mats so you'll literally see where you'll need to come back with the brush after using the dryer to do the "doodle mat map" while fluffing the coat before the bath.

Finding tangles and mats

The three most gentle but most effective tools to find mats are:

1.) Brush
2.) Comb
3.) Blow-dryer

Note: Using your fingers is a significantly less effective way to find mats. Fingers pick up on larger mats only, so we miss the opportunity to find the mats while they are tiny and only loosely matted. By the time they'll be noticeable to fingers, they might be too tight or too deep (or both) already to be brushed out.

How do you know that you found mats?


What does the brush say?

The brush makes funny sounds when it gets stuck in a bunch of mat. So we'll not only need to brush with our hands but to listen as well with our ears.

What does the comb say?

The comb gest stuck in the coat. Be very careful! Since the pins won't move, any mats it gets stuck in will result in direct pulling on the skin with the force you are moving the comb.

What does the blow-dryer say?

When the blow-dryer opens up the coat, you will be greeted with a map of mats. (If there is any present.) The brushed out parts of the coast will look like rays of the sun. The mats will be bunches.

When you find mats...

Brushable and unbrushable mats

It is super important to know, that there are brushable, and not brushable mats. As a general rule of thumb, I approach mats with the following "rule". When you grab the mat with two fingers and try to pull it apart gently, and it comes apart, it's categorized as "brushable". In case it is harder to pull apart, or you can't do it, I categorize it as "unbrushable". More on gentle dematting here.

When are you done with the prep work?

Once the comb is running through the coat, all over the doodle's body, skin depth in the coat, you're ready to give a bath to your doodle. Keep in mind, you can take a break if you or your doodle needs one.

What to do when you find mats?

The biggest task is to determine whether the mats you found are loose enough to be brushable or they need to be trimmed out.

In case the mats are brushable, and you can get a good grip on the hair between the skin and the base of the mat you can give it a go yourself with a slicker brush. The "Safety or comfort grip" will help you keep the pulling sensation away from the skin, so your doodle will stay still for a longer period of time. It also helps to protect the skin from the repeated work on the same area.

Level of mats 101

Depending on the level and the location of the mats, your training about trimming out mats, and the tools you have available, you can either give it a go yourself or schedule a dematting only appointment with your groomer.

There is a very simple and easy way to check how tricky a mat is. When you find one, try pulling it apart with your fingers. If it comes apart easily, it'll be easy to detangle it with a slicker brush. If it does not come apart easily, it'll require a more detailed dematting session or need to be trimmed out.

It is incredibly important to remove all mats before the bath, so do not wash your doodle before getting all the mats removed.

Step 2. Bath

This section also has a few substeps to get to perfection.

1.) Soak
2.) Shampoo
3.) Rinse
4.) Conditioner
5.) Through rinse


You'll need to soak the coat thoroughly to make the shampoo leather nicely and get a good grip on the dirt in your doodle's coat.


My favorite is Earthbath Hypoallergenic shampoo. This will clean gently, yet thoroughly, but is super gentle on the skin. (I'm a label detective due to my health "preferences" (issues haha) so I did a lot of digging for coat care products.


In case your doodle is not too dirty, one round of shampoo is enough. In case there are stinky spots (chin, butt, etc.) you can do two rounds only there. In case your doodle is super dirty, you can do two full rounds of shampoo and rinse all over the body.


My favorite go-to is also an Earthbath product, called Oatmeal & Aloe Conditioner. It is the richest conditioner I could get my hands on. It leaves the skin moisturized, the coat super soft and shiny. Bonus, it'll make brushing easier, and will keep the tangles away for longer.

Final rinse

Super important step. You want to rinse out the shampoo and conditioner thoroughly. Any leftover product will likely make the dog itchy, chewing, scratching. It can result in a bad looking coat and a hot spot, so take your time! Note: especially when you are using cups only on puppies. (Less water pressure will not get that deep in a thicker coat, so get your pupper used to higher pressure rather sooner!)

Step 3. Drying

For thicker, longer, curlier coats, drying is highly recommended, if not a must. For thinner coats, you can be good with towel drying and air drying only combined with brushing a few times until the coat fully dries.

Towel drying

A thorough towel drying will speed up the drying process let it be you go with air drying or blow-drying. Doggies like a warm towel, especially wintertime, so put a few towels in the dryer before you hit the tub! On a medium-size doodle, I use 2 large, thick towels, 2 large, lighter weight towels, and a few washcloths to get them dry easier and faster.

Air drying

For thinly coated doodles and for puppies -after a thorough prep work as we discussed before- air-drying combined with some brushing is a doable option. We need to make sure we'll separate the coat while it's getting dry while the doggy doing his/her doggy business throughout the day. So brush every 10-15 mins to speed up the drying and to make sure the hair won't clamp together and stink up a bit.

Hand blow-dryer

A small dryer -like the one you use at home for your own hair- works great for dogs up to about 1" length of coat. I use this kind of dryer more often than the high-velocity blow-dryer. I like to combine it with a slicker brush to get the coat separated faster, so speeding up the drying. Also, it'll prep the coat very well for haircuts.

High-velocity blow-dryer

The big dryer's #2 feature (after enabling us to see the doodle mat map in real life) is getting the coat dry. Since it's a powerful thing, it'll help you separate the coat faster, and will remove the water from the depth of the coat more efficiently, so drying will be faster. I like to follow up/finish the drying with a small blow-dryer + a brush after using the high-velocity dryer. It's called stretch drying, but I don't like this term much, so I just call it the drying+brushing combo. It'll separate the coat more efficiently once the coat is like 60-70% dry so you'll be able to make sure there will be no "wet dog smell" left in the coat.


With this protocol, you will be able to keep the coat smelling great between haircuts. Bonus, your doodle will be the most comfortable because you'll find tangles and mats early on and you can avoid a short shave.

I suggest this method to my clients who are prepping the coat for me when I just do the hairstyling in the salon. Pawrents cut the price of the grooming in half, I spare time and energy on coat preparation. Win-win-win.

For Fun

Why I do not use nor recommend using any perfumes, colognes on dogs.