Grooming the poodle for a show is 100% proof that what you do during the week will determine what your Poodle will look like on the weekend at shows. The poodle is a product of care and a strict grooming regime.
Firstly, the most important part of looking after a poodle coat is the mid week care. I suggest that you bath, depending on colour as to your routine. For example, whites, creams, silvers, blues and blacks use Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo.
This shampoo tones unwanted red tones from the coat thus making whites - whiter, creams - removing warm tones, silvers more silver and even in colour, and the same with the blues, with blacks it also takes out any warm reddish tones. Use a mixture for mid week at 10:1 i.e. 10 parts water to one part shampoo.
For your reds, browns and apricots, use Plush Puppy All Purpose (at a mixture for mid week at 10:1). This shampoo will give you great shine and healthy vigour to the coat.
For your Blacks use Plush Puppy Black Opal Shampoo. This is the very latest in enhancing black coats and tones any brown/red overtone from the coat. The more you use it, the better the coat looks. If a little bit of black is good, then a lot is even better - this is the blackest black in the business. For best results apply to the worst areas directly and massage in - then mixing at 1 part shampoo : 1 part water (50/50) in a mixing bottle and work through the coat and leave for at least 10 mins before rinsing.
After shampooing, rinse clean and then apply as your final leave in rinse, a mixture of 1 dessertspoon Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil, 1 tablespoon of Plush Puppy Coat Rescue and 1 tablespoon of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner. All this is to 4 L (1 gallon) of warm water. The Seabreeze Oil will hydrate the coat and skin plus reduce matting; the Plush Puppy Coat Rescue will reduce the amount of grooming midweek and also reduce matting by making the coat healthier and stronger and the conditioner will close the hair cuticle after the weekends punishment at the show from the Top Knot preparation. For dogs going through that “oh so NOT fun” coat change period, increase the amount of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil and Plush Puppy Coat Rescue.
Remember that due to the essential oils in Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil, bands breakdown quickly. I prefer to wrap and hence no band breaking.
Some coats are better suited to Plush Puppy Reviva Coat when banding. It all depends on the individual dog and coat. When banding add a golf ball sized amount to your hand and work through the coat, then band that area. This gives the coat needed hydration and reduces stress to the coat. A truly wonderful product. Can also be used on the front poms to reduce pee staining on boys.
Now show prep. My truly favorite shampoo for all Poodles (especially if you have done your mid week shampooing home work) is Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo. This gives you the profuse, dense coat that the breed standard requires. Use at 5:1 i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo. Depending on the coat and colour, you may add Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo or Plush Puppy All Purpose to the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo. Yes you can mix 2 shampoo’s together. Plush Puppy’s special formula allows you to combine shampoos to get the exact results you require.
For Dry and Brittle coats, use 1 teaspoon of Plush Puppy Coat Rescue as a conditioner. This product helps rebuild the coat but won’t soften or change texture. You may add a small amount of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner to the high stress areas such as topknot, neck coat and ears. Dilute1 teaspoon of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner to 250mls of warm water. Apply, work in and rinse.
Dry as normal. I always suggest using a Plush Puppy Pin Brush to start. This gets through the coat and has less drag on the hair. Always finish using a gentle Plush Puppy Slicker Brush soft and long toothed Plush Puppy Comb (C-100). It’s important when drying to thoroughly comb the area to get that perfect finish and to make sure the coat is 100% knot and tiny tangle free. This attention to detail will help when scissoring to get the exact finish. Drying your poodle and detail to combing is the key to the perfect finish.
At this stage of the finishing process, one can also help to further improve the appearance of the coats. For instance, use Plush Puppy Puffy Dog, which is a firm hold styling mousse but is totally water soluble and doesn’t build up or get sticky in humidity. This is great for the poms that just don’t want to stand up. Same for tails that lack a full and textured look. This can be applied directly to the area and worked in to a coat that is 75% dry. Then finish drying as normal. Also can be used on those sparse ears or poms if needed. Poodles for shows must be 110% dried!
At the show it is important not to apply too much water/moisture to the coat, otherwise all the hours of drying will be to no avail. I use a grooming spray called Plush Puppy OMG. For most poodles use 1 cap of the Plush Puppy OMG Concentrate to a 500 ml spray bottle or 40:1. This helps freshen the coat but will not interfere with any top knot sprays. This is also the best for a grooming spray during the week. Use at double strength as a grooming/detangling spray i.e. 2 caps to 500ml or 20:1.
For topknots we have Plush Puppy Stuk Up. This is a non-aerosol texture/holding spray. Lightly spray to an area & keep reapplying to the coat/topknot until you have the shape you desire. Wonderful stuff that gives you hold where you need it without using a traditional hair spray.
After the show to break down the top knot, use Plush Puppy OMG Grooming Spray - it is not called OMG for nothing - Oh My Goodness, it works!!! This concentrated grooming spray can be made at any mixture strength or purchased as a 500ml spray Ready To Use. I use on knot knots at 1 part concentrate to 20 parts water. The great thing is it allows you to brush out the top knot without damaging the coat. A light spray and use the Plush Puppy Bristle Brush. The bristle is much kinder on this delicate area. Remember lightly spray and lightly brush - repeat and repeat. Best results use a cool dryer as you brush. Also great to pre apply to topknots and neck coat before bathing as it allows the hairspray to break down quicker and easier.
For those that prefer and I will always advise the best way to maintain your top knots and neck hair, I prefer that the top knot and neck hair to be bathed out after the show. An unknown secret is to pre spray the area with Plush Pet Coat Conditioner as this formula breaks down any hair spray and makes washing out quick and easy. A light spray on the area 10 mins before bathing and it dissolves any residue in the coat.
Now the show has ended and you are home, don’t forget to start again with your mid week regime. The work at home determines the finish you get at the shows and with Plush Puppy, not only will you get the results you want, but save valuable grooming time.
This is a breed that effort reflects results. A grooming routine is key to achieve the coat and finish that we all desire. Plush Puppy has wonderful products that have proven results with top breeder, exhibitors and winners the world over.