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While I understand we must enjoy the beauty and qualms of just about every phase in life, I've always been an inpatient one. Saying this - I'd like to ask, when did your Poodles hair begin to curl? When did you give them their first big boy/girl haircut?

I took my Spoo to Petsmart for his first groom at about 15 weeks to get him comfortable with the process. The groomer couldn't stop gushing about how well-behaved Coco was for a puppy. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience! However, I was interested in a traditional poodle cut and was told he was entirely too young and wouldn't stand it. Is this a thing? I keep hearing mixed reviews about this. Way before Coco came home, I had made my mind up about wanting to maintain a short cut - sort of like a retriever cut - it seems so much easier to manage. I will definitely be grooming him myself in the future, but for now, I'll leave to the professionals.
 

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Galen got his first lamb cut at 5 months. I wanted to wait longer, but he was miserably hot. His hair was already curling underneath all his puppy fuzz. I've never put any of my guys in any variation of a continental or saddle cut. We are strictly wash-n-wear in this household.
 

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Not all groomers will know how to do a good job on something like a continental and it is a ton of work to maintain once established. I also don't think it will hold up well on puppy coat.

The most important thing for a puppy is that grooming is pleasant, not torturous.
 
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I’m no expert on grooming as Bobby is our first poodle. I did do a lot of preparing him...brushing and combing, playing blow dryer games, playing with his feet and toes, etc. We have a great groomer and Bobby did well with her. She “stretched” him so to speak but didn’t push too hard. We both wanted it to be a good experience and he did great. After a couple of groomings she encouraged me to do the clean feet so that he could be used to that. Very glad I did. He’s done the clean face from his first grooming on. So I suppose it depends on the groomer and the dog maybe?
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Bobby’s first groom with the groomer at 13 weeks.
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Here he is at at 5 1/2 months with the full groom including clean feet. ❤
So, you will probably will get differing opinions and maybe the type of cut
matters too. Guessing it’s just finding that sweet spot for what your pup can comfortably handle but yet stretching them enough so they know what’s expected and to get them used to the process. Bobby loves going to the groomer and he’s a happy boy when we pick him up. Definitely a good groomer and a good relationship with your groomer is super important.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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We worked slowly up from just face, feet, and sanitary, with an appointment every 4-6 weeks, each a little longer than the last, depending on how Peggy fared.

Shortly after Peggy entered adolescence, the groomer called us midway through an appointment and said "I'm going to stop now. Peggy's very afraid which isn't like her. I think she's going through a fear period, so I'm keeping it short and sweet." When we arrived, she was playing merrily with another dog, but sure enough, it was the start of an intense fear period. The groomer had us come back in three weeks to finish her up, and she was totally fine again.

All this to say—make your goals known, but as long as you trust your groomer, it's good to let them set the pace. Let them work up slowly and build a good relationship with Coco.

Peggy's first "grown-up" cut was around 9 months:

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This is when our groomer took down some of the puppy fluff and we could really see Peggy's curly coat emerging.

But here's how she looked around 5 1/2 months:
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Our mud-magnet stays in a retriever cut with shorn feet. We're much kinder to each other that way.
We keep Bobby super short now, including his ears. Love his clean feet and face. Makes it all easy peasy for grooming between appointments. He can get wet and I don’t have to worry about matting. It’s all about how much grooming you want or are able to do. 😉
 

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We keep Bobby super short now, including his ears. Love his clean feet and face. Makes it all easy peasy for grooming between appointments. He can get wet and I don’t have to worry about matting. It’s all about how much grooming you want or are able to do. 😉
Totally agree. I guess that I'm in a human version of the retriever cut myself. no fuss. more time for espresso and a good book
 

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Too young is thing, even when I got my boy, a show dog prospect that grew too tall, yes he had been groomed but any lengthy grooms from me got on his puppy nerves. Grooming seasons need to happy and that dang puppy hair.
 

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Puppy fluff is too soft for a fancy clip.

Shorter fur requires less maintenance. My last spoo hated to have her tail brushed, but didn't mind having it clipped, so she wore it either clipped Al the way down or in a very short "corndog". She wasn't a show dog, so why fight it?
 

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Annie got her first full hair cut at maybe 6 months? I evened out her back with a 1.5" clip on comb and scissored her legs and tail and head. It made her look far less bedraggled, more poodly, and still kept the puppy floof. I did that for a few months, kind of a modified lamb clip, then, as her coat change began, starting at her back, put her in a Miami (very poodley) until her legs began to change, at which point that became too much to deal with and cut her to one length with massive head and tail, then an HCC etc, then a complete shaved own as coat change hit her head and ears.... bascically, the right cut changes as the dog grows older, and the fun thing is that they are kind of living topiaries. Experimenting is half the joy.

Now she is in a retriever ish cut with a fuller head and tail, and one short length on the rset of her. Coat change is finally finished, and I am debating going bacK to a HCC or lamb clip . Annie's adult coat is very dense and very curly, and I finally have broken down and ordered a forced air dryer so I can do more complicated clips again.
 

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I gave Misha his first body clip at 12 weeks. But he was very puppy and would not let me use a clipper on his legs very much so I had to scissor them somewhat. I did not do the topknot or ears until he was 14 weeks. I can understand a groomer not wanting to do it. When you have your puppy at home you can take breaks and be patient with them. A groomer doesn't have the time for that. But I was able to end up with some fairly nice looking grooms at home even with my limited experience. Here he is at 14 weeks and again at 18 weeks and at 6 months then at 8.5 months and 10 months. The curling was a slow process. I prefer him blown out and rarely let him get curly. The last image was after two weeks without a bath, so he was curling quite a bit despite daily brushing. He tends toward softer looser hair and doesn't have that thick coarse hair that is ideal.

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