I have no experience with poodles, but I'm sure you can both learn to groom your guys! My mom grooms our PWDs and started out never having groomed before.
I'm sure some of the materials you need are similar. She has an Oster electric clipper that she has owned for about 15 years and still works fine. You get all sorts of different clipper bits for it - I know poodles are usually shaved more closely than PWDs are. She always says good scissors are critical - they may cost a lot, but it's worth investing in at least one really good quality pair.
Other than getting the materials, it's great if you can either watch your groomer work or attend a grooming workshop. My mom learned through a combination of watching other groomers, going to workshops and reading all the articles on it. Our dogs have never been to a groomer in their lives, she does it all, and I would say they look pretty good!
Here's some videos that might be useful. I'll have to show them to my mom. Little does she know she now has to learn how to groom a whole new breed! I'll probably just end up with a poodle that looks like a mini PWD.
I think thats how many of us Poodle owners started clipping on our own. I just started doing the face, feet and tail and then decided, I can do those clips too. lol
I have a video that Eli's breeder gave me and it showed how to clip a poodle in general (face, body etc). Very helpful. I just watched the video, then out to clip my Poodle. I had a harder time getting the coat the way it looked from the groomer (which I loved) on my own with out a high end dryer. When they are puppies, the look is easy to achieve. When the tight adult coat comes in, thats another story with out having a good dryer.
After a few try's of clipping the ff&t, I think you'll be pretty confident and it will come easily. As for clippers, I really like my Andis brand clippers. They work well for long periods, dont heat up too quick and are reasonably priced. Petsmart, petco, pet edge, king wholesale etc carry them.
To be quite honest if you can do face/feet on a poodle you can do any of the trims, at least in my opinion. To learn to do face and feet properly and safely takes a lot of clipper manipulation and careful handling to ensure the dogs safety, the body clips are just a matter of learning what blades to use and how to set patterns and by trial and error it's not that difficult. That's the nice thing about the poodle coat..if you mess up it's not a big deal because once the coat gets curly again nobody is really going to notice!
I've been grooming for awhile and I took a nice chunk out of Dodgers lamb trim on accident because I was talking while grooming her and oops it happened.
I also once left a 10 blade while doing her lamb trim and nearly took a nice chunk out of her leg that way too, just the coat of course so if I had no real harm done and with the way poodle coat grows in a few weeks you'll be able to start all over!
I suggest you look online, watch videos, practice with a safe blade just do a 10 on the face and feet, you might have to do it every week to stay short but its safer than using a 40 when you're practicing. Once you can do a 10 flawlessly i would have a groomer SHOW you how to use a shorter blade if you so desire.
Good luck! Grooming your own poodle is a great way to bond with your dog!
ironic, I just commited to buying an Andis clipper from a seller on kijiji... I hope it's in good shape! I used to have Yorkies and I groomed them all the time. I know this is gonna be totally different, I just figure that if I can teach myself to groom Yorkies, I can teach myself to groom SPOO's too!
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