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How to Brush a Poodle [The Right Way]

I don’t think it will surprise anyone to know that I adore Poodles and Poodle crossbreeds. They’re one of my favorite breeds, which led me to start this site. 

If you’ve ever bathed and groomed a Poodle the wrong way, you learn quickly what not to do. I’ve done it, and I think most Poodle owners have, too.

A bathed Poodle with fur that air dries before you brush it out is a sad sight to see. So much frizz and so many mats! 

Fortunately, it’s easy to learn how to brush a Poodle. As long as your dog is calm during bathing, drying, and brushing, it can be an enjoyable grooming task for the dog and even fun for you, too. 

Let’s look at how to brush a Poodle correctly. 

how to brush a poodle properly
How to brush a Poodle properly – working the coat like a professional.

Regular Poodle Brushing

One of the biggest mistakes new (and some not-so-new) Poodle owners make is trying to brush a Poodle’s fur when it’s dry. Unfortunately, all this does is frizz it up and make it more likely to get snarled. 

Brushing through fuzzy, ratty fur is like walking backward everywhere you go. You’ll eventually get there, but you’re doing the hardest possible way!

best brush for poodle coats
A woman brushing a chocolate color Poodle

Use a clean mister bottle and moisten your Poodle’s hair before you attempt to brush it. Plain water is better than nothing, but if you have some dog conditioner, a capful of that mixed in will help a lot. 

Don’t use your hair conditioner if you don’t have conditioner for dogs. Dogs have unique needs for their skin and different oils. Our products can strip their skin and hair of what it needs and cause drying, itching, and even worse, matting. 

Gently work the damp hair with a slicker brush from the tips inward until the brush slides through easily. 

Poodle Bathing and Brushing

are poodles hyper exercising black poodle
Are Poodles hyper? They sure love to run and exercise!

When you bathe your Poodle with dog shampoo and conditioner, don’t be tempted to rub a dry towel on the Poodle’s fur. This rubbing can be as disastrous as trying to brush through dry Poodle curls. 

Use the thickest towels you have that wick moisture better than others and press them against your Poodle’s hair to blot instead of rub. 

Go with gravity by starting at the top of the head and working your way down to the feet. If you and your Poodle are comfortable with a blow dryer, you can use this option, too. 

Be sure you don’t hold the blow dryer too close to your Poodle’s skin to avoid burning them. Even if it doesn’t cause a burn, it can be painful if it’s too hot. 

Also, avoid blowing the dryer into the dog’s ears.

As you dry your Poodle’s fur, use a finishing spray for dogs and mist the fur before using a slicker brush in small sections to brush out the coat. 

Following those steps will ensure soft, combed fur instead of a dry, frizzy, and tangled mess.

Your Poodle Brushing Tools and Technique

Poodles have bold personalities. If you wash, dry, or brush your Poodle wrong, your dog will probably let you know. If not, they might be less enthusiastic about the next bath and brush out instead. 

Using the right tools will help, like soft towels and the right brush. How you tackle your Poodle’s fur will make a difference, too. 

If you’ve ever had to brush out a small child’s long hair, you’ll intuitively know how to brush a Poodle gently.  

Brush a Small Section at a Time

Start at the top of the head with a quality slicker brush. Work on a small patch of fur at a time. 

Don’t push the brush deep into the fur and try to pull it through. Instead, hold the tuft of hair in one hand, tighter near the roots to keep from hurting the dog, and pull the brush through the tips of the hair first. 

As it goes smoothly through that hair, brush further back until eventually, you can brush through the entire length of hair. 

Starting at the tips is much less painful when you hit a snag. This technique lets you work through the tangles a small amount at a time. 

For tough knots, spray a mix of water and conditioner directly on them and carefully work through them. Don’t use a comb because this will grab tiny amounts of the hair in the knot and pull, which hurts. 

Finish One Section Before Moving On

sad poodle
Poodles are smart and social – and a prone to separation anxiety. This can lead to problem behavior like excessive barking.

The most difficult thing to learn about how to brush a Poodle is being patient. The actual task isn’t difficult, but you have to be patient to avoid causing pain and getting frustrated. 

Don’t pull in more fur or move to another section until the one you’re working on is tangle-free. Then take a small patch of hair directly next to it and start working on that. 

Fortunately, if you bathed your Poodle well and used a good conditioner, you shouldn’t find too many tangles. If you do, try to dry your dog more carefully next time. Spray with the finishing spray and brush as you go early in the process before the hair is dry. 

Use a metal comb to find any tiny snarls you missed on top of the Poodle’s head. If you find some, brush those out. Then carefully brush the ears from the bottom up. Finish with the comb. 

Move on to the tail, from the tip inward, and the legs from the feet up. Part the hair as you go to ensure you only get a small amount of fur at a time. 

Finish with a comb, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve already brushed out the hardest parts. 

How to Brush a Poodle’s Torso

jet black mini poodle
There are different shades of black coat.

You’ll finish with your dog’s back, sides, neck, and any brushing needed on the face. Be careful around your Poodle’s eyes in case they flinch while the brush is in motion. 

If you find hard-to-remove mats, a de-shedding tool or de-matting tool can help. Use it gently until it breaks down the mats and removes them. Don’t press the tool hard against your Poodle. 

The tools are designed not to cut skin, but they can scrape and irritate if you use too much pressure. 

You’ve Learned How to Brush a Poodle

I hope you learned something from these instructions and feel more confident about how to brush a Poodle. You don’t need training or a historical knowledge of dog grooming to do a simple at home job for your Poodle.

When you bathe your Poodle, hopefully brushing the fur isn’t as daunting a task now that you know the steps.