How to groom a Cockapoo (8 Common grooming mistakes)

The Cockapoo is a low-shedding mixed dog that has high grooming needs. A Cockapoo’s coat may be low-shedding but it is prone to tangles and knots which can eventually become hard mats if not taken care of. That is why grooming a Cockapoo is so important. 

In this guide, am going to tell you some of the common Cockapoo grooming mistakes and give you a detailed step by step guide on how you can groom this Poodle mix.

You may also be interested in- Top 10 Poodle mixes.

We are also going to look at some of the grooming tips and best practices that you can use on you Cockapoo.

So, why don’t we get right into it. 

Cockapoo coat overview

The Cockapoo is a mix between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.

This mix can come in a variety of coat colors and can also have one of 3 coat types namely:

  • Curly coat– This is the coat that sheds the least and the most similar to that of the Poodle parent. It is also the most allergy-friendly coat but is still high maintenance.
  • Wavy coat– Is a blend between the Poodles and Cocker Spaniel’s coat. This coat comprises of loose waves and does not shed much too.
  • Straight coat– This coat is similar to that of a Cocker Spaniel and sheds the most out of the three coats. It is also the least allergy-friendly coat of the three.

All three coats will need to be groomed regularly.

You can learn more about the Cockapoo by visiting this guide.

8 Common Cockapoo grooming mistakes

  1. Not having or following a grooming schedule to help you keep tabs on how much you need to groom your Cockapoo. This can lead to a lot of inconsistency.
  2. Brushing the dog’s coat while it is still wet. This will worsen the tangles/mats and irritate the pooch’s skin.
  3. Shaving down the Cockapoo’s coat to help him stay cooler during summer is a terrible mistake. This will leave the dog’s skin exposed to sunburns and UV rays. The dog’s coat is designed to keep him warm in winter and cooler during summer and this is the reason why they shed.
  4. Getting shampoo into the dog’s ears and eyes or washing the inner parts of the ears. Any liquids in a dog’s ear can form perfect conditions for bacterial growth and shampoo can be very irritating to the eyes.
  5. Not rinsing the Cockapoo thoroughly after applying shampoo or conditioner. These are chemicals that can be very irritating to the skin if left.
  6. Bathing the dog too often will strip the coat of essentials oils and cause the skin to dry.
  7. Trimming the nails incorrectly. Nail trimming should be done gently with the right tools taking care not to cut the quick.
  8. Not keeping the dog calm during grooming. This can be done through training and positive reinforcement. More on this later in the guide. 

You may also be interested in- How to groom a Corgi.

Brushing a Cockapoo

How often should you groom a Cockapoo

Maltese grooming task Task frequency
Brushing the coat Should be done at least 4 times a week. Daily brushing is preferred
Bathing After every 6 weeks or when it is necessary.

Could be done more frequently with the approval of a Vet to treat a skin condition.

Nail care  Every 4 weeks
Dental care At least 4 days a week.
Spritzing After brushing
Ear cleaning Every 2 weeks

You can use this table to create your own personalized grooming schedule.

Interesting read- Puppy training schedule by age. 

How to keep your Cockapoo stay calm during grooming

Reward your Cockapoo:

During it is always convenient to have some tasty treats or toys at hand for positive reinforcement. This also helps to show the dog that there is nothing to worry about.

You should reward the dog every time he is cooperative or when he hopes in the bathtub or grooming table.

When he lets you touch his paws and clip his nails without causing a fuss reward him. The more the dog associates grooming with rewards, the calmer he will be.

If you do this consistently and from an early age you should have no problem grooming him as time goes by.

Tire the dog before grooming

It is always great to groom your Cockapoo after playtime or an exercise session.

This helps to burn out most of his energy which builds to make the pooch uneasy or stressed out.

Both mental and physical stimulation can help him stay calm and relaxed during grooming.

Visit our best indoor dog exercises guide.

How to groom a Cockapoo

Have a calm demeanor and play soothing music

Your dog can sense when you are angry or stressed-out, which will affect him as well.

However, when you are confident and calm during grooming, he will be very cooperative. Use relaxed and slow body movement and a soothing voice when speaking to the Cockapoo for reassurance. 

Soothing music can also help both you and your mixed dog stay relaxed.

Several studies have been carried out showing that soothing music can help reduce anxiety and stress in animals including dogs. So, why would you not play some?

When necessary take breaks

If you sense your dog getting anxious or stressed out during grooming take a break. This is, especially common when you visit a groomer but can also apply when you are grooming the dog yourself.

It is also important to know when your Cockapoo has had enough and stop grooming.

Some of these signs include;

  • Growling or whining
  • Trying to escape
  • Mouthing
  • Obsessive paw or lip licking
  • Excessive panting or shaking

If you ignore any signs, it could make keeping him calm in subsequent grooming sessions difficult.

It is also important to have all the grooming tools you need before you begin.

You may also be interested in- Do Cockapoos bark and some tips to reduce barking.

Cockapoo grooming tools

Please note that you will not need all these tools but you should choose according to your preference.

Brushing tools

  • Slicker brush– Work wells for brushing the Cockapoo’s coat and removing tangles. They have fine, short, and thin wires packed closely together.
  • Pin brush– Great for brushing and straightening the coat without forming extra tangles. They are more comfortable for the dog but less effective than slicker brushes.
  • Steel comb– Great for removing mats and removing tangles that you may have missed in the initial brushing.
  • Bristle brush– Settles down the coat after brushing.
  • Detangling spray– For conditioning/spritzing the coat before and after brushing.

Bathing tools

Doggie shampoo include;

  • Smelly coat shampoo
  • Medical shampoo for an itchy skin
  • Shampoo for dull coats and dry skin
  • Flea and tick shampoo

Portable bathtubs;

  • Multifunctional cleaning systems
  • Shower bags
  • Portable and elevated bathtubs

Coat trimming tools

  • Dog hair clippers
  • Blunt edged scissors
  • Thinning shears

Nail trimming tools

  • Guillotine nail clippers.
  • Nail grinders.

Ear and dental care tools

  • Cotton balls
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Toothbrush
  • Doggie toothpaste

How to Groom a Cockapoo (step by step)

Step 1: Bathing

  1. Brush the coat to remove any knots and tangles then cover the ears with cotton balls to stop water from going in.
  2. Place the Cockapoo is a bathtub or bathing mat and wet him gently with warm water. Wetting the coat may take some time since it is water-resistant.
  3. Apply shampoo and massage it down gently using slow and gentle hand strokes to lather. Work from the dog’s back to the sides to the underbelly and the legs. Keep the shampoo off the ears and eye areas.
  4. Rinse the dog thoroughly with clean water to remove all the shampoo.
  5. Apply a doggie conditioner to the coat using the same method you did with the shampoo and massage it in.
  6. Rinse the dog again thoroughly.
  7. Drain the water or take the dog out of the water for drying.
  8. Use a couple of towels and dryer to remove all the water. When using the dryer remember to set it to low heat and to blow it in the direction of hair growth.

For the face, soak a clean towel in warm water with some shampoo, squeeze it to get some of the water out then thoroughly but gently wipe the face.

After that, soak the towel in clean water, squeeze it and rinse the face then dry using some towels.

You may also be interested in How to Groom a Poodle.

Step 2: Brushing

Brushing a Cockapoo regularly is important for the following reasons;

  • Stimulate blood flow
  • Remove dead and loose hair
  • Distribute coat oils
  • Remove dirt and debris

You will also need to condition the coat with a detangling spray before brushing make it easier to brush, reduce static, restore the dog’s sheen, and rehydrate the coat.

How to brush a Cockapoo

  1. Strip the coat using your fingers to remove dead or loose hair.
  2. Mist the dog’s coat with a detangling spray.
  3. Start brushing from the legs up using a slicker brush. Work thoroughly on small tufts of hair at a time. Pay more attention to the underbelly and neck region.
  4. Comb out the brushed sections using a steel brush to remove any tangles/knots that you may have missed. Work section after section and after you are done the comb should go through the coat freely.
  5. Use a glove mint or bristle brush to go over the coat in the direction of the hair growth.
  6. Comb the face gently using a steel comb.
  7. Spritz the coat.

What is Spritzing a Cockapoo?

Spritzing a Cockapoo is where you spray the coat with a leave-in conditioner to leave it smelling fresh. This spritzing also helps to prevent frequent tangling, repels dirt and irritants, protects the dog from sunburns, and reduces hair damage. 


Locate the matted fur then condition it with detangling spray. Use your finger to loosen the mats as much as you can. Then, go over the hair with a steel brush to finish.

How often should I groom my Cockapoo

Step 3: Trimming the nails

Before you trim the nails, you will need to trim the hair between and around the paw pads using thinning shears or blunt-edged scissors.

The nails should then be trimmed 3 mm off the quick.

On a Cockapoo with light-colored nails, you can easily spot the quick as it is pink colored. For a Cockapoo with dark nails, the quick may be harder to spot but you can use the image below as a guide on where to cut the nail.

After cutting the nails smooth them out gently using a nail file.

Dog nail quick

Step 4: Ear care

Use thinning shears to trim the hair around the ears to prevent debris accumulation and to allow free airflow.

To clean the ears you will need cotton balls and an ear cleaning solution such as saline, commercial preparations, or hydrogen peroxide.

Dip a cotton ball in an ear cleaning solution, hold the ear flat outwards to expose the inner parts. Then using outward movement remove any dirt or wax build-up.

Change the cotton ball then go over the ears again to leave it thoroughly cleaned.

You should also avoid going deep when cleaning the ears. Also, avoid doing it if you have never done it before and seek the help of a professional.

Step 5: Dental care

You can use a doggie toothbrush or finger brush together with a doggie toothbrush to clean the ears. Brush the teeth gently.

You can also use dental chews and treats to strengthen the teeth and also help clean the teeth.

Step 6: Trimming the Cockapoo’s hair

  1. Shave the hair around the sanitary area using a number 10 blade.
  2. Trim the hair on the body to the desired length starting from the back of the heat down to the tail using thinning shears.
  3. Use thinning shears to trim the trunk and sides of the body, chest area, and the underbelly.
  4. Trim and shape the coat on the legs to your desired length.
  5. Comb and trim the corners and sides of the eyes using thinning shears but not the nose bridge.
  6. Comb the hair on the head to the direction of hair growth and give it a nice round trim using scissors.
  7. Comb the cheeks and beard hairs and evenly trim the hair from the ear to the chin on each side.
  8. For the tail, comb it out, hold it up at the edge then trim to your desired length.

Top Cockapoo haircuts

To achieve any of these looks, you may need the help of a professional groomer.

1: Teddy bear Cut

The teddy bear cut involves evenly trimming the dog’s coat to a length of between 2 and 3 inches leaving the underbelly hair a bit longer.

This length should be even for the dog’s whole body with a nice round-shaped head trim.

2. Summer cut/Puppy cut

This is a low maintenance haircut that involves trimming the coat on the dog’s whole body evenly to a short length.

3. The Lamb Cut

This is a popular Cockapoo hairstyle that involves having a longer coat on the underbelly and the legs.

4. Cockapoo Cocker Cut

The Cocker Cut involves trimming the coat leaving the hair on the dog’s head and belly longer.

Cockapoo Cocker Cut
Cockapoo Cocker Cut

Final thoughts

After going through this grooming guide you should be able to do some of the basic grooming by yourself.

But if you have no prior grooming experience it is always good to visit the groomer time after time.

However, you should be able to do the basic brushing, bathing, nail, and dental care even as a beginner.

So, did you find this guide helpful? Share your feedback with us in the comment section below. 

There you go, WOOF!