A white Bichon Frisé

How to Fluff Dry a Dog’s Hair

Don’t you just love the look of a dog that has just walked out of the groomer’s shop? Do you ever wonder how they get those dogs so nice and fluffy? Well, I am going to let you in on the groomers secret and explain to you how it’s done. The process is called Fluff Drying. It is a pet grooming technique that requires a lot of practice to perfect. Don’t let this discourage you, anyone with some patience can do this. In this article, I will walk you through the steps to fluff dry your dog like a professional.


Most Common Breeds to Fluff Dry

Almost any dog breed with long hair can be fluff dried but it is more common to fluff dry the breeds with wavy to curly hair. 

  • Airedale
  • Bedlington Terrier
  • Bichon Frise
  • Cockapoo
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Kerry Blue terrier
  • Peek-a-poo
  • Poodle
  • Schnauzer
  • Welsh Terrier

Why Fluff Dry

The purpose of fluff drying is to straighten the hair. This technique not only gives the dog a beautiful look it is needed to achieve a good even hair cut. Breeds like Poodles and Bichon are mostly scissor cut and must be fluff dried to get that velvety look. Furthermore, fluff drying is a great way to make sure you have removed all the tangles in your dog’s hair.

A black Standard Poodle
Before Fluff Drying


A black show Standard Poodle
After Fluff Drying (not the same dog)

Tools you will Need to Fluff Dry

 Before you attempt to fluff dry your dog make sure to have everything you will need ready.

  • Force Dryer (optional)
  • A Blow Dryer on a Stand or Holder
  • Slicker Brush or Pin Brush
  • Metal Comb
  • Grooming Tabel with Noose
  • Spray Bottle with Water


The Steps to Fluff Drying

To make this process as easy as possible you should always brush your dog before bathing. Do not bath a dog with tangled and matted hair, the results will be tighter tangles and mats that are more difficult to impossible to brush out. Also, trim off some hair before bathing. If your dog is way overdue for a haircut trimming hair before the bath will save you drying time. Don’t worry about getting an even cut now, you will be evening the hair after it has been fluffed dried.

Example: If you are giving your Poodle a Lamb cut you can go over the body with the #5 or #4 blade before bathing. 

For Poodles, you should also shave the feet, face, tail, and belly before bathing. I see no need to waste time drying feet that will end up with no hair anyway.

After bathing towel dry to remove as much water as possible.

Place your dog on a grooming table and secure him/her with a noose.


Using a Force Dryer

If you own a Force Dryer use it to remove most of the water from your dog’s hair. The force dryer will also begin the fluffing process. Never twirl the force dryer, it will result in tangling the hair. Dry in an up and down motion close to the dog’s skin. You should be drying the hair from the skin out to the ends. When force drying the ears always plug your dog’s ears with your fingers or a cotton ball. The force of the wind can damage the ear drums, also never face the nozzle directly into your dogs face. Continue drying with the force dryer until most of the hair is dry and starting to stand up. This will vary with the length of your dog’s hair.

Using a Blow Dryer

For those that do not own a force dryer, it will be easier to use extra towels to absorb more water after the bath. 

Now it’s time to get the hair perfectly straight. This does take practice and you will get better at it each time you do it. Turn on your blow dryer that is either on a stand or holder. Set it to warm not hot with the air flow on high. You will be working in sections starting with the rear end of your dog. Let’s start with his/her tail, aim the blow dryer on the tail and begin brushing with your Slicker or Pin brush. You will be using soft but fast strokes against the grain of the hair keeping the brush flat. As the hair dries and straitens move on to the next section. Continue until the entire coat is straight and completely dry.

If the hair has already dried before you get to it you will need to re-wet it using water in a spray bottle. Don’t soak the hair just spray it enough to get the waves and curls out with the heat of the dryer while brushing.

Once you are done fluff drying go back over your dog’s hair with a metal comb to make it stand up and ready for the hair cut.

As you are learning this technique, you may notice sections on your dog that look better than others. Don’t worry about it, you can always go back over them or just let it be. Remember you are not taking your dog to a show so don’t expect perfection while learning.

>Click Here to learn more about Blow Dryer Holders!<


Fluff Drying Video

 I have searched and searched looking for a video to help you better understand how to fluff dry. To be honest I was quite disappointed in the way many of them were fluff drying and handling the dogs. I am a perfectionist when it comes to pet grooming but most important is that I am a gentle groomer and do not like to see other groomers handle an animal roughly. Below you will see the best video on fluff drying that I could find.



Now you know the groomers secret to fluff drying. The more you practice the better you will get and before you know it you will be fluff drying like a professional groomer. Please remember to always be gentle with your dog and always reward him/her with some love and a treat after every grooming procedure.

>>Vist our Pet Boutique to give your pet that Finishing Touch!<<

If you have any questions or need some help please leave me a comment below!

Happy fluff drying,


About Cathy

Animals are my passion in life. I am here to help you take care of your pet/pets. Educating yourself in pet care will lead to a happier healthier pet and that is something we all want!

6 comments on “How to Fluff Dry a Dog’s Hair

  1. Hi Cathy I imagine that you would need a lot of patience when grooming a dog. You talk about using a slicker brush what exactly is a slicker brush?
    Also at what age would you start to groom a dog in this way? I can’t see taking an older dog and trying to do this. I think it would freak them out but I could ber wrong.
    How often do these types of dogs actually need to go to a pet groomer? A show dog I would imagine would be groomed on a pretty regular basis but what about the dog that is not showing but is just someones pet?

    1. Hi Maureen,

      Yes, patients is definitely needed when grooming animals. I always recommend to start grooming shortly after you bring a new puppy into your house. You can also get an older dog used to being groomed if you have patience and take it slow. If you see your dog is stressing stop what you’re doing and try again later. I see no need to over stress an animal.

      How often a dog needs to be groomed varies with each breed type. It is important that every dog receive basic grooming.

      You can learn more about slicker brushes by visiting this article: https://thewellgroomedpet.com/

      Thank you for visiting my site, if you have any more questions please let me know.

  2. hi cathy, how are you doing today. I never knew that so much could go into fluff drying a poodle, we use to have poodles when I was a child and mom would take them to the groomers and they would come home smelling all good and their coats would be perfect, this is very interesting to me, thanks for sharing this info,
    Do you have any recommendations for dry skin on a boston terrier breed, we have tried everything, the vet says maybe ask a groomer.. thank you.

    1. Hi Denney,

      Thanks for stopping by, all is going great for me. Fluff drying is definitely a technique that takes practice. Have you tried adding coconut oil to your dogs food? It works wonders. I also did a article on shampoos for dry skin, here is the link.


      Hope this helps, if you have any question please let me know.

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