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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Another quick grooming question. The mats form seemingly overnight on this dog. I brush him behind his ears daily because this has been the prime matting spot, and over the rest of his body anther 3-4 times a week, but just this morning I discovered some small mats under his collar area and also at the base of his tail. This is after a solid brush just the day before yesterday with no mats to be found. We did a big swim yesterday with just a short brush once he'd dried so I feel like this could have been the culprit here. Regardless, I'm either not using the right tools (a slicker brush and an undercoat rake) or I'm not using the tools I have properly.

Does anyone have any suggestions for how I can prevent this matting? Also products that would help me tease out the mats that have just formed. I'm worried they'll grow by the minute if I don't do something about them.

Thanks very much for any help you can offer :)
 

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Looks like he has a longish, soft coat? Prime matting coat, unfortunately. My dog can get matts behind his ears in under 24 hours. I brush him daily and then once a week I look for matts to cut out. I think there's a spray you can use to help brush out matts, but Kabota wouldn't put up with that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Looks like he has a longish, soft coat? Prime matting coat, unfortunately. My dog can get matts behind his ears in under 24 hours. I brush him daily and then once a week I look for matts to cut out. I think there's a spray you can use to help brush out matts, but Kabota wouldn't put up with that.
Yes longish and very soft and wispy behind the ears especially. Neck hair longer and less soft, but I think that's the collar' doing. I'm just glad to hear it's not abnormal.

For dealing with mats after the fact, I have heard letter openers like these; http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419DoIpRD2L.jpg

Are useful. Put the bottom but under the mat and cut it into bits, and you don't risk cutting the dog.
Wow! Neat. And I've been terrified to use scissors for just that reason. Thanks.
 

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Mat breaking tools like these are great:
https://www.petedge.com/zpetedgemain/catalog/productDetail.jsf?wec-appid=PEDM_WEBSHOP_TR&itemKey=005056A633791ED2B58649162EACAFB3

I would recommend the narrower teeth. Mine has wide teeth, but they are a bit too wide for most mats Watson gets so then I have to work harder to get the mat into the teeth (if that makes any sense).

I would recommend a pin brush and comb rather than a slicker. Slickers just go over mats though if you listen you can hear where the mat is and then get in there to take care of it.

For dematting spray, lots of people use the Johnson&Johnson No More Tangles spray or whatever it's called. The one for kids. I've tried "THE Stuff" and it works pretty well. Mostly I just cut the mat out with the mat breaker because I don't feel the need to save every hair on Watson's body the way some show people do. Haha
 

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Don't use scissors to cut the whole mat out. When you pull up on the mat you pull up the skin as well and it is extremely easy to cut the dog. I will cut through the mat but never try to get off the whole thing. Sometimes isolating the mat from the skin by putting a comb between mat and skin and then brushing the heck out of the mat works for new mats. Getting the time to do that with a wiggly dog is another matter! Max was quite tolerant of this as his flowing locks called for an hour of grooming a week whether he liked it or not.

Matted hair is damaged hair though. It is broken and bent and apt to just mat up again. Really better to get all that out and shorten up the hair in the area and groom more often so it is less likely to happen again. In Ginger's case just brushing out her tail more than once every 3 weeks keeps away mats. I had to keep on top of Max's fuzz weekly plus keep his rear end and ears trimmed at least monthly.

Learn how to trim that soft fuzz behind the ear and mats are less likely to form. Usually a given hair type has a length where it won't mat, let it get too long and there they are again. Pull the ear leather to the eye, brush up the fuzz and trim it shorter. You can do quite a sloppy job and it won't look awful once the ear is back down. Do the same on the rear end, brush up the fuzz and cut a line from sitting bone to hock, line just needs to be that angle you can cut 2" away from hock and sitting bone if you like. Get the fuzz between the legs combed out with the main britches if you can as well. If you have thinning shears it will look much better but you can snip into the harsh line like hairdressers do to make it more irregular. I do that if I don't have the thinning shears out.

Removing undercoat helps. Max had a horrible soft sticky undercoat that didn't brush out yet it fell out all over the house. So annoying. Use a metal flea comb to line comb him particularly in those problem spots AFTER you have gone through with the rake and slicker so you know there aren't any mats. Mats form from tangled fur sure but also from loose hairs that get caught up, get out the about to drop hairs and fewer mats.

Comb him out when he is wet if only the places you know will mat. Never had collar matting, maybe leave the collar off so long as he is wet after brushing out the area?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
These are very helpful suggestions. I'm going to pick up that dematting comb (and maybe letter opener?) and spray because I just spent an hour tonight giving him his kibble dinner piece by piece so I could comb out as many mats as possible with the pin brush. He was so sweet and cooperative but clearly not his nor my idea of a fun Friday night.

I do need to learn to trim him up. I did a botch job when he was younger with his ear fuzz and our agility instructor noticed. I was so embarrassed, felt like a real bumpkin. I've heard those trimming shears are helpful to do tidy it all up without the risk of butchering the job.

For the collar mats (which are still in there - a little better after this eve, but not gone entirely), I did as you suggested Kathyy and cut sort of into the mat with a couple of centimetres of protective space between his skin and where the scissors ended. That was helpful to be able to get the comb into the mat. I honestly cannot believe how intense they are given that they really just formed in the last two days. I do think that what may have contributed was leaving the collar on after all that swimming.

Is there a specific kind of collar that may reduce the matting some? Perhaps rolled? or something satiny?
 

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He is a good boy letting you get the comb between mat and skin! Has to be a very odd feeling having a comb attached like that. If possible do that on the neck mats, that skin is super flexible and thin. Gives me shivers thinking about using scissors there without something between skin and mat.

I think this is dead hair causing the problem, use the rake and slicker every time he gets wet to pull it out. No he won't go bald but you probably can build a new pet rat or guinea pig with what comes out. I'd try a rolled collar before a slick one. I'd think the edges would be causing enough friction to tangle and mat up the fur more than a rolled collar with no actual edges.

I am definitely getting a bye on Bucky's ears. With the felt earrings gone haven't had any new mess starting up again so I have time to get him used to handling before the hair gets long enough to start tangling again. It wasn't the hair on top, it was the hair behind that was the problem. Even the long hair under his ears doesn't mat.
 

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Definitely get thinning shears. They will do a much neater job than straight scissors for things like ears.

I would definitely get a new collar and you should see a lot less mats in that area. Rolled leather will definitely reduce matting. If you want something nylon, White Pines makes really soft nylon collars that don't mat or break coat. I like the limited slip variety but they also have standard ones with a plastic clip. Lots of dog show people use them because they are so gentle on coat.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Definitely get thinning shears. They will do a much neater job than straight scissors for things like ears.

I would definitely get a new collar and you should see a lot less mats in that area. Rolled leather will definitely reduce matting. If you want something nylon, White Pines makes really soft nylon collars that don't mat or break coat. I like the limited slip variety but they also have standard ones with a plastic clip. Lots of dog show people use them because they are so gentle on coat.
Ah, just ordered a 1" leather collar... it's super nice, but definitely not rolled. I checked out some Aussie boards and many folks were like, 1" leather collar always and no issues. So here's hoping! Also yes, thinning shears. My mum used to cut my bangs with the thinning shears she used on her horse *cringe*. I'll go out and get some this week and give Pai a trim :)
 

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Ah, just ordered a 1" leather collar... it's super nice, but definitely not rolled. I checked out some Aussie boards and many folks were like, 1" leather collar always and no issues. So here's hoping! Also yes, thinning shears. My mum used to cut my bangs with the thinning shears she used on her horse *cringe*. I'll go out and get some this week and give Pai a trim :)
I imagine flat leather would be ok, but I think it would depend on the texture of the back of the collar. Some is pretty rough at first. But it's probably fine.

For thinning shears, just make sure you get a mid-high quality pair. A $20 pair isn't going to work very well for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yes, and the same goes for nail clippers. I've had poor luck with ones from the local pet stores. Any idea where I can find a good pair? Maybe an equestrian supply shop now that I think about it...?
 

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Yes, and the same goes for nail clippers. I've had poor luck with ones from the local pet stores. Any idea where I can find a good pair? Maybe an equestrian supply shop now that I think about it...?
I would just order online. I got mine from PetEdge.com I think. Something in the $50-70 range should be good. More teeth means finer cutting, so you remove less hair but get a better finish. Mine are 46-tooth and they work fine for my dogs, but it can get tedious if you want to cut off a lot at once.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I would just order online. I got mine from PetEdge.com I think. Something in the $50-70 range should be good. More teeth means finer cutting, so you remove less hair but get a better finish. Mine are 46-tooth and they work fine for my dogs, but it can get tedious if you want to cut off a lot at once.
Found a comparable Canadian place and ordered them this eve. Thanks for the suggestions!!
 

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I use a regular human hair brush (one of those plastic knobby ones), a slicker, and an undercoat rake and I have had no mats on my mini american shepherd, who has a lot of coat. He swims, rolls in the grass, etc ... but I do brush him every day.

I line brush, here are some videos on how to do it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N99TT4fsEtE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqQBq1tx4xI

One is for shelties and the other is for poodle, but the fundamentals are the same :) Hope this helps.

I wouldnt use thinning shears or anything that cuts the fur on a double coated dog, when I do find a mat, I have that Johnson and Johnson spray elrohwen was talking about. I spray a bit into the mat and work it out by hand, then brush it the rest of the way out. Lincoln's breeches, the hair on his forearms, and for some reason, the hair at his ears is most prone to matting, the rest of his hair is pretty wash and wear, all things considered haha
 

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Lincoln doesn't need his ears trimmed to be neat? Most of the Aussies I see either get ears trimmed or have silky long fur behind. That silky fur doesn't go with the rest of the coat and Ginger gets what she has pulled out to keep her ears neat.
 

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I wouldnt use thinning shears or anything that cuts the fur on a double coated dog,
People use thinning shears on double coated dogs all the time. Pretty much every double coated dog at a dog show has had some thinning shear work. The issue is with shaving the coat down to the skin, not with trimming off some fluffy bits from the ears.
 

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Lincoln doesn't need his ears trimmed to be neat? Most of the Aussies I see either get ears trimmed or have silky long fur behind. That silky fur doesn't go with the rest of the coat and Ginger gets what she has pulled out to keep her ears neat.
No, I dont trim anything on him, I dont show conformation, though, and I HATE HATE pulling ear hair.
 

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No, I dont trim anything on him, I dont show conformation, though, and I HATE HATE pulling ear hair.
Do you mean the hair inside the ear? That's not the hair Kathyy is talking about pulling. She's talking about the stuff on top to neaten the appearance. You can trim it, or you can pluck it by hand.
 

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Do you mean the hair inside the ear? That's not the hair Kathyy is talking about pulling. She's talking about the stuff on top to neaten the appearance. You can trim it, or you can pluck it by hand.
He doesnt have much on top, he does have feathery hair around the frame of his head, down by his jowls, but a simply daily brushing keeps them looking nice.
 
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