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Discussion Starter #1
I was brushing Soro and I noticed some single hairs sticking up through his usually flat fur. So slight that if you're not up close and personal he looks like the smooth, shiny dog that he is. My thoughts:

1. The furminator is actually 'cutting his coat,' though I have no idea what a cut coat looks like.

2. He's blowing his coat, which should be happening around now (and I'm brushing out obscene amounts of hair.

If it's the first one I will swallow all my words because I'm a fan of furminators. But I highly doubt it's the brush because I feel like I would have noticed this before... I brush him 2-3 times a week.
 

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Well considering the furminator is basically a clipper blade on a handle, number 1 is very likely possible. If you can get a picture of what you are referring to that may help to diagnose what the issue is.
 

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That is what Tyler's coat looks like when he is shedding.... and he usually has a very flat coat. I don't use a furminator, so I am not sure if thats what could be causing it either.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is what Tyler's coat looks like when he is shedding.... and he usually has a very flat coat. I don't use a furminator, so I am not sure if thats what could be causing it either.
.......
SAME DOG. I'll bet those hairs are actually acute sensory devices that Tyler and Soro use to communicate with each other.
 

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Looks like damaged coat to me. Shedding coat sheds out, it doesn't stick out, still attached. 2-3X a week using a Furminator is WAY WAY too much, and it will, and apparently is damaging coat. Those hairs are likey hairs that were cut shorter awhile ago, and as they grow back (being guard hairs and not undercoat) when they grow back grow back like this, just as if you were to shave your dog, you would see regrowth like this..but it would be more obvious because the whole coat would look this way. The Furminator should not be used more than once a week tops, for no longer than 15 minutes, and you should not rake over the same spot more than 3-4 times. Experiment, and stop using it for 3 months. Use a classic, fine stripping knife instead to card the coat with. Look up youtube videos to see how to card correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Looks like damaged coat to me. Shedding coat sheds out, it doesn't stick out, still attached. 2-3X a week using a Furminator is WAY WAY too much, and it will, and apparently is damaging coat. Those hairs are likey hairs that were cut shorter awhile ago, and as they grow back (being guard hairs and not undercoat) when they grow back grow back like this, just as if you were to shave your dog, you would see regrowth like this..but it would be more obvious because the whole coat would look this way. The Furminator should not be used more than once a week tops, for no longer than 15 minutes, and you should not rake over the same spot more than 3-4 times. Experiment, and stop using it for 3 months. Use a classic, fine stripping knife instead to card the coat with. Look up youtube videos to see how to card correctly.
Shucks! Guess I can't judge by luster alone :D
I'm just glad I'm not showing him.

But alright, I'll start limiting my use of the furminator and I'll look into a stripping knife. This?


I also use a pin brush and the zoom groom.... So it would be okay for me to use those two, and the stripping knife on a regular basis?

The thing is I've been using the furminator regularly on him for years (at least 2.5). Then again, even when he was 12 weeks old from the shelter he was unusually shiny, so maybe he just has a very forgiving coat to begin with.

Thanks Graco!
 

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Yep, thats it. Youtube videos on "carding with a stripping knife" to see how to correctly card the coat. This will not damage coat like the furminator does, but will still shed him out good. Yes, you can keep using the pin brush and zoom groom, though IMO the pin brush is a waste of time unless he just likes the scratching/massage from it. Its useless on this kind of coat, and meant for long coated dogs detangling. Yes, shine doesn't necessarily mean there isn't damaged coat. Furminators should come with a warning about overuse...because so many people overuse them..they are best using once a week TOPS, 15 minutes tops. When you use it, take a swipe, and look at the hair while its still stuck in the blade..you should see ONLY gray/light colored fuzzy undercoat. If you see even a single coarse black hair, THAT is topcoat, and its cutting it. I know you will see lots of those hairs in the blade. ;-) You can use the stripping knife a few times a week, IF you are using it correctly. However, once a week is really all you need to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
The thing is, I've never seen guard hairs when I use the furminator. I won't say what comes out is 100% pure undercoat, but I definitely never saw enough guard hairs come out for me to question it. If anything, the zoom groom pulls out guard hairs and I've never seen undercoat come out when I use that. The pin brush really doesn't do much after I use the first two, besides sweep up any leftovers. But with that I find a mix of guard and undercoat. My non-professional thinking was 'Hm, I should use all these brushes to target the different coat layers.'

You might have seen me post this photo before, but in case you haven't it shows what hairs come out with what brush for me:


EDIT: Actually, looking at my own photo just now, maybe the thinner, long bits in the furminator pile are developing guard hairs? They're definitely not as coarse as his actual guard hairs, but could that be what's causing the sticking-up problem?
 

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Gracco, Not to steal the thread or anything, but what do you think of these kinds of blades for brushing dead coat out??


We have one of these at work and it seems to work really well on the dogs that are loosing thick winter coats and what not, but could it also be causing damage to the coats?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm also wondering what the different between a shedding blade and a stripping knife is. The former seems to be much easier to find. If it comes down to it I'll order a stripping knife online, but if they basically do the same thing I'll get a shedding blade from Petsmart and use that as an excuse to take Soro out :D
 

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Ok, couple things. Yes, there are lots of guard hairs in that wad from the furminator. Of course, there is undercoat too, but all those straight long coarse hairs are topcoat/guardhairs. I can't tell whether they are pulled out or cut from the pic, because you have to look at each hair and see if the end was pulled from the folicle (will be wider and bulb shaped at the end if it was pulled from folicle, or just straight if cut) Also, the furminator when used as often as you were using it, will damage guard hairs that it doesn't necessarily pull out...this can also attribute to the sticky outies in the coat you are seeing. It sort of strips the hair, like if you were to take your fingernails and firmly pinch a strand of your hair, you will see it curl up and look "frayed" for lack of a better word..The furminator will do that to the coat. When you use a stripping knife, you use it like a rake, at an angle (you want the knife to be as parallel to to the body as you can get it, and still rake out coat...NOT perpendicular, and be sure to dull the knife first, as some will come fairly sharp...don't ask me why..drives me crazy dulling knifes to use on my terrier)

The brush on the far left is actually a slicker brush, NOT a pin brush. It however, is fine to use to remove the loose coat you have on the dog as a finishing touch. The zoom groom is a great tool for shedding coats, because it will not break or damage topcoat. However, you will see it get coat out..I have a feeling that all those guard hairs you see from it, are hairs loosened or pulled/broken by the Furminator, as you use that first correct? However, keep in mind that guard hairs shed also..but you can tell if its a shedded hair or a cut/broken hair as above..sometimes the shedded hair will have a little bit of white skin where it came out of the folicle also.

The pics of the shedding blades. Yes, those are great to use on short, doublecoats also. However, steer clear of legs and heads, as it will hurt. The single "blade" is the best IMO, and the one with the circles is not ideal for getting alot of coat out. However, I prefer a stripping knife. (Also be sure to pull the skin tight when you are carding with the stripping knife, just like you would with the Furminator, forgot that part.) It certainly doesn't hurt to have a lot of tools to use, and these shedding blades are pretty cheap, so I would say if you find one, grab it and give it a try. When they are new, they may cut or strip some hair, but not like a Furminator will. With shedding tools, the older and more used/duller they are, the better, as they will do less damage to the topcoat.

Yeah, just looked at the pile from the Furminator..lots of topcoat in that...It should be nothing but the cotton fine undercoat...and theres plenty of coarse straight hairs in there..and the other piles from the other brushes look like a mix of different length hairs..which likely means coat was cut. I am interested to see in a few months of not using the furminator the difference in your dog's coat..Love for you to keep this thread updated!
 

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If you don't want to go with an expensive stripping knife (not all are expensive), then you can pick up a fine toothed hacksaw blade and handle (which is no more than 6 bucks I believe at a hardware store), must be fine toothed though, and use that. I use that on all my dogs, it is used just like a stripping knife, just cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ok, couple things. Yes, there are lots of guard hairs in that wad from the furminator. Of course, there is undercoat too, but all those straight long coarse hairs are topcoat/guardhairs. I can't tell whether they are pulled out or cut from the pic, because you have to look at each hair and see if the end was pulled from the folicle (will be wider and bulb shaped at the end if it was pulled from folicle, or just straight if cut) Also, the furminator when used as often as you were using it, will damage guard hairs that it doesn't necessarily pull out...this can also attribute to the sticky outies in the coat you are seeing. It sort of strips the hair, like if you were to take your fingernails and firmly pinch a strand of your hair, you will see it curl up and look "frayed" for lack of a better word..The furminator will do that to the coat. When you use a stripping knife, you use it like a rake, at an angle (you want the knife to be as parallel to to the body as you can get it, and still rake out coat...NOT perpendicular, and be sure to dull the knife first, as some will come fairly sharp...don't ask me why..drives me crazy dulling knifes to use on my terrier)

The brush on the far left is actually a slicker brush, NOT a pin brush. It however, is fine to use to remove the loose coat you have on the dog as a finishing touch. The zoom groom is a great tool for shedding coats, because it will not break or damage topcoat. However, you will see it get coat out..I have a feeling that all those guard hairs you see from it, are hairs loosened or pulled/broken by the Furminator, as you use that first correct? However, keep in mind that guard hairs shed also..but you can tell if its a shedded hair or a cut/broken hair as above..sometimes the shedded hair will have a little bit of white skin where it came out of the folicle also.

The pics of the shedding blades. Yes, those are great to use on short, doublecoats also. However, steer clear of legs and heads, as it will hurt. The single "blade" is the best IMO, and the one with the circles is not ideal for getting alot of coat out. However, I prefer a stripping knife. (Also be sure to pull the skin tight when you are carding with the stripping knife, just like you would with the Furminator, forgot that part.) It certainly doesn't hurt to have a lot of tools to use, and these shedding blades are pretty cheap, so I would say if you find one, grab it and give it a try. When they are new, they may cut or strip some hair, but not like a Furminator will. With shedding tools, the older and more used/duller they are, the better, as they will do less damage to the topcoat.

Yeah, just looked at the pile from the Furminator..lots of topcoat in that...It should be nothing but the cotton fine undercoat...and theres plenty of coarse straight hairs in there..and the other piles from the other brushes look like a mix of different length hairs..which likely means coat was cut. I am interested to see in a few months of not using the furminator the difference in your dog's coat..Love for you to keep this thread updated!

Whoops! My bad, I always forget the name of the slicker brush :D!
I'll order a stripping knife tonight and see how things go. Thanks!

If you don't want to go with an expensive stripping knife (not all are expensive), then you can pick up a fine toothed hacksaw blade and handle (which is no more than 6 bucks I believe at a hardware store), must be fine toothed though, and use that. I use that on all my dogs, it is used just like a stripping knife, just cheaper.
Thanks! I already have my eyes on a cheap one on ebay, but that's handy information!
 

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grab a shedding blade sold for horses at a feed store; exact same thing but cheaper. Actually, I find most of the horse grooming tools to be the same things but cheaper-- you can look for the foal/pony size to get a dog-sized tool. I use a curry comb in Chester and just got the soft foal one for $2; sold at the pet store for $7-8 with a dog logo :)
 

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If you don't want to go with an expensive stripping knife (not all are expensive), then you can pick up a fine toothed hacksaw blade and handle (which is no more than 6 bucks I believe at a hardware store), must be fine toothed though, and use that. I use that on all my dogs, it is used just like a stripping knife, just cheaper.
I disagree. A stripping knife should NOT be sharp. The grooves in it are only for gripping hair when you are hand stripping coat on a terrier, etc..However, in this instance, it is just going to be a carding tool, but still needs to be dull. A hacksaw blade is sharp, and meant to cut things. NOT for shedding out dogs without cutting or damaging the topcoat. And a classic stripping knife is only a few dollars..they are not expensive by any means.
 

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The best trick I found for lab type coats (which are the worst IMO for shedding) is to bath them, use the zoom groom and scrub the coat. Then, rinse well. Apply conditioner and scrub more, this seems to work quite well to loosen up the hair and get it out, and it'll rinse away. A good blow dryer gets the rest out and you're good for an hour or two before that short hair comes out again.

I like my hairy dogs, they still shed but it comes out with the comb/brush and balls up, unlike the pins that short haired dogs loose....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My stripping knife should be arriving in the next two days and I just want to make sure I've read everything properly...
I actually couldn't find many good videos, but this one seemed helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GEUW1qd6mQ&feature=related
The stripping bit is in the end.

I've heard of many different ways to dull the knife and I'm thinking of running it over concrete and/or cutting some cardboard with it. Is it the tips that you want to dull or the grooves between the tips that will potentially cut the coat?

In the videos that I've seen, the groomers work the stripping knives in very small sections at a time with sort of a yanking motion. Is that what I'm supposed to do over the entirety of my dog? Or can I pull it in longer sweeps? (with the blade near-parallel to the body and the skin tight, of course).

Also, I never really asked about this but is there a way to get the super short fur on the legs? I've always just skipped over them.

Otherwise, it'll probably be trial and error for me. I'll look at what's coming out and make sure it's pulled hair and not cut hair, before I go over all of Soro :D
Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The best trick I found for lab type coats (which are the worst IMO for shedding) is to bath them, use the zoom groom and scrub the coat. Then, rinse well. Apply conditioner and scrub more, this seems to work quite well to loosen up the hair and get it out, and it'll rinse away. A good blow dryer gets the rest out and you're good for an hour or two before that short hair comes out again.

I like my hairy dogs, they still shed but it comes out with the comb/brush and balls up, unlike the pins that short haired dogs loose....
I'll pull out the zoom groom next time he gets a bath, thanks!
My problem is there is no hose where I'm living now, but I want to try to get one bath in before the cold weather sets in!
 

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My stripping knife should be arriving in the next two days and I just want to make sure I've read everything properly...
I actually couldn't find many good videos, but this one seemed helpful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GEUW1qd6mQ&feature=related
The stripping bit is in the end.

I've heard of many different ways to dull the knife and I'm thinking of running it over concrete and/or cutting some cardboard with it. Is it the tips that you want to dull or the grooves between the tips that will potentially cut the coat?

In the videos that I've seen, the groomers work the stripping knives in very small sections at a time with sort of a yanking motion. Is that what I'm supposed to do over the entirety of my dog? Or can I pull it in longer sweeps? (with the blade near-parallel to the body and the skin tight, of course).

Also, I never really asked about this but is there a way to get the super short fur on the legs? I've always just skipped over them.

Otherwise, it'll probably be trial and error for me. I'll look at what's coming out and make sure it's pulled hair and not cut hair, before I go over all of Soro :D
Thanks!
That is awesome that you have a knife on the way. Ok, let me clear up some, think I may have confused you. You are not going to pull coat with the knife like you would on a harsh coated terrier. You are going to card with the knife. Carding is a term for raking the coat to remove only the undercoat. You won't pinch hair and pull it out, as that would hurt your dog, unlike a terrier. I will try to find a video for you and post it.

Yes, you want to dull both the edges and the teeth of the knife. Cardboard is great, also cutting thru a block of wood..(it won't actually cut thru wood, but you can make a groove in the wood, just keep sawing at it. Using it to "dig" up some gardening area with soil and rocks, etc works too, and I have done all the above on the same knifes to dull them up. And the more you use it, the duller it will get, which is great too. I am off to find a carding video so you can see how to use it. :)
 
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