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Magwart 05-28-2014 11:38 PM

Groomers: Dematting Techniques?
I have a foster dog awful coat mats -- I'm looking for groomer techniques to clear the mats.

He's around 2 and was probably never, ever been brushed. He lived outside on a chain, so his coat is very rough, and the undercoat is thick. Old undercoat matted with new over his lifetime, creating a dense, thick layer of insulation, especially on the hind end. His neck fur is also matted from the massive collar that was on him. The mat is like a shadow of his former life imprinted on him. His tail fur looked shorn--super short--until I started working it and realized it was just one continuous mat.

I spent a good hour today with a single-row shedding rake, working small sections, making painstakingly slow progress. As I started getting under coat loosened, it unleashed a dandruff factory--tons of skin flakes came out with the dead under coat bits. It was probably matted so long the dead skin just stayed trapped in there.

The only way I've found to make any head way is to do a sideways motion with the rake parallel to his skin, against the fur's grain, catching a small piece at the edge of a mat and gently working it free, a wee bit at a time. Thankfully, he didn't mind (much).

There's got to be a better way. Pros, can you share any techniques to de-mat an undercoat? :help:

Here's Ernie, the dog hoping to benefit from your advice:

Cara Fusinato 05-29-2014 12:43 AM

Nope -- that's the way. Line combing -- meaning going back and forth like corn on the cob -- start at bottom go across pulling a bit down at a time and combing it through and then back and forth a bit at a time row after row (sort of).

Magwart 05-29-2014 12:34 PM

Thanks, Cara! :)

It's not the magical secret I was hoping existed, but at least I know I'm not putting him through this needlessly. It's going to take many days, a little at a time.

At least he's tolerating it, in short sessions. I'm trying not to over do it and be patient. I just have to remind myself these mats didn't happen in a day, and they won't be gone in one either.

Shade 05-29-2014 02:16 PM

I'd PM Freestep if I were you and get her advice :) Poor thing, he's very handsome

Liesje 05-29-2014 04:26 PM


Originally Posted by Magwart (Post 5579034)
At least he's tolerating it, in short sessions. I'm trying not to over do it and be patient. I just have to remind myself these mats didn't happen in a day, and they won't be gone in one either.

I think this is key. I have a dog (not a GSD) that gets matted even with fairly regular grooming. I just slowly line comb. I wait until he's tired and if I'm gentle about it, he likes it. Sometimes I work on it for half an hour every night for a week. One the mats are under control and I've got more like little tangles left, I've found that bathing with a nice conditioner and then blow drying with a high velocity dryer helps blast the tangles, loose coat, and dead skin right off the dog.

onyx'girl 05-29-2014 05:10 PM

corn starch will silken the matts...easier to detangle. I usually put Kacie in the tub and run water over her while I use a rake to get out her knots. But I do cut the matted areas that can't be groomed out(usually on her tummy area)

BMWHillbilly 05-30-2014 12:44 PM

Mat splitter then line brush with an undercoat rake.

paigedanielle3 05-30-2014 02:17 PM

If the matts are really bad you can take your GSD into the vet and they will shave them off, I dog sit an Aussie that is a farm dog and he gets many matts. His owners usually call a vet to come and help remove them. The ones that aren't to bad just keep working at them.
You should be aware tho if your dog is out side all the time you should be grooming your GSD often to prevent matts.. Because if the mats become to close to the skin they will creat a sore on the skin that can become very painful for your dog. Also if your dog is having dandruff you should buy some special dog shampoo to help with that. If it's bad take your GSD to the vet.

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gsdheeler 05-30-2014 03:20 PM

Have you used a Metro force dryer, it will get some of the dead stuff out of the way and may loosen the heavier coat. Not saying it's a cure all but a huge time saver.

Mikelia 05-30-2014 03:53 PM

He looks very handsome in the picture, but if his coat is as I imagine it I would try taking a high velocity dryer to him and try to blast some of the excess coat off best I can, then run over him with a slicker brush then line comb. You would probably get most of it off with the dryer making the brush out much easier.

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