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So since Diane recently saved my long coat girls from their coat mats, I have to respond. I never stopped to think about how getting wet and dry through out the day would mess up their coats. We have a pond, Tessa (9) had rolled awkwardly chasing a ball. I decided fetch in the pond was a answer. Certainly helped her aches and matted her coat quickly and badly. Thanks to Diane I bought a dog hair dryer good leave in conditioner and a better brush. So everyone gets dried if they swim. I still had to cut some bad mats out but what a difference. I also watched a video she recommended on better brushing techniques. Thanks again, Diane.
 

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I sort of want to know what goes wrong to get a dog that badly matted.
I have had several rescues that had to be shaved because of matting, but unclear how a loved pet gets that out of hand.
Also I hate grooming. But Shelties, SCWTs , a Yorkie, a lh Malamute and no matting beyond the occasional ear one.

Do you just not notice?
As Dogfaeries says, it's usually just because people only brush the top part, and don't get down to the skin. The two worst stories I have about grooming were both collies - one a Sheltie, the other a Lassie-type collie. These dogs are bred for the show ring to have really really ridiculously full coats, and if you aren't skilled at grooming, you won't be able to keep them in good shape. Now, I've never been taught how to shave a dog, but if something was just a matter of trimming with scissors, I was glad to help the groomer.

So, I started doing a sanitary clip on the full sized collie. He was so matted around the anus it took 15 minutes of careful clipping to even FIND his anus. It was a wonder he was able to poop! Same deal with his sheath and penis! Turns out the owner's daughter had been brushing him, and she was shy about grooming 'those areas'!

The sheltie was a little monster, and would try to bite anyone who groomed him. His owners let it go far too long, and his anus was infested with maggots. We loaned the owner a muzzle, the groomer did a sanitary clip, picked the maggots off with tweezers, and told the owner to treat the area with polysporin until it had healed.

Yeah - anyone out there just decide they don't want to ever become a dog groomer? 馃あ
 

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" I sort of want to know what goes wrong to get a dog that badly matted.'

Probably the same thing that makes your hair get matted - lack of maintenance. Just moving around can mat hair if it's not brushed or contained. Add a little dirt from the yard and you have a matted mess.
 

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" I sort of want to know what goes wrong to get a dog that badly matted.'

Probably the same thing that makes your hair get matted - lack of maintenance. Just moving around can mat hair if it's not brushed or contained. Add a little dirt from the yard and you have a matted mess.
Right. That you then deal with. I have long hair. Sometimes I brush it everyday, sometimes I brush it 8 times a day.
 

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Our 10 year old Duke is also a double coated long coated GSD and the very long and thick feathering on his pants in particular will tend to mat, as well as the occasional mat at the base of the ears, and nowadays with the punk kid pup constantly grabbing his ruff, the area of the collar also. I've always used small reasonably sharp pointed (but not manicure) scissors and my fingers to cut them out individually. The sharp points allow you to slide the blade only slightly into a thick mat each pass and so remove it incrementally.

Back when he was young and we didn't realize how badly he could get matted (our previous shepherds all had stock coats), he got badly matted before we realized we had a problem. It took several days of doing it for 20-30 minutes at a time working in just one area (since you probably don't have a grooming table to give you eye level horizontal vision, ideally get him to lay down on his side so you can look straight down to that side and he stays relatively immobile) and we cleared them all. Use your fingers to find the base of the mat at the edge of the mat and then carefully cut a few hairs to start it (always try to see your finger or at least be able to feel it through the mat (don't do clumps) and then slowly work in. Aim the tip of the scissor for the tip of your finger, so you don't stick the dog with the point of the scissor. It takes time, but it can be done, and as an added bonus, with the long coat covering what was cut out, and it was a lot, he'll barely look any different and was able to maintain his dignity.
 

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OK.. they make a matt splitter so you don't have to worry as much as using sharp, pointy scissors. Yes, I'd still have to cut out some matts but with the array of tools & yup Corn Starch - we managed pretty well.
 

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Our bearded collie Katie (RIP) was a rescue. Her 'armpits' were raw when we got her, due to matting. At first I tried to save her coat, until I found a seed head imbedded in her skin. It was kinder at that stage to shave her quickly, in case she had more imbedded seeds.
 
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