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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry to keep starting new threads, I did do a search for mats and matting and saw that people are of varied opinions on what to do. I've had a double-coated dog before but always groomed daily and therefore never had any serious matting issues- and the dog always enjoyed it because her coat wasn't tangled or painful.

We just adopted a 1 year old rescue GSD. She is seriously in need of a good grooming and possibly a bath but she has some bad mats on her chest, behind her underarms, and on her hindquarters that seem to be so sensitive that she snaps at me whenever I start working on them.
I didn't know if I should take her to a groomer and let them deal with it, or keep on working on it gradually. It seems pretty uncomfortable to her, she'll stop and suddenly bite the matted areas and she is always itching around where they are on her front. I've been using a slicker and metal comb, we got a Furminator but I think her coat needs to be detangled before we could use that safely. It's also getting hot here, and I imagine that having a sweater stuck around your skin would be pretty unpleasant.

Are there any magic tricks to de-matting a shepherd? Also, how do you keep a flat collar from causing tangles around the neck area?

She is going to be GORGEOUS once we get her coat under control, ju
 

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I would take her to a groomer. They might end of shaving those areas.
 

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I would probably take her to a groomer (research first - oy, did I get a winner once and now go to a GREAT one) but before I went I would get a big tooth comb and a bottle of conditioner and just take big glops of conditioner, work it into and on top of the mat, then comb through in small pieces. If it is uncomfortable though, I would stop since she's new to you and you want to be giver of all good things and not the mom yanking the hair out. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Lol, that's what I was worried about! I haven't been able to find much about the groomers in my area- at least not by Googling (we're in Albuquerque). I hope they don't need to shave too much, I got her back and belly free of mats and her coat is so beautiful.
 

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With my himalayan, I cut the top of the mat off and then am able to work out the rest. You might try that, with the conditioner, if you are going to work on them. Once the top of the 'knot' is cut, the rest comes out quite easily.
 

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Is she a long coat? Stock coats don't usually mat...

I would also take her to a groomer. The best would be to wash the dog letting a quality conditioner soak into the mats. Then once the dog is dry, really work a leave in conditioner into them and pick them out carefully. But it also depends on how bad the mats are, they may need to be cut out.

when I adopted my long coat she had mats on her belly and legs, I just cut them out little by little (she wouldn't tolerate me messing with them long.) Now she requires very little brushing to keep the mats from coming back. I use a rolled leather collar and have not had any issues with mats at the collar.
 

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You can call around different vet offices, ask rescues and shelters, people who do a lot with a lot of different dogs. When I was looking for one, I called the vet offices, asked who could handle an unhappy GSD and they all said the same. Called her, asked how many she groomed at once, she said one, and if I could stay, she said yes, and I've been going there since! Good luck! Welcome and thanks for rescuing.
 

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I've read where you can work baking soda into the mat and it will work out easier, making a silky texture. Not sure if it's true, but worth trying til you can get to the groomer.
 

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ok, you may find it wacky, but olive oil worked on a bit of an issue I had with gum matted in my hair!....soak the knots, may want to let it sit for a little, then try to work it out.....just a thought
 

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Discussion Starter #10
She isn't a long coat, just hasn't had any kind of care in a long while. She was only in foster care for a week before we got her (was picked up as a "stray" but was clearly abused by an owner and then abandoned), so they did a little work on her coat but not much because she was so fearful. I was worried that she might snap at the groomer...will try corn starch or baking soda + leave in conditioner in the meantime...and patience and lots of treats. I'll definitely check with the GSD rescue we got her from to see if they have recommendations!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Update: I've gotten all of the mats out of her back, sides, and belly using the corn starch tip... now I just have the hardest parts- her hindquarters (which she will now let me brush, I just don't know how to de-mat the thick mats) and her neck/chest.
 

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Are you sure these are actually mats? I have never seen a stock coat GSD mat, and I've seen quite a few rescues in REALLY poor coat condition that have never seen a brush.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Maybe they're just tangles then? What I'm talking about are areas of the fur where it's so tangled together that you can't get a brush through and it's right next to the skin.
 

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Certainly sounds like it's matting if that's what it appears to you (tangles by the skin). She must have slightly longer fur...is the dog in your avatar her? (pretty girl by the way!)

There's a first for everything!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Yup, that's her! She does have very very long fur on her hindquarters...you can kind of see it in the ninja picture I took of her conked out! I've broken up most of the mats so now it's like she has little doggie dreadlocks.
I'm in love with her!
 

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Awww, what a great pic, and she looks like she landed in a wonderful forever home!!!
 

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She is beautiful! I am a softie, my groomer (for a poodle) told me how painful mats are for dogs, and if the mats get wet they pull on the skin. It sounds as if you have mastered most of the mats, but I would just cut them out and let her coat grow in. I have never seen mats in GSDs, so maybe once you have them all gone, they will not come back.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Happy news...with an undercoat rake, slicker, and lots of patience, I got all of the serious mats out. I took her to get a bath and she came back totally mat free! It feels so good to run my fingers through her silky fur.

I don't think they'll ever come back since I plan to keep brushing her every other day :)
 

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With my long-coat that we adopted five years ago, brushing everyday is therapeutic for him and for me. From your posts here, it sounds like you and your girl will feel the same.

You both are lucky!
MJ
 
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