What I have found out is ... most people
that continually have matting problems are not combing their dog properly. They are not giving attention to each and every inch
of the body.
One good grooming session a month should
keep your dog pretty much matt free EXCEPT during the puppy coat change, which typically starts around 10 months
old and can last 6mons to even a year..depending on how much effort you put into stripping 'out' the puppy coat. It may
have to be done every few days or weekly. Many owners opt to keep the hair cut short during this time period.
Proper combing is done
in the following manner to prevent or reduce matting:
You must lift the coat up (have your
dog lay on his/her side) and push the coat upward in the opposite direction it grows. Then start at the area of the body closest
to the bottom and comb back down in 1/2 inch sections. MAKE SURE YOU PLACE THE COMB STARTING AT THE SKIN. MATTS START
TO FORM AT THE SKIN. IF you aren't getting down to the skin level and parting the hair in these small sections to ensure
you are getting all area of the body...you will wake up one day to what appears to be matting overnight! It did not happen
over night...you just didn't see it coming since and you weren't aware of how matts form in the 1st place. So take heed! Matts
form from loose dead hair trapped in the coat since it doesn't shed out..it stays in there and forms a tangle web that can
get as hard as concrete over time. DO NOT BATHE A DOODLE until the coat is matt free and the loose dead hair is combed
out. This will turn 'matts starting to form', into matts, and it will turn existing matts in concrete matts!
Yes...this takes time but it's worth
it if you want to maintain a matt free coat especially for those that want some length to the coat. If you
want to maintain length..the Breed Standard recommends a length of 4 " , but you will need to find a groomer who is knowledgable and
does scissor cutting. You can't maintain much length to the coat with electric clippers.
Remember..Most matts are from trapped
loose dead hair or undercoat hair that never got 'stripped' out properly...that were ignored too
long or gone unnoticed and ended up forming a tight balled up web of a nightmare!.
The best tool I have found for getting the loose hair out and
or undercoat BEFORE it turns into tight matts close to the skin, is the double toothed combed (the one with short and long
alternating teeth). Just keep combing and combing through the coat by lifting the coat up in the opposite direction that it
grows, and then layer by layer in ½” sections start combing the
coat back down. You will see how the undercoat/loose hairs just builds up on the comb. Double tooth combs are specifically
for dogs with double coats so if your dog has an undercoat (cottony fluff) this will work well.. Dogs with undercoats are
considered double coated. The Les Pooches brush works good too...but takes longer to get all the loose coat out .
If I use the Les Pooche brush...I also go over the same area with a steel comb (double toothed or single) to get even more
hair out. The Les Pooches Matt Breaker (emergency brush) is great for breaking up matts that have NOT developed
into a huge massive impossible matt.
Now if you
already have what appears to be hopeless bad matting...the double tooth comb is not going to work and you will end up doing
nothing but bring pain and discomfort to your dog.
So...take a pair of sharp scissors with a good point on them.
Open them up like you were going to cut, but place the tip of the pointed end close to the skin and pierce through the matt
and start cutting the matts into little strips in the direction the hair grows..(your are going to start cutting as close
to the skin as possible in the direction AWAY from the body. You are NOT going to cut the mat sideways...this will leave
holes in the coats) or if the matt isn't too tighly packed...instead of actually cutting the matts into strips you can just
keep the scissors opened and
MOVE it, PUSH it, or SAW it through the matt similar to cutting gift wrap paper by just opening
the scissors and moving them through the wrapping paper which actually is slicing the paper.
You may have to do a sawing
motion (back and forth)if the matt seem a bit to tight that the scissors
won't PUSH through. You need very sharp good scissors.
This is actually going to end up dividing the matt into workable
small strips than can be combed out then and leaves more of the good coat intact. When combing the broken up divided strips
of matted coat out..take your left hand first and pinched the coat area closest to the skin so if there is some tugging when
your combing..it's not pulling the dog's skin.
If you can manage to use the pushing/gliding motion of the open
scissors to get the undercoat/matts broken up ...it will be the least damaging to the rest of the coat but there will be some
tugging so pinch the coat with your left hand near the skin as described above..but if your doodle has really sensitive
skin you may be better off just CUTTING them into the little strips instead of the SAWING motion. If some places on the
body are just too packed and hard you may have to do the cutting into little thin strips anyways, then comb the cut little
strips out. But...NEVER cut a matt sideways (left to right) This will no doubt leave a gaping hole!
If the matted
area is too big and hard packed..cutting into strips may NOT even work for salvaging the coat in that area,
since the amt of strips you will need to cut will probably leave no coat left in that spot anyways. So be mindful to matts
BEFORE they get that big and solid
The open scissor sawing motion is great for under the chin too, which
is sometimes a hard area to get to unless your dog is good with tilting their head way back. I come in from an angle of the
side of the chin with the open scissors and just start the sawing motions without really even looking what I am doing. I can
just do it by feel becuase of the resistance on the scissors. Of course this does take some practice and a pretty co-operative
dog so you don't cut them .
Hopefully you can understand what I am trying to descibe. It's the best method that
does the least damage to the coat. Of course the least damage to the coat is to deal with matts when they are just forming and
are tiny or not tighty packed like concrete. If the matt is huge and like concrete...you will most likely end up with a bald
or very sparse area even if you followed my matt removal method, since too many strips will have to be cut to
rid the matt completely
Common body areas where matting
seems to be more of a problem
1) If your dog waers a collar all the time..check
the neck frequently.
2) Elbows stomach, rump or under the front arm pits.
These are areas that come in contact with either floor from laying or sitting. The armpits because of friction as the
3) And any area of the body where dog frequently
scratch, such as behind the ears.
Common areas that owners seems
1) the end of the ear flaps where the leather ends
and the coat begins. Most dogs get severely matted there. Proper combing of this area needs to involve seperating the hair
all along the edge of the ear leather to remove loose hair (use a comb..not a brush to work in these smaller areas more efficiently
2) between the toes. Dogs will chew between their
toes if a matt is bugging them there.
Aside from the cosmetic
and grooming nightmare matts can me..many people don't realize what discomfort and medical problems that can results from
severely matted coats left unattented to or unnoticed too long
1) Matts are uncomfortable for a dog. Severe
matts become so tight that they actually cause the skin to become too taunt and pulls the skin.
2) It can cause skin conditions (bacterial
skin infections)since these areas of the skin can't breath (no air flow) and dogs may chew these areas more to relieve
the discomfort of the taunt matt which in turn cause the matt to get worse.
3) Fungal skin infections can result if a
matted dog is bathed.
The skin under the matts can't dry out due to lack
of air flow.
NOTE: If you bathed your matted doodle and have
not tended to removing the matts yet, check for the smell of mildew close to the matted
skin. If you smell mildew..remove the matt ASAP!
Hopefully I have provided you with some details
to help maintain a matt free doodle
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