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Do you wash a matted dog before the haircut?

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  • Do you wash a matted dog before the haircut?

    I am the only one among me and my groomer friends that will wash EVERY dog before a bath. They think that is disgusting and a waste of time and shampoo to wash those matts.

    Just recently I have started washing all my dogs before performing any haircuts on them. All I do before the baths are the nails and ears. Many years ago I thought it was stupid to wash matts but now I believe otherwise. Many matts are held together by dirt and they loosen trememdously when they are cleaned. I have saved many matted to the bone tails by washing first, then I was able to split and brush out the matts. If you have never done this before I know it is hard to believe. It works. Today I groomed a maltipoo that was the kind of matted that happens when the owner has washed the dog at home for the past three months. You know, the all over body clean matts, to the bone little knots on every part of the body. If I had groomed this dog before a bath I would have had to shave everything but the head with a 7f, even the tail. After a bath and a blowout with a HV dryer, I was able to get a 4f through the coat and finish with a 3 blade. I was able to leave a long flowing tail because I split some matts with the scissors and gently and patiently brushed and combed. It didn't take long to do this and in the end I was able to leave Ms. Leia with a beautiful haircut that had style.

    Check out the before and after pictures of Leia the maltipoo.

    What is your take on washing before shaving off matts? Have you ever tried it and did you like it?
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Most groomers I know throw 99% of their dogs into the tub first. I know I do. Not only does it save time but if you wet shave you can save length on a matted dog. The only exception is the rare severely pelted dogs that I see once in a blue moon that I know I won't be able to get the water under the matts, where the fur is more like body armor. I think you will find that most of the groomers here also wash their dogs before clipping.
    What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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    • #3
      I do the samr thing unless the matting is really severe, the dog does not tolerate the HV, or the owner wants him shaved short. It does save a lot of time in most cases-but not all.
      Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

      Groom on!!!

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      • #4
        I always wash first.

        I figure if I wouldn't put my shears to 'em, I shouldn't put my blades to them either.

        I don't try to really wash any matted areas I am going to clip off anyway. In those areas I try to concentrate on getting the skin and hair under the mats clean. The only areas I concentrate on getting shampoo and conditioner into are the areas I want to brush out and save. Tails, ears, heads primarily.

        Even if they are not a holy mess, they brush out easier and quicker when they are clean and sprayed with a dematting compound.

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        • #5
          I clip a matted dog first. I usually find that the hair is fairly clean underneath the mats. I can get a clipped dog much cleaner when the mats are off. Many will disagree with this method but it works for me.

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          • #6
            A partial answer

            I don't really understand what's so bad about dealing with a little dirt. I mean, I would never care for someone that way unless it was my own newborn or an elderly relative. We sqeeze the extra **** out of their sphincters, we clean their ears, we clip their toenails. Ugh. All those bodily functions are kind of gross, so why be scared to get your hands dirty? We like dirt in the garden, we deal with it when we sweep our floors, so why are dirty dogs just too nasty to groom? Just my two cents.

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            • #7
              It really depends on each situation for me. I prefer to wash all my dogs first. But, If I am taking off more than an inch of hair I will run whatever over it a little first. If I don't need to save hair and the dog is clean I will shave mats first. If they are filthy and urine soaked I will wash and wet clip. If I do need to save hair, or at least try, I will wash and use conditioner and the HV to try and loosen them or at least blow them away from the skin.

              I also have a set of blades for dirty dogs only, saves me a lot on sharpening. Shears don't touch the dirty dog ever.

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              • #8
                NOPE, no washing matted dogs for me. I have an attitude, sorry, but at least I admit it. My trusty 7 skip goes through the dirty matts & into the tub they go. After blow dry I might go to a 4f or 5F, I always try to dematt tail, head & ears if possible.

                Back to my attitude...sorry, but if a dog is that matted, either the owner doesn't brush, so why should I save coat,bust MY a$$ & waste time, or the owner doesn't come in on a regular schedule, so why should I save coat,bust MY a$$ & waste time.

                I've been doing this too long...I know all the "stories" about how they get brushed everyday, she just got all these knots YESTERDAY, like, all of a sudden they just popped up!

                SPARE ME, Please.....of course I do have some clients I go above & beyond for, but for the most part, NO.....I see the patterns & I just won't do it.

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                • #9
                  I calculate whether washing first will save me any grooming time.
                  "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                  People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Smart-n-Pretty View Post
                    I calculate whether washing first will save me any grooming time.
                    Me too. Usually dogs go straight to my tub, but if I get a dog that the owners wants "as short as you can get him" I sometimes shave down first. (it's rare though) I would rather spend the 10 minutes pre-shaving and spend less time drying, then washing 4 inches of hair that I'm going to spend 1/2 hour drying before shaving off. And it REALLY saves time if the dog hates the HV

                    As for matted dogs - that all depends. I find wet shaving badly matted dogs much easier then trying to get the dirt and grime off the dog, attempting to get the mats dry and then shaving them off only to find the dog is still dirty under those matts and I have to bathe again.

                    However - on the rare occasion I do pre-clip, I have certain blades I use. My shears? No way. They only touch clean suckers.

                    As for those body cast dogs - those days are over for me. I have neither the time nor the desire to mess with those. If I can't get a #10 blade under those matts the dog needs to go elsewhere. Preferably a vet groomer, because most likely there are going to be skin issues under those casts. I guess over the years I've lost the desire to perform miracles on dogs that will just come back a year later in the same condition. I use to find it challenging and gratifying, but now I just get the uncontrollable urge to stick my matt zapper in the owners eyes and twist, so it's probably better to hand the dog back and say, "Sorry... can't do it".

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by my.cats.name.is.psycho View Post
                      I don't really understand what's so bad about dealing with a little dirt. I mean, I would never care for someone that way unless it was my own newborn or an elderly relative. We sqeeze the extra **** out of their sphincters, we clean their ears, we clip their toenails. Ugh. All those bodily functions are kind of gross, so why be scared to get your hands dirty? We like dirt in the garden, we deal with it when we sweep our floors, so why are dirty dogs just too nasty to groom? Just my two cents.
                      It's not about not wanting to deal with the dirt, it's the fact that a dirty coat will dull your blades and shears a lot faster. It's also not about saving coat for those who don't take care of their pet, it's about saving time and equipment from wear and tear. I would rather clip once than twice. When you wet shave you eliminate the risk of clipper irritation and can see the matts and skin better making it safer and it won't dull your blades the way a dirty coat will. Yes, you can leave the coat a little longer, but that's not really the point. And then you have a clean coat to work on and you don 't have to dry all the extra fur.
                      What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.

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                      • #12
                        I shave first - and you need....

                        Nice job you did!

                        Since you like to save hair, you owe it to yourself to get some Show Seasons Detangle Spray. Just spray on after the bath (you could have saturated that Maltese tail), and then brush out easier and save more hair with less breakage! I still split some, but the tail hair will look SO much better! Also ears, long body hair, etc. Very nice stuff that I was shown just last year.

                        I shave/cut first if much coat is coming off. I just don't like handling extra hair!

                        I rarely get really dirty dogs, so I am not so worried about wrecking blades. Besides, I use skip blades for most precuts, and they are NOT prone to wimping out with a bit of dirty coat as F blades seem to be.

                        Also, I have shears for "roughing" and shears for finishing, so my good shears don't have to do anything on a less-than-clean coat.

                        For some reason, I learned to be able to shave/cut down matted dogs and leave hair. That's because I LIKE fuzzy, I guess. So I rarely end up with a 7F length dog, even if it is matted.

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                        • #13
                          i will usually bathe first unless they are getting something super short or are sedated(not my favorite thing to do in the world) but i have blades that only touch dirty dogs and even a small pair of cheap shears just in case i need them. One thing i almost will always clip before i put them in the tub after nails are the pads of their feet. i can not stand dirty feet and mats in them *shiver*

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                          • #14
                            I usually bathe first but if it is pelted I will take off the pelts before bathing. I don't have a bathing system and I don't feel that I can get the dog adequately cleaned with big thick mats to the skin. I hate to use my equipment on a dirty dog because it does dull your blades and I DO NOT use my good shears on a dirty dog but I do have a cheap pair that I only use if necessary on a dirty dog. JMO
                            ~*~Robin~*~
                            "In a perfect world, every dog would have a home and every home would have a dog."

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                            • #15
                              " so why are dirty dogs just too nasty to groom? Just my two cents."

                              Running your blades or scissors through dirt is like cutting sand paper. I went against my better judgement once and started shaving a dirty dog with my 7f blade. Within minutes my blade was dull. Now the blade is useless until I get in touch with my sharpener. I'm not afraid of a little dirt. I want sanitary equipment and sharp equipment. I like to leave a bit of length on my dogs even if they are suppose to be short I'll use a 5f or 4f before I use a 7f. If you wash a matted dog before cutting the hair, usually you can leave the length longer.

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