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Dematting tails and ears questions

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  • Dematting tails and ears questions

    I'm struggling with dematting tails especially on goldens and simular type dogs. Alot of them have come in lately with the tail totally matted to the bone, tons of chunks just hanging on it all the way to the tip. I have been shown how to take the mats and split them with either scissors or a splitter and then try and brush it out. But this takes me forever and when I'm done most of the hair isn't saved it has left just a little where the mats were in the first darn place. I use Dematt solution while in the tub and other products but just can't get the hang of this. After spending more then 10 minutes or so I usually call the owner and let them know it looks like it will need shave d off. Ears if they are pelted to the leather I also usually end up just shaving them like a puppy ear and educate the owner about keeping them combed out. Guess I need better skills when it comes to dematting. My groom instructor never really got into teaching alot of dematting. If it didn't comb out after a few minutes it usually was buzzed off and that was that!

  • #2
    I don't waste my time. If it is a small mat, I do it with the scissors. Other than that. BUZZ. If the owner does not like it. Too Bad
    If your dog is fat, you are not getting enough exercise!


    • #3
      Do you have a Mat Breaker tool? The teeth are similar to a Coat King, but they're more like a comb. And they do a great job of getting through those tail mats. If you don't have one, get one. They're inexpensive, and just about the best dematting tool I've ever used. I break the mats up with the Mat Breaker, then comb them the rest of the way out. It also helps to saturate the mats with a leave in conditioner, like Davis Mat Out or The Stuff, and work on them while they're wet.

      You can also use them on ears, but be cautious. Make sure you aren't getting the leather with the teeth.


      • #4
        Hey Chi

        Do you have a dematting tool? I use the Matbreaker Dematting tool. It looks like this. (hope the link works)

        I can demat ears/face/tail in seconds to minutes with that thing. There are lots of other dematting tools out there too.


        • #5
          Another quick tip. If it is a matt in Shih Tzu ear etc and its not pelted to the skin use your slicker with conditioer and brush. This is after you've washed the spot 2-3 times. Also, i like to do this with nasty Schnauzer face.
          Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.- Richard Carlson


          • #6
            Methodical de-matting

            The hard part for me is being methodical about my de-matting. If you're methodical about it, it will go faster and work better. Start at one end (the base area usually) and work your way down. If the hair is long, I use scissors to carefully split the mat a few times. Then I brush, then I split more with scissors. I will use the MAT BREAKER as well, but often for the tighter mats that might be a little closer to the skin, it just depends.

            If the mats are BEHIND the ears and to the skin, I NEVER EVER use scissors or dematters, they get shaved off even if it leaves a gaping hole in the hair. If you use scissors or dematting tools back there, you'll likely leave a gaping hole in the SKIN. But you already know this. If the mats are to the skin on top of the ear, and it's like a pelt, OFF come the pelts with a #10 blade. Otherwise I split with scissors, brush, Mat King, then comb, then brush, then start all over until done. I'm getting faster but still slow.

            Tammy in Utah
            PS: Good to see you're back, haven't seen you on the boards for a while ChiFan!
            Groomers Helper Affiliate


            • #7
              A Mat Breaker and Quicker Slicker, But I won't bother if it is pelted..... Shave it!! Less stress for you and the dog. Inspect the dog as it comes in, if it is pelted and looks like there is no way you will be able to get this out without stressing out yourself and the dog just tell them. If they insist you dematt, tell them there will be an extra charge and it could be up to $xx amount of money. Just be polite and tell them you are concerned for the dogs well being. Usually they will just say shave it then. If they are just small matts you can use thinning shears to remove them and blend it. But use your best overall judgement, and take into consideration the type of matt, the location of the matt, the dog you are dealing with and your overall outcome. This way it will help you to make the desision on if you are going to dematt or shave. Don't waste time on stressing yourself and the dog out just for the owners vanity. If they couldn't get the dog groomed in a timely manner the dog doesn't need to suffer. Also be causous about the way you use your matt breaker. Hold it firm, I see groomers complain that they can't get it to dematt but they are letting it flop around in their hand. Hold the hair away from the skin and grip it so that you aren't pulling full force on the skin. Firmly hold the matt in your hand clamping down with your , then you are putting the tip of the matt breaker towards your hand. I hope that makes sense and helps. And always make it known that you will charge extra if there is additional dematting to be done. Good Luck! Sorry, Long one! BTW, Where is spell check? ;o)


              • #8
                I think using scissors is ackward and slow. Stick with the tools that are made for that purpose...I like the Oliver Matt Splitter, others at work like the Matt Breaker....We all like the dematting spray Quicker Slicker, and I use The Stuff also.
                When using the dematting spray, we spray it on the matted areas, then allow it to sit on the matts while doing other prep gives it time to 'work'.
                Oh, and we use a Universal Slicker or the Matt Slicker by Le Pooch...these brushes make a difference in speed also.

                Yes...when you dematt huge matts from tails and ears there will be less coat and often times the tails will look a little wispy. But I find that most owners would rather have a wispy tail then a bald tail.

                I also agree with Tammy. Start in one place (I start at the base of the tail also) and I don't move from there until that area is dematted. I find from watching people, that the ones with the most problems tend to bounce around, never getting the job completely done.

                I'm not sure how your pricing schedule is up there. Will they allow you to charge extra for the extra time? If not, is it possible for you to check in your dogs so you don't have any 'surprises"? That way, you could let the owner know right then it will need to be shaved.
                Personally, I would rather spend 10 minutes dematting (and getting paid for it) then 10 minutes on the phone with a client, explaining why I can't dematt, and NOT getting paid for that 'talk time'.

                good luck and namaste...dogma


                • #9
                  I won't do it dematting is painful and I will not suject a dog or cat to they misery if it is that bad shave it off
                  "Whoever Said That Money Can't Buy Happiness Forgot About Puppies"


                  • #10
                    I like the Les Pooch mat brush for slightly matted ears, but if it's anything more than that I shave it...I have seen ears bleed because of trying to demat so if I think it's gonna bleed I shave, the owners have to deal.
                    Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


                    • #11
                      I use the mat breaker on matts I think I can get out without too much stress on the dog, learning how to properly use a slicker brush really helped too.

                      It took me a long time to really get the hang on using a slicker to really demat with ease (sometimes I still have problems).

                      Unless the ears are completely pelted I can get most of those knots out (except behind the ears) with a mat breaker and a slicker brush. Run the mat breaker through a bunch of times, then slicker it a bit and back and forth until I get it all out (usually less than 5 mins for both).

                      Tails for me are a little bit trickier...but a really gentle hand and snipping/shaving out the really bad parts helps. I find that tails for me tend to start getting irritated alot sooner than any other part of the body.


                      • #12

                        I have had some success using cornstarch on matts! Just sprinkle some cornstarch on the matt and rub it in a little. As you work the matt out, add a little more cornstarch. If the matt is too bad this may not work, but it's great for a lot of matts though!


                        • #13
                          I use thinning shears...the ones with teeth on both sides. If the matt is away from the skin, I will do a few snips with the thinners, then use the Les Pooch mat brush and dematting comb. Along with some leave in conditioner.


                          • #14
                            You have to be really careful with ears. If they are really pelted it is best to shave them. I have had ears rip and bleed just combing them with slight mats. Now I have the Le Pooche matt brush, it works great. If I can't make progress in a few minutes then they get shaved.
                            You can be a little more aggressive with large dog tails with getting the matts out, but be careful with the little dogs. I was grooming a 3 pound Maltese one time and her tail was matted. I was holding her tail bone and trying to carefull comb out the mats, suddenly I felt a kink in her tail. I don't know if I broke it or if it was there before. I felt terrible. The owner thought it had been there but she wasn't sure either.


                            • #15
                              Obviously it depends on how bad the matts are. I usually just use my slicker brush, (the lespooch), blue or purple handle, and I just start at the back of the ear and take tiny sections at a time and hold the leather real close with one hand and brush tiny sections at a time away from the ear. then I flip the ear over and do the same thing from the other side. I usually can dematt them pretty quick and I feel better not splitting with scissors or the mattbreakers because I'm always afraid I will cut the ear no matter how careful I am. You can even cut the ear with your slicker if your not careful. I do the same things with tails, I find the smaller the section you work on at a time it comes out fairly easy and it doesn't take me too long to do it.