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I offered to go over to my in-laws tonight and help them with their 10 yr old Border Collie "Archie". My father in law has cancer and is pretty much bed ridden, therefore my mother in law spends all her time and energy caring for him (her health is not good either) . When we were there for mother's day on Sunday, I noticed Archie was in pretty bad shape; a very matted long bushy (dirty) coat, and very long nails! Over the last 6-8 months, they've been in and out of hospital with my father in law so I totally understand that this dogs' grooming needs have been slightly neglected. I wished I'd noticed sooner, but to be honest, the dog isn't usually around when I've been there.
So, I offered to help get the dog feeling a bit more comfortable and they were very accepting of my help. They want him shaved down actually, which may be my only option, based on how much matting has occurred. My biggest concern at this point, is that I don't want to ruin my clippers!!! (sorry if that sounds selfish, but really, they're basically new and were not cheap!) So, do I bath this dog, mats and all, and then get him dry enough to clip him? I guess my plan is to cut a lot of the matting out with shears first, and then bath him somehow (they won't allow this to happen in their bath room, so I'll be outside with a garden hose - something I've never tried before!) then cut the mats out as best I can, then clip his coat down from there depending on how badly matted he is. Would I just go with a 10 blade? I have a 13mm as well, which might be better looking when all is said and done, but I'm not sure if it will work under the mats.
Anyway, just hoping to get a few pointers with this whole process... I'm pretty good at grooming Rogan by now, but this is a whole other story!
Any help you can provide with be greatly appreciated!! Maybe I'll take some before and after pics to show you all when I'm done!
THANKS
h :)
 

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I feel bad for both of you. The clippers will be OK...you'll need 2 blades, both #10's. Take the filthy coat off FIRST. If you are squeamish at all about your clippers being ruined, take him to a groomer (Me! I'll volunteer to help the poor old fellow) Do NOT attempt to whack thru big chunks with scissors. It does no good what so ever, and you will still be ruining the clippers. No soap and water can cleanse the skin while that stinky pelt is attached to the body.
 

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Do not use shears!! I have seen HORRIBLE accidents done by owners trying to cut the mats out of their dogs and take a chunk out of the dogs flesh as well. And like the poster above, although I think your clippers should be okay as long as you give them a throughal cleaning afterwards, if you're uncomfortable just take him to a groomers. Bathing a dog with mats makes the mats tighter, and due to the air not being able to get down to the skin the don't will take a long time to dry and can cause bacteria buildup against the skin.

I'd rather put my clippers on a somewhat dirty dog than a wet dog, rusted blades are the worst. I don't know how some groomers do wet shaves.
 

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How will this ruin the clippers? Wouldn't it just be the blade?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I feel bad for both of you. The clippers will be OK...you'll need 2 blades, both #10's. Take the filthy coat off FIRST. If you are squeamish at all about your clippers being ruined, take him to a groomer (Me! I'll volunteer to help the poor old fellow) Do NOT attempt to whack thru big chunks with scissors. It does no good what so ever, and you will still be ruining the clippers. No soap and water can cleanse the skin while that stinky pelt is attached to the body.
haha, I'd love to take him to you p2p, but you're a days drive from me at least!! thanks anyway, I think I'll manage! thanks so much for the tips I'll just skip the bath and go straight for the shave! (and I'll leave my shears at home!)

I'm really glad I posted this, THANKS to ALL of you for steering me in the right direction, I'll keep you posted how it turns out!
 

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poor you, and poor doggie. you definitely dont want to bathe him with all that matted hair. you'd have a devil of a time getting it clean in the first place and matted hair doesnt dry well. plus a bathe usually makes the matting worse. just make sure the blades you're using are sharp so you do as little puling as possible. honestly though if the matting is so bad that the 10 blade doesnt zip it off with little to no trouble i might suggest taking him to a pro for his safety.
dont dare try and cut the matting off with scissors. asides from messing up your shears you're likely to cut the dog if the matts are close to the skin. skin sometimes gets pulled up inside the matts like a little tent and even though you think you're cutting flat against the skin you might get a surprise which is a bummer. i have alot of clients that have learned that one :( it cuts a nice little circular hole.

would love to see before and after pictures. good luck and good for you for helping them out!
 

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I'm really glad I posted this,
Me too:) This is a good post to learn from. So I am rating it! We don't do that often in this group. So I have been:)

OH and good luck!!!
 

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Do you have a force dryer? You could try taking the dryer to the dog while dry to help loosen some of the mats to make it easier for the blade to go through when taking off the dirty/matted coat.

I had to do that with a soft coated wheaten just recently..poor thing was so matted and I didn't want to bathe and wait the entire drying time to get that coat off...I had a difficult time getting the clippers through even using a 10 blade but after seperating some of it and loosening it from the skin a bit with the dryer it saved me a bunch of time and frustration.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Do you have a force dryer? You could try taking the dryer to the dog while dry to help loosen some of the mats to make it easier for the blade to go through when taking off the dirty/matted coat.

I had to do that with a soft coated wheaten just recently..poor thing was so matted and I didn't want to bathe and wait the entire drying time to get that coat off...I had a difficult time getting the clippers through even using a 10 blade but after seperating some of it and loosening it from the skin a bit with the dryer it saved me a bunch of time and frustration.
great tip, but I don't have a force dryer yet...
 

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I have a new trainee and I asked her to read the question and TELL ME what she would recommend. Her NUMBER ONE suggestion, don't use the really cheap clippers. I have to 100% agree. It will not ruin your clippers at all...In fact, it really wont ruin the blades. I groom these types of dogs all the time. After I am done with the shave down, I blow out the dust particles and put a drop of oil on them. On REALLY bad skin (things that might be contageous) I put the blade in some clorox water and then HV dry it really well. Water doesn't hurt good stainless steel blades at all. If I had your dog here, I could demonstrate wet shavedowns. They are messy but super fast and effective.
 

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Yeah when working at Petco all I did pretty much were shave downs..it's also why I hated working there..or at least one of a long list of reasons.

It never hurt my clippers..and i have a back up of each blade so it wasn't a big deal if I needed them sharpened more often because of it.

If you don't have a force dryer you may want to consider seeing if you have a self serve wash place. It might be easier to do the grooming process and they usually have supplies for you as far as shampoo, a dryer, conditioner and that sort of thing...although depending on how picky you are the shampoo at those places I usually don't like very much.

When I was in Dallas my parents wanted their dogs groomed and bathed but didnt want the mess at their house so I ended up going to a self serve place to do it...it was cheap and much easier than doing it in the backyard.

I'm not sure how much grooming this dog had prior to your dad getting sick but it can be difficult to shave down a dog that does not want anything to do with the process and having a raised table and such might make your job that much easier. It's just a thought.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I have a new trainee and I asked her to read the question and TELL ME what she would recommend. Her NUMBER ONE suggestion, don't use the really cheap clippers. I have to 100% agree. It will not ruin your clippers at all...In fact, it really wont ruin the blades. I groom these types of dogs all the time. After I am done with the shave down, I blow out the dust particles and put a drop of oil on them. On REALLY bad skin (things that might be contageous) I put the blade in some clorox water and then HV dry it really well. Water doesn't hurt good stainless steel blades at all. If I had your dog here, I could demonstrate wet shavedowns. They are messy but super fast and effective.
I have a pretty decent set of Andis (AGP) 2 speed clippers, they were about $140, so not top of the line, but not the walmart crapola either. My blades are in good shape since they've only ever been used on Rogan and he's only 11 months old, with pretty soft fine hair still and I only ever trim him after he's been bathed...

I would love for you to demonstrate wet shave downs! Or any other grooming technique for that matter, I love grooming, but I really only get to practice on Rogan and he's so easy!! Too bad we don't live closer :(
 

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Yeah when working at Petco all I did pretty much were shave downs..it's also why I hated working there..or at least one of a long list of reasons.

It never hurt my clippers..and i have a back up of each blade so it wasn't a big deal if I needed them sharpened more often because of it.

If you don't have a force dryer you may want to consider seeing if you have a self serve wash place. It might be easier to do the grooming process and they usually have supplies for you as far as shampoo, a dryer, conditioner and that sort of thing...although depending on how picky you are the shampoo at those places I usually don't like very much.

When I was in Dallas my parents wanted their dogs groomed and bathed but didnt want the mess at their house so I ended up going to a self serve place to do it...it was cheap and much easier than doing it in the backyard.

I'm not sure how much grooming this dog had prior to your dad getting sick but it can be difficult to shave down a dog that does not want anything to do with the process and having a raised table and such might make your job that much easier. It's just a thought.

Good luck!
The nearest self serve place is over a half hour away... and to be honest, I think this dog might freak out more if he's in a strange place.... he's a sweet old lad, extremely laid back and very loving and friendly! I don't foresee a problem with him and the grooming process... he will probably just love the fact that he's getting attention, he's that type of dog.
 

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I don't have any grooming suggestions. I just wanted to say that I think you are doing an absolutely amazing thing. Very thoughtful of you to see how you can help their busy schedule while making one of their best friends more comfortable.

Bless you!
 

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It went amazingly well!!!!! I am uploading pictures as we speak :) Even after a long shower, I still feel itchy all over! haha!
ARCHIE WAS SOOOO GOOD!! I was very impressed! He wouldn't let me near his feet, but that's ok, we got a lot accomplished! He seemed so happy after we were done, I haven't seen him that active and bouncy in a long time!! yipee! Seriously, made me happy to see him like that! Mom and Dad had a good giggle when they saw him all shaved down, and must have thanked me a hundred times. Anything I can do to lighten their burden right now is important, and that old Archie deserves to be happy and comfortable too!

Thanks, for all your support here! I greatly appreciate it!!
 

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[Would I just go with a 10 blade? I have a 13mm as well, which might be better looking when all is said and done, but I'm not sure if it will work under the mats.]


Whoa! A 10 blade is WAY too short! You will do permanent damage to the coat not to mention the fact that you will be leaving this dog with no protective insulation to help ward off a heat stroke. Sunburn is a huge concern with a dog that short also.
Here is the method~
1. bathe dog matts and all
2. condition the dog well (I like Natures specialties EZ Shed or EZ Dematt)
3. rinse, rinse, rinse til you think your arms might fall off
4. dry dog completely with a high velocity dryer
5. shave with the grain of the hair with no shorter than a 7F blade
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I had already started when we realised we hadn't taken any before pictures, so my daughter took one from the side I hadn't really touched yet!


during...

it came off in chunks! and there was a lot of 'stuff' trapped under there, poor boy, was pretty gross... and dusty, and smelly!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
[Would I just go with a 10 blade? I have a 13mm as well, which might be better looking when all is said and done, but I'm not sure if it will work under the mats.]


Whoa! A 10 blade is WAY too short! You will do permanent damage to the coat not to mention the fact that you will be leaving this dog with no protective insulation to help ward off a heat stroke. Sunburn is a huge concern with a dog that short also.
Here is the method~
1. bathe dog matts and all
2. condition the dog well (I like Natures specialties EZ Shed or EZ Dematt)
3. rinse, rinse, rinse til you think your arms might fall off
4. dry dog completely with a high velocity dryer
5. shave with the grain of the hair with no shorter than a 7F blade
well, you were too late :( we did it with the #10 with the grain of the hair
... I cautioned them strongly about sunburn... and to keep him out of the heat... remember we're in Canada, it's not that warm here these days ... I normally would NEVER do this to a dog, I would try to save the coat and wash and dematt etc... this dog was beyond saving the coat, and after all, it's hair, it will grow back right?
 
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