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If his hair is a mess, meaning matted, best to take him to a groomer and have him shaved down. Trying to brush out mats is painful for dogs and you won't create a good grooming experience by starting out with mats. After a shavedown you can start fresh and keep him mat free as the hair grows back in.

If his hair is not actually a mess but just needs a little brushing, I would use a raised surface. Place him on a table or other high surface like a freezer or washing machine. Teach him that grooming happens at this location and he must get used to it. Be very gentle and sweet talk him and give him treats for good behavior.
 
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