They are lovely boys! For the long areas on my dog I've found that getting the CC coral slicker really did make a difference. I used to struggle with adequately getting some spots on the ears but now I feel I'm getting them much more thoroughly brushed. I also think a good brushing spray helps a lot to prevent mats. I always coat my brushes in "The Stuff" and spray it on any areas of long coat after a bath before I start drying. It makes a big difference. If you already have mats, then dealing with them depends on the severity. You may be able to make some vertical cuts in the mat to help break it up, and then brush it out with a good detangling spray. If the mat is very hard, I would just snip it out. If anything you do seems to cause the dog pain or discomfort, it's better to snip the mat. You don't want to create lasting bad associations with grooming.Angus & Archie are my first SPOO’s, and I’ve decided to groom them myself. (They are 3-yr-old rescues, and we have had them just since November 2019.) It is a bit of a job, and I agree with the others, that the right tools can make all the difference. I clip once a month to keep their coats manageable. I don’t do anything fancy, just a 5 blade over body (10 in sanitary areas), and then a fairly fluffy top not. I struggle with shaping the ears just right, and they absolutely will not let me shave their faces. I would venture to say they’ve never had it done. I’m thinking of buying a small set of clippers that maybe aren’t so scary for them (I have a large pair of ANDIS which work great everywhere else). Curved scissors are a must for the top not. Despite brushing 2-3 times per week, they have suddenly begun having tangles in their ears. How does everyone handle those without torturing the poor dog?
I also agree that a quieter cordless trimmer will help with their faces. Just take things slow and be prepared to do it in many very small sessions. I also find that my dog behaves much better when he is very sleepy. I usually shave his face late at night.