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Discussion Starter #1
Desmond is going through his coat change right now and he's matting up like CRAZY. At least, I should hope he's going through the coat change, otherwise I'd be worried about all the matts! They'll crop up everywhere after seemingly just a few hours. I brush him daily and usually for about an hour at a time, but we take breaks.

I use Miracle Coat leave in conditioner when I'm brushing him, and that helps a bit, also keeps the static away. I use a slicker brush and a comb and that's it... It takes so long though, and Desmond hates it. Most of the mats are on his head and back of the neck, as well as his front legs.

Any tips on how to make this coat change less awful? Anything that could help make the dematting process easier?

(I know that shaving him close would probably solve most of my problems but I can't bear to do that... He's just now growing his hair back from a short cut. I could maybe put him into another pretty short lamb trim but there is no way I am cutting down that beautiful topknot of his!)
 

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If you keep getting mats, it is because:

1. You are not brushing correctly. Possibly not completely removing mats or perhaps not getting all the way down to the skin. Get a pin brush and follow it with a comb.

2. The products you are using are causing to coat to become tacky and therefore mat more.

3. You are not drying him straight enough. Any curl in the coat and the coat wants to naturally cord up.

4. You are rubbing/petting him (or his collar is) and this causes the hair to mat together. Remember..... With a Poodle in longish coat, only pet one direction.

Can you get help from a good groomer, either a pro or someone who shows? They can help show you how to correctly brush and what type of products to use.
 

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With the slicker they usually don't like it if you are going all the way to the skin. It can be abrasive to their skin if you press too hard. I do these quick brush motions (hard to describe) with a slicker so that I don't get the skin too often. Cbrand is right on the pin brush. I really need a bigger brush with longer pins that don't have the balls on the tips. Combs help too because if the hair is longer it gets all the way to the skin.

I was on youtube and learned how to brush a dog with a show coat just in case I ever needed to and it was interesting. You get the dog to lay on it's side and you can use your whole arm for this. You start on one side and use the length of your arm making a part in the hair to the skin then you brush in one direction the hair on the oposite side of your arm and then move up and up and up and do the entire dog. I'll see if I can find the video on line brushing so that you can see what I'm talking about because it's hard to put what I see in my head into words.

Oh and another thing if you are using products that leave too much residue in the hair it's going to need to be washed out with a purifying shampoo but you will need to rewash to repair the hair after that or else it will be without any oil and be a nightmare to comb through. What I've seen with show dogs is that they use a purifying shampoo once through the coat and really get it in there because they use hairspray and all those products for showing. Then they repair the hair with 2 washes of a really good dog shampoo. I've had Isle of the Dog recommended to me by more than one person. Then there is the conditioner (the kind you mix with water) that is put all over the entire coat and left on there for a couple of minutes to condition the coat. Make sure that everything that is done is thoroughly rinsed out and after the conditioner make sure that gets really rinsed as well. They always follow up, with the coat wet, with a spray leave in conditioner before brush or heat is applied to the coat. It's a lot of work but if you want long hair that's sort of the brakes of having it. I hope you can get it worked out.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If you keep getting mats, it is because:

1. You are not brushing correctly. Possibly not completely removing mats or perhaps not getting all the way down to the skin. Get a pin brush and follow it with a comb.

2. The products you are using are causing to coat to become tacky and therefore mat more.

3. You are not drying him straight enough. Any curl in the coat and the coat wants to naturally cord up.

4. You are rubbing/petting him (or his collar is) and this causes the hair to mat together. Remember..... With a Poodle in longish coat, only pet one direction.

Can you get help from a good groomer, either a pro or someone who shows? They can help show you how to correctly brush and what type of products to use.
Thanks :)

I keep his collar off ever since he's been matting, but it didn't seem to make any difference.
I make sure I get down to the skin when I brush but I admit I am probably missing a lot of the tangles! I do use a pin brush sometimes on the long hair (like his legs and head), but I didn't use it today. I'll go get that and use it in a minute when I go back to brushing him. :) I'd always heard that the slicker and comb were the best shots so I didn't rely on the pin brush too much, I guess I should be!!

I so wish I could get his hair absolutely straight, but my hair dryer only does so much... :\ He's as straight as he gets at this point, I spent at least 2 hours drying him last bath day and he still had curls in some areas. And in fact the curly areas (his belly and behind the feet) are not matting, but the head and arms (which are usually the most well dried areas) are matting the worst.

So should I just use water instead of conditioner? I'm almost out of it so I diluted it with water today but I can dump it out and just use plain water if that would be better.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah as of right now it's about 1/3 conditioner, 2/3 water because the bottle was running low. (it's not full though, it's about 1/4 of the way full total, so there's really not much conditioner left)
 

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to be honest, brush to the skin all over once or twice a day, and be prepared to be dematting, or shave him down (you can keep a topknot and ears, or even a miami or something so it's minimal long hair) cos the coat change is just a PITA! lol.

If you can stick it out, try to. But if not, I can understand ;)
 

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Delilah just turned 1 yr so she is right in the middle of her coat change. I have her in full show coat and I still only have to brush her out about 2-3 times a week at the most.

I think your product is wrong. Last year I had Izze in coat and I was using Mane and Tail leave in. WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!!! That stuff did nothing but make my coat gum up and matt.
 

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I'm just throwing this out there and anyone feel free to correct me. There are few silicone based products that might be a good choice. They are supposed to help demat and prevent tangles.
 

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Maybe throw out some good products??? Olie still has a couple months but I would love to get ahead of the game on this issue.
 

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"The Stuff" is one I've heard many groomers rave about. Cowboy Magic is another. I haven't used either myself. I use Pantene conditioner on Bailey. I think it's has silicone; he doesn't mat when I use it. I don't use it at every bath b/c it can make his hair a bit oily and oily hair attracts dirt.
 

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What about Equus Avacado Mist Spray? I LOVED this for the miniature horses when I was showing. It made the hair so soft and it seemed to really help the hair after body clipping. I had a lot less sunburn when I used it. I don't think it's sticky or gummy at all...
 

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I'll throw in my 2 cents as a professional groomer. You have to comb (literally throw away the slicker brush for a while) right to the skin - it's called line brushing (or combing). It takes a while to do one dog, so I feel for you. LOL If you want a long show coat, I highly recommend the chris christensen pin brush - it is far less damaging to the coat than a slicker. But, the real key is the combing.

When you bathe, don't rub the fur together - if you can afford it, build yourself a recirculating bathing system (about $100). If you want directions, I can assist. It takes about 2 gallons of water in your tub and MAYBE a tablespoon of quality soap. You might have soap buildup happening in the coat. After you have shampooed and rinsed, put about a tablespoon of a good silicone conditioner in a gallon of water in the bathing system and let that go through the coat. Again, DON'T rub it in. Just let it flow through the coat for 30 seconds.

Highly recommended products are:

Chris Christensen Ice on Ice - Cherrybrook.com; Show Season Detangle - ShowSeasonGrooming.com; EZ Groom EZ Glide - E-ZGroom.com; Absorbine Show Sheen - KVPet.com (Equine); Abracadabra - Ryanspet.com and as mentioned above The Stuff.

Another product being discussed on the grooming groups I go to is using one of the human conditions by Pantene Relaxed and Natural for African American hair . It makes sense that the African American hair needs to be relaxed, just as the poodle hair does. So, they have been experimenting with using a couple of tablespoons of the conditioner in the recirculating system and it's had rave reviews. You can accomplish the same thing by diluting a couple of tablespoons of the conditioner in a gallon of water and just pouring it over the coat. Rinse well.

Don't towel dry by rubbing the fur. That's a recipe for disaster. Blot the fur with sham-wow's or imitations of it. Then dry.

Think about investing in a professional dryer - it'll save you HOURS of drying, even for one poodle. Many of my clients have the metro 4 HP dryer - and it's a bit over $100. You'll have it for the lifetime of your poodle. If you can afford it, go for a bigger dryer like the metro master blaster - it has 2 4HP motors in it and can dry a standard poodle in 20 minutes or less after the excess water has been absorbed by the sham-wows.

The force of the air from a professional dryer (especially the more powerful dryers) does a remarkable job of straightening the coat just with the power of the air. This part can be done in the tub. When it's ALMOST dry, take the dog from the tub, put him on your table and then do the tedious job of line brushing and combing to fully dry and straighten the hair.

Hope this helps.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Wow thanks SO much for all that information guys, especially Kanatadoggroomer!! I really appreciate all the advice. :)

I am not growing a show coat on him but I am growing his hair out (I don't know how long, but I cut him really short a while ago and I was so happy it was finally getting long again...)

I've been wanting to get a good dryer for ages but I don't have the money... just got a job though so hopefully I can get one soon. :) I'll definitely look into the products you listed, too.

I'll toss the leave in conditioner for now (though it is amazing to use before blow drying, it makes his hair so soft and silky) and just use water when I'm brushing him. It's so dry in our house that I really do have to spritz him with something when I brush him or else he's covered in static.

I've only ever seen line brushing done on a Samoyed, but I've tried it on the longer areas of Desmond's hair like his legs. I have trouble doing it on other parts of him as his skin slips and slides around. ;) I'll keep with the thorough brushing though and tough it out I guess!!
 

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Directions for Recirculating System:

Professional groomers "usually" use something like the Hanvey Bathing Beauty which costs approximately $600. Here's the website: http://www.northcoastmarines.com/bathing-beauty.htm

It is basically a 1/4 HP sump pump outlet PLUGGED INTO A GFCI OUTLET to prevent electrocution and a washing machine hose attached onto the top of it. Total cost is less than $100. Put a piece of window screen around the pump tied with a zip tie to keep dog hair out of the unit.

Directions: Put the plug in the tub, add a couple of gallons of warm water (enough to allow the pump to work). Put in a tablespoon or two of shampoo in the water. Turn on sump pump and allow the shampoo to circulate through the water. Now, just start pouring the soapy water over the dog. (I do the face by hand). No need to rub the coat, as this will cause matting. Just go over the dog repeatedly with the hose and soapy water - you WON'T see tons of bubbles but that's OK - it's not the bubbles that clean the dog. Once you've spent a minute or so running the soapy water over the dog - remember to run water over every inch of the dog, then turn off the pump, drain the tub and with clean water, rinse the dog.

That's all there is to it. No rubbing of the fur. Now, the dog is rinsed squeaky clean, put the plug back in the tub, add a couple of gallons of fresh warm water and add an ounce of conditioner to the water. Turn on the unit, get the water moving to disperse the conditioner evenly in the water and then soak the dog all over with the conditioner. Takes 10 seconds. Let it sit for a minute if you want. Using the pump, you are assured of saturating every hair on the dog with conditioner. Turn off the pump, drain the tub and rinse the dog.

Voila, a clean, conditioned dog.

Here is a link to one of the top dog groomers in all of the US and her grooming blog - she is a strong advocate of this system (she uses the professional $700 system) of bathing dogs professionally.

http://groomblog.blogspot.com/2006/01/bathing-beauty-pet-bathing-system.html

Once you have used this system, you will NEVER go back to washing by hand again.

Laurie
 

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Kanata,

What are your thoughts about silicone sprays on show coat? I have a girl in a full continental, but I've heard that silicone sprays can be too drying.
 
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