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Discussion Starter #1
I've been loving the long soft coat of hair that Jackson has. It's so nice to hug a furry dog.

Every day I brush him and up until now had no problems. A few weeks ago a nice lady at the dogpark with an adorable Pony-doodle recommended that I use a slicker brush on him instead of the steel comb I had been using. Well, I was perusing an older thread about those darn labradoodles and wondered if I was really getting down to the skin. Apparently not. He had lots of little tiny mats close to the skin. We spent hours this weekend getting them out.

He has just turned 13 months. Is his coat changing? I hate to have to cut it all off. I had intended on giving him a shorter cut for summer but the worst matting has occurred around his ankles and the back of his neck - the two places I really wanted to not cut. His ankle hair is very soft. The neck hair has both soft under hair and a more wiry outer hair and is just darn thick, it's very hard to even find the skin! He's been so good and patient but the amount of time we've spent is ridiculous. We'd much rather be doing more fun stuff.

Any suggestions?
 

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If it were me, I'd just shave him down. I mean you said it yourself, you'd rather be doing fun things than sitting and brushing him down to the skin so get a nice wash and go clip and forget about it.;)
 

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And if you follow KPoos suggestion, just remember... It WILL grow back!! :)
 

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It sounds like you need to start line brushing your dog. It's important to brush very systematically, from the bottom up, to make sure you're getting every hair. You should never move up to a new area until the previous area is fully detangled.

Line brushing is a must. There are a lot of great references for this online, but the basic summary is this: separate the hair and hold unbrushed hair up away from the section you're working on. Let it down in small sections as you continue brushing, but make sure every hair gets brushed from root to tip. If you can't see the skin, you're not brushing the root of the hair. A stand dryer on very low heat might help (aim it upward a bit so it blows the hair up out of the way.) but that depends on your personal preferences.

I don't personally believe in dematting my dog. If I haven't been brushing well enough, it should be MY penalty that I lose that beautiful hair, not HIS penalty to put up with a painful dematt. Use common sense, though-- if your spoo is not uncomfortable, dematt to your heart's content. Just don't cause him undue stress for purely cosmetic reasons. I had to shave Flash down once for matting, but the hair always grows back.
 

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Sounds like how the coat change for us went (which I'm pretty sure is finally over! yay!) The worst matting was around the armpits and back of the neck for us, but we got a lot of little tiny mats on his ankles as well. If you're dedicated and your dog is okay with it, I would just brush on a regular basis. It's a pain, but I know how you feel about not wanting to shave off all the hair! I would have died, I'm in love with Desmond's hair and I'm SO glad I didn't cut him short. It may be different for you though. If Jackson dislikes dematting and you dislike dematting more than you like his fluff, I would go ahead and cut him short. If not, line brush daily, like Savannah said!
 

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You could always get a mat breaker, where it cuts threw the matts that way you wouldnt have to start new. Unless of course the matts are so bad and all over then shaving would be the nicer thing to do lol.
When Mister gets some tagles in his ears i sometimes use a matt breaker...it does thin the hair though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all advice. I'm pretty sure we are mat free as of this morning. I do use line-combing but I think I did a much better job with the comb than with the slickerbrush. Jackson likes the feel of the slicker much more than the comb so I'm going to make a bigger effort to really get to the skin with it. That neck hair is so darn thick that I may just give up and cut it. (Boo hoo). This is where I need that really rich husband to pay for daily grooming!
 

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I tend to use a slicker on Paris a lot (and a pin brush) and line brush; the slicker/pin is for removing the knots. The comb is my insurance that I got it all. But line brushing with the slicker or pin does 99% of the de-matting. Yes, Paris gets tangles, especially in her thick neck hair and down her legs, but she does have around 6-8 inches there! lol!
 

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Paris has such an amazing coat and so much maintenance...but its worth it for the beautiful long coat!

What is line brushing? Just making sure you brush the whole dog, like every inch?
 

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Mister, Savannah went over line brushing briefly, but you can google it for more info too, but basically you do go over every single inch in a line, with the fur parted right down to the skin.
This is Paris, mid line brushing

her hair is all parted in a line, the bottom half is all brushed (and yes, I can get even a flea-comb through her long coat when it's properly brushed) As I brush, I hold up the top half of the hair, and continue to brush down a little more along the line as I go, one bit at a time, with each wee bit totally brushed to the skin before moving on. Having the hair parted I KNOW I have gotten right down to the skin and she truely is totally tangle free.
 

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Ooh, wonderful pic, FD! I tried to describe line brushing as best I could, but a picture is worth a thousand words, you know. ;)
Does Paris have a soft coat? it looks so plush!
 

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This is what I do with Harry now that he has so much hair in his jacket but I need to teach him to lay down like that. I think I will do his line brushing on the floor because he doesn't feel secure laying on the table.
 

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This is what I do with Harry now that he has so much hair in his jacket but I need to teach him to lay down like that. I think I will do his line brushing on the floor because he doesn't feel secure laying on the table.
That's what I do with Flash; he stretches out on the living room rug and usually falls asleep while I'm brushing him. It's easier on me too, because I don't have to worry about him falling over while I'm brushing. He's always trying to lean on something, goofy spoo that he is.
If they're lying down, it's also less pressure--I can spend as long as I want brushing him, and I know he isn't getting tired or frustrated. Well, okay, he gets tired--but sleepy spoos are still brushable as long as you don't need them to stand up. :)
 

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I'm so glad that Paris is such a patient model!!! :) She's teaching us soooo much on this forum (along with her terrific owner!!) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Jackson lays on the floor and sleeps while I brush him. His coat looks like Paris' - soft, thick, and fine. I think the area around his neck is not getting the same attention the rest of him is because of the way he sleeps. He prefers to sleep on his left side and when I roll him over he lays his head at a very different angle. That's the side that was most matted.

The combination of slicker followed by comb seems to be working better for both of us.
 

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Yup, Paris' coat on her sides is soooooooooo soft and fine. it's lovely and crisp up along her topline, but the further down her sides you go, the softer it gets. Lovely for cuddling, horrible for scissoring! lol.

Paris took a loooong time to be comfortable on the bench, let along happy to lay down on it for me! Now she complains when I make her stand up or even if I just make her lay upright (so I can do along her topline and tie up her topknot etc) and starts falling over onto her side again so she can sleep!!! lol

I taught her by just getting her to do a normal 'down' (with pressure on her withers to convince her about it!) so I could do her topknot without her dropping her nose to the bench and putting me at a funny angle. Once she was comfy with me doing that a lot and was much more relaxed about the whole brushing process I could hook her elbow under her and give a shove to get her onto her side, and continue brushing, she figured that was ok and could accept it. She never used to stay there if I stopped, but she'd stay as long as I was brushing her!

She still isn't happy to lay down on a TABLE though, but on a bench against a wall she's totally fine with and falls asleep. Now she only sometimes will she even look up if I move away to answer the phone or something, generally she'll just snooze and wait for me. To get this pic I actually climbed up on a stool to get high enough to get a semi decent pic, she just lay there zzzzzzzzzz-ing. lol!
 

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I had the same problem when their coats were changing from puppy to adult. I use Pantene no friz shampoo and conditioner on all of mine and now I have less mats. I hope this helps.
 
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