The Groomer Won’t Dematt My Dog


indexFor some reason,  pet owners in America  won’t brush their dogs. Or, I should say, they bought 1 of those horrible  ‘wig’ brushes(that have bristles on 1 side) that are ineffective for 95% of dogs, it does nothing, and they stop brushing the dog.  See my post :  No integrity needed:  it’s a capoodle.  By the way, the photo posted to the left is the RIGHT STYLE BRUSH FOR MOST DOGS.  I am currently using a Miller-Forge, and you can get them at
 along with many other great supplies and tools at extremely reasonable prices.

I wasn’t going to revisit this (as I blogged about ‘specials coats’ several years ago), but matting needs to  specifically be addressed.

Matting is caused by dirt, moisture, and static electricity.Depending on your dog’s coat texture,  some dogs will be more affected  by this.  What happens is that the hair cuticle—the outer layer, ‘opens’ up, and  the hair might ‘swell’ with moisture or dirt, and the cuticle  sticks to the cuticle of another hair.   It starts out as clumping, and if you get to it quickly (after a dog has been playing or running  in humid air, within a week or 2 of being bathed), you can  brush it out with a slicker brush.

You brush or comb from the outer edges of the clump.  Often, the clumps start as pin matts—meaning they will go through the pins of a brush or comb & not come out.  You will notice that there will be some hair in the brush or comb (the only dog I have ever seen who didn’t lose any hair upon being dematted was an Afghan Hound I owned of English/’Bletchingly’ bloodlines). Yes, you ‘dematted’ the matt—but you really broke off hair, and this damaged hair is more prone to getting matted.

The  breeds that seem to matt the most are either very soft/cottony coated (Coton de Tulear, Maltese,  Bichon Frise, Bedlington Terriers , Afghan Hounds and many  White Poodles and Shih Tzu), double coated dogs with a lot of undercoat (Old English Sheepdogs, most Labra & Golden Doodles, Spinoni Italiani, Lhasa Apsos, Scottish Terriers, and the double coated  Spitz & Collie types (rough Collies, Australian Shepherds, Pomeranians) that have been shaved and are now  victims of clipper alopoecia (I have included the link to Atomic Canines post on Clipper Alopoecia at  the bottom of this blog).  I am not including Puli, Komondor, or other breeds that cord.  Of course they matt—in long cords that you have to manage—but they are clear at the skin.

Why can’t I dematt your dog?  Once the coat is locked, even if I brush it, it won’t come out. So, what happens is that I irritate your dog’s skin. I may break off coat, but I am not separating hairs. Even if I do get some hairs separated,  I have irritated your dog’s skin.  It is not worth it to the dog.    IT IS PAINFUL—especially to the dog with tender skin not used to being brushed.  An Afghan Hound breeder defended dematting  a dog by stating it takes less time for the coat to ‘fill in’ and won’t  alter the texture.  True, but if you cared so much, why did you let the dog get so bad in the first place?  It’s one thing  when a puppy is changing coats (I dematted my  Afghan Hound every other day for  four months!  & she  never lost a hair!), quite another to pander to a pet owner who is lazy and self-centered and will never learn, and insist you dematt her dog every  several months when she  wants to impress someone.

There used to be an Afghan Hound breeder in the Chicago area—Fred Alderman of Dynasty Afghans, who  would not sell you a dog until you had spent a day grooming with him.  He didn’t want to hear any excuses for why you neglected a dog he sold you, and if you didn’t want to buy a dog from him, that was fine with him.   I also  know of Bearded Collie breeders who won’t release a dog she’s sold until after  the  pet buyer has purchased a rake, a slicker brush, and a portable grooming table.  Unfortunately, very few  breeders have so much integrity.  Neither do the rescues that  adopt out dogs to  people who have no  idea what they are getting into, there is no excuse for this.  It is is irresponsible and unethical.

If you  bought or  ‘adopted’ a dog  and the  agency or seller didn’t  show you how to brush the dog  (and give you  instructions on feeding and training), they are no more than a puppy store—-a mill.  If your groomer won’t take the time to show you how to brush your dog, and what kind of  tools you need, please find another groomer.  Also, if  your local pet shop doesn’t carry the tools you need, they are not animal lovers, and   are just retailers  ripping people off.  We can change this dynamic. Don’t let them get away with saying they love dogs when they  don’t.

From Atomic Canine:

http://www.atomic-canine.com/news/2010/12/truth-for-grooming-for-a-tibetian-terrier/

http://www.atomic-canine.com/news/2010/12/a-day-in-the-life-of-my-work/

http://www.atomic-canine.com/news/2011/03/clipper-alopecia/

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