Some groomers would say that I have a sickness.
I know that some groomers that have worked for me would say so.
Even my daughter might say so.
It is called 'demat' sickness, or 'save some coat' sickness.
I know that this is a big debate on some of the grooming forums.
Many groomers believe that if a dog is matted, it should be shaved down, given a smoothie, or start all over again.
Whatever groomers want to call it.
Many groomers believe that owners do not deserve to have their dogs coat saved in any way, when they let their dogs coat mat up in the first place.
Many groomers also believe that it is not fair to the dog to try to save coat when it is matted.
I agree with some of this.
I agree that it is not fair to put a dog through a long, painful dematting process just because an owner doesn't want their dogs coat short.
I agree that a dog should not be dematted for an owner that makes no attempt to brush their dog between groomings.
I don't agree that every dog should be shaved down and given a smoothie to start all over if some of the coat can be saved.
I am big on trying to save some kind of cute face, even if I have to take it fairly short to save a little hair, just don't shave all of the hair off.
I am also big on trying to save some hair on the ears if possible.
Just because the ears have some mats, does not mean that they have to be completely taken down with a #10 blade.
I am also big on saving something on the tail.
Anything is better then a shaved tail that looks like a rats tail.
I do this for a couple of reasons.
One is for the dog, so that it does not feel completely naked.
The other reason is partly for the owner and partly for me.
I feel that it is less of a shock to an owner, when you have to shave a dog down because of matting, for the shaved dog to still have a cute face, cute ears, and a cute tail.
The other reason is for me, because I like the challenge.
I will admit that I spent the first few years of my grooming career dematting everything.
Not because of my sickness, but because I had no backbone to stand up to owners that did not want their matted dogs clipped short.
I dematted a lot of dogs that should have never been dematted.
Thankfully I learned how to say 'no' when necessary.
I hated dematting.
Not because it was more work, but because it could hurt the dog.
I hated when they would cry out when I tried to pull out a mat.
I also hated myself for not having the ba**s to tell an owner 'no' I am not going to hurt your dog for your vanity.
So, I found different ways to save the coat without hurting the dog.
THAT is why I now have this sickness.
I love the challenge of saving matted areas on a dog.
Like this dog.
She has been bathed and blow dried.
She is very matted.
Her legs are matted, her ears have very large mats in them, her neck and face are matted, and so is her tail.
The mats are very tight, and she absolutely hates being brushed.
This was only her second grooming.
I groomed her for the first time when she was 7 months old.
Her owners had done a pretty good job of keeping her combed out and I was able to scissor her all over the first time.
Unfortunately, they did not listen to us when we told them to book in advance, or call for an appointment at least a month ahead of time.
They had to wait for this appointment.
What would you do?
How would you groom her?
Would you just shave everything off and start over?
Even though this dog was very matted, and the owners understood that their dog had to be taken short, I still wanted to give her a cute cut.
The HV dryer had blown the mat far enough away from the skin to let me get a #4F through the coat.
Her cheeks where so matted that I had to use a #5F to clip out the mat.
Her mustache and most of her beard were mat free, so I lifted up the good hair and only cut out her cheeks.
Once I scissor the face and flip the ear back down, the shaved out cheek won't even show.
Because I had to take the body so short, I decided to take the beard and mustache short also.
I blended the beard and mustache into the shaved part of the cheek.
When you look straight on at the dogs face, she still looks like she has a full face.
Next were the ears.
Under all of this hair is a very large mat.
The mat was right up against the ear leather and extended most of the way down the ear.
So I parted the good hair on top of the ear and moved it out of the way.
I took a #10 blade and lightly picked away under the large mat.
I cut just enough to remove only the mat.
Then I brushed the hair that was left.
There is a hole there in the ear hair, but the top hair that I pushed to the side will hide that.
This is the ear mat free and it did not hurt the dog to save it.
I also let the owner know that I cut a large section of the dogs hair out of the ear so that if they move the hair and see the hole they will know why.
I also tell them so that I don't get a frantic call later that some of their dogs ear hair is missing.
Because this dogs ear had gotten so matted in the first place, and also to balance the cut out a little more, I scissored about two inches off of the bottom of the ear.
Last, the matted tail.
This tail was matted solid about a third of the way down.
I had to use a #5f blade to safely get under the mat that was wrapped around the tail.
The rest of the tail was easily brushed out.
Then I trimmed up the rest of the tail.
Ta Da...a dog that had to be clipped short because of bad matting, but she is still cute.
I also took the time to talk to the owners and give them a few suggestions on how to brush their dog, and how to get her to accept the brush.
They were very interested in learning how to keep her brushed out.
I also talked to them about getting on a regular grooming schedule.
They booked her next appointment before they left.
I think that they are going to turn out to be great customers.
The after picture explains why I have my sickness.
Why I enjoy finding ways to save coat when I can without hurting the dog.
Just imagine what this dog would have looked like if her face were shave, her ears were shaved, and she had a rats tail.
Anyway....that is what I did. :)
Happy Grooming, MFF