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I keep hearing so much praise over the Furminator. I'll admit im becoming very tempted, and if my dog was short haired I would definitely be trying it out but thing is my dog is a sheltie... I know they have ones for long haired dogs but don't deshedding tools damage the coat?

I usually just line brush him, but that takes forever and often doesn't get all that much of his coat out and he still sheds everywhere(I knew he would shed when I first got him as a puppy, but if it's preventable ill take it). He still has mats too, i'd get him professionally groomed more often but it's pretty expensive, and they're kind of mean to my dog there so...

*Sigh* any pointers from fellow fluffy coated dog owners?
 

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Furminators aren't my fave, but they do the job for many; however, you've mentioned mats. You probably need to be grooming more often (think twice+ daily) with a normal brush to prevent them from happening. Take him to the groomer and get rid of the mats and ask them what you should use for a daily routine.
 

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My Sheltie got mats all the time, so does my Cocker. Combing with a fine toothed metal comb in the trouble areas helps some, but I still end up cutting them out (of course, you have to be extremely careful not to cut any skin).

I used an undercoat rake and a slicker on my Sheltie, and it's what I use now on my Aussie. It helps, but it's not perfect. My Aussie has a weird coat cycle and is just now blowing her coat, so we've been thinking about taking her into the groomer and having them get as much out as they can.
 

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I personally love my furminator and I've noticed a huge decrease in shedding. Wasn't aware it could damage the coat though - any comments on this would be appreciated because I certainly don't want to damage his coat!

I use a slicker brush too, as well as a fine toothed comb for tangles that he gets under his ears.
 

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Furminator de-shedding tool isn't made for certain fur types. I have 2 havanese and they are an absolute no go for them. Here is a link from the creators that lists dogs they don't recommend it for: Dog Breeds Not Recommended for a deShedding Tool | FURminator®
If you are struggling in with mats I would also recommend a good detangler. I like Amazon.com: John Paul Pet Detangling Spray: Pet Supplies Work it through while you are doing your line brushing for best effect. It can help reduce/eliminate mats with regular grooming.
 

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An undercoat rake is the best for the thick double coat on a Sheltie. It may take a few weeks to get on top of it, but it's essential to maintain a set routine and not slack off. Also try to avoid cutting out matts if you can. Cutting out mats will leave two different hair lengths rubbing against eachother which makes the coat more prone to tangles and matts. Are you doing any bathing at home, or is that left up to the groomer? Shelties need a thorough bath and blow out at least every other month to maintain a healthy coat. This entails a good clarifying shampoo that has been applied all the way into the coat and down to the skin, that shoud be followed up with a high quality conditioner, and then blow dryed with a high power blower to dry the entire coat and skin. When bathing its more important to focus on the skin and not worry so much about the hair, healthy clean skin will grow a healthy shiny coat. If your groomer is too rough, or your not happy with them for any reason, then I would find another groomer. Another tip would be to use a conditioning spray, detangler spray, or mist of just plain water when you brush the coat. The moisture on the coat helps to prevent breakage that will damage the coat and make it prone to dirt and tangles.
 

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I use one on my Aussie, but only if I'm noticing he's shedding quite a bit. I generally use an rake for undercoat, a pin brush, slicker brush, and fine-tooth comb for his ears, and armpits/groin.
I'm extremely leery of groomers. Levi had a few mats behind his ears when we took him to the vet, and the vet said he would get the in-house groomer to come look at them. She ended up shaving the backs of his beautiful, beautiful Aussie ears. "It will grow back in" she says. It didn't. The hair back there is ugly, short, and gross-feeling. Not only that, I have to comb his ears every day (sometimes twice if we go to the dog park) because they get matted so quickly now. Try to comb out the mats if you can, and for God's sake don't let anyone shave it.
 

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Try to comb out the mats if you can, and for God's sake don't let anyone shave it.
Word of caution, this is probably something you will have to do yourself. Unless you know someone personally it's not many groomers, you will find, that will comb out mats.
 
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