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My puppy is almost 8 months old, and he has long fluffy white fur. We try to brush him everyday, but he still has a few (tight) mats/knots. We've been cutting them out because they are just too dense to brush out, plus we don't want the brushing to be painful. To prevent the knots, we want to buy a spray for his coat, but for now we just have to deal with the knots he has in him currently.

He has three. Two on his side, one little one on his chest. Sherlock (my puppy) is suddenly terrified of having them cut out. It used to be easy - one person would lay him down on his side and stroke him/talk to him to distract him, while someone else would quickly cut out the knot. Now he's PANICKING if we so touch the mats.

I don't know what happened. He was never cut/injured while removing knots or while brushing, and we've never taken him to groomer so he can't have had any bad associations from there. The big change in him happened after neutering. He's just been traumatized, and I'm pretty sure that this new phobia is a result of being neutered as well. This puppy is extremely shy, and neutering him was closer to breaking him than fixing him.

So now, what do I do? He pretty much throws a tantrum if we try to cut out the knots. I don't want to let him walk around with them either, as they will get bigger. I also don't want him to keep being afraid of it - I just want to get it over with so he can move on.

Any ideas for how I can get him to be still? I've tried doing it while he's very sleepy, but he just wakes right up and starts freaking out.

Thank you so much.
 

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The mat is probably so tight that it hurts to have it touched and when you are trying to cut it it's pulling the skin.

At this point your best bet is probably going to be taking him to the groomers and either have them cut out the mats, or better yet put him in a puppy cut.

Once he's in the puppy cut, or at least mat free, start from scratch getting him used to being fully groomed, go slow with him and break grooming down into very small steps, get him completely used to and happy with each step before moving on to the next one. The steps could be, being comfortable with the grooming tools, then with the tools touching different body parts, then using the tools on different parts of his body. If you use clippers then get him used to the sound of them, etc. Use high value treats as you work with him. So you'd put the tools out and put a few treats around them so that he associates the tools with treats, then touch him with the tool and give him a treat as you do so. Go at his speed, if he looks uncomfortable then break the step up into smaller parts.

If he's used to and comfortable with being brushed then you can skip that part, and just work on getting him used to the scissors.

I really recommend you have a groomer at the very least remove the mats for you. Doing that you'll skip being the bad guy and he won't associate you with the pain of removing the mats, and once the mats are gone it'll be 100x easier to work on getting him comfortable with the scissors again.

If you are determined to try it yourself, I have one trick that may or may not work, it depends on how much pain those mats are really causing him, try having your helper smear peanut butter on a spoon or their hand and while he's busy licking it off try cutting the mats out.
 

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Oh my this reminds me of when my girl Jessie had her first huge matt! i used a de matting comb and omg the yelps and amount of jumping scared me! i was traumatised never mind her!

In the end it was easier to cut around the matts and brush her twice a day, twice daily i felt for any matts and when i felt them out came scissors.

in time she got used to having them removed but it is best to get a hair cut for now. and rain and others have given me excellent advice on here.
 

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Any ideas for how I can get him to be still? I've tried doing it while he's very sleepy, but he just wakes right up and starts freaking out.

Thank you so much.
Keep him shaved so the mats wont form. I used to tell people to grab the hair at the back of your neck and twist it around your finger and pull. This is what your pup feels like 24/7 with a mat. I would take him to a groomer and have it done now and as the fur grows try very hard not to let the fur get matted again or keep him shaved.
 

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My mommi can vouched...

I was such a good doggie that I stayed 3 hours straight for her to clip my matts and I am in tons of pain (my skin twitched as she combed & pulled) but I never even made a noise... Only stared at her sadly. :(

She worked till she herself cannot bear it and made that appointment for my summer puppy cut (yeah she read shaving is a no-no, so a longest setting clip 1+ inch is recommended by her groomer).

How did I gt there???
That perfect storm...
#1) I was shedding for 1 month plus already and at the peak of my shed
#2) Multipl hikes to the cooling creeks and falls and beaches etc...
#3) Algae and muck in summer waters
#4) Collected seeds, burrs and cobwebs too from hikes
#5) Read leaving conditioner in will soften matts "NOT!"
#6) The uneven clips to get at the matts guess what???
*Made it worse*

And not because my mom did not try herself...
She loves bathing me anyways to make me smell good...

But I wasn't too good smelling with all the matts, mucky plus conditioner that gunk me up more and those hotspots from pulling matts that don't dry properly... So a professional groomer is where I went.

T'was a 3.5 hour ordeal and it went past the 3 hours time slot from the groomer (she got a big tip though) and its mommi who broke her heart and said its too much in a day for me to handle (yeah, my butt won't leave the floor towards the end... for my leg clips or nail trims which was included).

- Stubborn dog

Tip*** Becareful of sometimes cutting unevenly on the matts may cause the matts to worsen... "Uneven" short & long is not a good combo.
 
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