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Discussion Starter #1
So this will be my first post about Kota. Photos below are a reference of his coat type. I didn't know if I should post this in grooming or behavior...move it if needed.


Kota is a 5 year old Chow Chow mix that is my boyfriend's dog. He has a weird coat, as you can see from this picture. A thick under coat with a long wispy top coat. He does get matted and tangles in his fur, so he needs to be brushed. Typically when he lived with my BF's dad they just let his coat grow and do whatever it wanted, he also swam in their pool everyday. (So he was always greasy and matted). His dad would brush Kota about once a month by forcing him to lay down and then brushing him. My boyfriend brushing him always consisted of trying to brush him and soon as Kota bit at the brush or cried my BF would stop and leave him matted.

I enter the picture and say that its not okay and he has to be washed and brushed on a regular basis. I am trying to do it in a way that is least painful and stressful to Kota but honestly I can not figure out how to get the job done. Normally I start with a ball tip brush (click here), at first started with a touching with brush, treat then moved up to two brush strokes gets a treat. Right now he may complain a bit if he has tangles but overall will let me brush his entire body with this brush.

Yet this doesn't do the job of working on his undercoat, just gets the knots out of the top coat. Using anything like a coat king, pin brush or anything starts him screaming like a banshee. He won't take treats, and won't stop screaming until I let go of his collar either. I've tried CC but it just isn't working. I've gone down to basic steps of CC sniffing the brush, touching him with the brush, he will tolerate a brush or two but then always starts up. I've been working with him for almost three months now with no improvement.

He does get hot spots and sometimes infections, which I believe came from his matted/dead coat.

Groomers don't want to work with him. The ones that do I know will just muzzle him, pin him down and let him scream the entire time because there is no way a stranger can reasonably work with him. He is fearful of strangers, and doesn't like people he doesn't know touching him (It took him 2-3 months of knowing me before he would let me pet him). He doesn't try to bite me or go after me, unlike the groomers. He just screams and tries to bite the brush. Maybe I just leave the dead under coat on him? He isn't very matted but looks...scraggily.

Is this one of those things that I just ignore the dead coat, ignore his screaming and continue brushing or do something different with training?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also feel like I should mention, he does not seem overly bothered by our grooming sessions. Even though he will scream until I step away he has never acted afraid of me. He will approach me again after figuring out I have stopped, because he knows I have treats on me. Most of the time I play a game of he gets to choose to leave or to stay with it comes to brushing. He isn't on a leash and I don't hold onto him, so if he decides its too much he can leave and come back for treats and brushing as he chooses. For the pin brush he will come to me but has bit me while trying to bite the brush, so I hold onto his collar to keep him from biting me on accident. When I let go half the time he just stands there and waits for a treat.

So he doesn't seem traumatized, I think its a case of he learned that screaming made the brushing stop before. Yet I don't know how to handle this situation with +R.
 

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Very few dogs actually like being groomed. Our Poodle/Bischon mix, has to be groomed professionally every month. In between, I brush and comb her every morning, and brush her teeth. Since it just happens every single day, she has become somewhat more tolerant of the inevitable, I think as she sees it. I'm convinced its all a matter of consistency and routine. She is not crazy about going with the groomer for that once a month process, but in her case its mandatory, or her coat becomes an unmanageable mess.
 

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Is it possible his undercoat is super matted? Levi is usually cool as a cucumber, but once I hit a mat, and he nearly jumped out of his skin trying to get away.

I use a basic rake (like this). And I use a pair of grooming scissors (these) to actually break up the mats.

Heidi tries to bite the brush as well, and so I've just been practicing with number of brush strokes before she bites, then we only do that many, and then jackpot. Then I keep trying to add more strokes. I think if he isn't running away at the sight of the brush, he's not traumatized, he just doesn't like it. Both my guys don't like having their ears cleaned, but they tolerate it. I think if you can just work up to him tolerating it, that's still really good.
 

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Aww poor Kota. Are you sure he doesn't have any sheltie in him? Riley has the same kind of wispy hair, around his ears but it gets thicker as you go down his body. He also only tolerates grooming (and I use that word loosely). I've actually given up trying to make his coat make sense, it looks good in photos but in real life he's pretty scruffy. As long as he's matt free, I'm happy.

What I have to do is bathe him to loosen his under coat and then brush it out while he's still damp. I will also sometimes use a blow dryer and dry and brush for as long as he will tolerate. I can tell you the whole process involves a lot of treats. I do this seasonally, inbewteen I can maintain his coat with a quick brush through now and then with a pin brush.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not sure if I should call the undercoat problem mats, I guess after looking at it again. Its like he sheds his undercoat and it just stays, stuck in his coat. I mostly notice it around his lower belly, haunches and back legs.

I could start to try and brush him a lot more often. He might start to tolerate it more. I'm also considering doing one area a day with him. One boy part a day and that's it. I just want to get that dead undercoat off of him. If given the choice I would like to bring him into my work for grooming to take off some of the length on the wispy hair but I don't know how that would go.
@Dawnben - Don't deshedding brushes pull more on the coat because they grab the hair? I need to get to the undercoat, not just the top. The top is more like hair then fur, and the under is more like fur and sheds.
@Rileysaur He could be for all I know. The coat is not chow chow, its not very thick. It does seem to lay in all different directions too. He gets bathed twice a month with a full shampoo, conditioner and blow dry. He hates the blow dryer too but is starting to tolerate that. The first time I tried he screamed for that too. This last time he complained around his face but we managed to find a way to blow dry that we both can work with. Most things with him its figuring out how to work with him as he is unmotivated and not driven to please.
 

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A shedding blade pulls the under coat out. It stays on the top but still is able to pull the under coat out.
 

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Kids tangle remover works and is ok for dogs, just ask your vet if he already has rashes and hotspots before using it. We use johnsons no more tangles, I apply it to a tangle teezer hair brush and then get into the mats with that, it is a lot more gentle than any other brush. Once the mats are out, maintain daily with an undercoat rake.

I think you are already doing the right thing, if he doesn't seem scared of you and doesn't run away, it means the treats and you overcome the fear of being groomed. Maybe give some really awesome food while you wrk out tangles. My dog isn't a big fan of being groomed and has a similar coat to yours (the profile pic is a bit out of date!). I usually hand feed her dinner while grooming her for a few mins every day, then if there is a mat, she gets chicken or liver or ham
Oddly enough she is fine if I comb her with the undercoat rake, as long as there are no big mats, but once I move on to the slicker (which I use with conditioning spray to shine and align the scruff top coat)she shifts really uncomfortably, so I usually just use the rake. I figure at least she is tangle free, even if she doesn't look perfect.

Does he need bathing twice a month? That might cause dryness, once might be better.
 
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