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Hi all,
I just found this fantastic Great Pyr website and am so excited about learning more about the breed.  All your profile pics of your dogs look soooooo beautifully groomed and gorgeous, but I chose to put up one of our Sid when he was about 5 months old and just fresh from a mud romp in the garden because that's how he is most of the time!  We live on a farm and although I wanted Sid to be an indoor dog, he would have none of it and always has to be outside patrolling the property, keeping a close watch on his other family (that is our livestock).
I'm a bit of a newbie and have so many questions!
The first an most urgent one (because I just feel so bad for him) is what to do with our Sid's terribly matted coat. 
He is 15 months old now.  We had a female Great Pyr for a short time before we got Sid and her coat was just so lovely with absolutely no upkeep at all besides a good weekly brush. But Sid's coat has been a complete nightmare from day one.  It is unbelievably thick and you just have to look at it wrong and it mats up.  I tried last summer and fall to groom daily and very thoroughly but as winter came on, Sid wanted to spend all his time outside and I was sick quite a bit this winter so the grooming got put off a lot and now I don't even know where to start. I tried brushing, but he will not sit through it (I'm sure the mats hurt when I brush them out) and it is so bad that it would take several hours of pulling to get all the mats out and I just think that's cruel.   I was going to just shave him and be done with it, but, I noticed on here that shaving can be a bad thing especially in the long run.
I guess my question to you folks is, does anyone have experience with this type of easily matting coat and now that it's gone this far, what would be the most humane thing to do to get it under control?  Taking him off the farm to get neutered was an absolutely terrifying experience for him (he was paralysed with fear and panic) so taking him to a professional groomer is out of the question.  I would consider putting him under anesthetic though for a complete groom so he wouldn't have the terror of being awake if shaving him is strongly discouraged.  It seems shaving would be the easiest but I don't want to make life harder on everyone in the future if possible.  I think he might not have lost his baby fur before the winter coat started coming in so maybe if I get it all out this time, it will be easier in future to keep up?
As you can tell, I'm at a complete loss as what to do.  Any advice would be most welcome.
Thanks so much in advance!

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You should never shave a Pyr but in your case, it sounds like you need to, this once. Some of the Pyr rescues have to shave for this same reason.

Don''t shave down to the skin, though. Leave about an inch of hair to keep bugs off him. Also, keep him in cool areas until his coat grows back but he'll probably look after that if given a cool area in which to hang out.

In my experience, Pyr coats don't easily matt but if left for too long, they will. I give a slicker brush quick groom every day and then a thorough grooming once a week using a slicker brush and then a comb. If they are blowing their coat, I then use a shedder type brush, as well.

You are very caring of Sid. That's great. You'll just need to groom him regularly.
I adopted my pyr 8 months ago from the SPCA and her coat was all matted too, I calmly cut all her hair off and left about 1- 1.5 inches all over. I was worried about how her hair would grow back for the winter and it has grown back normal. I too live on a farm and it is harder to get a brush on a dog who does not want to get in from the weather. You can not brush a dog with wet hair. Good luck. Christine
Donna's info is not bad information, but there are many types and degrees of mats in these terribly matted coats. Some actually mat right down to the skin to the point you cannot get below them, so not going down to the skin is not an option.

There are some excellent mat splitters on the market. All have razors in them and are potentially dangerous to dog and groomer. IMO the matbreaker is the best. You use a twisting motion with a handle like a small brush, so you don't fatigue as rapidaly.
Do not use scissors as you will cut your dog severely along the way. its almost impossible to get close to the skin and not cut them with scissors. You will end up with a lot of stitches at the vet and still have a matted dog.

My advise is to not shave. Demat the dog with short periods (about 30 minutes) and just slowly get it done. Do not bath or let them get wet as that will harden the mats. A good rake and comb is needed. Pin brushes are useless IMO for mats and really the pyr coat. It might easily take you 10 to 20 periods to get a badly matted Pyr done. Once you have the dog done you need to establish a weekly schedule to brush out so the mats don't form again. That will take about 10 minutes with a good long tooth rake and its not a grooming job but keep the hair for matting.
I am including a picture of a matbreaker.

No easy answer here.
Thanks so much for the speedy replies. Yes, it isn't an easy answer. It still might come to the shave, but my gut feeling now is only to shave after I've tried everything else. I am totally willing to do it in small amounts and put in the time before I give up. I only hope he will too!
I will be going out to get my supplies this afternoon already. I will be very careful like you said with the matbreaker once I get it. I have always thought the pin brush pretty useless too on his coat. Joe, I'm not sure what a good long tooth rake looks like though. Would you be able to post a picture of one of those too so I get the idea of what I'm looking for?
Also, something else came to mind as I was reading this. I ususally just bend over him outside and try and get him to stay still but that is so hard on my back. (Doesn't make me look forward to 20 periods of brushing!LOL!) Because I will have to be so careful, what would be the best way to hold him still? What do you all use to do your regular grooming of your dogs? Those flimsy grooming tables I've seen at the grooming salons don't look like they'd be safe to hold a big dog like him still. My husband is pretty handy at building so any ideas would be great. I get the feeling after I manage to get things under control, I'll be grooming him regularily for now on!
Thanks, I feel so much better with some hope!
You almost have to have a grooming table with an arm. Not only now but going forward. He will not like the table at first but will adjust. The job is impossible otherwise IMO.
I am putting up a picture of a good rake, but the one I really like is all metal with a slanted handle and longer fingers (teeth) on the rake. I could not find a picture on line of it quickly. This one will get the job done I think. I have used them before. Your husband could make a table if he can get the legs somewhere. Maybe someone has an idea on this and the grooming arms are easy enough to find that clamp on the table. Go look at some for sale and you will see. A good pet supply store should sell good ones though.

Let us know how it goes.
Hello again,
Thanks for the photo. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. I know exactly what you mean now. I looked at the local pet food/supply store and they had neither of those tools available. I think I will have to find a specialty groomers supply in the city. My husband was thinking of making me a stand to do double duty for grooming both Sid and the miniature goats I plan to get this summer. It will be made out of wood and will be like a ramp to a platform with a railing around the front and back that they won't fall or jump off of and then a head attachment at the front that the goats get tied to and then they get fed some grain but I can just clip Sid to it as well and it will be the perfect height for both. It will of course be in the barn so that's good too, then all the hair will stay outside!
Anyways, as soon as he gets the platform done, I'll take some before and after shots of the process just for kicks! Thanks so much for the info. I'm excited.
On to ask another question about fencing! Talk to you later.
Go to Petedge on line - many grooming tools including these and reasonable prices- you will get delivery in just a few days also Petsmart also has a ong tooth rake to get you started until your better equipment comes in.
Love this rake.  I actually have it, but it has come apart from the base, even when superglued.  What is the all metal one of which you speak?  I WANT ONE!
Before you go to the effort of buying a grooming table you can try just sitting on the ground or a step with him. I sit on the outside step to brush mine and it works great. No bending but they're at the right level. When I rescued a dog that was in bad condition I use rounded end scissors to cut out the really bad mats and had no problems with that.
I have a footstool I use to sit on.
Just my two cents...

Soak him in D-Mat!! I'm a dog groomer and I try to educate folks with double coated breeds - Like our beloved pyrs, as to why they shouldn't shave them down... Now granted, there have been EXTREME cases where a shave down is a must, however a little elbow grease goes a long way. D-Mat, made by Tropiclean can be purchased at PetEdge, this product is fabulous. You can dilute it or use it straight. First I would use a high velocity dryer and blow the mats up and away from the skin, before you even get him wet. Then I would use a really good shampoo and you may need to bathe him 2 or 3 times, at least! Rinse him really well - then soak him in the D-Mat for at least 30 minutes (crate him), concentrating on the matted areas.... you may even run a slicker brush thru those areas while it is still soaking in D-Mat. Rinse well... Then I would use a silicone based spray, Ice on Ice, The Stuff, QuickerSlicker, etc. spray those areas thoroughly.... Then high velocity dry, again blowing the matts away from the skin, then let him fan dry (crated).... Personally, I don't find the matts bind up, in fact I find the matts are easier to work with if done as described above, and the tools described in previous replies are a must!!... Truly, most pyrs enjoy the grooming process, my dogs can't wait for the one on one time... make it a routine, give plenty of treats during the process, lot's of praise and encouragement... Good Luck and I hope it helps!!
Hi Deanna
I hope you are right about the D-Mat? I have no experience with it. I am nervous about wetting a mat. You seem to have experience with it though. Still nervous though as a wet mat only tightens down normally.




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