Dog Grooming Volunteer Training Material: Dematting
First of all, thank you so much for volunteering to be a Dog groomer. Our furry friends extremely appreciate that. We do, too!
Second, if you have any questions first refer to this short manual or ask us for further assistance.
Please do not attempt to start the grooming process without being properly trained by a grooming professional or a staff member. This can be extremely painful and cause huge distress for the animal.
Dogs hair grooming:
Grooming the dogs will keep them healthy and will increase the chanced of the adoption. Check the video at the end of the article to see the huge difference in the appearance of the same dog before and after grooming.
During the grooming sessuion: be patient and don’t be afraid to use treats. Start slowly and steadily. If you notice signs of frustration, stop and continue later of the next day. Please make the experience as positive as possible.
- Pre-bath procedures: nail trimming, hair brushing, mats removal and cleaning of the ears
- Bath procedures: wash and dry
- After-bath procedures: haircut
This guide will focus on dematting and haircutting.
There are three types of mats – small mats, larger mats and severely tangled hair
Isolate these with your fingers and try splitting the mat into smaller pieces. Pull out gently either using your fingers or a steel comb. Don’t rush or pull roughly as this will irritate the animal and it will be much more reluctant to grooming procedures in the future. Comb over the same area no more than 10 times. If needed move to the next area and return to the matted area later.
You will need an additional tool – a dematting comb. Brush and bathe the dog. Comb gently though the mat to break it up as much as possible. Again, refrain from pulling. Hold the hairs that are closes to the skin, so you don’t pull his skin while trying to break up the mats. Don’t cause any pain to the dog.
Remove any loose hairs and smaller mats you can handle more easily. Brush with a dematting comb several times.
If the mat is particularly large and painful, put a comb under the mat and use blunt tip scissors over the comb to cut the mat in halve. Be extremely careful not to cut the the skin. Don’t cut if you are not seeing what you are cutting. Ask another member of the staff for help!
Severely matted hair:
If both of the above options fail, the dog may need to be shaved. Please be extra careful and don’t try this step without proper training (and possibly supervision). Be very cautious and if the dog is not sitting still, avoid using the clippers. The job is extremely delicate, as the dogs have paper-thin skin, which can be cut easily and larger patches of mats are really tough to handle. Leave this job to a professional. They are very experienced and have all the necessary tools to handle the mats properly. Most professional dog groomers use special heavy-duty clippers that can handle the matted dog hair that work even on thick coats. Plus they change the blades frequently to avoid burning the dog.
Once shaved, the shorter coat is much easier to maintain. Daily brushing will keep the coat clean and prevent forming of new mats.
Here is a short video showing the huge difference between a severely matted dog and the same dog after the grooming:
Above everything else keep the grooming experience positive
Above everything else make the experience positive both for you and the dog! If you notice any signs of frustration, anxiety or distress, STOP! Continue later or the next day.
Dogs are extremely sensitive creatures and have vivid memories of events that stressed them. If the dogs is badly matted don’t continue with the painful brushing and dematting. We highly advise you either to shave him or to get him to a grooming professional. Never ever continue grooming if you notice any signs of pain. Don’t hurt the dog just to get the job done. Most of the shelter dogs have suffered enough in the past and we avoid causing them any additional and unnecessary pain.
Always finish the grooming session with a positive experience for the animal – you can give praise him, give him a treat or even hug or pet him.