I have written many times before about my adventures in grooming my Australian Labradoodle. That’s because the struggle is real! My girl does not shed; However, all of that dead baby fine hair (that never ends up on my floor) will mat up into a billion tightly woven tangles, if I do not keep my girl brushed. This is especially true in the winter time when I allow her coat to grow longer.
Lucy has a wonderful temperament. But, there is a limit to tolerance, especially when someone is ripping hair off of your body. Lucy used to bite at the brush each and every time I even came close to her fur with it!
Now, she doesn’t notice when I strip away the dead hair from her fur. So, if you have a baby piranha too, maybe some of my techniques I have developed could help you too.
I used to groom/brush Lucy on the ground. When I use this technique she will chew on the end of the brush, wiggle, squirm, flip upside down (so I can’t brush her back), etc, etc. Anything to around being brushed or combed. So now, I place her on a table. I prefer to use my desk because I don’t like the idea of using the dining room table. When she is up on a high surface she is much more cooperative.
Secondly, I use a variety of tools. Because mats happen! A lot! Lucy has curly hair. As I said before, we don’t have as big of a problem with matting in the summertime because I keep her fur groomed short. But, in the winter, it’s a totally different situation. I can get away with brushing her every couple of weeks in the summer. During the winter, I brush her every other day, or perhaps, twice a week. And even then, she mats! I have bought more bushes, combs and sundry of grooming aids than you could ever imagine. But from this collection, I have developed my favorites! And I think they are Lucy’s favorites too! Or at least she tolerates most of them.
Lucy likes me to begin our grooming session with a plastic bristled brush. The plastic bristles are gentler on her fur, and they help to pave the way for the heftier tools in my arsenal. After giving her the once over with the plastic bristled brush, I switch over to a metal comb. As I gently comb through her fur, I am able to locate and deal with mats. When I find a mat, I will use one of the two of my dematting combs. And, if it is a very large mat, I will break it up with a pair of scissors first. I never cut toward her skin with scissors. Rather I will use my fingers to probe where the mat begins and her skin ends. I will then gently insert my scissors into the middle of the mat and cut away from her body. If I can not safely determine skin from fur, and the mat is too big of a job for my dematting combs, I will shave the mat away. Not as pretty, but definitely safer. Anyway, when I use my dematting combs, I will grab the mat close to the skin with one hand and comb with the other hand. If the mat refuses to budge, a detangling spray is the next tool in my arsenal. I don’t use the spray often, because for some strange reason Lucy likes to lick it.
After I am finished with my metal comb and dematting tools, I will then use a slicker brush. Lucy hates the slicker brush. So to address this issue, I drag out my final big gun in my arsenal. Sun butter and a stuffable toy! With a little sun butter, she doesn’t even realize that I am using the slicker brush!
I usually wear an apron when brushing Lucy. It keeps the hair off of me! I also like to keep a sand bucket on hand. My sand bucket serves as a waste can for all of the hair we brush away!
All done! ”Don’t I look great?!”