Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Old Before and After Pics

OK, I'm reaching WAY back into my archive today, and I have pictures from as far back as 3 years ago, from my last job. I don't remember all the details on every dog, but there are some pretty good before and afters in here.

This first dog is a Yorkie, and they liked to keep her head on the long side. Which was fine...except she always came in with her head a total mess. Here is the before.

And here is the after. Still a longer face than I would normally do, but definitely more reasonable than what she came in with.

Here is a good example of a REALLY matted dog. I saw dogs like this fairly frequently at past jobs and hardly ever see them at my current job. Here is the before.

And here is the after. He was so matted that I couldn't leave a single hair on him, it ALL had to come off. Doing dogs like this makes me very sad that somebody would let their dog get into this sort of shape before getting it groomed. Yes, dog grooming can be expensive, but that's really something you need to factor into your budget before you decide if you can even afford to have a dog. I always feel a little bit good, though, that I can make the dog feel SO much better. Anybody that has ever worn a pony tail knows how bad it can hurt if it's pulled too tightly and how good it feels to take it out. Can you imagine how painful it must be to have every square inch of your skin being pulled like that 24 hours a day? It must be dreadful!

Here is that same dog, me shaving his foot. It's always difficult when the hair is that matted; you sort of have to roll the matted hair down like a sock as you shave. Also, it is REALLY bizarre to see my hand without scars on it.

This is not a before and after, just an after of one of my favorite clients at my last job. She was a full-coated Skye Terrier, and she was beautiful. Sweet as can be, too.

Here's another after without the pig tails (they made the dog unhappy, so we stopped doing them).

As a pet groomer (rather than a show groomer), I have done very few full-coated dogs in my career, so the ones I do have the privilege of doing are very special to me.

Ooh, I forgot I had this series of pics. This shows the entire process of shaving down a SUPER matted Doodle (I think this one was a Goldendoodle). Here is the before: matted, terrified, and she had peed on the table and laid down in it. Yummy. Dogs that are this matted you generally need to shave before the bath; sometimes the velocity dryer can loosen the mats up, but sometimes nothing will help.

Do you see the strange separated lines in the fur on her butt? That's one way you can tell how matted she is; regular hair doesn't do that.

Here you can see that I started at the top of her head - I found one puff of hair that wasn't matted, and that is where I had to start the clippers. I slowly went down and around her neck, and you can see how most of the hair is coming off in one piece.

I've made a little more progress. I'm peeling the matted hair back as it comes off to keep it out of my way.

Almost there! All the hair pooled up behind her? That's all one sheet of matted hair, still attached to her body. If you've ever had a matted dog before and been upset when your dog had to be shaved, this is usually why. There is absolutely no way to brush out a pelt like this, and hopefully this visual helps.

And here is the final (washed and dried) product. You can see that I was able to leave some hair on her ears and the top of her head. I have no idea how those two areas weren't matted and the entire rest of her body was.

By the way, did yo notice how clean and pink her skin was under all that dirty hair? The pelt was so badly matted that it was actually protecting her skin from getting dirty.

OK, one more example of a matted dog "peel." I think this guy was a Cavachon (Cavalier King Charles mixed with Bichon Frise). Here is before.

Here's partway through. Again, you can see the matted hair hanging off the body; also note how clean the hair is right next to the skin. How much air do you think reaches this dogs skin if dirt can't even reach?

This next picture is probably the best demonstration EVER of hair coming off all in one piece.

Almost done. Those legs are going to be a nightmare.

Well, it looks like I forgot to take after pictures, but you get the general idea. I hope these pictures give you an idea about why we groomers get so upset when we see matted dogs. This HAS to be uncomfortable for the dog, so we have to try to educate you while (possibly) suppressing the urge to slap you across the face for neglecting your dog for so long.

Shameless plug - I have always used Andis brand clippers. Well, not always, I tried the Wahl Switchblade for a while but I HATED them. If you do choose to groom your dogs at home, I would definitely recommend spending the extra money on professional clippers versus the cheaper ones they sell for "home use." The longer life span of the professional grade clippers will make back the extra money you pay for them.

And now, since I am suddenly missing him very much, I will leave you with a picture of Dexter's fetch face.


  1. Loved the post!!!! Specialy the "suppressing the urge to slap you across your face" :)

  2. I so enjoyed your blog & have signed up for your email newsletter. We have 3 rescued dogs, a golden retriever/Great White Pyrenees mix from the New Orleans area during Hurricane Katrina, a doxie from our local pound & a little 5 pound Maltese that we somehow rescued from a puppy mill. Since these rescues took place my age has increased (lol) & my income has decreased dramatically to just social security income. I'm a firm believer that pets need forever homes & can't bare to give them up yet can no longer afford to have them groomed professionally. The Maltese is our biggest problem...she will not let us touch her legs & her fur mats so badly. I have several kinds of clippers but the ones for sheep shearing seem to work best for me. This little girl had been caged for 4 years at the puppy mill & only used for breeding. I've had her about a year & I have to believe she is happier with me than she was yet I'm having great difficulty keeping her mat free. Do you have any suggestions about rinses or how to get those legs clipped? I almost have to have her body hair & leg/tail hair shaved or I can't keep up with her. Thanks for any advice you can offer. Carol Brewster-Deitz on Facebook, & Carol in Florida (age 72).

    1. Carol,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I'll try to help you the best that I can.

      For starters, you need to get any mats out before you bathe her; even with a conditioning rinse, water makes mats worse.

      So here's what I suggest: It sounds like she doesn't like having her legs brushed? Or she doesn't like having them touched at all? I'll assume you can pet her legs but not brush them, and give advice accordingly. If you can't even touch her legs, you can do the same thing I will suggest, just with your hands instead of a brush.

      I would go ahead and shave her all the way down once. If she already doesn't like to be brushed, trying to demat her will upset her more than she already is.

      After she's shaved, I would maybe wait a day or two, but before she even starts to grow back, you need to start getting her used to the brush.

      I would keep the brush, comb, and some treats near where you and she like to snuggle, relax, sleep, etc. If she likes to sleep in you lap while you're on the sofa, for example, keep everything next to the sofa and you'll be good to go.

      When she's relaxed, take the brush to her. If she lets you brush her body, give her a treat right away before even moving to the legs. Then move slowly from her body to her legs. If she even remotely allows it, give her a treat. Don't push her too far the first time - you want her to feel this is a positive experience.

      Each time you try this, do more and more of her legs. Get her used to both the brush and the comb - the comb will find mats before they become to bad to brush.

      Hopefully she will eventually associate brushing with treats and will let you brush and comb her legs. It may take a long time, but hopefully if you start while she still has no hair, she can be somewhat used to it before it grows back much.

      I hope this helps! Feel free to comment again with any more questions!

      The Writing Groomer