How to tackle matted ears?
Don't you love them?
There one of the main bodyparts that I think really help define the character of your Doodle.
You like them as fluffy as possible and because they are so fluffy it's difficult to see when they are tangled.
That happens a lot and that's why you shouldn't depend on sight to know if the ears are tangled or not...
... you need a different sense for that: your feeling.
Because by feeling you know when an ear is tangled or not.
An ear flap is really nothing more then a piece of leather like skin with fur on it, and that's exactly how it should feel: like a piece of leather.
Last week the ear issue arised again, when I was grooming the Doodle on the pictures, so I decided to write a blog on it, seeing that this really is a problem that occurs a lot.
As you can see in the pictures, this was a white coloured Doodle and because white hair is very porous, it tends to tangle much sooner then brown coloured hair (why this is so is explained in my upcoming book).
The whiter the hair, the more tangle prone it is and like a lot of white coloured Doodles, the one I was grooming had a very plush, thick curly fleece coat and an even whiter and plushier under layer of coat. Because the owner had done my online professional grooming course, she knew how to keep the body tangle free, but somehow she forgot to check the ears (like so many Doodle owners do).
Ears are always moving and being put under pressure when patted or cuddled. The thicker the hairs on the ears, the sooner they will tangle and because the Doodle I was grooming had an even whiter plush under layer of coat on her ears, the ears were matted all the way through.
They really bothered her, so she kept scratching them, which made them even more felted. The owner was at a loss.
You couldn't see it, but the ears felt like 3 centimeters of felt, so it was obvious to me what needed to be done.
Whenever your Doodle's ear feels thicker than what a piece of leather feels like, you are in trouble.
And I don't know about you, but most Doodle owners that I come across, are affraid of hurting their Doodle, of cutting in to the ear, when they want to remove the tangles, because they can't feel where the ears end. So they leave the ears alone, as not to hurt their precious love of a Doodle.
This is understandable, but can be overcome easily by knowing how to approach the problem and which grooming equipment to use.
Like many Doodle owners, my customer figured that there was something "off" with the ears, but because she couldn't feel the rim anymore, she didn't dare cut through the felt.
So I showed her how to do it and after 30 minutes of defelting and detangling per ear, the ears were nice and normal again. With enough hair on them to keep that special puppy like Doodle look I (and the owner) love!
So how do you tackle matted ears?
In my book I explain to you which professional grooming equipment to use on Doodle coats.
There is one pair of very good professional scissors that I use for dematting, that's sharp and very pointy.
You need this to be able to cut through the mats.
Then there is the right professional brush, really the only true brush to handle Doodle coats with and a course, wide toothed comb WITHOUT ROTATING THEETH (These 3 tools are magical together :-)
You take the scissors and slide them down, over the skin, through the mats, while holding the ear with your other hand.
Because you slide over the skin, you can't cut in to the skin and that's a feeling of confidence that you will need to develop by repetition.
Once you have done this, you brush out the ear and do it again and again, repeating this process for as long as you need.
Only once you feel that the tangles are becoming loose, can you use the course comb to pull them out carefully. If you have to pull on the ears too much, then you need to repeat the process until the tangles are comb-ready.
It's very difficult to explain grooming and detangle processes by trying to use the right words, without forgetting anything or creating miscommunication.
That's why I use photo's and video links to support the content of my book.
The real challenge is to keep enough hair on the ears, like I said and that takes a lot of practise, but especially a lot of checking and working in a calm, peaceful way, taking the time you need to work painlessly and effortlessly and without alarming or stressing out your Doodle!
If you can't get in done in time, then choose to get back to it later. Don't ever traumatise your Doodle!
If you are too scared to do it yourself, then consult a groomer, but be aware that a lot of them don't know how to handle Doodle coats or tackle mats, just like you and can hurt your Doodle in the process.
I hope that this article will help you keep your Doodle's ears under control. This is just one of the things that are explained in detail in my upcoming book, so be sure to get that to start taking the wellbeing of your Doodle in to your own hands.
If you can't wait for the book to come out and you want to start NOW! Then I have developed a special Doodle Brushing Pro and Tangle Tackle program, just for you, including the right professional grooming equipment you need and lots of educational instruction video's, expert information and personal coaching by myself.
If you are interested in learning more about this program, stay tuned and more info will follow this week.
If you haven't downloaded the FREE book preview yet, please do so on the site.
Wanda & Joy