Medical Info: Slicker Brush

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Matie sounds great! Grooming an OES can be quite a task, but the rewards are beyond belief! There are a lot of good tips out there from a lot of people who are much more experienced than I am, so maybe best that I send you to these resources. Here are some pages that might be of interest:
(Also a good grooming tape available here (, with money going towards helping rescue! ...and of course a certain video of a certain Picnic that I highly recommend...ok, it's a shameless plug, but I am very proud of it!)

You might also just search the internet for Old English Sheepdog grooming.

The right brushes are important too, and the above page has good info on those as well. I use a slicker brush along with a matt comb, and I know that pin brushes are recommended as well. As I say, I am certainly not an expert on the subject, but I know there is much information out there that will help you keep Matie looking great all her life!

Good luck!
Guinevere's Dad, Kevin Z.

Just wanna poll for some suggestion on how to dry an OES up the fastest way after bath. Typically, it took me 2+ hours to bath and dry him up. I guess the bottleneck is the drying part...It took the longest time. Basically, what i do is i first wipe the excess water off him using a beach towel. Then i use a handheld hairdryer with a slicker brush to dry and fluff him up at the same time.

Just curious, how long does it take for you guys to bath+dry your OESs? Any comments welcome! Wink
Start our with a brush. When we brought Abbi home she was only 8 weeks old. So we purchased a double-sided soft nylon bristled and metal (pin coushioned with smooth tips) brush, It cost a bit more to get the one with smooth metal pins, but it was worth it. That brush is still our first choice, and Abbi likes it best too.
You will need a metal comb and probably a dematting comb --eventually.

Go to your library. We found 3 grooming videos and 6 grooming books at our library. Also, they have great puppy training material and even OES books! And it is all free if you return them promptly. Our library is on-line, so you can re-check the books from your computer.

The challenges of a new puppy! Try to get the breeder or former owner to go over what type of social situations it is used to --like being played with, introduced to what other animals, that sort of thing. Also ask about its personality. Try to find out as much as possible about its beginnings, as this will reflect on its current behavior patterns.

Personally, the only equipment I use is that brush, a wide toothed metal comb, a fine tooth metal comb, a slicker, and my OSTER 5A with a #10 blade, and a trimming blade. I have the surgical blade and a #40 that I have only used a couple of times in 4 years.
Weekly brushing, comb out the ears, clean the face, and lightly go over with the slicker brush. I only use the slicker to catch stray hairs and make sure I have actually gotten all the tangles out. Do not use the slicker like a brush -- get a demo from a groomer or a video. It will hurt the dogs skin if used harshly or without care. Puppies don't need it until after 8 months old. The De-matting comb is only needed when you are starting their full adult coat -- after 8 months also. I use it to thin out Abbi's long coat, as we live in a warm weather zone. There are thinning combs too, but the dematter can work to break up mats and thin.
The slicker can also be used to clean off your pants and stuff.
Since you are still in the looking stage, make sure to ask for demos from everybody to whom you talk. And also, ask about how to train puppy not to nip and avoid dominance issues. You need to get yourself trained and educated, it saves lots of aggravation and you get to play with other peoples dogs! Check into local clubs: go to the clubs topic and read one of the topics--there's links to the American Kennel Club which link to the local clubs.
It is amazing tyhe information availble today.
I have to agree that daily to tri or bi weekly brushing does give you the softest coat you have ever felt. Abbi is at her fluffiest 6-8 weeks after a bath.
But she gets into the darndest stuff.. like mustard. So we usually end up bathing her every 4-6 weeks.

But between 6-10 months they are going through a hormonal period, like being a teenager. Thier behavior and coat sometimes changes. Maybe you should just not use a conditioner for a while. We only use one when we have to bathe Abbi within a couple of weeks of her last bath. Then we dilute the conditioner (capful) to about a quart of water and squirt her all over with it, then let it set for a few minutes while we check pads, underarms, and what nots, then rinse it all out.

If the dog is completely brushed out before bathing, it will not need a conditioner or creme rinse. If you wash a mat it just gets tighter and more impossible to comb or break apart. And it you have the dog totally mat free, you will be able to get it cleaner and rinse all of the soap and conditioner completely off. Sometimes, after a good brush and slicker brush finish you may find that a little cornstarch deordorant powder under their arms is all they actually need. This saves time, money, frustration, and in my case, back aches.
Just watch where your kids put the mustard packets and other condiments and keep them out of the trash! Laughing
Mud, seeds, and most dirt (but not red clay) will fall right out after comb, brush, and slicking. Our red clay just doesn't come out without a bath.
Hi our sheepie is having some problems with matting directly underneath her collar. I brush her regularly to be sure she doesnt mat anywhere but for some reason she will start matting under her collar even just after Ive brushed her!!!!!. I am not the best at trying to get these mats out of her and there are no groomers nearby- can anyone make any suggestions at all - I use a slicker and pin brush and have this comb which has razor/cutting things on it but I cant seem to get them out properly. Is there a shampoo or any other type of tool which would make it a bit easier? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!! Smile
Abbi does so much better with shorter hair in the summer that I do not care what other say or think, its a short hair style for her from about April through August. I do not shave her legs all the way, and this year I did not shave her chest or head, but did shave her muzzle feet, underbelly, arm pits, part of her rear, and back. She is now growing out with three different hair lengths and we are not having any problem with knots or mats, of course she is slicker brushed daily to keep the dirt out and thoroughly brushed and combed out twice a week.

I find the question on whether to cut the coat for the hot weather or not one of personal choice, but no one is going to say that a full coated sheepie in even 97'F weather with humidity above 70% should be kept outside without having access to a swimming pool (pond) and shade, and a nice patch of dirt to nap in. Frankly the grooming hassle, heat, and the enjoyment of runs and walks during the summer have convinced me that a short coat is easier to groom and more comfortable for the dog. I have met a slew of people who disagree vehemently and say the long hair actully helps cool the dog. I know it doesn't work this way for us. I can also apply parasite preventions easier and check her for any injuries easier with a short coat.
This said, I wish the first groomer I took Abbi to had not ever cut her top knot. It has taken a year to get it even half way as full as it was 2 years ago. Also, never cut the coat so short that they get sunburned or can easily irritate the skin. Once the skin is irritated they will lick and lick and lick...until you have a whole new set of problems. I always leave at least an inch of hair. I groom, including cutting, my dog myself, because groomers seem to forget things too frequently. Right now Abbi is growing out a "lion" cut that I gave her in May. I love it because everyone seems to think she is some exotic dog and it leaves her fully coated in the front and on the tops of her legs. Her back is shaved short, her feet are totally cleaned, and her muzzle is clean. Right now she has the muzzle growing out and only her beard or chin shaved clean.
I guess I treat her like a muscular standard poodle with this fabulously friendly character.
Whatever you decide to do with the dog's hair, enjoy! If you are happy your dog will bounce for joy no matter what.
As long as you do not cut off their lashes the dog will keep most of the hair out of their eyes, but you need to clean off the eye buggers and make sure hair is not constantly irritating their eyes as this can lead to loss of sight and my be a precursor to cataracts in any dog. A top knot held by hairbands, plastic rubberbands, or even with ties will keep the hair out of the eyes during play. If you have any children around I find keeping the eyes as clear of hair as possible a real boon. The dog sees the kids coming and can react accordingly. Decreases the accidental bumpings and walking over kids if you know what I mean. Of course, they see cats, squirrels, and small birds more easily too, which can lead to the run-for-them-as-fast-as-you-can syndrome.
Have fun with your dog what ever you do!

By the way Danik, Shanti's so beautiful. I love your new photo. Maybe instead of cutting his coat for your Argentine summer you could ask your groomer to thin out his hair? There's a breeder in Mississippi who claims that she thins out her sheepies' hair for the summer with no problems. Claims it helps keeps them cool. I think there's several differest combs with razors and with just uneven teeth that thins out long haired coats. Every time I do it, it feels like I am pulling out Abbi's hair, so I just gave up on it. But professional groomers are suppose to know how to do it correctly, without pulling the hair out. You may want to find out more about the procedure?
I've been brushing and combing Abbi before baths for a year now, and it does seem easier to bathe her, get her skin clean, and blow dry and brush n fluff her out. (Before the hair is totally dry around the collar area, get a hair dryer and brush, comb and slicker it out while blow drying. It will be straighter and stay fluffier that way). Also, I have found that after brushing her out first, she looks so good, that I just put some cornstach bathing powder with a light scent on. Then I brush again and skip the bath.
Vero is right about the dematting. Try on a small mat. Just use the tip of one of the teeth of a steel comb and sort of tease the mat out, either from the edges or by going down to the roots and splitting it apart and gently untangling from the edges. Some times this works so well.

If the dog is in the house or fenced yard, you may try loosening the collar whenever you are not walking the dog. If the collar is on tight the dog will scratch at it and mat it up, which will irritate the skin and cause more scratching, which will cause pulling and more mats.
Many people have used a rolled, undyed, leather collar with success. Didn't help with Abbi until her hair quit changing coarseness, around 2-3 years old. We just use an easily adjustable nylon collar with thi snice latching closure. Its easy to take off and on and easy to loosen and tighten again. It sold every where, including WalMart and has no staining aluminum closures or dyes that will rub or bleed off onto Abbi's white chest.
I use the comb with the razor blades to quickly thin out Abbi's thicker hair in the summer and for very big mats. You have to take it down to the roots, wiggle through the mat with a sawing action, then saw it up and out. If possible, hold the bottom of the mat so that you are not just pulling the dogs hair out by the roots. It takes practice, and you can get that by using it on unmatted hair. It is a tool of last resort.
Daily brushing with the brush or slicker (very gently with the slicker) helps prevent matting, but you already knew that.
Hope you are having a Happy and Safe new Year's!
I use the same things that Mikeyg uses. We call that square with hundreds of tiny curved wires a slicker brush.
The slicker brush was bought at petco for about $7.
That medieval de-matting comb I use is wide toothed and ran about $14, I bought one with curved ends and about 2 inches wide. Looks like a group of razor blades, curved at the end.

The rounded pin headed brush ran about $12 and was bought at a pet show. We have used it and chewed on it for 5 years, so I cannot read the brand any more.
The plain wide tooth metal comb was about $8 and I bought a pair of professional nail clippers ($12), ear drying powder to help pull out the ear hair ($6) and I bought metal forceps for the same reason and to help grab little stuff I couldn't get my fingers on (like thorns) ($6) all from PetSmart online (free shipping with discounted prices!).
I use my husbands shop vac when I groom. And he bought me a Dremel a few years back when I was doing wood working. Turns out the grinding and buffing wheels work very nicely on dog's nails also, but only when I need to round them off.

Don't forget the treats and the the cotton balls for the ears during baths and for cleaning.
I trim and groom Abbi myself. I brush her out at least every other day and comb and brush her once a week.
If you have room for a sturdy table, it comes in handy. But I don't always use it. Depends on our patience and back pains.
I wrote this to somebody on the OES list when they asked about shaving with or against the lay of the hair:
Abbi loves my bad cuts just as much as my good cuts. As long as I take it
slow and make sure the clippers don't get too hot.
And she gets lots of treats and attention.
When you clip in the same direction of the hairs' natural growth you get a
smooth, professional look. When you go against the grain the hair will
stand up more and its harder to cut. When I do Abbi's face, chest, or under
her ears and arm pits I ALWAYS go with the lay of the hair. It is less
irritating and the easiest (fastest) way to cut. Sometimes I go against on
her back if I am leaving more than an inch, because it poofs up and I do not
use guide combs so I can see if any hair is sticking out still. If it is a
complete shave always go with, going against is mainly for effect. If you
are doing a show coat, follow show guidelines. Otherwise, heres a chance to
make life easier.

Clip what absolutely needs to be clipped and stop. Check the blade against
your hand, fingers, or wrist every 10 to 15 minutes. When they get too
warm, stop and let them cool off or spray them with a cooling lube agent.
You, Your dog and your clippers will thank you (the blades will dull faster
if you get them too hot or try to take off too much without stopping). Make
sure to remove the protective coating that comes on new blades. I have long
ran out of the correct solution, and now just run them on low in paint
thinner until the hum of the motor speeds up. If you go to clip the dog and
the blade isn't cutting much, run it a bit more in whatever solution (Blade
Wash by Oster works great) for a while longer. Some of the Andis blades I
have bought had to be sharpenned before I could use them, so I stick with
Oster blades.
Before you start define what you want and the cut will come out so much
better. I figure I want her face fairly clean, I want her to be able to
see, and I want nothing under her ears, arms, or anus. Then I decided I
wanted no more sand and mud drag in by the gallons. So now Abbi gets what I
call a facial, hygenic trims, and a pedicure -- actually I shave her paws
but let hair hang almost to her feet. I also shave around her dew claw so I
can see it while I am brushing. She hates doing her face so I give her a
treat after she has been thoroughly brushed and combed. Then clip her face
and ears first. Then a treat and her front paws. Treat and back paws and
rear. At first this is time consuming. Let the dog have breaks before they
want one if possible. You need to stay in control of the whole proccess.
Like brushing, it becomes faster and easier with time. Just make sure the
dog doesn't end the session -- you can make her sit and brush him/her and
then release them, but never let them just run off. It will get harder and
harder to clip them if you do. Bribes and avoidance make for a better
experience. (Other things that makes things go faster and easier: having the
dog on a stable table, having the dog attached to a stationary point, having
a comb and brush handy for those "missed" spots, having a blunt end pair of
scissors for the face, paw, and the hair hanging to the feet. You can work
with barber scissors, but be careful. I have poked myself too often. And a
groomer in pain is no fun.)
And you may want to go get one of your husband's old shirts and a hair
bonnet. I have a set in my grooming bag. You will still get hair on your
pants and such. I brush most of it off with a slicker brush.
Welcome as an owner-groomer. My dog sure enjoys it better than going to any
of our local groomers. And now you can collect your dog's hair and have it
spun into yarn. Never thought of that before!

The last part was because a topic on the list was collecting hair to have it spun into yarn and knitted. I actually do not think I would want that, but some find it intriguing. I was thinking of getting some made for my sister-in-law on my hubsband's side, but it wasn't out of the goodness of my heart. She buys the most atrocious but very expensive handcrafted gifts (like these blank faced dolls in burlap sacks for my two girls. They scared my 3-year old). I thought it would be a good trade and joke. I wasn't going to tell her it was my dog's hair (she loves horses, but not other people's dogs) ....I know. Shame on me. But it still makes me chuckle to think about it.
If Cooper is going through a coat change you may not be able to, but I just give Abbi a quick brush over daily and a one hour on the week end. She has a shorter coat though. And I trim off her stomach and face hair, and the hair under her ears, anus, and armpits. It makes things go much faster. Abbi is 5 year old. Her back hair is getting coarser every year, and doesn't seem to mat much.

If Cooper is going through a change in his coat you need to at least slicker brush it daily. This will take out the loose hair that would mat and allow for the coat to come in evenly. If you use a demating brush/comb you could keep his coat on the thin side and do the 15-30 minute brushes daily and the long grooming sessions once a week or so.

Every dog's coat is different. And their coats change as they age. With age it will get easier to keep dematted. Puppy coats are always the quickest to mat. You will probably forget to brush him and find missing a day or two doesn't mean a disaster. You will just have to break up the beginnings of mats. That is discussed here. Ron gave a very good to the point description of how to "pick" apart a mat.
I need to go, but I will run a search for the post later.
Enjoy you grooming time. Don't let it "get" to you, and it goes faster.
I remember a time when I would just do one part of Abbi per day. It is all I could manage. Probably why I am a trimming and shaving advocate. Smile
Woof's in full coat - and going through the change (as described above) - we brush him every day for 30 mins with a slicker. The trick is to get right down to the skin whith the brush, rather than make the mistake of just brushing over the top coat....
Abbi had this dandruff problem once. She would itch.
First I had to get rid of evry mat or beginning of mat she had.
Then I shampooed her with a diluted dandruf shampoo.
No conditioner.
Brushed her out WHILE she was drying.
Slicker brushed her every day from then on, and we never had the itching problem again. Although she does have allergies ...
If there are any professional groomers out there, they will come down on us like .......
But to tell you the truth, if I don't use the slicker first on Abbi I use the dematting comb/brush.

The reason it isn't recommended is two-fold. One, IT DOES thin out the hair. Not something you want to do if you are showing the dog, but great for hot weather.
Two, if it is used in a harsh manner it will not only hurt the dog, but could hurt you. Most of these multi bladed combs are curved at the ends. Some are curved slightly less than others, because they are used for different coat types and different types of mats. If you get the wide toothed one ( I will have to go count the teeth) that has a slight angle to its curved teeth it will work well as a thinner brush and dematter. But it can also cut YOU. I have never hurt Abbi, but I have hurt myself once or twice ... my own fault though. If you are careful and don't hurry too much it works great. Remember to saw through tough mats and pick them apart though.
And since it is thinning the hair, remember to use the slicker afterwards, as it will leave a lot of broken hairs (more than you think). The slicker will pick them up before THEY cause matting.
I have photos of each of my grooming tools ... maybe I should post them?
Not tonight, of course. I need to get the girls to bed. I will try to get back to this ... soon.
I have two dematting combs. One is just so mean to the user it is useless. Except around the ears. It is small and can get those ear mats broken up in no time. But it has a wicked curvature! You really need to see these to get a good idea ....
The one in the middle is the slicker brush

I agree with the guest. The one in the middle is a slicker brush or what I refer to as a slicker ...
I have the photos uploaded so I guess I should go link them to a page so I can share them ...
What tool(s) are you brushing (and brushing and brushing) with?

A slicker will only do the top coat...
I know many people recommmend "The Line Brushing Method" ... Whatever that is. Embarassed

I found this quote on the web (about havanese dogs)
"The most efficient method is line brushing where the entire coat is brushed in layers from the skin out. This is usually easiest if the dog is lying on its side. With one hand, the hair is parted to the skin and held down while the other hand gently brushes through the hair below the part. Once this section is smooth and tangle free, another section of hair is pulled down along the part and groomed in the same way. You may need to moisten each layer with a light mist of conditioner or coat dressing before brushing."

I know NEOESR has a couple of videos available, but I don't know if it goes into line brushing. One of them is for dogs in show coats.

Hope this helps.
Find a groomer who does standard poodles. They love doing puppy cuts and always are up to the cahllenge. Doing an OESwith no mats is so much more fun than cutting curly poodle hair. Very Happy And you can tell them you heard that from an experienced poodle groomer! Wink

The puppy cut, the lions cut, even the saddle cut looks so cool on an OES!

But if you don't want to go through getting used to the loss of hair and the seeming change in your dog's personality ...thin their hair. We have someone who fisits this forum form Mississippi who has described an easy way of thinning their hair for the summer. One way is to use a dematting comb or brush ---after all mats have been carefully broken up and picked apart. Then finish with a slicker, because the dematting comb will leave broken hairs which have to be brushed out to prevent ....matting!
Line brushing is how you want to brush for show. The main thing is not to take out the undercoat or cut out any mats. First, part the hair down the middle of the back lengthwise and use a pin brush without the little balls on the end of each pin. Always be sure that you are seeing the skin so you know you are getting all the hair. You hold the hair down with one hand and brush a very thin line away from you moving gradually down the length of the body. You can use a spray bottle with water to spray each row before you brush. Then you return to the head with the brush and make another line down the length of the body. Brush the muzzle and face toward the nose, always continuing to part and brush. Also brush up on the legs and I use a slicker to finish the feet and bottom of the legs. Use a comb on the ears and muzzle. I don't think I mentioned that the dog should be lying first on one side then the other. That way you can get the tummy and the underside of the legs. Be careful of the "armpits" as they tend to develop mats because of the legs rubbing on each other. Use a comb on the top of the head, also. Then comes the trimming. The rear should be trimmed flat and the feet round. Many of the show dogs are clipped much more than that. I have the breeder who is helping me trim the rear. I do OK on the feet but always screw the rear up. If you go on the web, there are some sites with very good instructions for grooming. It takes practice, but again the thing you do not want to do is groom out the undercoat if you are going to show. So no slicker brushes except on feet, muzzle or ears. Best of luck and know you can always contact your breeder for any help you may need. Smile
Sandy, Oliver, Winston and baby Bentley
I would recommend having his belly shaved (if he's not being shown). It doesn't make them look any different - I have the girls underarms and belly's shaved - as it is SOOOOO MUCH easier!

The legs are often the worst part - mine hate it too! Sometimes thinning shears work best to remove the larger matts (without making it look too "scissored").

I have also used those mat rakes - but they seem to hurt - so I like using a comb and/or pin brush and slicker brush.

Sydney and Presley hate having their legs done the most.

Good Luck!
Wow, agingright, you sure read into things that are not there.

I asked what is the best way NOT to hurt Remy (female). The dew claw does not need bandaging or a vet's inspection unless I want to remove it. I did NOT make it bleed, I snagged it, while combing her.

I can't fford a trip to the groomers, so I was asking advice about the head gear, they use on their tables. I figured something out to keep her from walking away from me. I do have all the grooming tools, like the metal comb, a dematting comb, slicker brush and a rake.

Remember I got Remy at 6 mths of age, and she came to me with matts, it's taken me 2 mths to work them ALL out. Now I only have to maintain, and so far so good. We've patiently got them all out, and Remy is not tramatized.

I guess I better spell things out clearly so you don't need to think I'm torturing my dog. I was looking for advice that would make things easier.

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