This is a must read for many groomers!
Just a note for newer groomers on the drastic differences between a puppy's coat and that of a young adult life stage dog.
This is a 120 pound Doodle and Rough Collie Mix at 11 months of age. This was his very first visit to a groomer.
On the right you can see the puppy coat and on the left you can see the adult stage coat in this second photo.
This young dog has harsh short guard coat, long brillo coat and a mix of fine and dense undercoat: the full spectrum of coat texture and color.
Here you can see what I removed from this dog and what the coat over the entire body looked like (on the right side of the dog)- it looked dense, matted and clumpy & lackluster. I did this before the bath to demonstrate what the coat looked like upon arrival and after mechanical grooming via combing, brushing, rolling and finally finish carding with a Coat King. You can certainly bathe the dog first to remove bulk dead coat and make an easier effort for yourself, but since the hair was loose enough to strip out and not cause discomfort for the pup, I kept it intact for the sake of this educational photo.
The result was a much thinner, more deeply colored and much more harsh, shiny coat. I needed in the end to do NO clippering whatsoever after getting out all that was ready to go, leaving behind only coat in its growth and resting phases. This dog then came in in another 4 weeks so that I could roll out the coat again and get it even a little tighter. It the end, the dog was bathed, HV dried, and scissor trimmed long his underline and legs, and his head was clip comb & scissor styled.
I am sharing this as a reminder of what happens sometimes suddenly and usually drastically anywhere from 9 to 13 months of age and often causes the severe matting that results in a first time haircut being a smoothie. This can happen in between normal scheduled grooms, and even if the owners are doing at home grooming on some level.
This build up of dead coat also can happen obviously at any life stage of a dog and all of the dead loose hair results in matts and sometimes even symptomatic skin. Often just the removal of this dead coat and being thorough about it, can totally change the appearance of the dog that would otherwise look as if it needed to be stripped down and started over.
A reminder also to use a (dulled) stripping knife (for short coats), rake, or Coat King as a final touch to your finished groom (on nearly any dog) so that your job will be easier at the dog's next visit. These tools remove so much dead coat left in the skin when clippering removes length, but leaves the dead hair intact in the follicle.