.And they are gnarly in every sense of the word!
I'm beginning to trim the dogs' coats. The need a professional grooming, but I can't do it just yet (financially), so I'm trimming them back on my own. I started with Joey, because, poor baby, he has the heaviest coat of all including a magnificent undercoat that keeps him warm but also causes great problems with matting. The undercoat doesn't really tangle much, but close to the skin it is almost like an old fiber-filled pillow that has packed down over the years. He has grown out to enough length and volume that I can brush him and get all the undercoat smoothed out, but it takes daily brushing (not a problem) and usually takes me a minimum of an hour. I don't have that kind of time or energy. His fur seriously mats within a day, so it's a big problem. Yesterday I got enough of that undercoat brushed out and began shaving him down. I worked for a couple hours, and he is about half done. He looks better. Most of his body fur is about an inch long, and he loves it. I still have to work on his legs and head which are shorter, but not finished. I am taking today off, because it is too cold to work on him outside, and it is far too messy to do inside.
All the dogs have a different pattern of growth and tangles. As I said, Joey's undercoat mats down into a nice warm coat, but it comes out with a lot of elbow grease. Max has very silky fur with a light undercoat. His tangles very badly and close to the skin. It is very hard to brush him out because the tangles are like millions of little knots and no matter what approach, he hates it. He has a tender "scalp," so to speak. I have to take very small, gentle strokes with him, and frankly I wind up cutting most of the tangles out because he can't stand it when I try to brush them out. Like Joe, Max can be brushed out today and by tomorrow, he has tangles that can't be brushed out. He needs to have a much shorter coat to cut down on those impossible and painful knots.
Then there is Sammy. Sammy has a gorgeous, thick coat. His coat is the one that I love to sink my hands into and have a sensory experience. He looks twice his size because the fur is so full and luxurious, adding about three inches to each dimension of his body! Sammy doesn't have many mats close to the skin like Joey or Max. His fur tends to form dreadlocks! He's my personal Bob Marley! Most of his mats begin in the hair about an inch or more from the skin, then just winds around itself to form the dreadlocks! Here is a photo that sorta shows what I mean. Can you imagine what he would look like if his whole body were like that? LOL! Yep, I'd have to change his name to Bob.
The girls' coats are easier to deal with. Neither of them has tangles or mats that are very serious. I can go a week without brushing them, and usually find just one or two mats in their coats. Jazi's coat is soft and silky, so it surprises me that she doesn't tangle. Lola has a little wiriness to her coat, one of the signs of the Terrier that I believe is part of her heritage. It is just wiry enough that it doesn't wind around itself and her undercoat is lighter.
Anyway, I'll be dog grooming every day that the weather is conducive. It's probably going to take me, at the very least, another week to finish them up. gah. But they will feel better. Joey is prancing around, romping with the others, and obviously feels much better without the heaviness of the coat.
Here is a picture of a truly lazy day at my house. I had been curled up on the couch, watching a movie, when I realized that all of them were right there with me. I can't often move out of something like this to get the camera without them getting up to follow me. This day, however, they cooperated. Perhaps they were just too pooped from playing to care! Joey moved onto the blanket, probably to absorb the leftover body warmth in the blanket. Yeah, we were all just brimming with energy that day!
This picture makes me sleepy. Yawn. I'm going to take a nap.