Because of the Golden’s coat, you _must_ regularly groom your dog. Such grooming will also help reduce the amount of overall shedding and prevent painful mats from occurring. You should be sure to start grooming in puppyhood even when it’s not strictly necessary so that he quickly learns to enjoy the process and not to put up a fuss. If you groom regularly, about once a week or two, the whole procedure will take about 1/2 hour. Brush a little daily while your dog is shedding and that will help control the amount shedded. Also if your Golden picks up burrs and other nasties while outside, take a few moments right away after you return to comb them out. Start with a thorough brushing. Use a pin brush on the featherings, chest, ears, and tail. Use a slicker on the rest of the body. After brushing, you can use a comb to remove more loose coat. Use this opportunity to check for fleas, ticks, and incipient skin problems. Golden’s seem to be especially prone to hot spots. Inspect and clean ears at this time too, and trim your dog’s nails. If you plan to bathe your Golden, brush him thoroughly first: wet tangles only become tighter and painful. Always use a shampoo formulated for dogs since shampoos for humans will dry the skin out. Golden’s are double coated breeds and should not be bathed often to avoid losing the undercoat. In many cases, you can simply wash the legs and undersides if they are dirty, wait for the dirt to dry and brush it out, or (after brushing) rinse the dog off with plain water and no shampoo. A properly textured and maintained coat should clean up easily. Golden’s with the proper coat texture should not have problems with matting if they are regularly groomed. However, a coat that is softer and silkier than the desired standard will mat easily: some owners have reported the overnight appearance of mats. Smaller mats may be picked out with a metal comb, if the dog is patient enough. Larger mats will need to be removed. Don’t use scissors as it is too easy to injure the dog if he moves at the wrong time. Commercially available are mat breakers (check the mail order catalogs) which can safely cut through mats and make them easy to remove. Places to look for mats include behind the ear, along the feathering, especially in the rear, and the tail. For dogs with persistent problems, you may need to brush the problem areas more frequently, or even trim them to some extent. It may help to find a groomer you like and trust and ask them for advice. Since mats grow larger, and tighten the trapped fur, they are eventually painful to your dog. They also serve as an excellent area for fleas and skin irritations to start, so keeping your dog mat-free is important. Tips: Using a flea comb is a good way to check for fleas on your dog, remove undercoats, keep tabs on the skin’s condition and minimize mats, all in one! If you get your puppy from a breeder, ask the breeder to demonstrate grooming techniques (most good ones will insist on doing so anyway).