The fine hair behind a collie's ears becomes matted easily. The shedding undercoat gets trapped between the ear and the skull, tangling in the permanent outer coat. Prevent mats from developing by grooming frequently. Feel for mats daily and deal with them while they are small.
Use your fingers to separate the mat as much as possible. Start at the sides of the mat, working toward the center, rather than the top or bottom, and loosen the hair as much as possible.
Comb the hair behind the ears with a fine-tooth comb, again working from either side of the mat toward the middle.
Remove any remaining mat with a mat breaker. Do not use scissors. The fine hair provides little protection for the delicate skin behind the ears. The mat breaker resembles a comb but has sharp blades that slice through any remaining mat. Use the comb when you are done to remove hairs loosened by the mat breaker.
Bathe your dog and apply a rich conditioner once the mats are gone. Bathing a dog with mats will tighten the knots, making them more difficult to remove. Once you get a mat out, however, a good bath will help remove loose hairs that encourage tangles to develop.
Comb your pup thoroughly, paying particular attention to the area behind the ears, after his bath.
- "Dog Care: 101 Essential Tips"; Dr Bruce Fogle DVM, MRCVS