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Hi everyone,

I have stumbled across a dog that is in much need of a good home and am looking for some opinions and feedback.  This dog was adopted only a month ago by an older couple that lives in a relatively isolated area.  They believed they were getting a more docile, less active dog like their previous BC and have at least recognized that they cannot give this dog the activity and attention that it deserves. 

The area I'm needing help in is of the current condition of the dog.  I have not visited the dog yet but the pics and story they are sharing indicate the previous owner sheared the dog before selling him.  He is a 4 year old who appears to be all BC as they were told.  I was curious as to the long term effects of the shearing of the dog's coat.  In the pictures it is obvious, besides being extremely filthy, that his coat is uneven and appears to be in a heavy shedding, unbrushed condition.  They said they have never tried to brush him or performed any other kind of hygienic activities.  I have done a little research and have heard contradictory opinions.  Some say the coat could be damaged forever and that it will never return as nicely as it was originally.  Others say that it should have no effect on the dog or it's coat and that it is performed regularly by some.  Please see attached pics.

I am interested in hearing from those who really know about this and can offer real advice and opinions.  I'd appreciate this other than just speculation. 

I, the eternal optimist, sense he has lots of potential and I see a strong spirit and character in him.  I would like to remove him from his current environment and show him a different, hopefully more fulfilling life.  I also want to be realistic and educated before taking on a cause that may be beyond my capabilities. 

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

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The dog's coat is incredibly unlikely to be damaged forever.  If it's just in need of being brushed to get out dead coat, do that, but I clip one of my longer haired, double coated dogs down about once a year, and she's yet to suffer ill consequences.  Cases where it is an issue tends to come from repeated clipping, in dogs who are older or have health issues.  It's hair.  It grows back.  More slowly than with a human, yes, because of the shed cycle, but it's still *just fur*.

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^^^. This. I 'shaved' 2 of my 3 border collies every summer for years, always leaving about 1/2 inch of fur on them. It always grew back the same texture & length as it was before shaving. One dog's fur was silky, the other dog's fur was more coarse. Both were spayed. One had been well treated before she became my dog, the other had been pretty much skin, bones, and fly strikes before a rescue took her. My 3rd bc at the time didn't seem to suffer from the heat the way the girls did, so he never got clipped.

Both girls were visibly cooler and more comfortable once trimmed. I'd do it again in a heartbeat for my current bc, but he doesn't seem to mind the heat as much as the girls did.

Your boy (potentially) looks to be very matted. The little tufts sticking up all over him are likely matted fur. If I were going to take him, I'd get him clipped to about 1/2 in. It's enough fur to protect him from sunburn, and it should grow back just fine. I'd bet a box of Milkbones that the noticeably uneven texture of his coat is from those matts, and not from being clipped. If he were being adopted by me, I'd get him clipped and not bother with trying to comb or brush out all those matts. 

I wish now that I'd taken pix of the girls before they were clipped, then right after and then about 3 months later. Nice side benefit ~ So Much Less Fur To Sweep/Vacuum up.

Please let us know how it goes with this guy.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Oh.  Pictures might help.

 

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Clipped - and a hack job at that (she was cooler, and that's all I care about - well that and that she tends to get hot spots when she swims and is fully coated in summer, because of how long it takes to dry)

 

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6 months later.

She's 6, spayed, I do this about once a year, and that picture is her last trial photo (April).  No issues or regrets.

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Thanks for the feedback and advice.

I was hoping I would hear that his coat is more just a cosmetic condition and nothing more serious.  Based on what the two of you are saying it's more or less like the dogs getting haircuts.  As evidenced by your pics, your little girl is in full coat within a relatively quick period of time. 

The people that have him said they keep him outside all the time and that he sleeps in the barn.  That would explain his rather 'stray dog' look.  I would be bringing him indoors at least at night  They said his previous owners kept him indoors.  That alone would have a lot to do with how his coat rebounds from it's current condition.   

Love the action pics of your dog.  The photographer does a great job of capturing her.:)

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PS ~ If he was kept outside all the time, the lighter areas of his fur could simply be sun bleaching. And it sounds like he could use more attention/companionship in general.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I just researched 'post-surgical alopecia', (well, I found one post from 2009 by Patty Khuly, veterinarian) and found that it is indeed a thing. From the post by Dr. Khuly, the arctic breeds seem to suffer most from this alopecia. She did some research of her own and found that dosing w/melatonin could reverse the fur loss.

I'd post the link, but the BC boards won't let me copy/paste.  Hope this is helpful.

Ruth & Gibbs

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What made you research post-surgical alopecia to begin with?  There has been no indication that surgery was performed other than he is listed as being neutered.  I hadn't mentioned it though.

I am familiar with sun bleaching in this breed and thought, like you, that could be present.  That would not be of much concern to me. 

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Disregard that last question.  I understand:  You were tying the shearing done to him with shaving done for surgery.

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DSG, yes. I typed in 'fur loss after clipping in dogs' or something very similar, and that is the first thing that popped up. I read that article, (post surgical alopecia) and didn't pursue any other research.

Ya just never know what you'll learn.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I agree that the tufts look like undercoat needing to be bladed out.  I would try grooming him myself, then see if he even needs to be shaved down.  Undercoat can often rake out pretty readily and painlessly.  He looks like a nice guy - keep us posted on what you decide, and good luck!

 

Amy

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Looks to me like a dog whose coat has been very neglected but not destroyed. I would try brushing out all that dead fur, but if the coat is severely matted I would do as urge to herd suggested, and have him clipped down a bit and start over. Chances are very good that with time, a good diet, being kept indoors out of the sun and regular brushing you will end up with a dog who has a beautiful coat. I would go for it in any case. If you like the dog, even if the coat were permanently damaged (which I very highly doubt) it would not really be important.

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Very handsome dog!

Another voice to say that the coat issue is minor. A good brushing - I am in agreement with amc regarding raking out to get rid of the tufts and dead fur, continued brushing, a good shampoo and conditioner and a good diet. The coat should turn around within a few months.

And I am with CptJack in that it is 'just fur'. Who cares what the coat looks like (as long as it is well cared for) if the dog is healthy and has personality and the smarts to please you?

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Thanks for the opinions.

I have come to the conclusion that he is just suffering from neglect in brushing and bathing, a good, healthy diet, being around people that care for him and lots of lovin'! 

As I mentioned, he with an older couple that live on a farm in an isolated area.  Why they decided to get him probably doesn't matter.  The important thing is they recognized that they were not able to give him a life he deserves.  They gave away alot of important indicators:  He wants to come into the house with them, but they don't let him.  He wants a lot of interaction.  He is well-behaved when given direction.  He has never ran away though he is given full freedom.  All of these things tell me that he is just in need of a pack leader for direction.  He is doing the best he can with the intelligence he has being under utilized in an atmosphere that doesn't stimulate him.  Some of his fur's condition can be also from stress, just like people.  I know people that have turned grey and then lost the grey after eliminating whatever stressor was in their lives. 

I have all the blades and brushes and typically use Baby shampoo or Aveda.  What do you guys recommend for shampoo?  Is there a name brand that can be found throughout the country that could be better than what I have used?  I know Aveda has made my Border Collie and Golden Retriever look absolutely beautiful but realize it may not be the best for a dog.

I agree that he looks like a nice guy and that he just needs a new opportunity.  I was not able to go see him today or yesterday as I came down with something.  I will probably go either tomorrow or Thursday and can let you guys know how it turns out. 

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I agree, he just looks like he needs a good brushing.

I’ve heard all the horror stories about a dog’s coat never coming back right, but all the ones I’ve seen grew back just fine, including one of my own-the next year he looked exactly like he had before being shaved.

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Using human shampoo on a dog is not as bad as some folks make it sound. Some dogs' coats do really well on a human shampoo. I use dog shampoos but human conditioners on my dogs. My favorite all-around dog shampoo is this one

But I and all the dog people I know have found that you just need to experiment to find out what works the best for your dog's coat. 

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I picked him up (rescued) yesterday, liberating him from the chain that held him anchored to a barn.  He had no house or bed or anything of comfort.  The only shelter from the elements he had was to walk behind a wall.  It was hard to see such a beautiful animal being treated this way. 

His owners were a very simple, elderly farm couple that appeared to unawares as to the discomfort he was in.  I felt a little sorry for them as I don't think they knew better.  They are in their late 80's and, as I said, at least recognized that he deserved a better life.  I kept my opinions to myself and tried to ascertain as much as I could about the dog's history/life.  They knew a little, at least what they were told as they've only owned him for a month or two.  It seems it was a 12 year old that took the shears to his coat.  Perhaps there wasn't much parenting happening in that family.   Anyway, I believe a dog lives in the present and his new life starts from this point forward.

He greeted me quietly and sweetly, immediately giving me nose nuzzles to have me give him pets.  He also sat respectfully while I did this and only jumped up a couple times after I stopped.  The owners said the 12 year old taught him to jump up to his chest.  He only did it while I was there and has not tried to do it again since.  He also went directly to my truck showing great interest exploring it's perimeter and trying to get a scent of what was inside.  I brought my past BC's bed with and had it in the back seat floor area.  I think he may have detected it early.  His interest in the truck never waned and as soon as I opened the door he jumped in and laid down on the bed and never left that spot all the way except for a rest stop break.  He was as good as gold the whole trip. 

Once home, I took some pics of his horrible condition:  His fur was matted with everything from burrs to sticks and hair.  He was as filthy as any stray I've seen and his coat looked like it would come out in handfuls.  He was a hard subject to shoot as he did a lot of pacing (which has now ended) unaware and unsure of what was going on.  I did managed to shoot a couple good ones that I have attached.  I cut huge chunks out of his coat, brushed him minimally as he would allow and eventually tried to give him a bath.  He was protective of his belly and rear flank areas, gently mouthing my hand when I tried to attend to these areas.  I could only a manage giving him an abbreviated bath.  It was more of a hosing down some shampooing.  He lessened his defensiveness as time went by but they never went away and I still haven't addressed all his areas.  I will respect his timeline and do more as confidence and bonding grows.  I will document his progress as his coat returns.  I suspect he may be a tri-colored red and white as I see many hues in his coat.  It's hard to determine with all his sun bleaching what will stay and what will go but I think there could be some dark, kidney colors along with more coppery, orange hues. 

He slept with me on my bed the entire night and was as calm as my 14 year old BC was.  He really likes to push his boy against me and has no trouble giving endless kisses.  He has been polite with his new inside life and hasn't tried to surf counters or jump on furniture.  He also doesn't beg or stare at me while I eat.  It all looks great so far.  I'll keep you all posted!

Oh, by the way.  I decided to name him "Roan".  It's Scottish and Irish in descent and is another word for the color red.  I think it will fit him well.

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Oh my goodness, he already looks happier!

I wonder if he did once have a nice home, he sounds polite and grateful. It's so lovely to hear that he got to snuggle up to you to sleep last night after living out in the elements on his own, I reckon he's going to love you more than you've ever been loved before.

I can't wait for the next instalment and to see how his coat turns out.

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I'm firmly convinced that dogs know when they've been rescued and it sure sounds like he knows he's going to have a better life with you. He reminds me very much of my current (presumed) purebred, who came to me after having been picked up as a stray. Although he adapted and learned to live in the house with me very quickly (he was certified as a therapy dog just 6 months after adoption) it took a full 9 months until he'd stopped offering new, more confident behaviors and I really knew exactly who he was.

I'll be very interested to see how Roan's coat turns out too. Bodhi's was very faded when he came to me, similar to what I'm seeing in your pictures. When he regained his health his coat came in a rich chocolate brown. Truly striking. Roan's cheeks do look like he might be a red tri.

Great name, BTW.

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Thanks for this info. What a lovely dog he is from your description, and how lucky he is that you found him! I predict that he will be a beautiful, fine dog for you and you will form a good bond with him. Good for you, good for Roan. Nice name. Keep the updates coming, as I want to see his coat beautify.

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Love the name Roan,, and he does look much happier.  His behaviour may change in a few weeks once the honeymoon period ends, but in the meantime he sounds like a wonderful dog.  Congratulations and thank you for rescuing him.

I second D'Elle ^^^^ keep the updates coming! I am so interested to see the changes in his coat over time.

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He is,  and is going to be, more and more beautiful every day. Things come together for a reason. I am sure you both will be very happy. Thanks for rescuing him.

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It's been one week since I brought Roan to his new home so I thought I would give an update.

In general, he has been doing wonderfully.  He is following the new rules that come along with being my buddy.  This includes just basic commands such as sit, lay down, stay, heel, etc.  He also is doing well with general house rules and seems to be respectful of my pack leadership.  We are continuing to do daily brushings which are still a slow process on his rear quarters, tail and swimsuit areas. :D  I don't think I pointed this out before but his ears were so burred down that he couldn't raise them.  It was like they were Velcro'ed to his head.  Poor thing.  Progress is being made though and he has been more resigned to the routine each day.  Another bath will be coming in the next day or two as he still has well ground-in dirt.  I have eliminated baby shampoo as it leaves his coat too dry.  This round will be an Aveda product.  I'm hoping to get some of his dingier colors cleaned and restored to their brilliance.

I have also done much socializing with him including two trips to a wonderful, off-leash semi-rural dog park near me.  It has a 5 acre parcel that is completely fenced with a 6 ft. high chain link fence.  It's a great place to monitor your dog to see how he does on his own and with a wide variety of breeds, temperaments, etc.  He did outstanding.  He was neither too shy or too aggressive.  He seemed comfortable in his own skin approaching other dogs as well as being approached with head up, full smile, and tail in the air, wagging slowly.  He allowed others to sniff him and he did the same without incident.  There were no fights over territory or balls.  He was just as friendly and curious about the people.  I'm thinking, based on what I've seen so far, he may be well suited as a therapy dog, visiting hospitals, nursing homes and the like.  Time will tell and I will keep all up to date.

Attached are some pics today of him feeling right at home on my bed.  (Or is it his bed now?).

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