Golden Retrievers are notorious for getting matts behind their ears, as well as under the arms and legs and around the “back end area”. Those big felt-like clumps of hair can be tricky to get out. Regular brushing and thinning of the hair behind the ears is a preventative measure.
Here are some pointers for removing mats at home:
First, NEVER try cutting the matted area off. You can almost guarantee you will cut your golden, as the mats pull the skin, which is probably rather painful, if not annoying for your dog.
Make sure the dog is in a comfortable position. Sit on the floor with the dogs head in your lap or any way you can maintain control of the head.
You can start by saturating the mat with a conditioning agent or using a slicker brush to brush out the smaller tangles around the matting.
As a precaution, if you can slide a wide tooth comb between the mat and the skin, this will help prevent cutting your dog. Another truck is to hold your fingers like scissors, as if you are about to cut off the mat with your fingers, as close to the skin as possible. Hold your fingers there and using some round nosed scissors, cut strips into the mat, perpendicular to the comb or fingers.
Take a metal comb and, starting at the bottom, comb out the mats. Combing downward, with the growth of the hair is much less painful on your furry friend.
Y0u can also purchase a mat splitter to remove the mats, which may take less time, but I find the comb and scissors works well enough. There are several varieties available at your local pet supply store.
It can take quite some time to remove the matting, be patient, and give your dog a break if needed.
Here is a video on using the mat splitter
Regular brushing and thinning the ears with thinning shears will help prevent matts from forming.