Something which helps, and works well with really matted coats. Bathe first. Bathe and rinse really well, then apply a leave-in type conditioner and rinse it through the coat. Don't rinse it out! ;-D This works best with a recirculating bathing system. Blot the wet coat, then HV to push the matts away from the skin. Put the dog on the table wet. Then shave, with whatever you can get through the coat. A little scary, I know. You may still have some matting to deal with after the dog is dry, but you should find that you are actually able to finish the dog with a blade, or even a guard, that is two or three steps longer than what you used to remove the coat originally. Works really well on doodles, poodles, and those rotten thick cocker coats. BTW, I seldom rough in a dog before bathing anymore, unless it has be so neglected for so long that drying the accumulated rug will take longer than the inital shavedown.