Some dogs will jump in the bath, play with the water, lap at running water, and even sometimes not want to get out when bath time is over. However, many dogs fear water and if you are used to the sound of claws running across the floor after you start up the bath or shower, you just might have a dog who hates bath time. However, there are most definitely times your dog is going to need a bath, so making it fun for your pooch can make bathtime a breeze!
Before you Begin
Let’s talk about conditioning. No, we aren’t talking about moisturizing, we mean conditioning your dog to enjoy bath time. If your dog has a long-standing grudge against your bathtub, it might be best to go back to the basics. Begin by conditioning your dog to enjoy being in the bathroom without any expectations of being bathed.
You can do this by simply calling your dog into the bathroom, praising them, rewarding them with a treat, and releasing them. Once your dog seems to associate being in the bathroom with good things, try taking it up a notch by calling your dog to the bathroom and turning on the water. Reward your dog for coming to the bathroom, and then if they stay as the water runs, reward them again. The key is to move your dog slowly through the process until they’ve built a positive association with the bathroom and the bath time process.
During Bath Time
Before you fetch Fido’s rubber ducky, you want to make sure you’re prepared with all of the necessities. After all, there is nothing worse than realizing you forgot the shampoo after your pup is in the tub.
- Grab the Necessities – Make sure your dog’s shampoo and conditioner is within arm’s reach and that you’ve got plenty of towels. Spread a couple of towels on the floor to prevent you or your pup from slipping after the bath ends. Also, don’t forget any bathing extras like ear cleaner, your dog’s toothpaste, and even some nail clippers.
- Put Down a Non-Slip Mat – The sensation of a slippery tub surface underneath your dog’s paws can make a stressed dog even more nervous, so we recommend placing a non-slip bath mat or a towel on the floor of your bathtub. This will help their paws grip and prevent any slipping and sliding.
- Run the Water before Bringing Your Dog in – If your dog exhibits a lot of nervousness about bath time, consider preparing the bath before bringing them into the bathroom. The loud sound of water crashing into an empty tub, echoing off of bathroom walls could amplify their stress and make the situation even more difficult for them.
- Bring treats – Reward your dog anytime you observe that they are calm and relaxed in the tub. Treats can also serve as a distraction for the more nerve-wracking parts of bath time.
Post Bath Routine
Wet fur is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. This can lead to hot spots, dry skin, and skin infections. For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that your dog is completely dry after a bath. Doing so can be a challenge, but with towels and a blow dryer it can be done quickly and easily.
Once your pup’s coat is thoroughly rinsed out, allow your dog to shake off all that excess water. Next use a clean, absorbent towel and gently rub your dog all over to remove as much water as possible. Be sure to pay extra attention to areas where water tends to collect, like the ears, based of the tail, and between the toes.
Next, use a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting and hold the dryer several inches away from your dog’s body. Slowly move the dryer around, keeping it in constant motion so you don’t overheat any area. Once your dog is mostly dry, you can turn the heat up to medium and hold the dryer a bit closer to finish drying them off. Just be cautious and never put the blow dryer right up against your dog’s skin.
Don’t be surprised if your dog gets a case of the zoomies as you’re drying them off. They will probably want to run through the house rubbing their damp fur all over the rugs and furniture! No one is certain why zoomies happen or what they mean, but here are a few guesses:
- Stress relief: Baths tend to be stressful for pups. The frenetic movements involved in zoomies might be a way for them to relieve stress by releasing their pent-up energy.
- They don’t like smelling clean: Dogs put a lot of effort into smelling like their surroundings and probably don’t appreciate having the scents they’ve meticulously collected replaced with good smelling shampoo. The zoomies may be an attempt to escape the perfumed smell, while the accompanying rubbing and rolling might be an attempt to restore their previous scent.
- Pure joy: It’s also possible that dogs who get the zoomies are simply so overjoyed at being done with bathtime that frantic running and rolling around is the only way to release their feelings and fully express their joy.
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