Some dogs love water and will jump in a pool, a pond, a lake or even swim at the beach. We call them “Water Dogs”. Some dogs detest water and don’t even want to get their paws wet while walking on the damp grass.  Even if dogs are water lovers, sometimes they want to swim or get wet on their own terms and not in the bathtub. Most dogs don’t initially like baths even if they like running in the sprinklers. Why is it that water dogs don’t like baths?

It’s not always that they don’t like the water in the bath, it’s typically that they don’t like everything else – the shower, the tub, the shampoo, the odd smells, the loud noise, being in a strange place – these are more likely the reasons they don’t want to have a bath. Dogs don’t typically spend a lot of time in the bathroom, so it’s not surprising that the whole bath thing appears scary to your dog if they didn’t grow up having regular baths. Even if they did, there are just some dogs that never take a liking to getting a bath, but they should behave even if they aren’t completely enjoying themselves.

Here are some hints to help your current dog get accustomed to bathing if he doesn’t like it or to give your dog a bath for the first time. These are things that we do at Integrity K9 Services so that when we deliver your Personal Protection dog to you, he or she is already a willing accomplice to getting cleaned up on a regular basis.

  • Where is a good place to bathe your dog? When I was growing up, my mom would hook the garden hose up to the laundry room sink and run the hose out to the back yard where we would give the dogs baths on the lawn one after another. They enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine and the warm water coming out of the hose. This only works when the weather is warm, of course.
  • In your house you probably have a few options. Some houses have pet washing areas in the laundry room equipped with shower hoses for easy washing. You can also use a shower if it has a removable hose shower head. These work great. You can get in with the dog, close the shower door and have a nice cozy place to keep warm and keep the water contained when the dog shakes! Another option is the bathtub. It is helpful if there is a shower hose on the tub, otherwise, you will need a small bucket to pour water over the dog to suds him up and wash him off.
  • Before you attempt to wash your dog, turn your bathroom and especially the shower or bathtub area of it into a treasure trove for your canine. You can put dog toys or treats in the shower or tub and entice them into it when there’s NOT water in it. Do this for several days before you initiate a bath. That way they become comfortable with getting into the tub or shower enclosure in a non-threatening way. Let your dog enjoy the treat in the tub or shower area while petting him and praising him.
  • Brush your dog’s fur before you shampoo him. This will make the shampoo reach deeper into the fur and clean more effectively.
  • Make sure you have shampoo specially formulated for dogs. Dogs have fur and we have hair and our shampoos are not designed for them. They need a balanced pH shampoo that’s right for their skin not ours. Our shampoo can cause excess shedding and skin problems which could actually lead to a dislike of baths. (Select a shampoo that does not have sodium lauryl sulphate or SLS. As this has bad side-effects)
  • A dog’s hearing is many times stronger than a human’s. In order to not stress the dog out when you’re filling the tub, have your dog come into the bathroom after it’s filled. Or have your dog come into the bathroom when you’re filling the tub for you number of times before you attempt to give him a bath. You can give your dog some treats when you’re filling the tub – tell him/her good job!!! Then after you get into the tub, hand out some more treats.
  • When you’re ready to give your dog his bath, fill the tub, or the shower hose water a nice warm temperature, and make sure it’s not too hot. You don’t want to make it uncomfortable because a bath is a good way for your dog to relieve stress if he is enjoying it. Water that is too hot or too cold can ruin the experience for the dog.
  • Be careful not to get any water in their ears as that will make the experience less enjoyable for them and also is a potential cause for ear infections. Washing their face and ears with a wash cloth is a good idea, especially at first while they’re still acclimating to the idea of enjoying their bath time.
  • Be sure to have nice fluffy towels ready to dry your dog off with when you’re finished. Give your dog good rubs and lots of attention so he thinks he’s being rewarded while you’re finishing off the bath or shower experience. Shower him with praise and bathe him in adulation and your dog will be one step closer to enjoying bath time.

What if you want to take your personal protection dog to the groomers? This should not be a problem because we have groomed our dogs with professional groomers as well as giving them baths ourselves. They will be as well behaved at the groomers as they are in your home. If you do it yourself, don’t be afraid to get a little wet and enjoy the time with your dog. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your dog will be.