Giving your dog a bath can be a fun way to dole out plenty of pettings and treats and praises, or it can be a terrible form of torture for a poor unsuspecting pup. Unfortunately, very little you do will overcome your dog’s terror if they choose to make bath-time the latter. Some dogs just hate getting wet. Or bathtubs. And definitely a combination of the two. This means, when you realize your dog is afraid of a good old-fashioned bubble bath, you may need to adjust your winning strategy. Here are a couple tips that may help make bath-time less traumatizing for your good friend.
First, pick a good location. Sometimes it is easier to keep your dog confined to a small shower or bathtub arrangement to prevent them from panicking and injuring themselves or you. If that is the case, always keep a hand on them while they are being lathered up. This will not only keep them in the “wet spot” it will also prevent them from floundering around and potentially hurting themselves. If your dog, however, is more comfortable being able to run away from the spray a few steps at a time, try tethering them to a post, tree, or garage door outside. Then, you can use a gentle spray setting on your hose while they are calmed down by the pretense of having some freedom. Baths are often a mental thing that need just the right setting to help smooth your dog’s nerves.
Next, give them praise and treats consistently. The more positive reinforcement they receive, the more they will look back on their last bath as being a positive experience. Sure, the getting wet might be a major negative for them but having you and food by their side might outweigh that for them. It all depends on the dog, but you can bet on praises and treats at least helping to take the edge off nerves for every dog. As bad as showers are, you are still their absolute, number one favorite thing- no matter what your hands are currently doing with that towel.
Finally, if your dog truly cannot handle a shower, and you are worried you are making it worse or that they could potentially hurt themselves, you may need to pony up the big bucks and book them a day at the spa. Honestly, it really isn’t that expensive when you factor in peace of mind for you and your fur baby. Dog Groomers are professionals. They take care of water-shy dogs for a living and have definitely dealt with harder cases than your pup before. They know exactly what to do to make this experience better for you and your good boy or girl. Plus, your dog will come back way cleaner than you and your hose ever could’ve made happen.
In the end, it is important your dog get regular baths, but it is equally important you are in tune with what your dog needs. If bathing them appears to be making them more afraid, it may be time to look at other options. Luckily, there are a few.