Whether your dog avoids muck, rain and anything grubby at all costs or seems to take great pleasure in rolling in the most odious thing that they can find at every opportunity, the simple fact remains that no dog will live out their whole life without needing to have the occasional bath! Bathing a dog is one of those things that fills many owners with dread, as even at best, the whole procedure can be lengthy, messy and tiring, as well as potentially stressful!
Many dogs also find having a bath rather upsetting, and will fight you all the way, which makes the whole thing even worse! However, some dogs love being bathed and view it as a fabulous game, and while this doesn’t necessarily lead to less mess or physical exertion on your own part, ensuring that your dog is having a good time can take a lot of the stress out of it!
In this article, we will look at some ways in which you can make bath time fun for your dog, and encourage them to look forwards to it rather than dread it!
When we train our dogs, good advice is to make training fun, varied and engaging for the dog, turning it into a game that your dog is keen and enthusiastic about learning. Bath time should be viewed in the same way; plan your dog’s bath as a treat, game and playtime, which also gives you the chance to clean them up, rather than as a chore or something to dread.
Your positive mind-set will soon rub off onto your dog!
If the water in the bath is too hot or too cold, your dog is not going to like it, and it will put them off getting into the bath in the future! Don’t take your dog to the bath until the temperature is perfect for them, and particularly, ensure that it is never too hot, putting the cold water in first.
Don’t forget that the rinse water must also be the right temperature for your dog, and so check this carefully and ensure that the temperature is constant before you use the shower hose to rinse off your dog after they are clean.
Drying your dog off and getting them warm and comfortable after their bath is also important, to ensure that the whole process is a happy one for them.
Pick the right type of shampoo or soap to use for your dog, ensuring that it is one that will not sting if they get it into their eyes, and that it is not too harsh for their skin and coat. A nourishing, moisturising shampoo is best. Filling the tub with bubbles is a great way to make bathing fun, assuming that you introduce your dog to the bubbles properly and allow them to see the bubbles as a game and something fun to wade about in, and not something new and alien that scares them!
You can encourage your dog to take an interest in the bubbles too by using a wand to blow bubbles for your dog to snap at!
The depth of the water in the bath should not be so deep that your dog cannot reach the bottom of the tub, and a water level that comes up to the bottom of your dog’s belly is ideal. This allows them to keep their head above the waterline without any problems, and ensures that they will not feel unsafe or insecure in the bath.
Use a non-slip mat on the floor of the bath too, as if your dog does not feel that they can balance and stand up comfortably, this can lead to panic.
Bath time isn’t bath time without lots of fun toys! Throw a selection of toys into the bath, including those that float and sink, to encourage your dog to get in there and investigate! Get involved in interactive play with your dog in the bath, holding their attention with toys while you soap them up and work on their dirty areas!
Treats are a bath time essential, and can be used to persuade a reluctant dog to dive right in! You should keep a reasonable amount of treats to hand and ration them out throughout the bath, using them to encourage compliance or regain your dog’s interest if they start to get bored or fed up.
Also, ensure that your demeanour and tone of voice remain upbeat and reassuring for your dog, as well as instilling in them a sense of safety and happiness, so that the whole experience of being bathed is something that they come to look forward to, and view as a good thing and not something to be dreaded!