Bath time is not most dogs’ favourite activity; however, it may be necessary to keep them clean and fresh! Some dogs love water and others find it an unpleasant experience, so the key to successful bathing lies in teaching them association of the routine with good things and appreciating quality time with their owner.
As with most pet activities, keeping calm to avoid frightening you dog and following bathing with rewards will go a long way to ensuring that your dog will learn to enjoy and not fear such activities. Anything from a new toy to treats, dinner or play time will encourage your dog’s acceptance and compliance with bath time. This is best done throughout the process of bathing, and not just at the end. Why not start with small food treats when they successfully enter the bathtub.
Stay calm throughout the bathing procedure because your dog will pick up on any signs of agitation or nervousness from you, and these can cause them to worry too. Keep talking to your pet throughout using a gentle and reassuring voice, praising their good behaviour where possible.
Before you begin, make sure the bath is a lukewarm to warm temperature and that you have a suitable dog shampoo for your pet; human shampoos are too harsh for their fur and can dry out dogs’ skin by removing the natural oils. Dog’s skin generally has a neutral pH so dog shampoos are generally neutral on pH in order to maintain this; human skin, however, is generally acidic and so most human shampoos are acid. Brushing their coat prior to bathing is a good idea to remove any loose hair and help reduce any tangles, making them easier to comb out later.
To help the shampoo spread evenly through your dog’s coat, first wet the coat and dilute the shampoo. When massaging the shampoo into their fur, be careful to do this slowly and gently to make your dog feel at ease but also to avoid causing them any discomfort, and do your best to avoid getting any in your dog’s eyes, ears or mouth – it’s just as horrible for them as it is for us! Thoroughly rinse through their fur afterwards to prevent any shampoo residue which could lead to skin irritations.
After the actual washing process is over it just remains to dry your dog thoroughly using a towel. The best way to do this is to place them on one towel and take a second towel and place it over their back and gently but firmly rub their fur in circular motions, and be sure not to miss little places such as their ears.
If you follow these steps bath time can actually be a fun experience for you both which results in one clean and lovely smelling dog – even better for all those snuggles!