Does your dog hate bathing? You're not alone. My dog likes to swim and play with water pipes, but what about letting her enter the bathtub? The struggle is real.
Many dogs find bathing scary, but there are steps you can take to relieve the stress on you and your dog during the bathing process.
How to make your dog bath more easily
Before we get into the prompt, I want to clarify one thing-fear is hard to manage. I will not lie and promise that these tips will immediately make your dog jump for joy every time the bath cream rolls around. Nothing is simpler than this, and a lot depends on how much your dog is afraid of bathing in the first place.
An old dog who has been afraid of taking a bath for years has a harder time keeping calm than a puppy who has not had years of anxiety to overcome.
But what they have in common is that they will make your dog less stressed, and over time you will start to see how your dog reacts to the bath differently.
Here is how to make your dog bath more easily.
Prepare your supplies in advance
When it comes to making baths easier for your dog, the most important thing to remember is to be prepared. This includes preparing shampoo, towels, cups for rinsing, and any toys or snacks you might use.
If your dog is already nervous in the bathtub, if you leave them alone in that terrible place and you go to get the towel you forgot, they will become more nervous.
Fill the bathtub before your dog enters
Another way to reduce stress on dogs is to fill the bathtub with warm water before they enter the bathtub. The sound of running water may sound ordinary to us, but for dogs who hate bath time, this noise (and all splashing) can cause a lot of extra stress.
Make sure your bathtub is non-slip
Does your dog slip when in the bathtub? If so, you will want to make sure to create a non-slip surface for them. Losing a foothold in the bathtub is terrible, and this fear is the same for dogs. Therefore, before bathing the dog, make sure that the bottom of the bathtub is non-slip.
If you don't have a slip-proof mat (or any non-slip material on the bathtub floor), you can spread a thick towel for your dog to stand.
Rinse with a cup (if your dog is afraid of taps)
If your dog doesn't like bathing, then they won't like being rinsed off by a faucet or shower. They are quite noisy, and all the extra water splashing around can make the dog nervous.
I prefer to use a cup for rinsing because it is quiet and not so impressive. While preventing water from entering your dog's eyes and ears, the cup also gives you better control.
Be gentle when washing your dog's face
When making your dog feel comfortable in the bathtub, remember to protect their eyes, nose, and ears. If your dog is already stressed, getting water in their eyes or ears will only make them more nervous. Using a towel will give you better control and easier to prevent water from splashing into their eyes, nose and ears.
Use toys or snacks in the bathtub
One of my favorite techniques for reducing stress during the bath is the use of toys and/or snacks. Depending on your dog's level of fear, you may need to use high-value snacks to distract them.
My favorite distraction technique is the peanut butter technique, but if you don’t want to smear peanut butter in the bathtub (understandably), you can simply hand out regular dog food or use floating toys like Max Glow Ball during the bath.
Exercise your dog beforehand
If your dog hates bath time, one way you can help is to exercise them beforehand. Exercising alone won't make your dog suddenly like bathing, but it can calm people down. Any exercise, whether mental or physical, can help them consume some extra energy.
Will it burn enough energy to prevent them from going crazy and becoming anxious after taking a bath? Probably not-I'm not sure if this reaction will go away. But giving your dog a good exercise before bathing can make it easier for both of you.
If your dog is really nervous, take a bath with your dog
If your dog is afraid to take a bath, you can go in with them to help relieve their stress. When Laika was young, she was very afraid of taking a bath, and one of the most helpful things was to soak in the bathtub with her. During the whole process, I put on a swimsuit and sat next to her.
This didn't make her jump for joy every time the shower cream rolled around, but when it came to her nervousness, it did make a noticeable difference. She no longer tried to escape, no longer complained, every time after taking a shower, she began to relax more and more.
If you feel stressed, please find a helper
If bathing your dog makes you feel stressful, your stress is likely to affect your dog. You can make yourself (and your dog) easier by asking friends or family for help. They can keep you calm in the bath and vice versa.