Ahhh… Spring is in the air; and so is the time for your dog to go play in the mud. After all that fun, he’s going to need a bath. Let’s talk about how to help your dog, and you, get through that time with less hassle and stress for both of you.
Try to accustom the dog to the tub gradually. Put the dog in and out of the tub without bathing once or twice a week. At first just a minute or two and allow the dog to come out, at your command. Increase time and teach the dog to sit/stay and stand/stay while in the tub. Take the time to feel the dog from top to bottom, after the dog relaxes. Be sure to lift the feet, touch toes and toe nails, wipe out the ears, etc. Talk to the dog in a happy voice, tell him how wonderful he is and let him out. Praise again at that time.
Training should begin at a very early age and every attempt should be made to make it a pleasurable experience. The time to adjust the water is before the poor puppy is in the tub or sink. Use a washcloth to wipe down the face so that water doesn’t get into the eyes or nose of the puppy or dog. This will help him not to be afraid of the water. If your older dog hasn’t had training before, this method will work for him too.
Use a leash if you have to, but lead your dog to the water, offering good cheer and a treat along the way. Don’t lose your cool if your dog resists — if he already dislikes bathing, an association with your angry voice won’t help. Put him in the tub with as little drama as possible and get to work.
Please take into consideration that this is a stressful time for your pet. He worries when he is confined in a three-walled tub, if you are doing this at home, he is slipping and sliding around and in general you aren’t always pleased having to get soaked and he senses that, not to mentioned the backache that you usually get while climbing around on your hands and knees
Everyone knows how to bathe a dog, right? But even if you’re doing a good job already, I bet I can offer tips to make your work easier or last longer.
Get the right shampoo. Shampoo designed for people — even baby shampoo — has a different pH than what’s best for your dog. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a product that works best for your individual pet, and follow the directions
Brush your dog. Brushing before a bath helps the shampoo get into the coat and works out mats before they get set in by the water. Gently pick apart or cut out any mats before the bath, because adding water will make them impossible to remove.
Stock your station. It’s frustrating to start bathing a dog only to realize the shampoo or towels are on the other side of the room. Unless you enjoy playing tag with a soaking wet pup, get your supplies together before you bring in the dog.
Use the three-towel trick. Have one towel to put in the bottom of the tub to provide traction and prevent slipping. The second towel is the antishake towel — drape it over the wet dog (between washes or before rinsing) to prevent him from shaking and soaking you and the walls. The third towel is the drying towel. A big dog might need more than one drying towel.
Block the drain. Put a piece of steel wool in the drain to catch the dog hair and prevent it from plugging your drain.
Put in a nonslip surface. This can be just a towel in the bottom of the tub or sink — using the three-towel trick — or a nonskid rubber mat. Few things stress out a dog more than not being able to stand without slipping, and giving him something to sink his toes into will help ease his anxiety about baths.
Wet your dog completely, down to the skin. Start shampooing at the neck and work your way down his body to tail and toes. Putting a sudsy barrier at the base of the skull prevents any heinous hitchhikers — fleas and ticks — from running for the hills … er, ears. Keep the praise coming for your dog and keep your attitude upbeat.
When every inch of your dog has been sudsed up, open the drain to let the dirty water out — the steel wool will catch the hair and spare you a drain clog. Rinse, rinse and rinse some more, using clean water from the tap. Getting all the soap out and the coat and skin flushed with fresh water will keep your dog clean longer and minimizes flaking.
Here’s a simple trick to keep your pup from soaking you after his bath: Gently take hold of his muzzle with your thumb and forefinger. A dog starts to shake from the head back, and if he can’t rotate his head, he can’t rotate his body either. After you’ve towel-dried him the best you can, put him in a “shaking allowed” zone, and let him have at it.
See? That wasn’t so hard. If you’re feeling accomplished, maybe you should bathe the cat — or not.
For more information on how to train your dog, contact us at Sit, Stay, ’N Play. We are located at 1501 North 5th Street in Stroudsburg. 570.872.9748 or online at www.sitstaynplay.net Did we mention that a trained dog is a happy dog?