Many of us struggle with the standoff, that is, our pups bath time! Whether it’s “playing” hide-and-seek or tag-you’re-it, we wish our dogs would just accept the wash.
Change or new experiences can take time and repeated efforts. So, sit down, have a read, and find out how you can help your pooch begin to love bath time.
1. Drain your dog’s energy! Take them for a long walk, or play some games. A hot dog enjoys water more and an exhausted dog responds to training far better.
2. Hold your horses! If you intend to introduce your puppy to bath time or plan on teaching an older dog that baths aren’t all that bad, you may need to set aside about 45 minutes of your time. This creates a space free of urgency.
3. Slip & slide! Use a bath mat or lay the tub with a towel, dog’s do not enjoy slippery surfaces.
4. Goosfraba! Make bath time calm, fun and rewarding. Speak calmly and quietly. Take things slow by giving rewards for every step taken closer to the bath. Let them explore (remember no water yet) and experience the smells, sounds and touch of their environment; outside and inside the tub. Be patient, this section may take up to 15 minutes.
5. Toys galore! Bring toys to distract them. Whether that be a yummy chewy treat or the favoured squeaky toy. You may even choose to feed them their dinner in the bath, the first few times! This way they associate bath time with play and food.
6. Luke Skywalker, wait I mean… Keep water lukewarm.
7. Don’t go chasing waterfalls! Start the faucet with a drizzle, near them, rewarding inquisitive behaviour. Increase pressure slowly. No need to pour water on the head, as most dogs do not enjoy this. Use a damp cloth instead, as this is more effective. Plus, your pup gets to feel a soothing touch.
8. Shaken or stirred. Well done to you for making it through, don’t forget your own reward. Remember, stay calm and happy, and try to have fun with it! Keep persevering, nothing is achieved without a little hard-work.
- Your goal is to keep pup happy and comfortable
- Use high value incentives, like meat - to reward calm and quiet behaviour. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.
- Start while they’re young – if possible
- Brush pup before the bath
- Teach pup to associate the word ‘bath’ with going to the tub
- If pup is not responding to food/toys he is not happy, may need to take training a step back to where they were confident and successful
- Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see instant results, this training can be a long process
P.S. There is always an exception to the rule:
Written by Eleisha Dickson