5 Common Mistakes That Make Dogs Hate Baths
We have a furry new addition to our family, a
Lulu used to be a handful at bath time. She would run, hide and wail, leaving me with a house that smelled of wet dog. For examples of similar doggie drama, search “dogs who hate bath time” on YouTube.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to introduce good habits — even if your dog hates baths. Professional dog trainer
1. Stressing the dog out before you even reach the tub
Don’t rush through bath time. Dogs respond to your energy and work to please you, so be patient and focus on creating a positive experience. Start with brushing your dog’s coat regularly. Include plenty of praise — as well as treats — for good behavior. Gradually build toward milestones such as entering the bathroom and actually stepping inside the tub. It may take time, but Bardouille says your dog eventually will understand that baths can be a comfortable, happy and rewarding experience.
2. Avoiding dental care
Brushing a squirming dog’s teeth can be a pain. That’s why so many people skip
“We’re conditioning good behavior,” he says. “Let the dog follow it with his nose, introducing that sensory factor. Then rub it on his lip and actually put it in his mouth. Make the dog want to show interest rather than pulling away. When that happens, they get the reward, which is the toothpaste. Make that behavior a conditioned thing where you do it every morning. Turn that into your morning routine so the dog understands that this is something they do before they get their food or after their morning walk. Before you know it, your dog will be sitting and doing obedience.”
3. Neglecting touch-ups between baths
Once dogs return from their daily walk, Bardouille recommends that you wipe paws as well as their private areas with baby wipes or an old washcloth. These regular touch-ups keep the funk at bay between baths and help dogs grow more accustomed to regular grooming.
“French Bulldogs or
Also, don’t forget to wipe those wrinkles and eye areas, which can accumulate lots of gunk.
4. Freaking out during nail trims
“You have to learn how far to go with your dogs,” Bardouille says. “Some dogs’ quicks (nail tips) are a little bit longer. Look at the base underneath the dog’s foot. Even on a dark nail, you can see the excess nail where it kind of hooks.”
Even with great care, accidents do happen. During a routine nail trim, you may go a little too far and cut the dog’s quick, causing bleeding. Bardouille says don’t panic. Keep a container of styptic powder in your
5. Forgetting that repetition is key
Work on developing good habits, including regular brushing, so that the dog is conditioned to enjoy this bonding time. Before you know it, Bardouille says your dog will be sitting still during bath time.
I’m certainly putting his advice into practice. After that first drama-free bath, my nephew rewarded Louie with treats and plenty of cuddle time to celebrate a job well done. We’re off to a good start.
About the author: Morieka Johnson lives in metro Atlanta with her husband, two stepdaughters and Louie, their high-energy puppy. She enjoys writing about dog health, toys, and training. Morieka shares more of their exploits on
Thumbnail: Photography by Ashleigh Wells Photography/Thinkstock.
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