How to give a bath to a dog that hates baths

You are going to give your dog a bath, and you are excited because you know your dog (and you) will love it, because which dog doesn’t like bathing? Dogs love water, and of course they will enjoy a bath.

But, that is just what we thought we know. In reality, not all dog enjoys bath times. Some dogs even hate it. Some dog owners struggle with taking their dogs to baths because they are constantly fleeing away, and becoming super stressed. Obviously you cannot just leave your dog stink, can you? So what are the ways that you can try?

First, let’s talk briefly about why dogs dislike baths. We all know that dogs can swim, and they love swimming, so definitely it is not the water that they are afraid of.

However, when they swim, they have total control of their body and movement, while in a bath, you are the water-controller. This is the factor that makes them nervous and stressed because they cannot control the water, and the situation seems to be unpredictable and surprising to them. Therefore, it is the uncertainty of what is going to happen that makes them hate baths. Good news is that your dog will not hate this forever if you know that way to change it.

Get to know the bathing area and make positive associations

One of the most important thing is to have your dog get used to the bathing area. In order for your dog to feel at ease in the bathroom, take time to introduce him to the area and make positive associations with it. There are few ways that you can create positive feelings for your dog, one of which is to feed your dog in the bathing area.

Instead of feeding the meals in the normal feeding area, you can try switching to the bathing area so that whenever it comes to meals, your dog knows where to go and eventually becomes acquainted with the bathing area. After a while, your dog starts to have positive association with the place, and will be more comfortable being present in that area. In addition, you can give treats to your dog or toys to play in the bathing area to increase and enhance the positive association.

Don’t forget the cue word “bath”

Now your dog has got used to the bathing area, let’s get him used to your cue word every time you tell him that we are going to take a bath. Remember that dogs do not like surprises or uncertainties (which make him dislike baths in the first place)? This is how you can change it.

By associating this cue word “bath” with a treat, your dog will eventually learn that it is bath time, and bath time does no harm to him. There are many benefits for this practice. First, your dog is no longer surprised when it comes to bath time because now he understands your announcement, and he has time to get ready and mentally prepared.

Secondly, with a treat, your dog will also have a positive attitude toward bath time, which helps him relax and release the tension. Last but not least, you are also benefited because you do not need to chase him around for bath time anymore, which is stressful for both of you. Let your dog get used to the command, and lead him steadily instead of chasing.

Preparing for bath time well and avoid surprises during bath time

There are a few ways you can do to prepare for your dog’s bath time. One way is to take him for a walk. This will help your dog to release any piled up energy, and be more comfortable and obedient during bath time.

The water for bathing is also important, so it should be properly prepared. You should use warm water instead of cold water because warm water not only makes your dog more comfortable but also decreases the chance of getting panic. Thus, take time to prepare the water in advance to make sure it is not too hot or cold, but at a comfortably warm level.

During the bath time, try spray a bit of water on your dog’s feet for him to get used to the water slowly. You can use a pitcher to scoop up some water and pour slowly on your dog. It is highly recommended that you use a washcloth to wipe the facial area, as opposed to spraying or pouring water directly on his face.

This is an extremely sensitive area, so a stream of water may cause stress or surprise for your little friend, which no one wants. Thus, in the case that your dog initially dislikes bathing, pay close attention to this stage because you may not want to surprise him with water.

So, with all these tips, we believe that you can make your dog feel more comfortable during bath time, and this time to both of you would be more tolerable and more enjoyable.

Fran Berger

My name is Fran G. Berger Like any dog owner, I love dogs as much as you do. Having a furry friend aside is one of the most fascinating things in life. Unlike other pets, dogs are full of energy, and they turn all the activities they get to do with us into fun times, including bathing. Bathing your dog is not only an essential task to maintain your dog's hygiene, but also a chance for both of you to enjoy your time, and most importantly to have fun together.