How to bathe an aggressive dog

Dog bathing is extremely important in maintaining the dog’s hygiene. However, not all dogs are comfortable with taking a bath at the first place. Some dogs are anxious, or even aggressive when it comes to bathing. So how can we make bathing more tolerable for both? What are the things we need to know if our dogs behave aggressively?

Slowly introduce your dog to the bathing area first

Most dogs are anxious in the bathtub because they do not like being surrounded by walls or anything similar. Thus, if they are unfamiliar with the bathing area, high chance is that they will get aggressive and anxious trying to get out when you take them there. So, it is recommended that you introduce them first, and give them time to get used to the surroundings and all the tools you are going to use during bath time.

First, you can try putting meals in the bathing area. Whenever it’s meal time, your little friend will go there for food, and eventually start getting closer and more comfortable being in that place. This is one of the ways that we can create a positive association between something your dog likes (such as food) and the bathing area. Additionally, you can give him treats and compliments whenever he is in the area to enhance the positive association.

Teach your dog the cue word “bath”

When dogs are aggressive during bath time, it does not mean that they are afraid of water. As we all know, dogs can swim and they do enjoy swimming. So what is the difference? The difference is that when swimming, dogs have a total control of their body and how they contact with the water, whereas during bath time, it is you who control the water flows. In addition, the bathing area is usually surrounded by walls, which makes it more difficult for your dog to escape, thus making him anxious and worried. It is the unknown of what is going to happen makes them feel uncomfortable for a bath. Keeping this in mind, we want to show you the next thing you can do: teach your dog the cue word “bath”. Again, the idea here is still to create positive association with bathing, from the surrounding to the voice command. Like any other tricks, you should give him treats as a reward after telling him that we are going to take a bath and taking him to the bathing area. After a while, your dog will start getting used to both the surroundings and the word, helping him no longer surprised whenever you take him there.

Getting ready for the bath

Whenever you think your dog is ready for the bath without being too anxious, it is time for you to get ready as well. You may want to prepare everything in advance so that you and your dog do not spend more time than necessary in the bath.

You can start with preparing the water. Make sure that the water is warm, as opposed to cold or hot water. Warm water is soothing, which helps your dog relax and release the tension. If you use the bathtub, fill few inches of water, but not too full. A full tub of water may not be so pleasant for those that dislike water. If a handheld shower is not favorable for your dog, try using a pitcher to scoop up and pour over him.

When using shampoo, be gentle and cautious, especially with the facial area. Most of the time, the aggressive dogs are those that are sensitive, so careless use of shampoo may make your dog become aggressive again. You can try using a washcloth or a towel to wipe his face instead of pouring water over it. If possible, try using aromatherapy such as using lavender or wood scented shampoo. Aromatherapy works well in calming your dog and may help reducing his aggressive behavior.

Last few things to remember…

During dog bathing, do not forget that you and your dog’s safety is top priority. The bathroom is usually slippery due to the steam and the water, so our recommendation is to place a non-slip mat in the bathroom to prevent slipping. If your dog is aggressive, you should try putting on a muzzle to avoid injury or being bitten by your dog.

For the first few times, if necessary, you can use some sort of restraints to keep your dog in place. A leash can be a good idea. After a while, you do not need to continue using the leash if your dog has become comfortable with bathing.

Last but not least, consult a vet anytime if you notice any abnormal sign, or in case your dog’s aggression does not alleviate. It is also recommended that you see a vet to make sure you know your dog’s skin conditions and if he has any allergies. With that, we hope that you now have some good tips on hands to make dog bathing 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.