Dogs often dislike baths and sometimes it can be a major effort to get through the process. But as much trouble as you may have in bathing your dog, they’re the ones who don’t have a choice in the matter. So, it’s important to make the process as stress-free as you can, given the circumstances.
Getting your pooch used to their baths is a very important thing if you plan on having a clean dog. That is why it is important to find ways to get your dog to actually enjoy getting clean–or at least not hate it.
Here’s some tips that might help make baths more fun and less stressful for both parties.
How to Get Dogs Used to Bath Time
Play or Exercise First
One great way to get your dog used to bath time is to set yourself up for success. This can often mean playing with or exercising with your dog before heading to the bath.
This helps because it tires your dog out and removes some of that excess energy, making them more relaxed and willing to do what they need to do in the bath.
It can also heat them up, making a lukewarm bath feel refreshing instead of scary or irritating.
Don’t Rush it
Giving your dog a bath can be a hectic and stressful task, which is why many of us have a tendency to rush through it. But this isn’t the right approach at all, in fact, you could be making the problem worse.
By being in a rush you make taking a bath even more unpleasant and scary, reinforcing their fear and hesitancy. Your dog can read your emotions and will start to feel anxious if you are in a hurry.
Stay Positive and Calm
Like we talked about above, your dog can sense how you are feeling, which will dictate how they feel.
During something that could be potentially stressful, like a bath, you want to stay positive. If you go into the situation feeling cheerful and happy, your dog will pick up on this and expect good things too.
You also want to stay calm and try to minimize your stress. Don’t think about how difficult it was to bathe your dog last time. Just try to stay present and expect this time to go much better.
All of these positive emotions will rub off on your dog and put them at ease instead of tensing them up.
Make it Fun
If your dog has a very strong aversion to bath time, you can try to help that by making it a fun experience.
Try to make the bath enjoyable with water-safe balls and toys. Play tug-o-war with them. You could even have a small playtime before actually getting to the cleaning part. This can make baths feel like a special game.
This tip isn’t going to be realistic for everyone, but it is a great tip nonetheless. You want to start bathing your dog when they are a puppy to get them familiar with it.
This can help them to overcome their fears early on and get used to regular baths. It is also a good way to work on problem behaviors like jumping out of the tub or squirming.
By starting off young, you can help them to recognize baths as something that aren’t scary. They may not always be enjoyable, but they aren’t the worst thing in the world.
This is a unique and useful opportunity that you have with your puppy, so try to take advantage of it before they get older!
Bring Treats as Encouragement
You can also tempt your dog to better enjoy bath time by bringing interesting foods and treats. One tip that many dog owners swear by is putting peanut butter on the wall of their shower. This creates a very appealing treat to lick at as they are getting cleaned. You could also bring their favorite dog treats.
Make sure to feed them only a little at a time to keep them entertained without overfeeding them.
Make it Worth Their While
Another way that you can encourage your dog to join in at bath time and behave themselves is to give them a reward after it’s over. Plan something special at the end of each bath to help them associate good things with it.
You can give them a treat, a bone, or play their favorite game. Doing something fun and exciting afterward can help your dog to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As they can remember that good things come after surviving the bath.
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