I’m certain I’m not alone when I say my dog hates taking a bath. Even mentioning the word “bath” to my 6-year-old beagle, Daisy makes her freeze in her tracks. From the very beginning it was a chore to get her through a bath, and by the end of each one we were both stressed out. After six years of practice, I’ve finally developed some tricks to get us through bath time with as little stress as possible for all involved. Here are some of the things I do to help my dog relax during her bath.
Never restrain her
The word restrain sounds so harsh. I want to make it clear I never tied my dog down for a bath. That would beyond cruel and is something I would never do or support. The type of restraint I’m talking about only involves a gentle hand trying to hold her in place in order to bathe her. Not allowing her to move around the bathtub makes my job easier, but makes her nervous. To avoid it, I use a shower sprayer that allows me to let her move freely inside the bathtub and still reach her with ease.
Not making her stand in a bathtub of water
When Daisy was 9-weeks-old she tripped over her feet while playing on a lake bank and landed in the water. The water wasn’t very deep so she wasn’t in any danger, but it startled her and made her let out a yelp. Her reaction to the lake water helped me understand it wasn’t the bath that she hates, but the water itself. I’ve found that using the shower sprayer also helps her with this issue.
Never pouring water over her head
There are several reasons I avoid pouring water over Daisy’s head, and her health is first and foremost. She has always battled bad ear infections, so I have to keep water out of her ears to help keep them infection free. Also, pouring water over her head makes her panic. It doesn’t matter if I’m careful not to let it get on her face or not, the sensation of water going over her head sets her off. Luckily, it’s something that is easy for me to avoid. I simply use a wet washcloth on her head, ears, and face.
I have to admit even the changes haven’t made bath time enjoyable for Daisy, but they have made it a little less stressful. If bath time is stressful for your dog, try to identify what is causing his/her stress, and find a way to tweak your bath time routine accordingly.
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