Help, my dog hates the bath! How to make your dogs bath time less stressful
Does your dog run and hide at the sound of the bath water? Or maybe you have a new dog in your family you want to create a positive association to the bath with. If you’re wondering if and how to get your dog to love to bath …. Yes, you can help your dog become less stressed in the bath with some training, bonding, treats and of course time.
Here are my tips on how to get your dog to love the bath!
- Get a bath mat. Put down a shower mat in the bath, this makes it less slippery, less noisy and prevents a negative association if your pet slips in the bath. I know I’ve slipped and it’s not fun, let’s prevent that from happening to our pets. I often see a huge confidence boost of a dog in the bath just by adding a non slip shower mat vs just bathing them on bathtub surface.
- Treats in the tub! Do short sessions with your dog in the tub and just reward him for being in there with treats and praise. Keep these sessions short and fun, don’t turn on the water just yet, we will get there soon. Consider even sitting together in the dry tub and feeding some of your dogs favorite meals there. We want to build a positive association by being in the tub. Once your dog is comfortable being in the tub it’s time to move on to the next step. For some dogs it may be just one session while some may need multiple over a few weeks before moving on. Need treat suggestions? Check out our post here.
- Get your peanut butter ready! I smear peanut butter on a licky mat and suction it to the side of the tub. Start with just letting your dog enjoy the peanut butter. Encourage your dog to lick it, if your pet is too nervous go back to the previous step of build up confidence. Once you see your dog is comfortable and happy licking the peanut beer slowly turn the water on at a very low level for a few seconds and then turn it off. You’ll practice this for a few days working up to a longer duration and having the water on full. Remember to go slowly over a few sessions, we want to create a positive experience. Don’t have a licky mat? You can always smear peanut butter on the side of the tub but this sometimes tends to get a little messy, but you are already in the bath at least. Does your dog hate peanut butter? Yogurt or cheese work great on licky mats too!
- Time for the shampoo. Once your dog is feeling more comfortable in the bath it’s time to get your shampoo and conditioner out, in our home we use Skouts Honor as it has probiotics which helps to not strip the microbiome from the skin (leading to itching and other issues). Stick up your pre-smeared licky mat and while your dog enjoys the peanut butter slowly rinse them with water. If your dog takes a break from licking, give them a break from soaking too. Once your dog is ready let their spa treatment elevate by massaging in the shampoo in their coat to help your dog relax while getting the benefits of the probiotics working away.
Remember to go slowly building up your pet’s confidence and positive associations in the bath, in between bathing you can always use Skout’s Honor’s probiotic deodorizer code ellis20 takes 20% off (Amazon link)to help make those in-between grooming times last even longer.
Here is to more relaxed and positive baths in your dog’s future!