Here at Best Bully Sticks, we know that not all aspects of dog ownership will be enjoyable for you or your pet.  One of those could be bath time.  If your dog is anxious about getting a bath and is a pain to clean, chances are you aren’t enjoying the struggle involved either. If you’ve owned your dog from puppy-hood the process of making bath time stress-free may be a little easier, but no matter the age, your dog can still learn to like baths.  Here are a few ways to ease your dog into coping with bath time.

Creature Comforts: Creating A Comfortable Environment For Bath Time. If you think your dog is generally okay with baths, here’s a sure-fire test. If your dog doesn’t take food or a treat from you while in the bath, it means your pup isn’t comfortable.  There are a couple reasons why the physical environment of your bathroom isn’t calming to your dog.  One of the best ways to enhance a dog’s physical presence in the tub is a non-skid bath mat or even a towel.  If a dog doesn’t have traction, they won’t feel physically at ease in any situation. When bathing your dog, remember that hot water doesn’t always equal cleanliness.  A lukewarm temperature will be comfortable for your dog and won’t dry out their skin as hot water would.

Chaotic To Calm: Changing Your Dog’s Perceptions About Baths. After you make the dog physically comfortable in the bath, the next step is emotional comfort.  Anxiety about baths can change if a dog is eased into relating the bathroom to a place where good things happen.  Anytime you are in the bathroom, lead your dog in and give them a treat. Next, step into the tub and give your dog a treat. Even try feeding your dog in the bathroom and slowly move their food into the actual tub as they become more comfortable.  For dogs who get bathed in sinks, it’s the same idea. Work to slowly move toward the sink, putting your pup down and giving them a training treat each time you move a step closer.  Reiterate this practice until the dog is calm.

Water, Water, Everywhere: A Word On Water. When your dog gets comfortable with the idea of being in the bath, try turning on a small amount of water. If you begin squirting, spraying or dumping water on your dog, the fear of baths will return.  Pour just enough water to get your dog’s feet wet and see how they react. If it’s positive, very slowly add a little water to wet his legs more, then the body.  Again, go slowly with the head, ears and neck of your dog. During this first session, you might not even want to use shampoo.  The goal is just to keep your dog calm during this process.  If you did shampoo, it would mean rinsing and thus adding considerable time with water in the tub.

Slow & Steady Wins The Race: Being Patient With The Process. Conditioning your dog to thinking more positively about baths will take time.  Remember that this may not be an overnight change, but if you are persistent, you will reap the benefits of a stress-free doggie bath. Two of the biggest things to remember: go very slowly & reinforce with small dog treats (positive reinforcement.)  A clean dog just might truly become a happy dog.  Happy training!