Some dogs love bath time and some simply loathe it. However, if you have a puppy, you have the best chance of teaching your dog that it is a fun and pleasant experience. To start with, make sure that you have everything ready before your puppy’s first dog bath before you begin.
Tools to use
Some items you will already have at home, some you may need to shop for. Take a look at our online store to find dog supplies, dog shampoo and more.
- Towels: enough to both dry the dog and protect the ground from splashing water
- Dog shampoo (consult the vet if your dog has skin conditions)
- Comb or brush
- Small cup or bucket (for pouring water)
- Doggy treats (optional, but can help train dogs who find it stressful)
Decide on where you will be bathing your puppy and getting them used to that area. Perhaps they aren’t used to your bathroom, kitchen sink or a tub in the backyard yet. Start by introducing the area and giving affection and even a treat or two in the days leading up to bath day. It’s also a good idea to get your puppy used to water slowly. Start by just getting the paws wet gently, then, on the next day, get the full legs wet. Work your way up the body in stages and, if necessary, try some of those dog treat to reward your puppy for tolerating the water on a new part of the body. Don’t rush, sometimes a step is worth repeating so that it ends positively.
It can be easier in the long run to choose a place that can be closed off from potential distractions such as other pets of family members.
Before you begin any training exercise, it’s a good idea to take some of the excess energy out of your puppy’s system first. A good high energy game followed by a walk is a great way to get your pooch pooped before bath time. Exercise has the added benefit of making a cooling dip in the water much more appealing.
Prepare to be splashed! No matter how smoothly bathing your dog goes, once that urge to shake sets in, there’s not much you can do to avoid getting wet so choose your outfit accordingly.
7 Steps for Bathing your Puppy
Now that you have prepared your puppy for bath time, things will be much calmer for both of you. These steps should now be relatively easy but don’t get frustrated and punish your puppy if he finds any of it difficult.
- Carry your puppy into the bathing area. He should be happy about this as this is a safe place now that he enjoys with you.
- Gently place your puppy in the water, make sure it is a comfortable temperature first and not too deep for him to stand up in if that’s what he prefers.
- Apply the dog shampoo and give a gentle but soothing massage. This is the part my own dogs have always enjoyed most. Avoid getting any of the product in the eyes, ears and mouth.
- Reward your puppy for his good behaviour. You may have to use gentle restraint before the next step but positive reinforcement is far less stressful for both of you.
- Rinse out the shampoo. This can be trickier as this makes some dogs want to shake instantly, however, by getting him used to the sensation of water being poured over him previously, he should tolerate this well and might even find it enjoyable.
- Washing the head and face area should be don carefully. Shield his eyes as you rinse him. I leave this until last as it is probably the most stressful part of the bath for many dogs and it can be more difficult to calm them for a body rinse if you start here and get a stressed pup.
- Dry your dog with a towel. Don’t use a favourite as this often looks and feels a lot like play to a puppy and some playful shredding of said towel could ensue! Do it gently and thoroughly and keep him warm until he is completely dry.
Posted in Pet Ownership in Hong Kong By Vetopia