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Dogs, Quick Tips

How to Make Bath Time More Enjoyable for Your Dog

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Golden retriever in a white bath tub, being bathed

“Anybody who doesn’t know what soap tastes like never washed a dog.” -Franklin P. Jones

There are plenty of dogs out there who love to go for a dip (and plenty of others that don’t!)… so why does there seem to be so much drama when you add soap to the equation? Unfortunately, “bath time” seems to be a dirty phrase among some of our canine companions, and we think it’s about time we clean it up. If you’re ready to wash your pup’s bath time troubles away, keep reading.

How to Make Bath Time More Enjoyable for Your Dog

Before you begin


No, we aren’t talking about moisturizing here, we mean conditioning your dog to enjoy bath time. If your dog has a long-standing grudge against your bathtub, it might be best to go back to the basics. Begin by conditioning your dog to enjoy being in the bathroom without any expectations of being bathed. You can do this by giving your pup a treat anytime he enters the bathroom. Simply call (or lure) your dog into the bathroom, praise him, reward him, and release him. Do this for about a week until your dog seems more at ease in the bathroom. Once your dog seems to associate being in the bathroom with good things (bathroom = yummy treats), try taking it up a notch by calling your dog to the bathroom and turning on the water. Reward your dog for coming to the bathroom, and then if she stays as the water runs, reward her again with another small treat). The key is to move your dog slowly through the process until they’ve built a positive association with the bathroom and the bath time process.

Burn excess energy beforehand

If your dog is naturally energetic, taking a nice long walk or playing a few rounds of fetch before their bath could help them release some energy. Exercise helps your pup burn energy and work through stress. Plus, working up a little bit of a sweat might make taking a bath feel like a good way to cool off and relax.

If you know your dog is going to have some stress about the bath time routine regardless, consider giving him or her a calming supplement beforehand. This can help your dog relax and enjoy its s-paw treatment.

Bath time!

Be prepared

Before you fetch Fido’s rubber ducky, you might want to make sure you’re prepared with all of the necessities. After all, is there anything worse than chasing a soapy tub escapee as he or she runs and shakes through your house? Make sure your pup’s shampoo is within grabbing distance and you’ve got plenty of towels.

Use a non-slip mat

The sliding sensation of their paws against a slick surface can make a stressed dog even more nervous, so we recommend placing a non-slip rug or a towel on the floor of your bathtub. This will help their paws grip and prevent any slipping and sliding.

Run the water before bringing your dog in

If your dog exhibits a lot of nervousness about bath time, consider running their bath water before bringing them into the bathroom. The loud sound of water crashing into an empty tub, echoing off of bathroom walls could amplify their stress and make the situation even more difficult for them.

Take your time

Are you feeling rushed? Stressed? Anxious? Now is not the time to bathe your dog. Our furry friends feed off of our energy. If you can approach bath time with a leisurely, relaxed attitude, your pup might also. Try to make it an enjoyable bonding experience.

Bring treats

In the same way that you conditioned your pup to enjoy being in the bathroom, you can condition them to enjoy bath time. Reward your dog anytime you observe that she is calm, relaxed, and not fighting to get out of the tub. Treats can also serve as a distraction for the more nerve-wracking parts of bath time. If you notice your dog especially dislikes being rinsed, offer a treat just before tackling that part.

Post-bath skin and coat care

After all the hard work you’ve done to bathe your dog, you’ll want to keep them looking and feeling good. In addition to regular grooming, proper nutrition can help keep their coat glossy and soft. If your dog struggles with itchiness, consider adding salmon oil or a skin and coat supplement to their diet.

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