It’s bath time and your dog is nowhere to be found. Once you find him, you have to grab by the collar and lead him to the bath tub. When he reluctantly gets into the bathtub and then mopes throughout the entire process. Does this sound familiar to you?
It doesn’t have to be this way especially if you are lucky enough to be able to start from puppy hood.
Let’s think about bath time for a second. Most puppies are introduced to a bath for the first time by either getting dropped off at a grooming facility or being put in a bathtub full of water then having water poured over them. No one can explain to the puppy what’s happening, but it can definitely be very scary for them. It’s an unusual experience and yields very little rewards. Why should a puppy like bath time?
All too often dogs learn early on bath time is scary or at least really sucks!
It’s time to switch up how we introduce puppies to bath times.
Day one: Put your puppy in an empty bathtub and feed him his breakfast. Once he’s done with breakfast take him out and let him run around and play.
Day two: Put about 1 inch of water in the bathtub. The bath water should be at a comfortable temperature. Smear a little bit of peanut butter on the wall for your puppy to lick off. Add water proof dog toys like tennis balls, squeaky toys and add a couple of floating treats. Set your timer for 5 minutes and sit with your puppy. Don’t worry you don’t have to get in the bathtub for this one.
Day three: Repeat the steps for day 2, but this time splash just a tiny bit of water at your puppy not at his face just towards your puppy. Reward directly after splashing. Do this several times at about the two-minute Mark.
Day four: Repeat steps 3 with more splashing. Don’t be crazy keep it fun for your puppy. You can even cup your hands and for a little bit of water over your dog’s back and shoulders if he seems comfortable with it.
Day six: Repeat step 4 and this time gently pick up one foot at a time. Give your dog a treat after each foot is picked up. If your puppy tries to struggle and get away from picking up his feet then stop and practice handling his feet outside of the bathtub more before you try in the bathtub.
After making it through all the steps you can increase how much water is in the bathtub. Remember it’s always ok to go back a step if your puppy seems uncomfortable at any point in time. In fact we recommend it it’s better to spend three days on Step 1 then it is to get to step 4 and have your puppy scared. If at any point in time your puppy seems scared you need to go back a step. You’ve got plenty of time to teach your puppy how to love baths.
If you want to learn more about teaching your dog to absolutely love grooming then you should visit our drop-in grooming classes they’re only $15 to join.