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Thread: how to get my dog not scared of taking a bath? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-22-2014 11:28 AM
Susan_GSD_mom I always put an extra large rubber mat in the tub. I had one tall female GSDx who was still afraid of the tub, but I decided it was because of her bad hips. Even with the mat she would dig her claws in like a cat and stiffen right up in fear. I found that if I sat on the edge of the tub with my knees and legs up under her belly, she figured out that if she slipped she still had the support of my lap. She relaxed then, and baths were no longer a huge ordeal for her.

Baths have always been easier for the tall ones who can just step into the tub. Unfortunately the two I have now are not so tall, and our new house has a taller tub, so I am lifting them in--and I wonder why my back is so bad...

Susan
06-22-2014 11:13 AM
scout172 When he goes outside maybe get him a little wet with the hose. Then get him wetter and wetter a day. Another idea is too put him in and out of the bathtub each day. Then fill it with a little bit of water a day. Then if he's used to it fill it all up and let him jump in.
06-22-2014 02:33 AM
lindsaye01 My Sadie Mae (and I !!) had a terrible "first bath" experience. She was too new to the house and probably a bit too young. It was like watching the Exorcist. She was about 12 -14 weeks old back then. Now she is a bit over 10 months, but she is also a bit leary of the bathtub, although not so much the actual bathroom anymore, even though I have never forced her to go through that trauma again.

What I did to help make her comfortable with the idea of getting a bath was to make the "experience" as much fun as possible and as least intimidating as possible. I don't take her in the small bathtub or even in an enclosed room at all. I bought a $12 plastic, children's wading pool (kiddie pool) and just played with it the first week, letting her watch and sniff and get close AND run away, while I used the hose and put water in and picked it up and dumped the water out. Dogs are naturally curious and even though the water and tub was strange and different, she wanted to know what I was doing. Then the next week, I played in the tub myself, jumping in and out, laughing, joyful, spalshing. It excited her, not enough to get in...but she was seeing it was not "dangerous." Then the following week, I played catch with her and kept throwing the ball into the water (tennis balls float) or I sat in the water and held a piece of ham, something too irresistable for her. She was in that week and withstood the bathing. She realizes that it ends soon enough and that she gets a good treat when she behaves well, too. (Same thing with brushing...she used to run and bark at the brush. Now she gets excited and lays down in front of me, ready for her brushing. But I know it's the treat!) She doesn't exactly "love" her baths, but she is not terrified, nor do I feel like the horrible abusive mother either.
06-20-2014 01:42 AM
Ellimaybel
Quote:
Originally Posted by ApselBear View Post
You don't do victory laps after you shower and feel all good and clean?...
I don't either...>.>

On a similar note, Apsel has taken to dipping his whole face under water in the pool lately. He likes to just sit on the steps and not swim around, I think he may be a little lazy. But I got him to grab a tennis ball from underwater once, and from then on he's done this whole dip the face under water thing for no reason. After he's done sitting in the water and his face is wet, he'll get up and find the nearest bunch of liriope grass and wipe his face in it, I guess to dry it off.
Ok. Maybe the dogs are onto something here. Perhaps running around in victory laps straight out of the shower/bath is more fun than we realize. I hope the neighbors agree....

After Gunther runs through the sprinkler he rubs his face all over the hard branches of our hedges. I have no clue what that's about. Perhaps I won't try that one...
06-20-2014 01:03 AM
JayFoxFire Hm, that's a tough one. Maybe use treats to help him distract him? Make it fun; try and train him in and out of the bathtub first then turn the water on when he's not so scared of it anymore. It will take a lot of patient. Patient is key lol. It took a while for my dog not to be scared of a vacuum cleaner.
06-17-2014 02:01 PM
ApselBear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
On a side note...why do dogs after they are bathed have this compulsion to do victory laps around the house or yard after they are done? I can't imagine they are trying to dry themselves off as they do not exhibit the same behavior after getting out of the pool or lake.

SuperG
You don't do victory laps after you shower and feel all good and clean?...
I don't either...>.>

On a similar note, Apsel has taken to dipping his whole face under water in the pool lately. He likes to just sit on the steps and not swim around, I think he may be a little lazy. But I got him to grab a tennis ball from underwater once, and from then on he's done this whole dip the face under water thing for no reason. After he's done sitting in the water and his face is wet, he'll get up and find the nearest bunch of liriope grass and wipe his face in it, I guess to dry it off.
06-17-2014 12:24 PM
Rottendog With my kids, I try to start them early. Thankfully that works pretty well. I know my Rottie would go jump in the tub and sit there waiting for me to come run the water. LOL he even slept in the tub at night in the summer to get the cool. But on the ones I've got later on in their lives, I just use a lot of patience, try to bathe them regularly so they have a good experience fresh in their minds and be very gentle and reassuring to them. If you can find the trigger he is frightened by, then you may be better off on trying to resolve. May be the slick floor, may be the sound of the water. Just keep a lot of towels handy and you may do well to get an outside setup. I can wash my guys in a tub set up I have in the garage which consists of a plastic livestock trough and a hose with a nozzle that has the mist and rainfall settings so you can control the water flow making it gentle for the dog. This way I can regulate the water and have something durable I can use to bathe them. I also can wash them in a large walk in shower we have in the house. That works well to just get in the shower and get the dog in too. Scrub them down, then have your spouse take the dog on to their crate or where ever you let them dry. Clean up works great too, a quick shower for you and you are done.
06-16-2014 09:15 PM
pache11 I got Peaches from the breeder at 1 years old, she could not get her to take a bath, Peaches loved biting hose water. I would take a bath, and everyone who has GSDs know, bathroom time is not private time; Peaches would sit next to me in the tub. I would splash water in the tub and she would get curious and stick her head over the side, then later one foot, both front feet, and so on. Her bond and interaction with me was the key. It became her idea to enter the tub and play and bath became part of the play. When we are done towel monster is still her favorite part. Now she plays in the wading pool, swims in the pond and loves water.
06-14-2014 02:55 AM
middleofnowhere You've got some great advise here.

Yes on the matt - Being a little slow on the uptake I couldn't figure why the late Barker Sisters started resisting baths when I moved. Finally dawned on me that the tub was slick - floor matts solved that problem!

My variation on what other people have advised: Get lots of towels, put a lot of these on the bathroom floor. Get lots of treats. Get dog(s) (yes, I did a duet). Get yourself nude or near nude. prepare the bath water. Dampen the dogs before they get in the tub, soap them before they get in the tub. Get in the tub, call the dogs in (one at a time unless you've got a really big tub) WITH treats and enthusiasm. (With very good treats and lots of enthusiasm). Rinse dogs. The late Barker the Younger liked to hop in and out a couple of times. That should be fine (see reference to lots of towels on the floor.) Keep it fun, keep it upbeat. Rinse the dogs off - that's all the tub is for - a nice rinse. Make it a PARTY!!!

(THis is a change up from Dog gets tense, handler gets tense, bath is a disaster and everyone is upset -- it is an everyone is having fun experience.) After the dogs are bathed and toweled and turned loose to rip through the yard or house, the human can clean the bathroom - it's wet already eh? - and shower themselves...
06-13-2014 09:09 PM
robk
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperG View Post
I assume there is a large mat in the bottom of the tub so your dog hasn't experienced slipping and sliding as he tries to get in and out...sometimes slippery surfaces like a bathtub gets the better of some dogs.

I give my dog a bath/shower with me in the shower/bath....don't know if that is weird but there is no struggle on behalf of my current dog. My previous 2 GSDs were a bit leery of going into the bath/shower but once they were in and the sliding door closed they were fine.

On a side note...why do dogs after they are bathed have this compulsion to do victory laps around the house or yard after they are done? I can't imagine they are trying to dry themselves off as they do not exhibit the same behavior after getting out of the pool or lake.

SuperG
SuperG has a good point. It is often not the bath but the slippery surface that terrifies dogs. Make sure that there is a soft towel or something else on the floor of the tup that will give the pup a little better footing.
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