Giving Dogs a Bath

by Pauline Gill
    Try taking your dogs for a walk before bath time to tire them.

    Try taking your dogs for a walk before bath time to tire them.

    Three Lions/Valueline/Getty Images

    When your precious pups are smelly, it's time for a bath. It doesn't have to be a struggle, though. Giving dogs a bath can be an enjoyable experience for you and your dogs. If you're prepared with everything you need and use lots of enthusiasm and reinforcement, bathing time can be a great bonding time.


    Before bathing your dogs, spend some time getting your dogs used to the idea of a bath. Begin by touching your dogs' paws, handling their ears and opening their mouths. Talk in a soothing voice. Give them treats when they accept your touches.
    Bring each dog into the bathroom and place him in the tub. Talk to him and give him a treat. Take him out of the tub. Do this routine for a couple of days. On the third day, turn the water on. Let it run for a few minutes. Give your pup a treat and take him out of the tub. Do this again for a few days.


    Before the actual bath, brush and comb each dog. Look for mats and tangles. Loosen the tangles with your fingers. For mats, use a dog comb to loosen the edges of the mat. Once the mat is loose, brush out the rest of it with a pin brush. Praise him for being a good boy and give him a treat.
    Place a rubber mat in the bathtub so your pup doesn't slide. Open the bottle of dog shampoo so you don't have to fumble with it later. Grab a large towel for after the bath and a washcloth for his face.

    Wetting the Coat

    Gently place your dog in the tub. Put a cotton ball in each ear. Turn on the water and adjust the temperature to lukewarm. Using a shower-spray nozzle, wet your dog from the back to the front. Wetting the head last will avoid your dog shaking his head and getting you wet before you even begin. If your pup has fleas, you want to wet the head first so the fleas travel down the body. Make sure the water doesn't go in his eyes. Once he is saturated, take a wet washcloth and add a small amount of shampoo. Wash around his face. Rinse the washcloth and wipe his face again.

    Shampooing and Rinsing

    As you talk to your pup, run the shampoo down the middle of his back. Add some more water and lather up the shampoo. Work slowly as you praise your dog in an enthusiastic tone. Work the hindquarters, tail, hind legs, belly area, shoulders, neck, front legs and top of head. Make sure you work the shampoo into his skin.
    Begin rinsing from the top of his head to the back. Rinse until the water runs clear and then rinse again. It's important to get all the shampoo out of his fur. Once you are done, praise your pup and give him a treat. Grab a towel and soak up some of the water. Don't rub his fur because it can cause it to tangle. Let him air dry or use a dog dryer.

    Photo Credits

    • Three Lions/Valueline/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

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