How to Make a Puppy Love Bathing

by Pauline Gill
    Little pups can fit in a sink instead of using a bathtub.

    Little pups can fit in a sink instead of using a bathtub.

    Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

    Your rambunctious ball of fur loves jumping, running and exploring, but he probably doesn't love bathing. To prepare him for the inevitable, you have to first earn his trust, get him accustomed to running water and use lots of reinforcement as well as enthusiasm.

    Step 1

    Teach your puppy to trust you. Begin by touching his paws, handling his ears and opening his mouth. Talk in a soothing voice. When he accepts the touching, reward his positive response with praise and a possible treat.

    Step 2

    Turn on the water. Let your pup get used to hearing the water running and seeing it.

    Step 3

    Brush your pup before bath time. Speak to him as you brush his fur. Look for mats or tangles and remove them with a dog comb and dog brush before the bath. Praise him for being a good boy. When you're done, give him a treat.

    Step 4

    Gather all your bathing supplies. Open the bottle of shampoo so you're not fumbling with it during the bath. Grab a towel and a washcloth, as well.

    Step 5

    Place a rubber mat in the bathtub. This will keep your pup from slipping and will make him feel more secure.

    Step 6

    Turn on the water and fill the tub with a few inches of lukewarm water. Add a floating toy. This will keep your pup's attention, if he gets nervous.

    Step 7

    Place your puppy gently into the water. Show him the toy and talk to him. Put a cotton ball in each ear, and you're ready to begin.

    Step 8

    Wet down your pooch using the shower-spray nozzle. Wet the head last so he doesn't start shaking his head. Apply the shampoo by running a line of it down the middle of his back.

    Step 9

    Lather up the shampoo by rubbing him gently. Lather the body, legs, belly area, tail and neck area. Wet a washcloth with water and a small amount of shampoo. Wipe his face, rinse the cloth and wipe again. Talk to him as you wash him. Praise him for being good and give him a treat.

    Step 10

    Rinse thoroughly. Empty the water from the tub. Grab a towel and place it on top of your pooch. Lift him out of the tub. Gently rub him with the towel. Give him another treat and praise him.

    Step 11

    Dry him with a pet dryer or let him run around the house. Air drying is fine, if he has short hair. Puppies love to run after a bath. Clap your hands and cheer him as he runs.

    Items You Will Need

    • Treats
    • Dog brush
    • Dog comb
    • Rubber mat
    • Floating toy
    • Cotton balls
    • Detachable shower-spray nozzle
    • Tearless shampoo
    • Washcloth
    • Towels
    • Pet dryer (optional)


    • Be enthusiastic throughout the whole process. Praise him continuously and always use a calming voice.


    • Don't use human shampoo because the pH is wrong for your puppy. Look for a shampoo that is specifically made for puppies and won’t sting, if it gets in his eyes.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision./Photodisc/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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