Part of being a puppy parent is dealing with bath time. After the age of 5 weeks, getting your furry pal used to taking a bath, and making the experience as pleasant as possible, can prevent trouble bathing him when he's older. With patience, proper preparation and a gradual approach, you can have a clean puppy in no time.
Before bathing your puppy, get him used to being touched and handled by you. Frequently petting and brushing him, opening his mouth and touching his paws and ears, makes him trust you. Initially bathing your puppy in a bathroom with a closed door can prevent distractions and keep him from running off. Allow him to sniff the grooming tools you plan on using, and give him praise and treats to reinforce good behavior.
Bathing tools, such as dog shampoo and towels, must be within hand reach so you never have to leave your puppy alone when he's in the tub. Consider pre-filling the tub with a few inches of water, because running water might scare your pet companion. A slip-proof mat for him to stand on might offer extra security. Before bath time, take your puppy for a long walk to burn pent-up energy and to calm him down so he's more likely to surrender without a fight. Also, brush your puppy before bathing him.
Your puppy's body temperature is 3 degrees warmer than yours, and bath time is sure to be a struggle if you try to bathe him in cold water. Always use water that feels comfortably warm to you. Slowly wet your puppy's back and neck with a gentle water stream, or use a pitcher to pour water over your pet companion. Never spray water in his face -- use a washcloth, instead. Lather his body with shampoo and massage it in, then thoroughly rinse it off.
After successfully bathing your puppy, gradually progress to using a more intense stream of water. If you use a blow dryer afterward, set it to low and don't aim it at his face. If bath time is problematic, have a friend hold your puppy in place while you bathe him or progress a little slower, maybe taking more time to introduce him to the idea of getting wet. Avoid soothing your puppy if he's scared during bath time, because this only tells him that his fear is justified.
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: Bathing and Shampooing Your Dog
- The Holistic Puppy; Diane Stein
- Cesar's Way: How to Successfully Bathe Your Dog
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.