Dogs don’t mind being dirty and stinky — in fact, they like it quite a bit — and many aren’t afraid to put up a fight if they think that it will help them get out of bath time. And while watching a favorite actor run after a dog covered in soap suds may seem hilarious, it’s a lot less fun when you have to do it — or your dog is wrestling and clawing to get as far away as possible from you.
Here are our tips for how to wash a dog that will make it a much more friendly experience for both you and your pup.
The first thing you want to do, as is true with almost anything new you introduce to your dog, is to tie the bath to something positive. In other words, offer treats, toys, and affection to get your dog to come to the bath, and every time they behave in a way that’s helpful during bath time.
Brush your dog before a bath
Matted hair holds water, leaving your dog with irritated skin. Put a cotton ball in each ear to keep water out; it helps prevent ear infections and irritation.
Talk to your pet in a calm and reassuring voice
Some dogs will eventually learn that you’re not torturing them, although others will continue to hide under the kitchen table whenever you get out a towel.
Protect the ears
You want to be very careful not to get water into your dog’s ears during the bath. Not only is it uncomfortable for them, it’s something that can actually cause health problems.
If your dog will let you do it, stuff cotton balls into his ears; if not, simply do your best to avoid spraying water into them.
Work from the neck down
You not only want to keep your dog’s ears safe, but also her eyes and mouth. How do you do this? By washing from the neck down. You can accomplish this by using a bucket or cup to wet your dog or using a sprayer. So what do you do to wash your pup’s face? Use a damp washcloth.
Reward your dog
Follow up with abundant praise, petting, or play. Many a damp dog loves to vent her frustration over bath time by playing exuberant tug-of-war with the bath towel — or just running away with it–when it’s all over.