Hello there, fellow dog owners. Are you tired of your furry friend always being a stinky mess? Well, fear not, because we’re here to give you some tips on how to make bathtime "enjoyable" for your dog. Spoiler alert: it's not going to be enjoyable for anyone involved.
First off, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Dog-specific shampoo? Check. Towel? Check. Brush? Check. Oh, and don't forget the detangling spray or conditioner, because apparently dogs need that now. Might as well throw in a bathrobe and a scented candle while you're at it, am I right?
Start with Positive Associations
We want our dogs to love every moment of every day, so that includes bathtime! Not all dogs are natural swimmers and love getting wet, but you can make the experience more enjoyable for them.
Before you even start bathing your dog, you can create positive associations with bathtime. This can be done by playing with them in the bathroom or near the tub or cubicle, or feeding them treats and playing with toys during bathtime. That’s right, they get treats for showering!
Use a Non-Slip Mat
Wait, we thought dogs could ice skate. Well, some instagram dogs may have nailed twirling on ice, but for the average everyday dog, they can become anxious and fearful in the tub or cubicle. To help them feel more secure and steady, placing a non-slip mat on the bottom of the tub can provide your dog with a sense of stability and prevent any slips or falls.
Use Lukewarm Water
Next, make sure the water is the right temperature. Because we all know how picky dogs are about their bath water. Better not make it too hot or too cold, or they might file a complaint with management. Water that is too hot can be uncomfortable and even painful for your dog, while water that is too cold can cause shivering and discomfort. And make sure your dog is comfortable and relaxed? Sure, let me just get my dog to do some yoga stretches first. Namaste, Fido.
Calm Your Nerves
Now, when it's time to actually start the bath, make sure you're calm and confident. Because nothing says confidence like wrestling with a wet dog in a tub. And don't force your dog into the water? Great advice. Let me just ask my dog if he'd like to voluntarily hop into the tub and get soaked. I'm sure he'll be thrilled. Be the Man of steel.
Before you start bathing your dog, make sure you have everything you need within reach. Unless you want to test your stretching abilities to hold your dog in the shower with one hand and reach for dog grooming tools with your other hand, keep them close by.
Think towels, shampoo, a non-slip mat, and any toys or treats you plan to use. Being prepared will help you stay focused on your dog and ensures a smoother, less stressful experience for both of you.
Use Engagement Tools
Apparently us humans are not engaging enough and we’re being told that we should use dog enrichment tools that will make bathtime more enjoyable for our dogs because there are treats involved.
There’s also a slow feeder in the form of a lickimat that has a suction cup on the reverse to stick to your bathroom tiles. It provides the ultimate distraction. Smear on something sticky like peanut butter. There’s nothing like a good ol’ eating contest to get your dog riled up with a challenge.It relieves anxiety, helps promote digestion and also promotes good oral health. Who doesn’t love a good canine smile.
Use Gentle Dog-Friendly Shampoo
Remember that tear-free baby shampoo that your mom used to use on you? That’s what we’re thinking of.
Not all shampoos are created equal, so some can be harsh on a dog's skin and coat. Look for a gentle shampoo specifically formulated for dogs that is free from harsh chemicals and fragrances. Or if you feel like making your dog’s bathtime game more fancy, try out these fancy dog shampoos and conditioners from Aesop & Kiehl's. This is pampering on a whole new level.
Take It Slow
Wait, it’s not a race? Your dog would probably love nothing more than to get in and out of the bath, but it’s time to lather them up. Get creative and build snow cones atop of their head or make them look like the next Michelin Man in their very own down jacket made purely out of ridiculously foamy bubbles.
Make sure not to cover their eyes and to keep their ears free from water. You can do this by lightly placing cotton balls in their ears — don’t push them in! You can take them out when you’ve finished rinsing them and are about to whip out the towel for a good towel dry.
Be your dog’s therapist for the day and talk to them while giving soothing strokes and petting. If your nails are too short, invest in a grooming brush that will provide the best belly scratching while also untangling any knots in your dog’s coat. Treat it as a sacred time to strengthen your bond with your furry friend. Add a little hum and melodic tunes in the background and you have a sacred place made complete.
End with a Treat
Another treat? Yes. Can we dare say we’re surprised? No.
Your canine did good, and so did you. Give them a treat and pour yourself a tipple. You now smell of wet dog, but at least you’ve got positive associations for the next bathtime. Keep the faith.
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