Why does my dog hate baths? No matter whether my dog sleeps on the sofa all day or spends all of his time running in my backyard, he always eventually gets very dirty. Baths are an essential part of every grooming regime – but that doesn’t mean all dogs will like them. There are lots of reasons that can explain why your dog doesn’t enjoy baths, including poor socialization to them, or discomfort caused by things like the water’s temperature. But, there are ways you can make bathtime more pleasant for your dog. So, in this guide, I’ll examine some of the best ways to make baths more pleasant, giving you a dog that’s happy and clean!
- Why does my dog hate baths?
- The importance of socialization to baths
- Dogs can remember bad experiences
- Being somewhere new can be distracting
- Common mistakes made by owners
- How to make your dog enjoy baths
Why Does My Dog Hate Baths?
A lot of our dogs are used to water and know how to swim, but some breeds are not so water-friendly! This includes brachycephalic dogs, like Pugs and French Bulldogs. And, even if your dog likes jumping into a pool or lake, that doesn’t mean he’ll like taking a bath. There are a huge number or reasons dogs won’t like baths, and they won’t all apply to every dog. So, it’s important to learn which ones relate to your dog before you try to fix the problem. Let’s start off by looking at the most common reasons dogs dislike bathtime.
Not Being Used to it – Poor Socialization
One of the most common reasons why your dog might dislike baths is because he’s not used to them! Dogs should be introduced to water and bathtime when they are young, so they can get used to it gradually. This process of introducing experiences early is known as socialization, and should happen before your puppy reaches 16 weeks old. To socialize your dog to baths, pair the process with some tasty treats and praise. Keep things positive and move at your dog’s pace.
However, we don’t all have control over our dogs’ early experiences. For instance, if you have a rescue, or if you simply didn’t know to socialize them before this age. Socialization is still possible, but it will be a much slower process. Stay patient and keep all bathtimes as positive as possible. Some people like to distract their dog by smothering peanut butter on the wall for their dog to lick off whilst they’re washing them! This way, your dog will associate baths with something great, and will be eager to jump in the tub after a few sessions!
Dogs Can Remember Accidents
Unfortunately accidents can happen, even if you are extremely careful! Dogs can remember things and associate them with certain places – so if something happened in the bath, your dog might have a bad association! Maybe the floor was too slippery and your dog fell, or the water was too hot or too cold, getting water in their eyes or ears…those are all easy mistakes that can happen!
Sometimes this can lead to worse problems like ear infections caused by trapped moisture in your dog’s ear. This can be pretty uncomfortable and painful. Even dogs that were totally fine with baths might dislike them after such an accident so it’s important to take extra care!
Being Alert in a New Space
Dogs are sensitive creatures, and placing them in new, loud places can make them riled up! If you are bathing your dog in your bathtub or shower, the running water can make the dog alert, and the claustrophobic space doesn’t help either!
If possible, try to get a plastic bathtub and put it in a room that your dog spends a lot of time in. This can be done outside as well, if you prefer not getting your home too wet. No matter where you choose to have the bath, keep the process as calm, comfortable, and enjoyable as possible.
Some Common Mistakes Owners Make
There are some common mistakes that can cause your dog to dislike baths! It’s important to be aware of this and to pay attention – even if it means the process takes a little longer. For instance, maybe your dog hates the sound of running water – especially coming from the shower. Or, maybe he dislikes the feeling of the showerhead. Try to take note of those things and how your dog reacts.
A good solution to this is to scoop the water and gently pour it on your pet. That way your dog might even enjoy it! Also make sure that the water temperature is just right, so not too cold and not too hot. Test the water temperature before it reaches your beloved pup! So keep an eye on your dog, see what he likes, what he dislikes and what makes him uncomfortable while in the bath – there lies your solution! And, as I’ve mentioned before, treats and distractions are always a great idea.
How to Make Your Dog Like Baths
Think of this as regular training – it’s the same as potty training! If it’s not going easy and you notice that your dog is getting frustrated, take a step back, give your dog some space. And on top of that introduce treats! This will immediately calm your beloved pet and he’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and he’ll associate bath time with getting a treat.
It’s important to subtract the calories of these treats from your dog’s daily food allowance. If you’re running low on the calories remaining, or you need to save some for another training session, you can resort to other methods too. Pet your dog and chat to him while he’s in the tub, make sure he is comfortable and that he feels safe, this will distract him! Also you can bring his favorite toy, to shift his focus.
Why Does My Dog Hate Baths? Final Thoughts
You can familiarize your dog with baths from an early age to help him enjoy them more. But, if this wasn’t possible, not all hope is lost! Keep bathtime comfortable and positive. Work at your dog’s pace and listen to your pet!
Practice makes perfect, so the more you do it the easier it will get to make your dog take baths! Stay persistent and patient. Before you know it, your dog will be wagging their tail at the sight of the tub!
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