What’s Up with Dogs and Baths?

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Our Sally loved to swim. Any chance she got she would splash in a puddle, wade in a stream or jump in a pool. Once she even hopped into the horse trough at Griffith Park. She loved water…except bath water.
She would allow us to lead her into the bathroom, lift her into the tub and bath her, but she was always squirming and looking for a way out.
Tino was the opposite, he had no use for water of any kind and held particular disdain for the bath. The first time we tried to bath him, the day after we rescued him, it turned into a 3 person job and we were all soaked and he was only half washed by the time we were done.
Becca, Maggie & Jack are all pretty compliant in the bath. Once they realize what’s up, they walk to the bath like it’s the Green Mile. But they stand still and allow us to wash them.
I can understand Tino’s disregard for the bath – he didn’t like water to begin with, but I could never figure out why Sally disliked it so much given how much she loved water.
It makes sense that some dog breeds just don’t take to water. Many dogs in the Toy breed aren’t fond of water, and even dogs such as the Greyhound, German Shepherds and other non-sporting dogs are known to dislike water…but I thought RETRIEVERS would all love water and love baths!
What do you do if your dogs hates baths and fights it every step of the way? Here’s a few ideas:

  • Remember that swimming freely in a pool or lake is a lot different then being confined and held down in a bathtub or shower. Try to make it more fun for them. Treats are always helpful.
  • Slowly acclimate them to the bathroom, then the tub and then introduce the water. Some dogs get freaked out by the sounds of running water. Tino did, so I made sure the tub was full and the water off before I brought him in.
  • Typically bathrooms are tile and tile floors can be slippery – especially if their paws are wet. This may be a concern if they can’t get traction in the room. Put down a bathmat for them to stand on.
  • They may dislike the smells in the bathroom. No, not those smells, but the perfumey shampoos and body lotions. Use an odorless shampoos or at least something that is not too strong.


How about your dog – bath lover or hater?


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  1. oh I hate baths… and I dislike anything with water… if I could I would fill my bowl with champagne, because I’ve read EXTRA DRY on the bottle… but my mom said that’s a little overdone… and a drunken Weimaraner would be way tooo much :o)
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  2. Honey loves to wade. Hates to swim or bathe.

    But we can vouch for your tips. Putting a towel in the bottom of the tub for traction really helps. We’ve also taught Honey to jump in the tub on cue which is more fun than being lifted.

    Our best trick is to smear peanut butter in the soap dish. It gives her something to do while we’re washing her.

    Yesterday I bathed Honey in the yard with the hose. She didn’t put up too much fuss. Perhaps she liked the open space more.
    Pamela recently posted…Oh No! I’m A Minion!My Profile

  3. As my recent research suggests, it appears my dog only dislike water when gravity is involved (rain and showers) but are completely fine when they can meet the water on their own terms (swimming and splashing)

  4. I have put toys in the tub and smeared peanut butter on the (tiled) walls in the hope of distracting/occupying my dogs. They ignore the toys and quickly devour the peanut butter. I have to keep the jar close by for more applications. In nice weather, I have put shampoo in the kiddie pool outside for a “light” bathing. Soap/shampoo changes everything, even for water babies. They love their kiddie pool. But the sight of suds, or the smell of shampoo, I don’t know which, takes the fun out of it. I will say that using the kiddie pool is easier than the bathtub. Then I can gently hose them off to remove all shampoo. They don’t like it, but they seem less stressed by the pool.

  5. Bailie and I love water, but run away fast if a “bath is in the air”. Bailie is better about just putting up with it now, but at first she squirmed and made a huge wet mess. I stand there and endure the torture. I think we don’t like getting the shampoo all over us and removing our nice au natural smell.
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  6. Bentley loves his bath time but Perre simply tolerates it. OMD! That video had me laughing so hard!
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  7. LOL, 2 of my huskies hate the bath, but the third doesn’t mind it. The funny thing is that Lexus is the one who doesn’t mind baths, but she will not go in the water for a swim!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
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  8. Hahahaha! Love the picture!
    I take my pups right into the shower with me and close the glass door, our shower is a standup with stone floor so it’s not slippery at all.
    But LoL they hate baths! And just sit their looking pathetic and dejected the whole time.
    We’ve tried treats but when Ziva is super unhappy she refuses them.
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    • YEah, we have a wlk-in shower now and it makes it a little easier, but they just look so pathetic.
      mkob recently posted…What’s Up with Dogs and Baths?My Profile

  9. My dogs learn, ‘You do the crime, you do the time.’ If they go into the lake or have muddy paws, it’s a right hand turn to the bathroom and into the tub first to be washed. Living on a farm, they have to do this frequently. They do not so much “like it,” but they do not live in a democracy – and they certainly don’t clean up, so with one point to the right, they know it’s jump in the tub for a rinse before they get their food after their runs!

  10. Neither Missy nor Buzz are huge fans of bath time, but they both tolerate it very nicely 🙂 They\’ve learned to jump into the tub ~ I taught them that one by hiding in the bathtub whenever we play hide
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  11. Jasmine was fine with baths; liked cool showers on hot days. Cookie likes water just doesn’t like shampoo. JD hates anything that’s wet.
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  12. Rita loves to lay down in some nice shallow water, but HATES a bath. We put a bath mat down to try to make it not so slippery, but even treats don’t do it for her too much while she’s in the bath. She’s just too bummed out! Maybe next time we’ll try her spray cheesse. Spray cheese makes everything tolerable.
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  13. Ours are not thrilled, but they are pretty good about it…but since they all love water, you would think they’d enjoy it more!
    I think it’s something about having to stand still and have something done to them that was not their idea. 🙂
    Jan K recently posted…Smile! It’s Sugar’s 14th Barkday!My Profile

  14. from day one I get the dogs in the bath and my gang just loves baths they stand in line and wait for one to get done so they can have their turn. it helps that they roll in stuff and have to be bathed twice a day sometimes.
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