While there’s no need to give your dog frequent baths — and doing so can actually be bad for their coat and skin — most dog parents will need to give their pup a bath at one time or another. Maybe your dog particularly loves to roll around outside when it’s wet and muddy, for example, in which case they’ll need washing.
But even for seasoned dog parents bathtime can be tricky — many dog parents have stories in which they end up getting covered in just as much water as their pet, while their bottles of the best dog shampoo stay pristine on the shelf. Meanwhile, if you’ve never given your dog a bath before, you might find the idea rather daunting.
Fortunately, expert trainer Zak George has explained what to do during bathtime to make things easier for you and your pup in a new Instagram post. We’ll take a closer look at his advice below.
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If you want to know how to give a dog a bath, first let your dog approach the shower at their own pace before you even put the water on. Once your dog approaches it voluntarily, you can pick the shower head up. But, be aware of sudden movements, which could scare your dog or make them feel uneasy.
“Watch out for surprises!” adds George. “You might notice there’s some drippy water coming out of it just because it’s been on before recently.”
And take things slow. Give your dog the opportunity to see what the shower’s like before you turn it on and begin to wash them. Lightly touch them with the shower head, all the while reinforcing and rewarding them for being calm. You might need to give yourself half an hour or even an hour before you turn the shower on – don’t rush it, and it’ll pay off in the long run.
So, it’s better to wait until you aren’t too busy to wash your dog. If you know you’ve got a work call soon, you need to collect your children from school, or you’re expecting visitors, for example, it may be best to hold off until you’ve got a little more time.
And remember, even if your dog is a puppy and a little easier to handle, they won’t stay that size forever — particularly if you have a bigger breed. So, it’s worth putting some good habits in place now. Why not check out how to bathe a puppy for some more information?
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Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.