Trainer reveals how to dry your dog with a towel safely, quickly and hassle-free (and it's brilliant if they're mouthy!)

Maltese dog wrapped in a towel after a bath
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever tried to dry your dog off with a towel but had to deal with them getting mouthy? As frustrating as it can be, it’s quite common, particularly for puppies who perhaps aren’t used to it as much as older dogs. 

For some dogs, it’s playful – they might see the towel as being a toy, especially when you’re moving your hands around quickly. But, for others, it’s not necessarily as playful. It might just be that they don’t enjoy being dried with a towel. 

However, there’s a way to teach your pup to enjoy having you dry them with a towel, and all it takes are some of the best dog treats, or a lick mat. And certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has explained what to do in a recent Instagram post. 

In the video, Goodman is working with a dog, Abby, and teaching her that sitting still is good when she’s being dried off by a human. She explains that you don’t have to wait until your dog is wet to begin teaching them, however, so there’s no time like the present!

“In fact,” she continues, “practicing when you don’t actually need to dry off your dog is even better.” 

Goodman begins by placing a treat on the floor, and wiping Abby with a towel for a few seconds, before repeating. She explains that using a frozen lick mat to help keep your hands free can be a good idea – after all, food enrichment for dogs is always a good idea! Or, if there’s another person around, one of you can feed your dog treats while the other dries them. 

“That way,” says Goodman, “Your dog learns that good stuff happens and you are rewarding calm behavior at the same time.”

Of course, every dog is different, so you might need to adapt the way you teach this skill slightly. As Goodman explains, she was able to be more casual in her approach in the video because Abby was more playful. But, for dogs who seem to dislike being dried with a towel more, she says in the caption that she will take it slower and use more food. 

And, if you practice this regularly, there’s more chance that your dog will let you dry them off with the towel the next time they’re actually wet!

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Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

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.