To bathe or not to bathe.....
Although dogs don't have sweat glands, they do become "clammy" and sometimes smell a bit "outdoorsy". Catching some of them is the first chore. Some dogs love their baths, so I hear. For the ones who don't, here are some tips for making it a more enjoyable time for pet and owner.
Pick a special place where you can have all your supplies easily available. It should be a place free from drafts, nice and quiet, no distractions, where you can talk to and "ooo and coo" over your dog. Just reassuring "good boy"s and "such a pretty girl"s, etc., help the dog relax. It's also good for your back if you can have the dog up on a table.
First, a nice soft, lukewarm wetting down. Getting them really wet will aid in lathering up the shampoo.
Put some shampoo into your hands, rub them together with a little water, then beginning with the top of the head way away from the eyes, massage in the shampoo. Work slowly down the back to the hind quarters then down the back legs. More shampoo and water into your hands, rub together and massage in the area under the chin, down the front legs, up to the tummy. Set the timer for the 5 or 10 minute soak. During this time, you can do the ears with the special earwash solution. Be very gentle because this is such a tender area. Take a wash cloth and go over the eyes and nose, all the time talking in your most loving, soothing voice.
With the remaining minutes, give a massage. Rinse very very well being careful to not get in the ears and eyes. Sometimes, a repeat wash is necessary. This time you don't need to leave the shampoo on for the 5 or 10 minutes.Just shampoo in and rinse right off.
Now, towel dry, and easy does it. Dogs don't much
like being rub-a-dubbed roughly with the towel.
And sometimes, depending on what breed, it actually
breaks the hair.
This is controversial. Dry then comb, or comb and dry at the same time, or comb then dry? Actually, to avoid stretching the hair it is better to dry the hair first, then comb. Make sure not to hold the dryer too close to the skin. If your dog is afraid of the dryer, be sure to keep it lower than the dog. They will be stretching their necks to try to be above it so they can feel dominant over it. This makes them less afraid. If you come to a crimped section that's supposed to be smooth, lightly spritz with water, warm up with the dryer and comb out. If you come to a matted section, gently separate with your fingers as much as you can. Then, working from the ends up, begin combing a little higher, gradually on up to the skin. This way, you're not making the tangle worse by clumping it all tighter together. Remember to lay the comb at an angle as you comb to avoid scraping the skin with the teeth of the comb. Be gentle and tell your dog how pretty they are.
This part isn't a must, but it helps the dog to remember the bath as a more enjoyable experience, if when you're all through, they get a walk or a ride or a special treat, or something that they only get in association with bath time. Never over-praise. This makes the dog think they just made it through a horribly bad thing.
We didn't mentiion the nails. Sometimes it's best to let the professionals do this part. If you're not sure where to cut, don't.
As with all experiences with your dog, if you act like it is a pleasant time, they will begin to come around to enjoying all the attention. This will also make it easier on you the next time!