Even though some dogs are taken to a dog groomer for a monthly haircut, nail trim and bath, some people bathe (or would like to bathe) their dog in between grooming visits. After all, dogs get dirty and a clean dog is much nicer to pet and snuggle.
Many of our clients ask how we are able to groom or bathe their pet so easily when it is so hard for them to do at home. The main reason is that professional groomers have been trained and understand dog handling. The second reason is that we also have professional products that make the handling easier.
Our job is to make a pet as clean and cute as possible while maintaining the safety of that pet (and the groomer) throughout the grooming process. After all, keeping a moving animal safe when using sharp scissors is not always an easy task, nor is keeping a biting dog still without getting bit.
Next to a dog, a groomers equipment is his/hers best friend. We have tables with grooming loops to not only keep the dog in a desired position but also keep them from jumping or falling off the table. If the dog is a biter, we have muzzles to use if needed to keep us safe, and to teach the dog how to be calm on the table. We also have restraints in the tub to keep the dog from jumping out as well as sprayers and dryers to make the process more efficient.
Most people do not have these items so it becomes a bit of a chore to try to bathe fluffy at home. There are some home products you can purchase to make the process similar to that of the grooming shop. We have put some items below that will help, simply click the images to view.
Tub restraints Shampoo and Conditioner Dog bath sprayer
The first and most important thing to do is to gather all of your supplies before you get the dog into the bath tub. It is important to have dog approved shampoo and conditioner not human products. Humans have a different PH than a dog. If you use human shampoo on your dog, it may cause dry skin, irritation, and itching. We recommend natures specialties shampoos and conditioners. Click the images above to order. You will also need a restraining device to keep your dog in the tub, a hose type sprayer, towels, treats, and a blow dryer if you plan on drying the dog.
If your dog has medium to long coat, you should properly brush them before the bath, to make sure the coat is free of matting. We recommend using a slicker brush and comb.
For a video on how to properly brush your dog at home click here
Have some treats handy and reward your dog for staying calm during this process. Restrain your dog in the tub so he/she does not try to jump out. This will save you time and will make the bathing process more pleasant for both of you.
- Start wetting your dog with warm water from the feet up, tail to head. Starting at the head will make your dog try to shake the water off immediately or may startle them if they aren’t comfortable in the bath yet.
- Keep the process as positive as possible and move in a timely manner to keep the process short. (Some dogs may become anxious the longer they remain in the tub) Efficiency is key.
- Wet the dogs entire coat. Apply shampoo and lather well, don’t forget in between the toes and pads of the feet. Do not get shampoo in your pets eyes. You can apply an approved eye lubricant before the bath to protect your pets eyes from shampoo.
- Rinse well with warm water making sure to get all soap out of the coat to prevent itching.
- Apply conditioner if desired, massage in, rinse well.
- Towel dry your dog using microfiber towels for better absorption and quicker drying time.
You can let your dog air dry or if you would rather blow dry your dog, do so on low setting preferably with the dog restrained on a grooming type table or on the floor.
Reward your dog with small treats throughout the process and remain calm at all times. If your dog tries to jump out of the tub, thrash about, or bite, it is important not to end the bathing process at this time. If you do, you will be teaching the dog that the behavior gets him out of the tub and he will continue to do so. Only end the bathing process when the dog is calm. If your dog is having difficulty with the bath, you may have to break the process down into smaller steps to get the pet comfortable over time. Most groomers will be happy to instruct you on how to do this.
If you follow these steps you should be able to bathe your pet like a pro and make the process more pleasant for you and your pet! Happy Bathing!
Cindy Quigley is a Canine life cycle coach, owner of Super Mutts Canine training and author of Puppy Montessori. She has 20 years’ experience professionally working with dogs. She has worked in grooming shops, boarding facilities and veterinary hospitals, all of which taught her how to read canine body language and understand dog handling. As boarding and daycare facility owners together with her husband Kenneth she has cared for thousands of dogs and has thousands of hours observing, studying and modifying canine behavior. She is an AKC/ CGC, CGCU, Community Canine and S.T.A.R. puppy evaluator.
You can read more or purchase her book at www.supermutts.com