how to survive bathing your dog in 6 easy steps

February 17, 2015


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and mention of a product which I received in exchange for review.
All opinions presented are my own.


Anise doesn't like bath time.

If you're an owner of any non-retrieving dog breed, you're probably nodding your head in agreement with me already (even if you are, your sweet lab or golden may very well love jumping in the river but consider bath time to be sheer torture. I get it).

Thankfully, Anise is pretty well-behaved and tolerates her bath after she realizes there's no escaping. Things get a little better each time. I say thankfully because dog bathing/grooming outside of the home is a huge expense. No, thank you. It's easy, cost-effective, and a good training experience to take care of your pup's hygiene at home. Just consider the following:
  1. Gather everything you need beforehand. You don't want to turn your attention away from your dog for a second once you've started. Make sure any supplies you need are in the room where you will bathe before you begin: towel, shampoo, brush, etc.
  2. Shut the door. No escaping. Nuff said.
  3. Buddy system. Sean and I have both bathed Anise together and we've both done it alone. We can do either with confidence, but it's so much easier to have an extra set of hands—especially with an 80+ lb. dog like ours.
  4. Take it slow. Dogs need to investigate everything. Let them check out the bathing area. Let them sniff the water nozzle and the shampoo bottle. Let the water run and pool at their feet before full-on rinsing them. Less scare=less fight.
  5. Treats. Positive reinforcement is a wonderful thing. We have an awkward stand-up shower in our basement (really awkward, both our heads touch the ceiling in this thing) which we use for bathing Anise. We have a designated bag of training treats that we leave in that bathroom specifically for bath time. Both feet are in the shower? Great, here's a treat! Standing still? Great, here's another!
  6. Use quality products.  Invest part of your DIY savings in products that deliver lasting results: a brush and/or nail clippers that do their job without breaking, and a high-quality shampoo that cleans thoroughly without irritating your pup's skin or eyes. Best Natural Home and Health sent us a bottle of their Best Natural Essential Shine Dog Shampoo to try out, and I'd say all parties were impressed: I thought it smelled great and left her soft and clean, and Anise tried to eat it out of my hand throughout the whole process (it has a piƱa-colada-ish smell to me). She definitely didn't do that with our other shampoo!
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Before you know it, your dog is shaking it off and you can do a quick towel dry before allowing them to go sulk. Don't feel guilty, though; they're feeling fresh and clean and will be wagging their tail in your face for playtime soon enough!


PS: Want to make bathtime smell yummy for them with an all-natural shampoo yourself? Best Natural Home and Health is having a giveaway during February—10 winners will receive a bottle. Plus, every entrant receives a 15% off coupon code, so you can order it for yourself anytime!
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