How to Give a Dog a Bath

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Actually, this is how not to give a dog a bath. I have friends who have Mini Aussies and they coax them into the shower and bathe the dog while they shower. More power to them- it's just not my idea of fun to be wet and naked and trying to wash the dog. As you'll see, I prefer to wet and clothed, trying to wash the dog. Perhaps their way is better.

Not to mention I can't get Ninja to get in the shower. If my husband thought the dog was showering in our shower he'd probably never get in there again. So he gets washed in our spare bathroom or outside. That is to say, the DOG gets washed outside or in the spare bathroom, not my husband. I wanted to be clear on that, lest you imagine my poor hubby showering outside. As much as I love my pup, it hasn't come to that yet.

First off, I don't use any fancy dog shampoo. Ninja gets bathed in Flex or Finesse or something else that smells good. Usually it's what's on sale or what I can find at the 99 cents store. You know I love my dog (he has his own blog, for heaven's sake!) but I'd rather spend the extra money on his food, which is just so much more important IMO. Balsam builds volume so Flex always gives him about three times more hair. Thank heavens it's just an illusion, since he is blowing out the Winter coat for the Summer one. If he seriously had three times more hair we'd just have to move out. My friend keeps saying if we could find a use for all the hair and sell it, we'd be set for life. Yes, I know I knit, but spinning dog hair into yarn is not something I'm willing to do. At least not right now.

As you recall, we live in Southern California, so when the weather is warm (as often is) we like to bathe Ninja in a tub outside and avoid all the hair in the drain and wet dog running around in our house. Yes, I know you can blow dry a dog. Have you ever tried it? Remember, Ninja has hair, not just fur. Not only does he not really like the hair dryer (unless it's being used on me and then he likes to out his paws in my lap and see what I'm doing) but it takes FOREVER to make any difference. I use at least three towels to dry him off and he still feels soaked.

Getting back to the bath. Here's how to do it. . .or not.

Start with a big enough tub for the dog to fit in. That was really our first mistake. Round tub with a rectangular (long) dog wasn't such a bright idea. As you can imagine, he didn't want to get in. He's a smart puppy.

Next, use a gentle sprayer and get your dog nice and wet. This helps for the shampoo stage. If he's not wet enough, you don't get any lather and you can't get him clean. No sprayer on the hose works even better. Ninja didn't like the spray. Can you tell how thrilled he is by the picture above?

It's not a bad idea to put the leash on him. After chasing a wet dog through the yard and down the street several times, I hauled out the leash.

In fact, you might want to give up on the tub altogether, because if he takes off wet and soapy and rolls in the grass, you'll end up with an even bigger mess. Don't ask me how I know this. Really, don't.

This picture makes it look like I'm torturing him. He did not want to go into the tub. I tugged on his collar and DD pushed him from behind. Nothing. Worse than nothing. He wasn't budging. I ended up picking up nearly 40 pounds of wet dog and depositing him in the tub. Although it appears I'm working diligently to strangle my poor puppy, I'm actually only tugging gently. He's pulling back less than gently, so it looks like I'm dragging him.

Here we are soaping him. This lasted all of about two minutes until he decided to bolt. In order to soap him we had to take off the leash. And he took full advantage of that. Imagine 40 pounds of wet, soapy dog rolling in the grass, the dirt, and then running down the street with a soaking wet woman and a soaking wet little girl chasing after him. The bathtub inside the house was sounding better every minute. At least it has a door.

I found washing him in the front yard sans tub worked even better. But that was after a lot of trial and error. Mostly error.

A final word of advice. Make sure to let him shake off all of the water outside before he comes in. This is important if you value your home, your furniture, your clothing, or your sanity at all.

It's a beautiful day today but I'm thinking Ninja can get his bath in the bathtub and avoid all of this excitement.


Buckeye Tangles said...

(I had to check out your other blog, being a former Awesome Aussie owner, RIP Jessica James Beeler.) Have you tried one of those cheap plastic kiddie pools. We used one for my BIL's German Shepherd. He wasn't afraid of it and it was big enough for him to sit or lay in.

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