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All washed up? How to groom your dog

Unlike you and I, dogs like to be dirty and stinky. They have no remorse about skipping out on bath time. But every now and then, the dirt and the stink becomes too much, too unbearable. There’s no other way - there’s no other course of action.


“Doggone it!,” you say as you sigh with dread. You know your dog will put up a fight once the water starts running into the bath. So, how do you clean Fido without all the clawing and howling?

Make bath time positive

It doesn’t matter if you are a dog or a person -- first impressions stick. Even if your pup already has negative associations with baths, you can start over and make a new impression.

The first thing you want to do is link bath time to something positive. In other words, bring out the goods -- offer treats, toys, and affection to get your dog to come to the bath.

Next, you need to act in a positive matter-of-fact frame of mind. “It’s only a bath and I need you smelling clean so I can smooch you more. The water is lovely warm and soothing - I have a gorgeous massager to rub you all over getting the shampoo into your coat! Let’s get those pretty eyes and ears nice and clean! Then your most favourite thing in the world - a warm fluffy towel and lots of vigorous rubbing. See you love it!”

If you shower them with gifts and praise, they will learn to associate bath time with fun and treats.

Great so you got them into the bath. What’s next?

Wash them gently while making sure to avoid their eyes and, more importantly, their ears. Not only is it uncomfortable when water gets into their ears, but it’s something that can actually cause health problems.

Want a tip? According to Cesar Milan (yes - the dog whisperer!) try cotton balls. If your dog will let you do it, stuff cotton balls into their ears. It will help prevent unwanted water into your dog’s ears.

Is this your shampoo or mine?

You’d be surprised by how many people use regular shampoo on their dogs, and sometimes it’s alright. But one surefire way to make your dog hate bath time is by using a shampoo that causes dry skin or makes them scratch uncontrollably. What you want is a mild soap -- one that cleans and removes unwanted odors without stripping away important oils.Their skin is more alkaline than ours so the PH of their shampoos reflects this

Dry behind the ears

A towel is generally best to go here as some dogs hate the noise and heat of blow dryers. Make a turban out of a towel for their head this makes them feel secure and muffles the noise. Make sure to use one of the more absorbent dog towels that can be found at most pet stores. And, of course, be prepared for the inevitable “shake” as your dog dries off. The way a dog is designed means they can remove most of the water from their coat themselves - watch a timelapse video of a dog shaking. It’s blissfully perfect!

Additionally, a good brush out before the bath gets rid of that dead hair and also cuts the drying time down as you only have the live fresh hair to deal with.

Dry dog - yes! Oh no - what about this mess?

Yes, bath time is often a messy ordeal. But if you’re tired of the cleanup afterwards, you’re in luck! We offer great self-service facilities. At our place, cleaning up and towel washing are not your problem. All you do is use our purpose-designed facilities to wash and dry your dog. Find out more here.

We bath lots of dogs at Nose to Tail and some pups can be anti-bath to start with, but you can always find something they like -- when you do things they like, it’s more fun and enjoyable for them. We always have yummy treats on hand to reinforce the positive acceptance from them.

If you find this a mission you want to avoid and are putting up with a stinky dog that isn’t getting the love and cuddles they need, ask us how to get them into a bath - we will show you. Routine and a great attitude are key as dogs become habitual quite easily. Give us a bell in store on 09 448 222.


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