Bathing a puppy can be a real challenge, especially when your pup uses every resource to thwart your attempts to get them clean. Who wants to sit, all wet, in a slippery bathtub when there are lizards to chase, and trash men to harass? But don’t give up on this important bath ritual. The way you bathe your puppy matters because you are teaching them, here and now, exactly what bath time will be like for the rest of his days. If you want a well-behaved adult dog that actually enjoys his bath, follow these steps. First thing; before you even run the bathwater, is to collect all the supplies you will need. You’ll need a lot of these the first few times. Nylon collar and leash Coat-conditioning spray (for long-haired dogs) Natural-bristle brush Slicker brush during times of heavy shedding. Large towel for your dog. Now that your supplies are in order, put them all within reach of the tub where you will bathe your puppy. The bathtub works fine for some people, but small dogs fit perfectly in the kitchen sink, and this can be easier on your back if you’re no longer a spring chicken. You may prefer to bathe really big using the garden hose on the porch or driveway. Next, put on clothes you don’t care about getting soaked. Get a few of those treats ready, along with the nylon collar and leash. The entire affair will work better if your puppy is hungry, so do not feed him 6 hours before the bath. Call your puppy to you and offer a treat, remove his regular collar, put on the nylon collar and leash, a give him a few more treats. Say to him, “We’re going to have a bath! Won’t this be fun?” Take your puppy into the bathroom and show him a favorite toy, and play in the bathroom a bit. Remember, you want this to be fun. Now it’s time for a thorough brush-and-comb. Any knots or tangles in your puppy’s coat will tighten and become worse when wet, so you want to comb out all tangles before turning on the faucet. Spray long coats with conditioner and brush thoroughly, then comb through, making sure you get all the way down to the skin.
Pay attention to the areas behind your dog’s ears, where legs meet body, and under the tail, where mats tend to form in long coats. Remember to praise throughout this process and stay happy, keep the treats flowing. When your dog’s coat is completely free of tangles and dead hair, put the nonskid mat on the bottom of the tub, sink, or pool, and loop the nylon leash around some thing sturdy like the faucet or, if you are outside, a fence, deck post, or heavy piece of lawn furniture. Now your puppy can’t escape and you still have both hands free. Show him his toy and let him play with it a little in the tub before you turn on the water. Remember to do this with each new step, so your puppy gets rewarded instead of being afraid of the bath. If your puppy has sensitive eyes, use a baby shampoo on his head area. Don’t let the water touch the dog until you are sure it is the right temperature. If using the garden hose, make sure any hot water sitting in the hose has run all the way out. Now, thoroughly soak the coat with water. Avoid the eyes and ears, and keep praising. Now, put some shampoo in your palms and rub them together, or apply some to the middle of your dog’s back. Apply the shampoo to your dog’s coat by massaging in circles for short coats, or massaging in long strokes with the growth of hair in long coats, to prevent tangling. Using the scrub brush, work the shampoo in, again using a circular motion on short coats and long brushstrokes on long coats. As you scrub and soap your puppy, he will probably shake his coat and soak you. This is a natural reaction in dogs when they get wet. If he does this, do not scold him! Next, it’s time to rinse. If you leave shampoo in the coat, it can attract dirt and cause tangles, making your dog look worse than before you washed him. Using the sprayer attachment or a pitcher, rinse out all the soap from along the back, under the belly, between paw pads, ect. When you are sure you’ve rinsed out all the soap, do it again. There’s always more soap that needs to be removed. Finish with a conditioner for dogs.
When the bath is over, wrap your puppy in a big, soft towel and blot the water from his coat. Don’t rub the coat as wet hair tangles easily. After you dry your puppy, he will shake again, just to dry himself a little more. Go with it, and stay happy. If you want your dog to air dry a wire crate works best.
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