So it’s time for your puppy’s first bath. Laying the groundwork for a successful bath means patience, time, and a little bit of training. Getting your puppy used to bath time and all that goes with it will make for a much more relaxed experience for your pet, you, and your groomer. Here are some helpful Fear Free tips to make your puppy’s bath time, a fun time.
No matter how big or small, young or old, dogs tend not to enjoy standing on a slippery surface such as a bathtub. It is actually one of the main reasons dogs shy away from bath time. To ensure your puppy feels safe to use a rubber-backed bath mat or some other non-slip material that will give your pet a secure place to stand. To get your puppy used to being in a tub, make it a fun experience with some playtime and treats while in the tub without actually washing him or her.
After your puppy shows positive signs of being comfortable in the tub and maybe even excited to get in you can move on to introducing water. Think of your puppy’s bath like a baby bath and make sure the water temperature is lukewarm. Fill up the tub so the water is just over the paws and let them explore this new feeling. Introduce fun toys that he or she can play within the water and of course continue to reward good behavior with treats. While your puppy is distracted, fill your hand with some water and gently pour it over your puppy starting from the back and slowly working your way to the neck (be mindful of what your puppy will tolerate and back off if they seem upset). You may want to consider the Aquapaw Pet Bathing Tool, which acts like a handheld shower that gently massages your pet with water and the Aquapaw Slow Treater which sticks to the tub or tile surface and allows you to spread a tasty treat (such as peanut butter or cheese) for your pet to lick off (we use this in our grooming salon).
Once your puppy is comfortable with the tub and water, it is time to begin the shampooing process. Always make sure to use a puppy-safe shampoo that is rated tearless. Start at the shoulders, working down the back and tail. Next the stomach, legs, and paws. Be careful near the face and head, as dogs generally do not like water in their face. Use a wet face towel instead, which will also prevent you from getting water in the ears.
Now that your puppy is all clean use towels to dry them and never a human blow dryer as it is too hot and noisy. Once your puppy is sufficiently dry make sure to reward them with lots of love and treats for successfully completing a full bath.