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Influence Positively Questionnaire - Robin A.F. Olson

How to bathe a grouchy puppy


Dogs almost always hate baths. Unless you and your pack are together from the start, meaning you are a puppy when you see your first bath, good luck. Positive bathing experiences for dogs are rare.  There is a long history for humans to think we won't notice or care, if you hose us down with cold water from a hose in the backyard.

Ocean baths are ideal if you are like me and live near an off leash beach in San Francisco. They are my first choice every time. Salty water to bite, possible stinky stuff to roll in, puppy pals to play with.

However if you do not live near the ocean, you can always take your pooch to a self-service dog wash facility like Pawtrero Bathhouse. It isn't so bad, they have all the tools your PL needs, including treats to entice you up the ramp and into the tub.


However if you don't have the option of taking your pooch somewhere, then here are ten easy steps to giving your pup a bath at home.

How to Bathe a Grouchy Puppy

  1. Lock her outside- since we hate getting a bath, do not give us a chance to walk or run back into the house.
  2. No escape- besides the house, do not let us hide under a bush or sneak off to a corner of the yard or we will and good luck enticing us out of our suddenly all important dirt den.
  3. Have treats for reward- hey, we are as uncomfortable about all of this as you are, a few treats to make us feel loved goes far.
  4. Keep calm- if you are calm we will not freak out and think you are about to kill us or suddenly beat us, even if you never have in our life or ever would.
  5. Massage- a slight massage as you bathe us is nice.
  6. Rinse- Furry girls like me need a big rinse to get all the soap out of our hair.
  7. Repeat - given our reluctance for baths, we suggest you quickly repeat the above just in case our next bath is that many weeks/months from now.
  8. Take photos/video - record this big event because you don't know when it will happen again.
  9. Wrap in soft towel- even with all of my fur, we dogs love to feel loved and being wrapped up in a soft and maybe warm towel dries us and allows us to remember how much you love us, all at the same time.
  10. Take us for walk after - It doesn't matter how many times we go through this, after bathing our nervous energy needs to be burned off by a walk. A bonus for us both is that it also helps us air dry!!