The best time to start teaching a dog about bathing is when he is young. Unless your dog gets smelly or goes to doggie daycare, you only need to bathe your dog every three months or so, if you are brushing him regularly to keep the oils at bay.
If you are bathing your dog inside, use the shower instead of a tub (if it is large enough for the both of you). Some breeds do not like to stand in a pool of water. If it’s warm outside, you can certainly bathe him without a tub or if you prefer, get a child’s pool.
Be sure to bathe him while he is on a leash. Kneeling on the leash allows you to keep both hands free.
Get your dog used to the shower/tub or child’s pool ahead of time. Lure your dog in with a dog treat and praise him when he is in. Do this several times for a few days.
Practice the command “Get In” using lots of treats and praise. Then use the command “Get Out” and coax him to get out (no rewards for getting out of shower/tub).
If you can’t get your dog in the shower or tub, then go outside (if warm weather) and bathe him standing in the grass. If it is cold outside, check to see if there are any dog bathing shops in your area that you can bathe your dog yourself using their equipment.
Next day get your dog in the shower or child’s tub and turn on some water. Don’t spray him. Just let him get used to the water running. Use a calm voice and praise him and give him a treat.
Next day when you are ready to give your dog a bath, have everything ready and within arms reach — towels, wash cloth, shampoo, treats, pitcher, hose and cotton balls for his ears.
Get a drain screen at Home Depot to cover your drain if you are using your shower so as to not have dog hair clog your drain!
Brush your dog before you bathe him to remove as much loose hair as you can.
Shut the bathroom door if inside or a fenced area.
Put cotton balls in your dog’s ears.
Tell your dog “Get In.” If you are outside, put him on a short leash.
Test the water on your bare skin, making sure it is warm.
Wet your dog. Starting from the shoulders, work your way down to the tail, making sure to get your whole dog wet. Use a pitcher or soft-spraying nozzle. Do not spray his face — use a washcloth to dampen his face.
I discovered this fantastic spraying glove that allows you to keep one hand holding the dog while the other hand sprays, lathers and messages while controlling the spray. It makes it easy to get the water under your dog and between its legs. Make sure you get the upgraded version here.
Lather your dog with a good shampoo, starting at the shoulders and working towards the tail.
Rinse your dog with clean water until the water runs clear.
Quickly throw a towel over him and soak up as much water as possible. Then grab another towel and continue. Get ready for “the shake!”
I’ve never had a dog that would tolerate a blow dryer, but you can try it on a low setting. I usually take my dog on a long walk, weather permitting. You can give your dog a bone or play with him — anything to get his mind off of the bath and being wet.
Keep him contained to one area until he is dry because your dog will want to rub himself on anything and everything.
Time to clean up the mess!