Dogs, for the most part, are not averse to getting filthy. Countryside walks will often see them gleefully exploring mud puddles and soil-encrusted undergrowth without a care in the world.
Of course, we humans are slightly less enthusiastic about dirt – particularly when it is being trampled all over the carpet. Our concern is not restricted to keeping up appearances, either. A dirty dog is far more prone to becoming infected and the woodland is filled with ticks and other nasty bugs which can inflict conditions like Lyme disease.
It is therefore sensible to keep a dog clean. This sometimes requires giving them a good wash; but doing this can be something of a challenge. In this article, we’ll look at some of these challenges and how they can be overcome.
Protect your property
Car boot liners for dogs offer an inexpensive means of transporting a dirty dog without sullying the means of transportation. For example, if you have just returned to your car after a long walk through a muddy forest, then you won’t be able to give your dog a soapy bath, even if you were so inclined. You therefore need a short-term solution which will protect your car during the voyage home. This is where car boot protectors for dogs come in extremely handy.
Do I need to bathe my dog?
Not all dogs are created equally and so some can go for long periods of time without needing to bathe. Some dogs, however, will need to be bathed more often – and more extensively – than others. These might include breeds whose coats are longer and therefore better able to attract dirt and conceal ticks.
If you haven’t bathed your dog before, then you should ease them into it. Look at it from the dog’s point of view: being suddenly submerged is not a pleasant experience – particularly if you’re not expecting it and if you don’t understand its purpose.
Make bath-time fun
Half of the challenge of bathing a dog lies in persuading it to co-operate. Some dogs simply do not like being help in one place; they may become bored, restless and irritable. These symptoms might be all the more troublesome if the dog in question is of a larger breed.
These problems can be overcome; though doing so will require a great deal of patience and a little Pavlovian classical conditioning. By following each bath with a reward, you can, over time, encourage your dog to co-operate. In just the same way as you might offer your dog a treat upon successful completion of a trick, you can offer one after bath time is finished. (On a related note, you should not call your dog when it is time for a bath, as your dog will then learn to associate being called with something unpleasant, in much the same way.)
In this sense, you can treat bath time as just another trick to master. But like any trick, this is one which can be more easily learned by younger dogs than older ones.
Bathe your dog from an early age
The earlier you can get your dog into a bath, the better. This is so for two main reasons. The first reason for this is one of physical practicality – dogs which are smaller are easier to restrain – and so sudden panic attacks are a great deal easier to manage.
The second and perhaps more significant reason is that puppies will be more open to new experiences and ideas than older dogs. As the saying goes, you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Moreover, you can use these formative years to ingrain in your dog’s thinking an association between bath time and rewards – they will thereby learn to tolerate short-term discomfort if it means long term reward. Eventually, when they are used to the sensation of bathing, they will not feel any discomfort at all and so less rewards will be necessary.
Even if you are physically capable of doing so, you should not manhandle your dog. If your dog is showing signs of distress, whimpering or crying, then you should desist and make them feel better. It may be time to explore more gradual ways of introducing your dog to the water.
Select the right shampoo
It is important to select a good shampoo. The selection on offer at your pet shop can be bewildering, and so you might ask your vet for a recommendation. The wrong sort of shampoo will get rid of dirt, but it will also remove the natural oils which help to keep your dog’s skin moist and protected against disease. Suffice to say, you should not clean your dog with shampoo intended for human beings.