The Psychology of Successful Dog Bathing


“Can I wash my very own dog? It could actually’t be that tough can it?” These are the words that I hear on a regular basis as I’m going about my business working on the Pooch Parlor in Northern Idaho. Every time I walk a customer through this process, I find myself wondering why on this planet something so easy is so doggone hard to elucidate. Washing your individual dog could seem easy, but – only should you think and speak ‘dog’ – the language of your individual dog.

I run a store for full service and self-service dog grooming and bathing, and I LOVE it! There are dogs, and owners, of each size, every breed, and each temperament that are available to make use of the self-service doggie wash. Most owners are excited, some are scared, and a few are cocky, but irrespective of who they’re, or what they do for a living, there’s nothing quite as intimidating for them as washing their very own dog in public! The considered doing this will give even essentially the most confident person, performance anxiety, and for good reason! It’s a true test of trust and tolerance and friendship for the person and dog companion. And, on a really basic level, it’s an honest mirror for the owner, and the way she or he deals with life, and with conflict. The likelihood of a successful experience for each is totally dependent upon the psychological relationship that exists between them, and, to a big extent, the flexibility of each to understand the body language of the opposite. It’s possible you’ll be surprised to know that I actually have found that dogs are supremely higher at reading their humans than their humans are of reading them. It is that this relationship between human and canine, that shows itself without modesty during bathtime, and, keeps me coming to work day after day with a smile on my face.

My clients have been giving their dogs baths in my shops for 10+ years now, and, annually is more entertaining than the last in terms of watching regular people washing their very own regular dogs. The common person who comes through our doors is very successful, which often means – intelligent – and, because like attracts like, so is their dog. And, so why oh why, they ask me, should this easy task of cleansing their dog be so difficult? I ask them again and again, “Well, how well do you speak dog?” Invariably, their reply is a blank stare. So, that is the time to ask yourself, “How well do YOU speak dog?”

There’s quite a bit to say in regards to the theories of why dogs and humans behave the way in which they do, but I will get back to the sensible things to search for while bathing your individual dog. The underside line to recollect is that your dog’s energy and personality traits are a mirror to your individual. Take this into consideration when attempting to get him into the bathtub and have him be blissful about it.

1. Deciding when to wash your dog. Timing and Personality traits: Timing is vital. Have a look at your individual needs regarding timing to understand how your dog will react. Are you the type of person who is up for anything anytime? Or do it is advisable to accomplish your day in a scheduled, systematic way? How do you do with latest experiences? Do you discover them refreshing and fun, or do you are feeling fearful until comfortable with a brand new activity? Your dog goes to cope with the bathtime experience in the identical way you cope with life experiences. Keep in mind that your dog goes to reflect your individual personality traits – not necessarily the traits you show the world, however the traits which are truly inside you.

a. Fun-loving, extroverted, and social humans. In the event you enjoy regular physical activity, then so will your dog. For one of these person and dog, I suggest you’re taking your dog out for a bout of exercise before the bathtub. In the town where I work, we’re fortunate to have a delegated beach on the lake only for dogs and their humans – dogbeach. There’s an extended path to run or walk on, and there’s a big beach area to swim and play in. That is the proper scenario for pre-bath timing. The dog can decide to get muddy, run, socialize, or simply enjoy being outside. In any case, the dog is capable of spend big reserves of energy outside in a fun way, identical to letting human children play before naptime. In the event you love exercise, do something like this along with your dog before taking him into your individual tub or knowledgeable facility for a dog bath. A standard fault of the social dog and owner: Simply because you might be friendly, out-going person doesn’t mean everyone wants to just accept your friendly, and out-going gestures. It’s hard to fathom, I do know, however it is true. If you might have a really social dog (should you are a social person), it is straightforward to forget that many dogs (like their owners) should not social and don’t appreciate the social requirements (like butt-sniffing) of others. Please remember to respect their space when in public or otherwise. Keep your dog restrained and under control, even in case your dog has the friendliest intentions.

b. Non-social, energetic, or inactive humans. In case your personality shouldn’t be conducive to social interaction, then I still suggest that you just walk your dog or do something that’s comfortable inside your life that involves light exercise before bathing your dog. Taking a walk along with your dog does wonders to alleviate excess tension or stress for each human and dog. By eliminating stressful energies during a walk, it doesn’t present itself during bathtime. Getting exercise is particularly essential for those humans,( I mean dogs), which are highly nervous. I like to recommend giving your dog Valerian root (liquid form) or Rescue Treatment (liquid or spray) orally half-hour before the bathtub. Each of those products are natural remedies to calming down jittery nerves- and it really works great for humans too. If timing is vital in your life, take your dog to a self-service bathing facility when the smallest amount of persons are there, often early or late within the day. A standard fault of the non-social dog and owner: they convey poorly inside their very own species and with other species. Many people who tend towards isolation, often do that because they never found out easy methods to communicate effectively in human society. Their dogs typically have the identical problem. I actually have seen it occur persistently that owners of aggressive dogs unwittingly encourage their dog’s unwanted behavior, after they think they’re doing the alternative. They do that by projecting their worrying thoughts in regards to the ‘what-ifs’ of a social situation. Dogs of one of these owner act out their dog interpretations of their human owners signals. The dogs often pick up the ‘what-if’ fears of the human because the request of their human, actually creating the ‘what-if’ behavior to occur. Without human intervention and boundary setting by the owner (requiring advanced communication skills), it is kind of common for one of these dog to exhibit increasingly aggressive behavior. Most owners are dismayed by their dog’s aggressive behavior, but they simply lack the talents required to speak what behavior they may and won’t allow from their dog. I like to recommend that if you might have a dog that’s displaying increasingly aggressive behaviors to seek the advice of knowledgeable dog behaviorist or trainer. Just a couple of easy tricks will convey an accurate message to a dog that’s most probably misunderstanding your expectations.

Language barriers for humans and dogs. Its no surprise that miscommunication between owner and dog happens often. In the event you are a human that’s finding you do not understand why your dog does what he does, remember, you might be learning a complete different language and culture. Give yourself time and provides your dog time to know one another. Just don’t expect your dog to act like a human, especially during conflict. It takes time and practice for anyone to learn a brand new human language. It’s no different learning dog language. Everyone knows easy methods to interpret a human smile in society. When a dog pulls his lips back over his teeth, it typically doesn’t suggest he’s blissful! Would a human dream of greeting a brand new acquaintance by sniffing their butt? Right! But, in doggie language, that is the equivalent of shaking hands. A dog that shakes his head to get the slobber off of his mouth is not any different than an individual smoothing his slacks or dusting off his shirt to look more polite. The differences are huge, so give yourself and your dog a break if you might have hit a communication block wall.

2. Deciding where to wash your dog: There should not a variety of decisions in terms of bathing your dog. A. You need to use your individual bathtub at home which requires no human socializing – hard in your back, it is very messy with prolonged after cleansing, and potentially traumatizing to human and dog. B. Bring your dog to a self-service doggie wash shop – easier in your back, requires some basic social skills by owner and dog, could be noisy and hairy, requires no after cleansing, and it does cost greater than just the shampoo. C. Tie the dog to a fence and wash him with a hose within the yard (hopefully on a hot, sunny day) – difficult on the back, hard on the dog with cold water, potentially traumatizing for nervous dogs, but doesn’t require human or dog socialiaing. D. Wash the dog in your nearest lake -which is very talked-about in my neck of the woods – hard on the back, requires advanced human and dog social skills, is potentially harmful to the environment, and the way clean can you actually get a dog in lakewater?

No matter where you wash your dog, have in mind your individual physical limitations, and your dog’s physical limitations. Is it price wrecking your bathroom and hurting your back to scrub your dog at home? For the clients I see, the reply is a definite, no! Emotional requirements are sometimes an element for dogs. For example, (normally) Labrador retrievers don’t have any issue being bathed in a lake (though they do not get clean), but they often resent being restrained in a bathtub with a sprayer hose pointed of their direction. For a farm dog that has never been away from home, tying them to the fence is a greater solution than trucking them to the town and asking them to have manners in a grooming shop, or in a populated lake. No less than next to the fence, even with cold water, they’re comfortable with where they’re and what is anticipated of them.

My vote is, in fact to search out a self-service doggie wash facility. The equipment is skilled and simple to make use of, the water is warm (more often than not) and typically the dogs get treats after they walk out the door, which makes them blissful campers. So, for those who wish to learn about washing your dog at a laundradog facility, here you go:

2. Getting your dog in the bathtub and getting him to remain there! At this grooming shop, the common dog that is available in for self-service is around 100lbs. All of the dogs are washed at waist level where they stand on a grate in the bathtub. Getting them in the bathtub is usually a trick. It’s type of like asking a human to place ice skates on, and stand on the ice and never worry about easy methods to do it. The simplest way for dog and human is to not give the dog time to make a decision whether or not he desires to. (Not the simplest task for shy or overprotective owners). The owner is given a big choker chain or cloth noose which works across the dogs neck.

Leading: Now we have the owner quickly lead/pull the dog up the steps with one other person on the opposite end of the dog to provide a fast boost on the butt end. The dog is on the grate, and in the bathtub before he has decided to be fearful about it. Once the dog is in the bathtub, the owner hooks them in (not something you may do in your tub at home) to a wide range of metal hooks contained in the tub.

Choking: The dogs which are latest to having a shower will sometimes turn in the bathtub and pull on the choker chain. We prefer the choker chain to a daily noose since the dog quickly learns with a choker that he’s answerable for whether or not he feels the choking sensation. The second the dog realizes he controls his own choking, AND realizes his owner goes to permit him to learn this (this could be very difficult for the overprotective and/or mother kinds of owners-most all of us!), the pulling behavior stops. With a daily cloth noose, or one that doesn’t self-regulate, the dogs will pull and pull and infrequently never learn that they’ve the control over their very own pulling greater than another behavior in the course of the bath. Owners feel like they’re directly causing their dog injury and may rescue them immediately after they hear them coughing and sometimes gagging. It’s natural to feel concern over your dog choking, however it helps to think about the dog’s pulling and coughing much like putting a toddler into his crib for a midday nap.

Many human toddlers HATE taking a nap and can cry hard enough to cough and gag. If parents rescue them from their cribs when this happens, they’re reinforcing this coughing behavior for his or her child. Parents that monitor the crying, and coughing from a protected distance where the toddler cannot see them, soon find that their babies submit quietly to naptime without expecting to be rescued every time he utters a sound. Naps and baths will not be nice to start with, but they’re each essential habits of life. Dogs have the identical learning behaviors regarding rescue. Owners that react with excessive concern over the pulling (because the dog is expecting), or crying and screaming tantrums, find they’re only encouraging more pulling and tantrums from their dog. This point is so crucial that it’s price repeating. The more upset and fearful the owner gets over the dogs behavior, the more they get of that dog behavior. If the owner is calm and without fear – and projects this to their dog, it shouldn’t be long before the dog understands that pulling on the chain is simply hurting himself, and that tantrums are a waste of their energy. When the owner believes every little thing is high quality despite pulling and tantrums, the dog does too, and he stops the undesirable behavior accepts that today is bath day!

So many nurturing owners find this part difficult, but try to recollect, whenever you expect your dog to learn easy methods to control his own anxiety, he’ll learn, however it requires that you just LET him learn. The perfect ways to learn to manage ones own anxiety is to truly undergo the experience of getting the anxiety and coping with it. In the event you are the style of owner that can’t allow your dog to experience this emotion without taking up and stopping the experience, your dog will learn to enter an anxious state increasingly easily due to response that he can expect from his owner. This becomes upsetting for each dog and owner and as you may see becomes an escalating cycle. In the event you allow your dog to undergo this experience of the bathtub, anxiety and all, you will note that they may calm down and before you recognize it, you might have a dog that means that you can bathe him! And having clean dog is crucial to most dog owners. When your dog does calm down, i.e. quits pulling on the noose and allows the bathtub experience, that’s the precise time to specific heightened emotion of happiness through praise and treats. In the event you take this time to praise your dog, it won’t be long before your dog asks to be washed with a blissful, wanting-to-please attidude.

Nonetheless, as with all rule, there are a couple of exceptions: old, very young, asthmatic, and dogs with neck or throat problems needs to be closely watched in the event that they exhibit excessive pulling on the choker chain.

Ignore or to not Ignore: More often than not, I like to recommend to owners to easily and quietly ignore their dogs protesting to get the behavior to stop (and it does), with the one exception being a small puppy (like a yorkie) or an old and fragile dog. Each the young and the old dogs that should not used to baths can injure their tracheas or create a medical problem (like asthma) if their nervous behaviors are allowed to escalate. It’s on this circumstance that I tell the owners to make use of a harness to hook the dogs in the bathtub or within the case of a small and wild puppy, to make use of a sink or bucket wherein they’ll immerse the dog in warm, soapy water. Puppies are wired to swim and that is what they do in the event that they find their bodies in water. Swimming is less complicated to work with than a freaking out jumping bean. In the event you do select to disregard your dog’s protesting to the bathtub, REMEMBER to provide numerous praise when the dog show’s signs of acceptance and/or begins to calm down.

Drying Your Dog: Drying a dog relies on the style of hair, style of temperament and grooming experience the dog has. If you might have a shorthaired dog, towel drying is usually adequate. Within the grooming shop, we use high-power dryers that blow the water out of thick or double-coated dogs like shepards, collies, and huskies – and on this case – standard poodles.

Put cotton within the dog’s ears before you start because the dryer is loud. Make certain there’s a minimum of play within the noose or chain that connects the dog to the bathtub, because the more room the dog has to throw a tantrum, the more room he’ll use. Start the dryer on the back end of the dog and aim the dryer side to side moving towards the pinnacle until the water shouldn’t be dripping off the dog any longer. Most private owners go home with their dogs still dripping due to tantrum factor. That is where the above information comes into play. The vast majority of dogs are nervous at first, but they quickly learn that the air is simply loud, not painful. If the owner stays calm, the dog will quickly find this state in the course of the drying process.

There are a couple of more minor steps that do occur within the grooming shop, similar to brushing, nail clipping, anal expression, ear plucking and cleansing, teeth brushing and scaling and more. You possibly can take a look at more ‘easy methods to’ information on these specific techniques at No matter who you might be or what you do for a living, the probabilities of your dog having a pleasing experience in the course of the bath is very dependent upon the flexibility of the dog’s owner to know his or her own needs regarding life and society. Consider all of the aspects, energy reserves of your dog – spend them before the space wherever you go will increase your odds for achievement. Consider how much you really do learn about dog language. Above all else, do not forget that you, the owner, are in charge, and that in case your dog is temporarily distressed with a brand new situation, you might have to remain calm long enough to permit your dog to know and accept the experience. It is a curious notion that a human would need to delve into the fundamentals of his or her own psychological needs to provide their dog an excellent bath experience, but should you try this, you and your canine friend could have a few years of blissful and successful bathing experiences.

Creator DuAnn Lustig-Chambers has been grooming since 1997 and owns Pooch Parlor Pet Groomer Training Academy in Sandpoint, Idaho.


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