Bath Time For Sally

Bathing can be scary for many dogs. But don’t worry. Making bath time easier for your furry friend is possible. Here are some helpful tips on how to make the entire bathing process easier for you and your furry friend.

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Prepare All the Stuff Needed Before Bath Time Starts

For an easier bath time for you and your dog, make sure to gather up all the necessary items required for bath time. This includes towels, shampoo, a cup for rinsing and toys to help him be distracted beforehand. You may even wish to have a tasty and tempting treat on hand.

If you notice that your dog tends to get nervous in the bathing area, it would be best to avoid leaving them alone in that “scary place”. This reinforces the importance of not having to leave the area to obtain an item needed for the bath.

Not leaving them alone makes bath time a little easier for your furry friend.

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Make Sure that the Tub is Filled with Water before You Put Them In The Tub Makes Bath Time Easier

Make things a little easier for your dog by filling the tub with comfortably warm water before they get in. The sound of running water may be relaxing and calming for humans. However, for dogs, it can be very stressful if they associate the sound with being bathed.

We once had a Saint Bernard who loved being given a bath. She associated the process with the entire process of going to the dog show. Mostly, she loved being the center of attention! She enjoyed grooming, posing, and all that went with the show.

If she heard bath water running, you better have locked the door. Otherwise, she would jump right into the tub with you! This once happened with an overnight guest. She was asleep when we gave the warning to the rest of her group. Being unaware of this risk, she did not lock the door. Our very surprised guest wrapped herself in the shower curtain and quickly ran down the hall squealing for help. This Saint was very sweet and gentle but she was massive and very excited about being in the tub.


Unfortunately, not all dogs enjoy being given a bath as much as our girl but, most of them learn to accept it with a careful introduction to the process. If you take your time to alleviate any of their fears and to allow them to build confidence in you and the process, it will really pay off. (Just be thankful you are not having to bathe a cat LOL)

See to It that Your Tub is Not Slippery

Another huge factor that can contribute to a dog’s fear of bathing is if they slip in the tub. It’s scary for us, or for them, to feel insecure if one is about to fall. So, make sure that the tub is non-slip. You can put towels in the bottom of the tub as an alternative if you don’t have a mat or any semi-permanent, nonslip materials on your tub floor.

Assist them for a safe entrance into the tub but do not push, pull or force the entry. Smaller dogs can be picked up and gently placed into the tub. Larger dogs may need to be induced to climb or step into the tub with a tasty treat or a favorite toy in the bottom of the tub.

If Your Dog is Scared of the Running Faucet, You Can Use Cups

pup scared of bath
pup scared of bath


If your dog is frightened by the sound of flowing water, you can avoid this problem with the use of cups. Slowly pouring water from a cup to wet their fur before shampooing or to rinse off the shampoo suds afterward appears to be less frightening to most dogs. This is a very simple way of making bath time easier for your furry friend!

The use of cups for bathing is quiet and less imposing. It can also be handy when it comes to preventing the water from getting into those delicate areas on or around the face.

Be Especially Careful When Rinsing your Dog’s Face

Keep in mind the importance of protecting their eyes, nose and/or ears while taking a bath. It will stress them even more if the water keeps on getting into their eyes, ears and/or nose. A washcloth can help you prevent this from happening and goes a long way toward making bath time easier for your furry friend.

Give Toys and Treats While Inside the Tub

Another favorite trick of mine to make bathing easier is the use of toys and treats. You can use toys and treats as needed for distraction or for a calming effect.

Depending on how stressed out your dog is, you might need a higher valued treat to distract pr to calm them. Some dogs have a special toy that is almost like a security blanket in that it helps them remain calm in otherwise stressful situations.

dog with toy wants to play
come play with me!


Before Starting, You can Exercise your Dog

Another way to help keep your dog calm during this sometimes fearful process is by exercising them before bath time starts. Exercise will not cause your dog to suddenly love bathing, but it can help them to be calm during bath time. Any mental or physical exercise that can help them burn some extra energy before bathing will be helpful.


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Join Them While Taking a Bath If They are Really All That Nervous

You can help them overcome their fear and to minimize their stress level by getting in the tub with them if they are really scared. When one of our dogs was younger, she was terrified of taking a bath.

The one thing that helped the most to alleviate that fear was my taking a bath with her. I’d just sit down in the tub next to her while giving her a bath to reduce her anxiety.

Some Dogs Never Love A Bath

It didn’t make her love bathing and she never got to where she would jump in with excitement over being bathed. However, little by little I noticed subtle changes. Finally, she refrained from whining and trying to escape and became more relaxed. She then got to where she would allow herself to be led into the tub and remain there until the bath was complete. Eventually, it got to where she would wait until told to exit the tub before she got out of it.

However, we never did get to where she would wait to shake off the excess water after a bath. But, very few dogs refrain from shaking as did our show and bath loving Saint Bernard.

I am not complaining, though. Having overcome her bath time fear and remaining calm and unafraid during the bath was good enough for both of us.

For more info on bathing your dog, check out


Thanks to Pixabay for some of these photos.

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As Wife, Mother of 5, and Nana of many more, I have known and loved many dogs who were treasured members of our family. My education, experiences in showing, breeding, and developing pedigree-based breeding programs for others gives me a strong background upon which to base articles of interest to most dog lovers. However, it is my great love for dogs that gives me the passion to share them with other dog lovers.


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