Q&A: How can I get my dog to tolerate baths?

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thinkstock-92245380-sq.jpgQ: How do I get my dog to stop biting when I try to give her a bath? It’s like she becomes a ferocious attack dog. — Jason S.

Andrea Arden, CPDT at Andrea Arden Dog Training in New York City, writes: You can teach your dog to enjoy bath time with brief — about 3-5 minute — sessions. Here’s how:

  • Practice having her in the tub, if that is her bathing spot, with no water running at first. Running water can be scary for dogs, especially with a high-pressure faucet.
  • Put down an inexpensive rubber bath mat so she doesn’t slip (slipping can add to her nervousness).
  • Have her on leash and have a helper gently hold her as you let her lick from a sterilized bone (such as those made by Gimborn) stuffed with a creamy food like cream cheese or peanut butter. Gently brush her as she works on the bone.

Find out what to do next after the jump.

  • Keep practicing this in short sessions until she is calm.
  • Once your dog is calm in the tub, introduce water by taking a container of warm water gently pouring it on one of your dog’s feet.
  • Gradually increase the length of time in the tub and the amount of water used until you can give her a full bath.

Learn more about Petfinder’s Train FurKeeps program.

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