4 Reasons Why Dogs Hate Baths & 6 Tips How To Help Him

4 Reasons Why Dogs Hate Baths & 6 Tips How To Help Him

Author WDF Staff


It seems to us that most dogs enjoy rolling in puddles, running in the rain, swimming in a sea or a lake, and at the same time, these same dogs hate bathing. If your dog is described in the previous sentence, here are some tips and tricks you can use to make bathing stop being a hassle for you and your dog.

There are numerous potential reasons why dogs hate baths. In this text, we bring you those that are most likely to be the reason.

1. They don't have control

When dogs swim in a lake or play in a puddle, they are not being handled by their human. In those moments, they control themselves, have fun, feel free, and move around wherever they want. These are fun moments for them, unlike having involuntary baths when their human holds them in one spot and dumps water all over them.

The feeling of being restrained and forced to stand still in one place triggers the dog's survival response. This lack of control is what dogs hate about having a bath.

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2. They don't like water

Some dogs just simply don't like water. They don't want to get wet and prefer staying dry and cozy in every situation. Some dogs simply don't like the pressure of the water and/or the temperature. Some dogs are very sensitive to heat, so if the water temperature is not optimal, this can be uncomfortable and very stressful for the dog. Before getting your dog wet, check the temperature of the water.

TIP: You can spray the water on your arm to see if the temperature is suitable.

Bathtub floors can also be a reason why dogs avoid baths. The bathtub floor is slick and, for dogs, hard to stay on. Most of the time, the bathtub floor is wet and quite slippery, and dogs tend to get upset if they are not stable and cannot get a firm grip underneath them. This is why it is important to put some anti-skid mat on the bathtub floor before putting your dog in.


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3. They hate the noise

Dogs usually don't like the sound of running water. They have sensitive hearing, and that sound might be too scary for them, especially if they are not used to loud noises. If you plan to bathe your dog, minimize the noise in the tub.

Turn on the water after your dog gets in the tub and the bathroom door is shut. If you turn the water on before, you might have difficulties catching your dog and getting him to the tub. Putting an anti-skid mat inside the tub is also a good idea – the mat will prevent the dog from slipping in the tub and also will minimize some sound echoing.

4. It is stressful for them

While bathing their dog, people often get upset because dogs can be very restless, and water is splashing everywhere, so they can't help themselves, and they start yelling or handling their dogs roughly.

This kind of behavior can be very stressful for dogs. It doesn't take much for them to start associating bath time with these upsetting experiences. Sometimes, if you are frustrated with your dog but are not yelling or being harsh, your dog can sense your frustration and start avoiding baths altogether.

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Do dogs need baths?

There is no simple answer to this question – it depends. If your dog gets very dirty, you must bathe and prevent him from tracking mud everywhere. However, regular baths are more often needed if you have a long-coated or curly-haired breed.

Shampoo and conditioning are great for these breeds because they will keep their fur from matting. Hairless breeds also need doing to prevent them from drying out.

Short-haired breeds usually don't require regular baths – wiping them down with pet wipes is often good enough to keep them fresh and clean.

In short, the need for regular bathing depends on the dog's skin and coat type.


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How to help your dog to love bath time?

There are some ways to help your dog love bathing. You need to help your dog replace negative associations with positive ones. Also, you need to learn how to adjust your behavior.

1. Stay calm

You need to be calm and patient while bathing your dog. Use a gentle voice and handle your dog with love. If you feel rushed, angry or frustrated, your dog will sense this even if you try to be gentle with him. And if your dog senses this, he will become stressed and nervous, which will ruin bath time for everybody.

The calmer you are, the calmer your dog will be.

2. Use many treats

It is important to create positive associations with the bath experience. Positive reinforcement is a way to go. Take your dog inside the bathroom and reward him. Then take him inside the bathtub and reward him again.

After that, put the treats where your dog can see but can't touch them. Every few minutes, if your dog is calm in the tub, give him a treat. This way, your dog will learn that this kind of behavior pays off and that taking a bath is not that scary.


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3. Use a nonslippery mat

Before getting your dog in a tub and starting a bath, put a mat or a towel on the floor to prevent your dog from slipping into the tub.

4. Use the correct water temperature

As said earlier, it is important to use the right temperature while bathing your dog – not too hot or cold. We recommend a lukewarm temperature.

5. Make a positive experience for the dog

This process requires you to show your pup that baths are not scary, that he is safe while you are giving him a bath, and that he does not have to be tense.

Except for the treats we mentioned earlier, while bathing your dog, get a little playful. Give him his favorite toy and play with him. Cuddle him. Create positive memories.

6. Award your dog afterward

After bathing your dog, give him a treat and a great, juicy dinner. Also, you can take him for a long walk to reward his good behavior. If you are not up for a walk, take a little time to play and cuddle with your dog.

What to do if you are unable to bathe your dog at home?

Do you feel that bathing your dog at home is too stressful for you, or think you cannot do it properly? Did you try all the advice mentioned above, but bathing a dog at home still caused trauma for your dog?

Whatever the reason is, you can always let professional dog groomers do their jobs. Give yourself time to find a reliable dog groomer with good references and make an appointment.

RELATED: 8 Things to Ask Potential Groomers Before You Choose The Right One

World Dog Finder team

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