It is normal for a puppy to be scared of bathing because it is a new thing to it. Just like humans, even animals tend to develop some anxiety when exposed to new environments and things. Due to this, you should not take it as if it is refusing but just going through a normal process of fear, which will be overcome after some time. Therefore, be patient and take time to encourage your pup to bathe. Do not force things and all will be good. This article gives information on how to go about this process in more detail.
What Causes the Anxiety?
Before getting into the actions to take, it is important to understand first what makes your puppy scared of bathing. From the pup’s point of view, everything around the idea of bathing is new. The tub, cleaning solutions, dryer, towel, and other things you may use are all new. Although it sees them around, the dog has no idea that one day they will be used on it. The situation could even be a lot worse if the puppy was just introduced into a new home. In addition to this, bathing means that you will need to give up some form of control over yourself.
Bathing a puppy can be stressful, try to get your puppy to relax first!
This is quite an unfamiliar territory because actions that it may take with water like diving into a lake are voluntary. Bathing is not its choice, a major reason why it can be quite stressful. Such examples and new things will definitely cause great anxiety.
How to Cure the Water Anxiety
You can do a couple of things to help relieve the anxiety so that you can have a smoother experience bathing your pup shortly. Since it is scared of water, minimal exposure should be done initially so you can then graduate into full bathing. Some things you can do during this step include playing while the sprinklers are on, letting the pup explore water bodies, and not holding an umbrella over it when it is raining. These are gradual steps to introduce it and eventually make water less scary.
Things to do to ensure a Smooth Bathing Experience
Make it Fun
When your pup is used to water, it is now time to introduce the full bath. However, it is good to note that the anxiety will not be fully gone as it is a process. You should therefore not be too serious while doing the bath, especially the first couple of times. Make things fun by introducing its favorite toys and encouraging it to play with them. This acts as a great distraction that will eliminate some focus from the bath.
Place a Rubber Mat
Not just direct water can be scary but also the effects of having it around. The presence of water, especially in a tub can cause the puppy to slip, which can be a quite traumatizing experience. To reduce this issue, you should consider placing a rubber mat on the tub to make the surface a bit firm and minimize potential slips.
Fill Water Beforehand
Since your pup is already scared of water, you do not want to cause more anxiety by filling the water in the tub as it is watching. Water produces a loud noise, which can be quite spooky. You do not want this to happen, as it could even run away. The way to ensure this is not a possibility is to fill the tub beforehand and then bring your dog later on. This makes for a smooth transition.
Do Not do the Washing Outdoors
The good old bathtub way works quite well when you want to bathe your furry friend. The reasoning behind this is that it is calming and soothing and as long as you fill the water beforehand, it is not spooky. An outdoor bath can be cold, which can cause a lot of discomfort. It also requires you to set your puppy on a leash, meaning you are kind of forcing it to bathe.
The initial introduction into bathing for your puppy probably entailed being licked by its mom, an experience that is quite natural and one that provides nothing to worry about. However, later in its life, water has to come into play. The washing tub, water, and cleaning shampoos can make it anxious and afraid to bathe. When this happens, your pup will show a lot of fear and even some resistance when you try to clean it. This should not worry, as it is an understandable response. All you need to do is implement the aforementioned tips for a much easier time.