Your dog can learn to love the bath in as little as two weeks. Here’s how:
By Eve Adamson
Day one: Sit on the bathroom floor (or wherever you will be bathing, next to the tub you will be using). Call your puppy. Give him a treat.
Day two: Do it again.
Day three: Put a treat in the empty tub. Gently place your puppy in the tub and let him find the treat.
Day four: Do it again.
Day five: While your puppy is in the tub, turn on the water at lukewarm temperature, just a dribble. Let him explore it on his own.
Day six: Do it again.
Day seven: Run the lukewarm water until it is about an inch deep. If your puppy acts scared at any point, turn off the water and give him a treat.
Day eight: Do it again. Keep doing this on subsequent days until he thinks this is really fun. (Note: Never leave your puppy in the tub unsupervised.)
Day nine (or however long it takes): Fill a cup with some lukewarm water. Let your puppy sniff it. Try petting him with your wet hand and rubbing his fur gently—petting plus water. If he likes this, try pouring tiny drops of water on his fur from the cup. Give him treats while doing this. He may be surprised at first, but keep it fun so surprise doesn’t turn into fear.
Day ten: Do it again. Repeat each day until he likes having you pour water on his fur. You can also do this with your sprayer, turned on very low.
Day eleven: Let him sniff the shampoo bottle while in the tub. Maybe add a little more water.
Day twelve: Put a little shampoo on your hands. (Use a gentle, non-detergent, hypoallergenic shampoo made for puppies.) Let your puppy sniff it. Pet him again with the shampoo—just a tiny bit! Don’t put in more shampoo than you think you’ll be able to rinse out. Remember, at this point, you are practicing, not actually worrying about cleaning. Rinse it out with your hands or the cup. Don’t forget the treats.
Day thirteen: Do it again.
Day fourteen: Add more water. Add more shampoo. Rinse well. Voila!