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Hi All,

per the title our Monty is a nightmare to bathe. He doesn’t shake or act scared other than putting his tail between his legs. He constantly tries to get out making a mess of the floor and surroundings. He is about 8 months now and he isn’t getting any easier to man handle (which is obviously making things worse). I’m not a very patient person with things out of my control so I get riled up myself which I’m sure is exacerbating the issue. I currently bathe him once a month or so. He is such a gentle dog and shows absolutely no aggression.

Can anyone help me with hints and tips on how to calm him down? He’s never been a dog motivated by treats which makes it harder to train him for recall etc but he does love toy play.
 

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Kristy
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I've never had a dog who like baths, including my Goldens. I hope you focus on the fact that the bath is not his idea and he's very unhappy but is just trying to escape, not trying to snap. It's not fair to lose patience with him, it's hard to train for something that is a rare occurrence - I suggest you either enlist someone to help you with the process or take him to a groomer for baths. I found a place at a petstore chain that has 'do-it-yourself" bath facilities with raised tubs and all the accoutrements to make it easier. I think they charge $5 a bath. SO worth it to me. They supply towels and shampoo (although I bring my own) and you don't have to clean up afterward. You can also discuss it with your vet and ask for some meds that might calm him a bit to be used just for baths while you work through this. He probably does feed off of your aggravation, so do your best to remain calm.
 

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I too find local pet stores have raised tubs that makes YOUR job so much easier (you don’t have to stoop or bend down), they have wall tethers to keep the god secured, and warm water with many nozzle settings. You can take treats and reward your dog every couple of minutes or so... I strong suggest calling around and try one.

Good luck.
 

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Hi, I noticed your in the UK. I’m not sure but more likely somewhere like petsathome might have one.
We have an outdoor pay by meter type one at the beach near us! I used it and it was good.
But as Teddy seems to enjoy baths we don’t need to use it. Also it’s one of hubbies chores as only he can lift all 80lbs of Teddy in and out of the bath.

Please do try to remain calm, speak gently and reassuringly to your dog. Try having a family member (if you don’t live alone) be there as well as give your dogs some treats for being such a good boy.

What are you using to wash him in the bath? We don’t use the shower head as Teddy finds that overwhelming. We run the bath with enough water so it will up to his belly. We use a jug to pour water on him. Then squirt shampoo on his coat, wet flannels/cloth to wash him. Then run bath hot tap, but only to mildly warm, Fill up jug from tap to wash away shampoo and dirt.
 

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Bathing Gemma is a 2 person job. We fill the bath about 15cm (6ins) of warm water (37degc). She's quite happy to step into the bath and eat the peanut butter from the slow feeder stuck to the tiles at the end of the bath. Then I do the jug pouring and shampoo adding, while my husband does the lathering. Then she's rinsed in the water she's standing in. And finally she's rinsed with clean water we have in an 15 litre esky (cooler). Then she steps out and shakes and the gets towelled down. Takes about 15 minutes.

bath.jpg
slow feeder.jpg
 

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Kate
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We run the bath with enough water so it will up to his belly. We use a jug to pour water on him. Then squirt shampoo on his coat, wet flannels/cloth to wash him. Then run bath hot tap, but only to mildly warm, Fill up jug from tap to wash away shampoo and dirt.
Basically we used to do this - and it made baths take FOREVERRRRRRRR. >.< And it also made more of mess because that was more water splashing out with the dogs.

Upgrading to a handheld shower head means that instead of a 10-20 minute bath, the dogs are in there for 1-5 minutes tops (1 minute if I'm just rinsing off their feet/belly/trousers, 5 if doing a full bath).

I typically am no nonsense when it comes to these things. The more practical, straight forward, etc you can be - the less stressed out the dogs get.

I get the dogs to hop into the bathtub and then I sit on the side of the bathtub with my feet/legs in there for the dogs to lean against while I bathe them. This physical contact usually helps when they are puppies - for adult dogs it both gives me a way to control the dogs + it saves my back.

I also line up the shampoos/ etc in the shower with us so I don't have to get up and get anything (give the dog opportunity to bail).

For a young dog that's flipping out and acting stupid, I grab a hold of their bib/neck ruff and keep them still while I straight forward bathe them. Don't be mean, rough, angry, etc. Just calm as you are the only adult in the room... If you are getting angry or losing your temper, that's something you have to work on personally and not take it out on your baby. :)

If you are sitting on the edge of the bathtub, legs in, etc.... That's you blocking the dog's way of getting out. If the dog is finding ways of jumping out of the tub - that means you are walking around or giving him an opportunity to jump out.
 

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I get in the tub and sit with Logan wearing a swimsuit and board shorts. I use a sprayer nozzle. I don't think he loves it, but he cooperates and I do think it makes him feel better for me to be in there with him spraying my own legs off and stuff as I'm doing the same sort of stuff to him. In the summer, we move the action to outdoors by the pool. I shampoo, rinse, let him play in the pool a bit, condition, rinse, and more play. It helps to keep things more lighthearted and enjoyable.
 

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Wow. Thanks so much for these replies. At least I’m not the only one who struggles. That really makes me feel better. The fact some of you are working in pairs is reassuring.

the way I’ve been doing it is to wash him in an old large baby bath in my garage but he’s almost grown out of that now. I’m on my knees and it can be uncomfortable. I usually wrap my arm under his neck and across his body to restrain him against my body but the second I loosen up to swap to the other side or reach for something he struggles again. It should be a quick process but the fussing and struggling stretches it to 15 mins or so.

I’ve been offered a proper bath pulled from a house by a neighbour. My plan is to set that up in the garage and plumb in an old electric shower so I can adjust the temperature to suit him better. I think the extra space coupled with some of your ideas may help.

I’ve been trying to get the kids to help out but Monty just wants to play with them and that makes matters worse.
 

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So my dogs struggle more when the water is cold. I bath my dogs in the tub (which comes with a handy grab bar, so misbehaving pups are tied with a quick release knot to the grab bar so they cannot reach the side to climb out) or if it's nice a warm and sunny we use the booster bath outside and just let the water runoff into our yard (this also has a collar and tie down to keep dogs in the tub). I'm super heavy so kneeling on the hard and cold tile will put me out of commission for a few days afterwards so I kneel on a rolled up yoga mat. It gives me enough cushion that my knees don't die. I also line the side/edge of the tub with a towel. It'll get wet but that's fine. I use the wet towel to help my arms keep traction while I'm leaning into the tub. I do a full wet down, turn off water, lather using a KONG ZOOM GROOM, rinse, once squeaky clean do one more rinse, let them shake, do a cursory dry off in the tub, then out of the tub and up on the table for a blow out.

I find with the combination of warm water, and the good feelings from the zoom groom massage, but the positive reinforcement of doing the head scrubby towel thing that my girls seem obsessed with... my dogs don't struggle with their baths. They might need a wee encouragement to get in the tub (not Molly though, that little devil will find any reason to get in the tub or to need a bath) but they just stand there. They know it'll be over as soon as it can be and that struggling just makes it last longer.
 

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Hi All,
I thought I’d give a quick update. I’ve since bathed Monty twice since posting this and set about it with a different mentality.

I knew he wouldn’t be up for it based on the previous session so I slowly encouraged him into the bath. I took a favourite toy and played with him beside it. Then I sat beside him and got him to lay down beside the bath while I spoke calmly to him and petted him.
I lifted him into it and calmly restrained him not letting myself get worked up. He did try to wriggle out a bit. Again I spoke calmly and didn’t proceed until he calmed down himself.
When monty was calm I took a jug and slowly poured warm water over him. The water was considerably warmer than the previous tepid water I used before. This made a huge difference and he actually started to relax. All that was required was a loose hand on his collar and he stayed put throughout.

The next bath was unscheduled due to him escaping into a freshly slurried field 🙈 He stank of Cow dung so I had no option. This time when I got him in the bath he lay down and more or less waited till I gave him the go ahead to get out. No fuss no stress. The way it should be.
 

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Well done. Sounds like the first time was a lovely experience for both you and Monty; whilst the second was a much needed cleanup.... cow poo 💩 slurry 😫

The first calming experience will have set him up well to be ok when you had no choice but to wash him.
 

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Well done. Sounds like the first time was a lovely experience for both you and Monty; whilst the second was a much needed cleanup.... cow poo 💩 slurry 😫

The first calming experience will have set him up well to be ok when you had no choice but to wash him.
Yes, I was dreading the first bath but needs must and all that. 2nd bath hopefully will be the way forward (without the slurry)I just need to rig up a better system. He’s the full size of the bath I’m using and a bucket of warm water and a jug is limiting. I have an old 8.5kW shower lying in the shed and a neighbour is giving me a bath tub so I should be able to rig up a system on stilts and restraints relatively cheaply. Should help for better quality washing and less back ache.
 

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Hi All,
I thought I’d give a quick update. I’ve since bathed Monty twice since posting this and set about it with a different mentality.

I knew he wouldn’t be up for it based on the previous session so I slowly encouraged him into the bath. I took a favourite toy and played with him beside it. Then I sat beside him and got him to lay down beside the bath while I spoke calmly to him and petted him.
I lifted him into it and calmly restrained him not letting myself get worked up. He did try to wriggle out a bit. Again I spoke calmly and didn’t proceed until he calmed down himself.
When monty was calm I took a jug and slowly poured warm water over him. The water was considerably warmer than the previous tepid water I used before. This made a huge difference and he actually started to relax. All that was required was a loose hand on his collar and he stayed put throughout.

The next bath was unscheduled due to him escaping into a freshly slurried field 🙈 He stank of Cow dung so I had no option. This time when I got him in the bath he lay down and more or less waited till I gave him the go ahead to get out. No fuss no stress. The way it should be.
This post makes me SO happy! I'm so glad our suggestions were helpful and that you came back to give us an update! HUGE gold star to you for being kind and working your dog through this. Fingers crossed it all continues to go well...
 
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