Dirty Dogs Have More Fun... and then it's bath time
Rolling in stinky stuff seems to be one of our dogs’ greatest pleasures. My dogs particularly seem to enjoy doing this when I am short on time and let them out “real quick” right before I have to leave the house.
There are several theories about why dogs do this (see links at bottom), some say it’s to hide their own scent so prey can’t smell them coming. Others say it’s about announcing access to resources, while other theories hypothesize it’s just good fun for the dog. Until we can ask our dogs directly, we’ll never really know. What we do know is if our dogs return from a romp with that big grin and black sticky, stinky stuff around their neck, we need to get them cleaned up fast.
If you start bathing your dog when he’s young, dogs can quickly get used to a bath and learn to stay in the tub. You can keep a container of treats next to the tub and wash with one hand, while giving treats with the other.
Check out the products called Lick-Mats, or Lick-Pads. You can fill them with peanut butter, suction cup to the wall of the tub and let your dog lick it while you bathe him. If you freeze it first it will last longer. (product links at bottom)
I love this idea, but my thought was, why not just smear peanut butter on the wall of the bathtub with a spatula? (I always give the tub a thorough cleaning anyway after dog baths, so what’s a little extra peanut butter on the wall)
If you’re just starting with a young puppy, do a few “fake” baths to get him used to the tub. You can do this is a few easy steps:
1. Don’t run the water. Just let him get in the tub and feed some treats or use the Licky-Mat. Then let him out. Several sessions like this and you’ll have a pup who is eager to get in the tub and can stand/ stay there without needing restraint.
2. Add some water to the training session. Pre-fill a large bucket of water and set it in the tub behind your dog. Keep a smaller cup in the bucket for scooping out the water. Encourage your dog into the tub. Once he’s using his Licky mat, scoop some water out of the bucket and pour it over him. Repeat this a couple times and end the session. No shampoo in this step.
3. Step 3: Repeat step 2, but use a little shampoo. Don’t try to wash all of your dog, just do a small part. Keep it short and fun. Remember, these are just training sessions to acclimate him to the whole process.
Tip 1: Having a large bucket pre-filled with water avoids the noise that the water makes as it pours from the bath spout. While some dogs might not mind, others might find the noise stressful. Also, pouring the water onto them gently from a cup is a little less jarring than being sprayed with a shower nozzle or a hose. I’ve always found that one full bucket is enough to pre-wet, wash and rinse one dog.
Tip 2: If you’re washing something very stinky off of your dog, remember to wear gloves.
And of course, if you do not enjoy getting a bath along with your dog, there are lots of professional bathers and groomers who will gladly do the dirty work for you!
More articles about why dogs roll in smelly stuff: