Wed, 29 Nov 2023

How to get your dog to like baths is a question most dog parents find themselves wondering. Dogs are known to have a tumultuous relationship with bath time, but they are crucial for keeping your pup clean and healthy.

Many dogs don't mind a nice soapy bath, but with many others, bath times can look like a water-logged war zone. If you're a pet parent who's used to bath times turning into a stressful experience, you're not alone.

In this article, you'll find a helpful guide on how to bathe a dog and make bath time a pleasant experience for your canine buddy!

Why Does My Dog Hate Getting a Bath?

Our furry friends are funny creatures. They'll happily jump into a muddy pond but put them in a warm bath, and they thrash around to get away.

But we need to understand that, more often than not, there's a reason for this behavior.

  1. Your Dog Hasn't Been Desensitized To Baths

Puppies who were never taught to be comfortable with baths grow up to hate bath time. If you have adopted an older dog who refuses to be around water, this may be why.

  1. Your Dog's Reacting to the Soap/Shampoo 

Dogs have a powerful sense of smell. So, if you're using soaps and shampoos that have a strong fragrance, it can feel overwhelming to your pooch. Additionally, if your dog has sensitive skin, the various chemicals in the shampoo/soap can irritate its skin.

  1. Your Dog Fears Not Being In Control

Dogs like being on their feet and are typically stable and confident with their movements. In a bathtub, however, your dog can feel wobbly and unstable, which may make it feel afraid and uncomfortable.

  1. Baths Trigger a Traumatic Memory 

If your pup has had a negative experience with baths, such as a slippery surface, the water being too hot, or getting mishandled, it can instill fear in your dog. Such traumatic experiences teach your pet that bath times should be avoided.

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways To Get Your Dog To Like Baths

Like all other pet owners who are faced with this dilemma, you must also be thinking, "My dog hates water but needs a bath, so how do I fix this problem?" Bath time with your dog doesn't have to be such a daunting task.

Here are some simple but efficient ways to make baths pleasant and enjoyable for your dog.

  1. Ensure A Calm Environment and Prepare Your Dog

If you're wondering how do I make my dog love baths, here's how.

Dog bathing is a process, so it's important to prepare your dog and familiarize them with the process. Create a calm, soothing environment to avoid making your dog anxious. Most importantly, make sure you're not feeling anxious or nervous - dogs can sense if you're anxious and will reciprocate that energy.

You also need to choose the right bathing area for your dog. Small breeds are best bathed in the sink, while larger breeds will be more comfortable outdoors or in your bathtub but with a special non-slip mat.

You can then move on to the more practical aspects. Here's a checklist you can keep handy:

  • Make sure the water is at the right temperature, not too hot or too cold.
  • Keep dog shampoo and towels at hand.
  • Brush out your dog's fur to get rid of any tangles.
  • Have some treats and a couple of your dog's favorite toys around.

#2. Learn How to Bathe Your Dog 

When giving your dog a bath, be gentle and affectionate. It'll help keep your dog calm throughout the process. Here are a few tips to help you with how to give a dog a bath that's comfortable:

  • Wet your dog's coat completely before applying shampoo.
  • Be careful of your dog's sensitive areas, like its ears, eyes, and face.
  • Work a good lather through your dog's body, and massage gently.
  • Rinse your dog thoroughly to ensure there's no shampoo residue.

Throughout this process, talk to your dog in a reassuring tone and offer treats and praises for good behavior.

The next step is to dry your dog. And how to dry dog after bath to remove all moisture? Use thick, absorbent towels. You can also use a hairdryer, but many dogs are scared of the noise.

If you're worried about how to give a puppy a bath, you can follow the same steps; just be more careful. Younger dogs tend to be more playful, adventurous, and curious.

#3. Team Up! 

Sometimes having an extra pair of hands can go a long way in how to get your dog to like baths. Get a friend, roommate, or family member to help you.

They don't have to help with the actual bathing - they can simply help distract your dog by playing with it and providing some assuring pats. It'll keep your dog occupied and make the entire bathing process more manageable.

#4. Give Your Dog Baths Only When Needed 

If your dog is squeamish about baths, you'll keep wondering how to get my dog to like baths and try new methods but get nowhere. It's important to be patient and consistent.

A monthly bath that is fun, pleasant, and stress-free can help put your dog at ease. You can then increase the frequency of baths as your dog becomes used to bath times and learns what to expect.

#5. Don't Rush The Process

Your dog may find baths a new and unfamiliar experience, he may have anxiety, or he may just be terrified of water. Don't force your dog into a bath, as it can only worsen its fear.

If your dog is nervous and you're wondering how can I calm my dog down in the bath, follow these tips:

  • Run the water and let your dog listen and get acquainted with the sound of running water.
  • Then, slowly wet its paws and body to help your dog get comfortable with being wet.
  • Provide some treats while in the tub. You can prepare healthy snacks, like fresh fruits and vegetables. If you're concerned about can dogs eat peaches or carrots, they can!
  • Distract your dog with toys and give praise when he behaves.

This will also help you out with how to bathe a puppy and make it comfortable with the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Why do dogs hate baths but love swimming?

When dogs go swimming, it is their decision to get wet. In a bath, they are forced to stay still and have no control over what's happening.

#2. How often should dogs be given a bath?

It will depend on how active your dog is. Animals that love being outdoors and getting muddy would require more baths than those that stay mostly indoors. Your dog's breed also contributes to the frequency of baths. Breeds with oily coats, such as the Basset Hound, and those with wrinkly physical attributes, like the Shar Pei, need to be bathed more often to ensure proper hygiene and health.

#3. Why does my dog go crazy after a bath?

You've learned ways on how do you get a stubborn dog in the bath successfully, but if your dog acts weird immediately after the bath, don't worry. It's probably because your dog is relieved that the bathing ordeal is over, so it's expressing happiness by running around. Your dog may also want its scents back, so it tends to brush, crawl, and roll over familiar surroundings.


We hope this guide helps address your concern about how to get your dog to like baths. Just remember that some dogs take to water like ducks, some just don't - and that's okay. What's more important is to ensure your dog's comfort and happiness.

As long as you make bath times fun, safe, and pleasant for your dog, it'll be something you and your pup can look forward to without being too stressed!

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