Get Your Dog To Enjoy Taking A Bath

Does your Frenchie ENJOY getting a bath? If you’d like to get your dog to enjoy taking a bath, here are a few quick questions that may help you decide how much training you will need to do:

  • Will your dog go near the bath area without fear or nervousness?
  • Will your dog take a treat or toy near the bathing area?
  • What’s your attitude about dog baths? If it’s a chore to you, guess what your dog senses?

If your Frenchie does not enjoy being in or near the bathing area, and will not take a treat or toy near the area, then he or she is telling you that bathing is not fun for him or her. Even if he or she tolerates a bath, the experience will be much more pleasurable for both of you, if you help change your Frenchie’s perception of bathing.
One of the biggest issues with bathing is lack of footing on slick porcelain surfaces. If your dog cannot control the ability to stand, it will make him or her very nervous. If you place a towel or mat in the tub, this will help alleviate your dog’s fear of slipping. Get your Frenchie used to the towel by placing it in his or her sleeping area for a few days, before using it for bathing purposes.
An easy way to get the dog closer to the bathing area is to use clicker training, and treat/praise reinforcement to encourage your dog closer to the area. Do not do training when your Frenchie needs a bath, as he or she will feel tricked.
Start very slowly. Let me repeat that: start VERY slowly.

    • Get in the (dry) bathtub yourself and take a special meal for your dog with you.
    • Reinforce and/or treat when your dog takes the first step towards the tub. Then two more steps forward. Then three more steps forward, and so on.
    • Reinforce/treat when your dog touches the bathtub with his/her nose.
    • Reinforce again with each paw that gets into the bathtub. Frenchies may need some assistance getting paws in the tub, so lift your dog gently and see how they react to both praise and dinner. If your dog resists, stop and remove him or her from the tub.
    • Praise your dog lavishly, and let him or her enjoy the meal…in the tub.
    • Repeat this process a few more times, with less treat reinforcement, and the focus on more praise, plus getting a special meal.

Now we’re ready to try introduction to the bath. This time, fill the bottom of the bathtub with water, and squat in it yourself. Praise and treat your dog into the tub, and let him get used to the idea of having warm water touch his or her paws. With you still in the tub, start filling it a little bit more, but very slowly. Avoid using a sprayer or pouring water on your dog. You just want him to get used to the water in the tub. Praise your dog, unless he or she shows signs of nervousness.
Your goal is to get your Frenchie to let the water touch his or her belly without showing any signs of fear or anxiety. If your dog looks anxious, stop. You are going too fast. Immediately remove the dog from the tub, dry him or her off thoroughly, give a treat, and praise him or her profusely for his efforts. Then spend some time playing. Try again another day, and see if you make progress.
Gently cup water into your hand and pour it over the back, then the head, and nose. Stop any time your dog is nervous. You dog has to choose the pace of progress.
Once your dog accepts you cupping water onto him or her, introduce a small amount of shampoo. Just keep in mind that if you use shampoo, it will need to be rinsed off. And if your dog is nervous, this will increase tub time.
Over time, you can get your dog to enjoy taking a bath, if you take it step by step. It’s all a matter of how your dog perceives the bathing experience.

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Here’s a survey we did of our Facebook Fans, and whether or not their Frenchies like baths: