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Bathing your dogs

 When our dog “Palette” was a 3 month old puppy,she used to be the dog that does “I HATE THE WATER” dance in the shower tub. she made scratches on my thigh area at my first try. I just thought that it will be easier to be in the tub with her and bathed her,but no way! When she hates water, she hates water.

 When I was an university student back in Japan,I got palm sized baby rabbit and raised him at apartment. I named him “Kanon” because just like music lythm,he bunny-hopped very fast.

He had this unique black dot around one side nose and around eye and some back area and rest was white. Kanon did back and forth trip between my apartment and my parents’ house while I am off from University for vacation. I walked him with leash,I bathed him,air-dried him and I think  Kanon was much more easy to handle around water than our dog Palette.

Kanon pausing for handsome picture..

 As months passed by,I finally decided that maybe groomers would do better job for bathing. So,Palette visited groomer now and then. Each time,it took her about 5 hours to be back to home.
 Eventually, I read book on grooming and read more books on dogs and learned how to bathe the dog, how to train the dog etc and,I decided to try bathing Palette once again by myself.

 I thought that being at groomers’ without our presence for such a long time,Palette maybe so stressed out.If I could bathe Palette, I could do within one hour at the familiar place and at her pace not humans’ pace.

Also, I could slowly introduce Palette to water and get her feel comfortable standing in the water etc.

She is finally be home after 5 hours at groomers’..

 By then, Palette was graduated puppy training class with clicker, and I kept the method for her training at home.

 What is clicker training?

 You can read our previous entry titled “Clicker training; clicker is your friend “.

 I started off by clicking the clicker as she steps into shower room; one paw in,one click, and she got treats.

After she got comfortable stepping into the shower room with one paw, I waited a bit till she steps in more distance, then click and treats.

Then, when she seemed comfortable right in front of the tub, I put her in the tub with non skid mat on the bottom of the tub and click and treats.

I repeated until I can feel she is careless about surrounding in the tub and start looking for the click and treats.

 After that, I put a bit of water about 1″ or less depth and,click and treats when she is calm,all 4 paws on floor.

Then, Palette in the shallow water in the tub with non skid mat on bottom, and I pretended as if I am shampooing her and massaged Palette.

At this point, still no running water in the tub. Gradually I started running water for a second while I massage her, and then stopped the water. I clicked and treats when she was not doing “I hate the water” dance and be calm.

When she looked calm,all 4 paws on floor, with water running much longer, I finally started bathing her by myself.

 While I was in the process of letting her feel more comfortable around the water,I did not bathe her at home.
 Now, I have tools I love using when I bathe her. My favorite tools for bathing are as followings.

** Water-proof Apron

 I could bath her without Apron but, Apron protects your cloth getting wet when your dogs shake their body

** Air dryer

 I love this air commander dryer because it dries fur very nicely.It has 2 speeds to select, and you can choose high speed, low speed. Since hose is long enough, you can put the dryer body on the floor and dry your dogs’ fur and it is easy to handle direction too. I see another Air dryer from same brand with shoulder strap so that you can wear it, but I prefer not feeling the weight of the dryer from shoulder.

  Downside of this dryer is that, it is very noisy and you may feel the need to letting your dog getting used to the loud noise. I had to letting Palette getting used to very loud noise, and air coming out from the dryer with clicker just like I did with her getting used to be bathed little baby step by baby step.

 Very first time she was to be dried with this dryer, she tried to bite the dryer hose tip, and she was never be able to feel comfortable staying still. My husband knows how much she hated that evil air dryer,and now he is surprised how much she can stay calm and cooperative with me while she is being dried. When one side is dried, I tell her “other side” and she sits with the way the other side is facing towards me and, very easy for me to dry her.

 That is power of the clicker training. Clicker comes handy if your dog is clicker trained. You may wonder how noisy it is. I have videotaped when I was drying Palette so you can hear the loud noise.


 Palette and Air dryer

Air force Commander dryers(2 speeds)

** Coconut based/Oatmeal based shampoo,and conditioner

 The shampoo I use for Palette now is Coconut based shampoo with Aloe Vera, and her conditioner is colloidal oatmeal based conditioner. Right now, I am using the shampoo/conditioner via Earthbath, but I really like them. Palette’s fur gets soft to touch and I like the fact that the ingredients used for these shampoo/conditioner is much less than other brand I used to use.

It is surprising to find some of the pet shampoo/conditioner has long list of ingredients and some have much shorter,simple ingredients list. You can visit pet stores and pick up shampoo and take a look at the label of each bottles of different brand. You will be surprised.

** Nose style bath restraint

Palette feeling tired from nice long massages she got during the bath time..

 In the picture above, you will see the red tether thing. I use the tether thing called “Nose style bath restraint” for Palette because it seems, it gives secure feeling in the bath tub.

You can stick the tether against the tub wall and loop of the tether is protected by tube thing. Another good thing about this is that, you can stick the tether against tub wall and it prevents your dogs from getting out from tub themselves and hurt.

**Rinse Ace Extra large microfiber towel

 This towel is light weight and looks thin but don’t let it fool you. It does great job of absorbing water.Woven microsoft fiber absorb the water very good and,I like it a lot. Mine is about 30″x 48″. Large enough to dry my 33lb dog.

** Pet shower Deluxe

 This is the pet shower you can attach to your regular shower using diverter. You can keep your shower head and when you want to bath your dog,you attach the pet shower head using diverter.Mine is 8 feet long,small head and it has button on it. When you keep pushing the button,the water runs.If you stop pushing the button,the water stops. So,you can save water too. The particular one I got had hook on it.The hook was placed the way you can put it over the button to keep running the water. So, your thumb does not get tired from keep pushing the button. Plus, by using this pet shower, water is not running whole time during the bath time and it helped Palette feeling much better about being bathed.That helped me a lot.

 Also,Palette does not feel scared around this pet shower head. She comes closer to shower head and,she offers the area I need to wash rinse off.

When she needs to get butt-wash,she steps forward for me to be able to wash her butt easier with this shower head.

I like this one better than regular human shower head for her.

 So,these are the thing I use for bathing Palette. Best thing about bathing your dog at home is that you can save your money and you can make lower the stress your dog would be getting from groomer and,you can finish bathing lot quicker.

This way, dogs do not have to be at groomers for 5 hours waiting for you to come pick them up.No more.

 I remember when Palette was puppy, one groomer said she did corgi hold because she wiggled too much. Often times, when she was there for nail clipping, she got 2 groomers holding tight.

If you clip your dogs’ nail at home, experience of nail being clipped will be introduced more positive way, with their pace, not our pace, baby step by baby step. I find that Palette does better with Dremel rather than clipper.

 Strange habit Palette has when it comes to bath time is that, as soon as she is released from shower room after dried, she goes living room,and start racing around the house zillions of times.

Sometimes,she runs around,and then come to me in the shower room cleaning the tub and tools, then she barks at me with Play bow posture.Then,she goes back to her racing around the house.

Moment later,she lay on her side,then take a nap. To me,she looks like saying “Hey,I am clean.Look!I am clean!”

 Sometimes, she throws herself onto the carpet and rolls with tongue hanging out. Big grin on her face.I cannot help myself smiling back at her.

 Now,I am happy that I learned how to bath my dog and can do bathing without making her feel stressed out,and no more scratches on my thigh!!

 Here are some of the tips I can give to you..

** Before bathing, brush your dogs and get loose/dead hair first. That would decrease the amount of hair you need to clean up after bathing time

** Use the non skid mat for the slippery tub floor

You can get a big roll of non skid mat at Bed bath and beyond. I got a big roll and cut to my preferred length.

** Don’t forget to rinse off the soap from dogs very very good until you hear the squeaky sound.Otherwise, dogs get itchy from leftover soap on the fur.

** Personally, I do not let Palette dry naturally because if you leave your dogs dump, it can become perfect condition for hotspots.

Our vet told us to keep the fur dry and clean and never leave your dogs dump when Palette had hotspots once.

** For Palette, best part of being bathed maybe the cool down treats she gets after bath time. She always looking forward to get the tasty treats magically appear from her freezer.

You can find the recipe in our previous entry titled “ Keeping your dogs cool during summer

Palette got fluffed!

 Does your dog have strange habit after bath time?

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Jun 29, 2010 | Comments are off | Grooming