Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I will spend hours upon hours training dogs, but I prefer to spend as little time as possible with grooming. I enjoy training. Grooming, for me, is a huge chore. (There’s a reason I have short hair, and I live with breeds of dogs who have short hair that require little to no grooming!)
However, if you live with a dog, some degree of grooming, bathing, and other husbandry practices are needed. Since I prefer to spend as little time as possible on these activities, I make certain that in the early stages, I spend MORE time on them so they will be uneventful, tolerable and perhaps even pleasant for my dogs.
When Zuzu came home from the kennel with her mom and littermates, she didn’t smell pleasant. A bath was in order. As much as I wanted to give her a bath right away, I didn’t. I chose to put up with the smell a little while longer to get her settled into our house first and build some trust with her.
When it was bath time, I didn’t just throw her in the tub and “get it over with.” With small children, bath time is much easier if you get out the rubber ducky or other bath toys. Bath time isn’t just a chore – play and fun are mixed in. Same thing should happen with puppies! We spent some time in the bathroom (her first time ever in that bathroom) to acclimate to the room. We spent some more time with toys and treats in the shower without the water running but with the shower floor wet.
As she acclimated to the room, the shower, and the water, we gently started the bathing process. In our case, we double teamed Zuzu so that Ed could focus on actually getting her clean while I focused on making sure she had a pleasant experience. She had toys to keep her interest and treats to help keep her focus away from the bathing occurring. She dealt with it like a trooper and we got her smelling puppy fresh!
Next time, bathing will be easier because her first experience was a pleasant one. Did it take longer to do it this way? Absolutely. But over her lifetime, the bathing process will be far easier and faster.
Mmmm, I love the smell of freshly bathed puppies!