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Thread: Dog Scared of Water

  1. #1
    Junior Member Junior Puppy Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Dog Scared of Water

    I want to eventually give my dog Hailey a bath. Problem is, she's deathly afraid of water. She'll drink it, but she won't get into it. She runs from it like it's the plague. If I just plop her in, she'll never forgive me. I did that before and she's still weary of me when I'm in the pool and won't really come near anyone because she's afraid someone's going to put her in the pool. She just started to calm down about that, but for months she just wouldn't do it.

    What kind of shampoo should I get, too? I want nice smelling stuff because really, she stinks. But I don't know whats good, and I don't have a lot of money.
    Mans best friend could be mans greatest friend, and greatest downfall.

  2. #2
    Wag more, bark less Senior Dog Member+ GreyhoundGirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Up north... Where all your troubles freeze and fall off.
    You have to get her used to it slowly and very gradually, it takes a long time to get over a fear. Feed her treats around the bath. Every now and then sit in the tub and give her treats, in a happy voice, verbally encourage, but not physically force, her to join you. Put treats down beside you in the tub. Feed her her meals near the tub. Once she's fine with this slowly add water. First just a bit on the bottom, if she's good with that the next day a bit more, and so on until the tub is full.

    Do anything you must do to make the tub/water/baths a good thing and pleasent experience. Use anything she likes. You want to associate the bath with good things so she wants a bath to get the good things that come with it. If you force her in, it will scare her even more and she'll be even harder to get in next time!

    Also put a non-slip "sticky mat" in the bottom of your tub. Many, many dogs slip on the bottom and get the impression they're slipping and falling under once they slip once, they panic trying to stay standing, as you can understand, this is quite scary for them. Make things easy for yourself and make sure she never slips to bigin with, of this will be another fear to get her over.

    Oatmeal shampoo is what most people seem to reccomend. It is really good for their coat. Dog shampoo isn't that expensive, and unless you plan on giving you dog a lot of baths, the bottle will last a long time. (I'm about 1/4 way through a bottle that I've used on Jenny the last three years, plus my previous Beagle who often got into smelly things by following her nose.) But IMO, unless you have a long haired dog you bath a lot, shampoo doesn't matter too much, diet is more likely to affect what condition their coat is in. My girl has a gorgeous coat and I bath her once or twice a year with cheapy shampoo.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member Junior Puppy Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Thanks. That sounds like a good idea. =) It'll just be difficult because Hailey is, well, really stubborn.
    Mans best friend could be mans greatest friend, and greatest downfall.

  4. #4
    A lot of the times a fear of water in a pool will be much different than a fear of being bathed. Most dogs don't like it but they deal just fine. Don't have the tub full of water. in fact you could first try not having any water then turn on the tap gently so the sound doesn't startle the dog. only fill it up till like ankle height (or a bit higher if you have a big dog) then just use a bucket or something and pour the water over her back. If you have a helper keep the leash and collar on so they can just hold them steady in the tub (so they won't jump out). Just make sure you get all the shampoo out from under the collar.
    I use biogroom and barktobasics mostly in my salon. Oatmeal shampoo is good as it can soothe dry itchy sensitive skin but if your dog has regular hair and skin it is also fine to use regular dog shampoo (not human shampoo)
    Proud owner of Bear (Pomeranian/Shih Tzu/Terrier) and Mystic Realm aka. Markie (Thoroughbred) And my Miniature Poodle, Stryder.

  5. #5
    Senior Dog Member+ alimel's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
    South Florida
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    Poor baby. I can relate. I had a Beagle that was petrified of the pool, however, he was ok in the bath tub. It did take some time to get him used to it. I would not fill the tub and do this gradually.

    I agree about the Oatmeal don't want anything that will dry the skin.

    After his bath he was so happy, he ran around the house throwing toys up in the air. Good Luck!

  6. #6
    I miss you Denali Senior Dog Member+ Dignity's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    At my PC
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    I normally use the shower in the bath tub and don't draw water like a bath. I will put on a bathing suit and get in the tub with the dogs when I give them their shower.

    I agree with an oatmeal pet shampoo - if your dog has long fur, don't forget to condition!!
    Beauty without Vanity; Strength without Insolence; Courage without Ferocity; and all the virtues of Man without his Vices. -- Lord Byron "Epitaph to a Dog"
    ♥ Bone Cancer Awareness ♥ RIP Denali ♥

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