How To Bathe A Dog That Hates Water?

how to bathe a dog that hates water

Updated on January 3, 2024

Dog bath time creates tension in some homes. Is it your case? Do you wonder how to bathe a dog that hates water? We have some practical tips that may be of use to you.

First, keep in mind that you are not the only one. Many dog ​​owners are forced to chase their puppy to get a bath ... and many also have to run after them in the middle of the bath.

If this is your case, take a deep breath and discover how to bathe a dog that hates water.

10 Tips To Bathe A Dog That Hates Water

If we put ourselves in the paws 🐾 of our furry friend, perhaps we can better understand his fear. After all, we want him to enter a place where he has no control of the situation, and we all like to be in control, right?

Therefore, before bathing your dog, it is best to help him understand what is going to happen. Dogs are a bit like children and understanding situations and having routines helps them cope with stress.

1. Understanding The Situation  👂

Letting your dog feel comfortable in the bathroom is a good way to lower his stress levels when it is time for the bath.

To do this, you can let him in while you bathe, so that he sees that nothing bad happens, or you can brush his hair in the bathtub so that he associates it with a pleasant situation.

Some dog owners report that giving their puppy a healthy dog snack in the bathroom has helped his friend associate that environment with something pleasant.

2. Take Your Dog For A Walk Before Bath Time  🦮

Before bathing your dog, help him expend energy. A long walk in your company may be what he needs to eliminate the excess of energy and increase levels of well-being.

3. Prepare Everything Before Taking Your Dog To The Bath  🧴

Have all the products you need for your friend's bath on hand. During the bath, this is not the time to look for anything.

4. Fill The Bathtub With Warm Water  🛁

About 4 to 5 centimeters of warm water can make your puppy feel more comfortable entering the tub.

5. If The Problem Is That Your Dog Slips, Here You Have A Trick  🧼

When the problem is not that your furry friend hates water, but rather that he hates slipping in the tub, an easy solution may be to place a towel in the bottom of the tub. This way, he won't slip, and he will feel a comforting base under his paws.

6. Avoid Using The Shower Head  🚿

The power with which the water comes out can be uncomfortable for your dog. So instead of using the shower head, you can choose to wet a washcloth and wash your friend with it.

There are shower sprayers on the market designed for dogs that allow you to regulate the power output of the water. It can be a good option for a dog that hates water, right?

7. Keep Calm  🧘‍♂️

If you get stressed, so does your dog. Always stay calm, speak softly but firmly, and stay calm throughout the process.

Discover: 5 Questions About The Products You Need For A Dog's Bath

8. Start By Wetting His Paws  🐾

Let your dog sniff the surroundings and get his paws wet. When he relaxes, you can start wetting her body with the washcloth while you explain to him what you are doing.

9. Keep It Short 

You don't want to extend bath time. Get straight to what's important. Spa appointments will be for another time.

10. Dry Your Friend  🐶

Pat your friend dry 🐶 while you tell him how well he did and give him some well-deserved pampering.

Bonus Track: Understanding Dog Behavior & Water

Dogs, like humans, have individual personalities and experiences that shape their likes, dislikes, and fears. A common challenge many pet owners face is a dog's fear of water. Understanding the root causes of this fear and the behavioral responses of dogs can be crucial in helping them overcome it.

4 Common Reasons For Water Fear In Dogs

1. Lack of Early Exposure: Dogs not exposed to water during their formative puppy months may grow apprehensive about it. Early exposure plays a key role in a dog's comfort level with different experiences, including bathing.

2. Negative Experiences: If a dog has had a traumatic experience involving water, such as nearly drowning or being bathed in an uncomfortable or frightening manner, they may develop a long-standing fear of water.

3. Sensory Overload: Water can be overwhelming due to the noise, sensation, and the encompassing nature of being bathed. Dogs with sensitive temperaments may find this particularly distressing.

4. Breed Predispositions: Some breeds are more inclined towards water than others. Breeds not traditionally associated with water activities may be less inclined to enjoy bathing or swimming.

How Experiences Influence Current Behavior

Dogs have a strong memory for traumatic events. A single negative experience with water can lead to a long-term aversion. It’s important to identify any past negative experiences to address the current fear effectively.

On the other hand, dogs learn by association. If water and bathing are consistently paired with negative experiences, dogs will naturally develop a fear of it. Conversely, positive associations can be built with patience and gradual exposure.

Besides, dogs often observe and learn from their surroundings and other dogs. If a dog observes another dog enjoying water, it may help reduce their fear. However, witnessing another dog's fear can reinforce their own aversions.

By understanding the nuances of dog behavior and their individual experiences with water, you can more effectively help your furry friend overcome their fear of water. This empathetic approach not only improves the bathing experience but also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

How to bathe a dog that hates water is a common question that can be answered with one word: with love! Patience and love 💕 are all you need.

Share Your Thoughts!

Have you successfully helped your dog overcome a fear of water? Do you have any unique tips or heartwarming stories about bath time with your furry friend? We'd love to hear from you!

Share your experiences and advice in the comments below to help other pet parents facing similar challenges. Your insights could be a game-changer for a dog in need.

Let's create a supportive community where we can all learn and grow together in our pet parenting journey!


Help! My dog hates water: the best tips!

How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Hating Water? 

You can get your dog to stop hating water by teaching him that there is nothing to fear and that bathing can be a fun time. Some good strategies are:

  • Allow your dog to enter the bathtub outside of bath time: allow him to get to know the place and relax in it.
  • Play with water in the garden or park.
  • Get his paws wet regularly, so he gets used to the feeling.
  • Walk with your pup in the rain without covering him with your umbrella!
  • Pet him with a wet cloth. 
  • Play with your pup in a lake or river.
  • Show him bath time can be also play time!

Do Dogs Have Hydrophobia?

The term hydrophobia refers to a human's fear of water and not a dog's. However, there are dogs that have developed an irrational fear of water and although the term does not apply, it would be a similar condition. 


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