I grew up with dogs all my life, all dysfunctional pound pups. All have been greatly loved. All have hated bath time. In fact yesterday at the dog park me and an older lady with a black lab discussed how even if they love water they hate bath time. The dog my parents had when I was born was a black lab too, Nellie. At the time we lived just off PCH in southern California so the beach and ocean were hugely central to every ones lives. The beach is where we took our discontent and the ocean would wash it away one wave at a time. The gentle crash of waves, the sand between our toes, it was a ritual that was quite spiritual in nature and for Nellie it was no different. She loved to jump in the cold sea water and surf right along with everyone else. Water from a hose though meant to wash away soap? No thank you.
While in the past my family has always had big dogs who we washed in the yard with the hose, Ed and Pepe get a different treatment. We have no yard, no hose, and to speak honestly they are so small I feel like the water pressure would probably hurt them. Instead they get nice warm baths in the bathtub but they hate this. And lets not forget that there are two of them, jumping and squirming and barking. Bath time is a real pain. Eric and I have actually started to work together on the dog bathing and drying front because I gave them their first bath here on my own and it was disastrous.
During that first bath I learned some very important things. Most importantly CLOSE THE BATHROOM DOOR! Once I had filled the tub and dropped them inside I turned around to get the soap and a cup to pour water, by the time I turned around my now sopping wet mini fur balls were slip and sliding all down the wood floor hallway!
So once I round them both back up and get them in the bathroom I make sure and close the door this time. Also it is equally wise, I have found, to get the soap and cup and towel and anything else you need set up within reach. Now that I had everything more properly in order I applied the soap, which brings me to my next caveat. Use a tear free baby soap. First of all dogs are stupid and mine try to eat the soap, also if it gets in their eyes they wine and wine but there’s no way to rationally explain to them what is going on (and as all dog owners will know this is the most horrible feeling), lastly I learned that since their skin is always covered by fur it is super delicate. Baby shampoo is more easy on it. Ed and Pepe showed no problem with the ordinary store brand human body soap but this is what I’ve been told, and with as much trouble, and consequent messes my boys get into I’d rather not chance it.
The last and possibly most challenging step to bath time is the drying stage. Remember there are two of these squidle monsters for me to deal with. And remember I’m attempting this first bath on my own so I was out numbered. The door is shut at this point which is excellent but I also learned that taking both dogs out while the water is still full and kinda soapy is bad! Pulling them both out and drying them simultaneously just aint gonna work. They will wrestle and jump and bark and cause you great stress. Before they themselves are dry the human and everything else inside the bathroom will be dripping with second hand doggy bath water, which btw makes the whole apartment smell like wet dog. That is also why the only thing we do in this residence more than love dogs is spray Febreeze.
So now I drain the water before I take them out. Also Eric and I are both their to catch and dry them, they also do have a tendency to shiver so we bundle them up like caterpillars in cocoons and talk to them in our most annoying puppy voices. The more high pitched and repetitive we become the faster they waggle. I’ve also heard that using a hair dryer sparingly, and on it’s lowest heat, can work well to avoid shivers in the dog drying process. While the summer heat is still with us I usually just go sit on the porch with them for a bit so we can all warm up. I do not actually own a hair dryer myself on account of using a hair dryer on my massive amount of black curly hair just turns it in to a giant frizzy Jew-fro but I’m thinking that I may invest once the Oregon rain inevitably returns.
Basically doggy bath time is dreaded by one and all, it’s very important though. I usually know it’s time when they start licking themselves in the butt or chewing on their feet more frequently than usual. Also they track in all the pollen from outside which is no fun for allergies, which I thankfully don’t have but my charming fiance does. Pepe additionally has an anxious bladder and Ed has a tendency to anger poo when he gets left home alone sooooo we have to do this bath time business at least once a week . It all works out though because there is nothing sweeter than a clean dog to cuddle up with!