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Bathing and Grooming Your Puppy

Regularly bathing and grooming your puppy not only makes a clean, fresh-smelling dog, but it also keeps your dog healthy. Make baths and grooming a regular part of your routine. These activities are also great bonding moments when you can talk to your puppy.

Making your puppy's bath time fun

Here’s a way to prevent your dog from bolting during bath time: Make “Tub” a direction and practice tub exercises long before you give your puppy a bath. The trick works so well that your puppy may start jumping into the tub on command. Use the following steps:

  1. Say “Tub,” run to the tub, and treat your puppy when he follows you there (without actually putting him in).

    Repeat often until he goes to the tub willingly.

  2. Lay a towel or rubber mat on the bottom of the tub for traction, place some toys around it, and rub a tasty spread (like peanut butter) onto the basin at your puppy’s nose level.

    This will keep him content and occupied. You also can use treats and toys to engage him after you place him in.

  3. Help your puppy into the tub, play for five minutes, and then take him out.

    Repeat this step until your puppy looks forward to tub togetherness. While sitting on the tub’s edge, love on him and treat him calmly. Remember that at this step you have no bath and no water — you’re doing a practice run. If he shows stress or attempts to escape, use enticing treats or special toys to focus his attention.

  4. Run the water as you’re playing, but let it drain (don’t fill the tub).

  5. After your puppy allows the water to run while he’s in the tub, let the tub fill to hock (ankle) depth.

    If your dog squirms, stop the water, sing softly, and offer some treats as you scratch his back.

  6. Proceed gradually until you’re able to fill the tub and bathe him peacefully.

Grooming your puppy

Grooming can be a complete nightmare or a delightful, interactive time with your dog. Whether grooming is a chore or a treat is determined in puppyhood. Keep the first brushing episodes fun and always end on a positive note by giving your puppy a treat or his favorite toy.

Following are some suggestions to make your puppy’s first associations with grooming pleasant ones:

  • Use a soft-bristle human or puppy brush. You can eventually work toward using the brush of your choice, but at first, avoid wire-bristled brushes. As your puppy matures, he’ll shed his puppy coat and will require a more sophisticated brushing tool. To discover which brush is best for your puppy’s needs, speak to a groomer or pet-store professional.

  • Spread peanut butter or chicken broth in your puppy’s food bowl or provide a delectable chew for distraction. Show your puppy the seasoned bowl when he’s in a quiet mood, and as he enjoys the diversion, softly draw the brush over his body.

If you follow the preceding suggestions, your puppy will take the experience in stride, and soon you’ll both be looking forward to the time together.

If your puppy growls fiercely at any point while you’re brushing him, stop everything and call a professional right away.

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