We did not bathe our previous Golden Retriever enough because the process of doing it, in our home, overwhelmed me … poor Bosley. He was an outside dog, who loved to swim, though so it wasn’t *that* big of a deal. Plus, he was dark red so the mud wasn’t quite as obvious. But early on in Charlie’s life, I saw that baths would be more necessary and figured out a few things that made bathing him relatively easy. Now, we do it regularly enough that its no big deal to him, or to me (most of the time). And though I’m no dog-bathing-expert, I thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve learned in case anyone else wants this process to be easier!
1) Start when they are young. Then they’ll grow to think it is the norm to get baths. Charlie seems to really enjoy this baths now, and sometimes I wonder if he gets this filthy just so he can get a bath.
2) Enlist some cooperative help. The lack of cooperative help is probably why I really struggled to bathe our last Golden. My boys were way littler then, and there is no way that I’d attempt this without reinforcements.
3) Use a laundry basket to bring him in! I thought this was genius when I figured this out. Hah! As long as one of us has our hand on his collar, he doesn’t even flinch to get out. And now, he jumps right in on his own!
4) Wait until they’ve cleaned themselves off a bit. You’ll notice Charlie is quite a bit cleaner here than in the first images, though this was the same day. He rolled around in the grass a lot and that helped get off lots of the mud. Better out there than down my drain.
5) Use a shower with a door … not a curtain. I was bathing Charlie in our big soaker tub, but once he got big enough to where I couldn’t lift him in, our shower became the place to go. The glass door keeps him, and his shakes, contained.
6) Get in with them! I have found it 100x easier to get into the shower with Charlie than attempting to do it through the crack of the door. For obvious reasons, right? It makes him a lot calmer, too, having me in there. Just be sure to wear something you don’t mind getting wet and dirty, because you will get wet and dirty.
7) Use a removable shower head sprayer. This was a big Ah-Ha for us, too. ;) It makes showering a little kiddo a lot easier as well! Being able to bring the sprayer down to the dog with a powerful spray going makes every part of the washing process so much easier. And they aren’t that costly … totally worth it.
8) Dry off as much as you can in the shower, and then let them sit in there for a while, with a towel on the floor of the shower. Then they can shake to their heart’s content, containing the water to the shower.
9) Shut the door to the bathroom and let um’ out to finish drying off… once I open the shower door, Charlie is a different dog! He goes from being perfectly calm, to a maniac. I just keep the bathroom door shut, and let him roll, shake, and rub. Yes, it gets water on the floor, but then I use this as my once a month (or so) prompt to actually clean my bathroom floor and cupboards.
10) Keep them in the bathroom to dry off … I don’t want a wet dog on my carpet, and though I do put the hair dryer on him for awhile, that fur coat takes awhile to dry. We keep him company a bit (like coordinating the Littlest Guy’s bath-time with the pup’s drying-time. Keeping them in the bathroom is a good option, both because of the linoleum and because the paint on the walls should be able to withstand a bit of moisture.
11) Don’t leave anything out that you’d think your dog would like to chew on … and bring them their own toys. Even though I knew Charlie wanted the bath toys in the tub, I neglected to take them out. Grr. And even though I told him to leave them alone, he still eventually got them out and destroyed them. This should not have shocked me.
12) After a little while, don’t forget to take them outside to *go*. Or else they may just go on your bathroom floor. Hopefully on the linoleum. But the floor needs mopping after this process anyway, so don’t cry if this does happen.
Enjoy your clean pup! This is the cycle that never ends (pretty dog > dirty dog > wash dog > pretty dog > dirty dog > wash dog, etc), so it is helpful to have an easier process! Charlie currently smells like a skunk (oh joy!) so our cycle is already ready to start again!
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