Motivating a Reluctant Dog for Bath & Shampoo


Dogs that have an aversion to shampooing often exhibit behaviors such as attempting to escape, resisting the process, and causing disruptions during bath time. To address this issue and ensure a more tranquil shampooing experience, methods for effectively shampooing a resistant dog can be introduced, along with tips to promote their enjoyment of baths.

Points to Keep in Mind for Dogs Who Hate Shampoo

The following points are important to consider when dealing with dogs that have an aversion to shampoo:

It Is Ok to Take a Baths Once or Twice a Month

Because dogs have thinner skin than humans, they do not require daily baths. Bathing them too often with shampoo can lead to dry skin and skin issues. It is recommended to bathe dogs around 1 to 2 times per month. This approach can help decrease stress for dogs that dislike baths and make it easier for their owners.

Get Used to the Bath Environment

For a puppy unfamiliar with baths, the bathroom represents an unfamiliar environment. The puppy displays alertness and cautious behavior, often becoming tense. It is essential to acquaint the puppy with the bath surroundings. This can be achieved by introducing them to the concept that water, including warm water, originates from the bathroom faucet and shower. Clarifying the purpose of the bathroom is also beneficial. Familiarizing the puppy with bath-related experiences plays a pivotal role in reducing their resistance to being shampooed.

Furthermore, a technique involves offering treats while the puppy is in the bath. This approach associates positive experiences with bath time and creates a connection between the bath area and receiving treats.

Don’t Be Afraid of Water

Just like humans, dogs can also be startled by the sudden application of water, whether it’s cold or hot, such as during a bath. This initial surprise can potentially lead to the development of aversion or fear of baths. To mitigate this, it’s advisable to introduce water gradually rather than abruptly. For instance, beginning by pouring water or hot water slowly over their legs can help prevent the formation of a negative association with water temperatures and bath time.

Understand That Dogs Are Creatures That Want to Assert Themselves with Their Own Scent

One reason why dogs might exhibit a dislike for baths or shampooing is due to their aversion to the disappearance of their own scent during the bathing process. Dogs naturally establish their presence through their distinct scent, which they may find essential for self-expression. This inclination could lead them to resist the bathing experience as it results in the gradual fading of their scent, possibly causing them to want to avoid the situation altogether.

Additionally, their highly developed sense of smell, ranging from 1 million to 100 million times more sensitive than that of humans, could lead them to find the scent of shampoo disagreeable. This discomfort might prompt them to respond by attempting to escape the situation or becoming visibly agitated. Switching to a shampoo featuring a milder or unscented formula could potentially alleviate stress for the dog, subsequently diminishing their reluctance and the tendency to seek an escape during bath time.

Making Shampooing and Bathing Enjoyable for Dogs That Dislike Them

For dogs that have an aversion to shampooing and baths, there are methods that can help them find these activities more enjoyable.

Method for Shampooing Using a Washbasin Instead of a Shower

Certain dogs are fearful of the shower’s noise and the sensation of water pouring directly on them. This can lead to stress, attempts to escape, or even panic. For such dogs, a recommended approach involves using a washbasin filled with water to gently shampoo them at a gradual pace. This method eliminates the factors that trigger fear in the dog, potentially leading to a more relaxed experience.

Emphasize Bonding While Applying Shampoo

To mitigate a dog’s reluctance towards shampooing, establishing a strong bond of trust with the owner is crucial. Many dogs harbor a dislike for water. However, a solid owner-dog relationship can foster trust, allowing the dog to endure the shampooing process with patience and cooperation.

Taking advantage of a dog’s affection for physical touch, owners can incorporate gentle strokes while applying shampoo. Simultaneously, verbal reassurances such as “You’re doing well,” “Are you comfortable?” or “Let’s get you clean” can be offered. Additionally, incorporating the dog’s preferred toys can transform shampooing into an interactive playtime or a comforting experience. This approach serves as a strategy to overcome the dog’s aversion to shampooing.

Acknowledging Quiet Behavior with Positive Reinforcement

Dogs generally respond well to praise. When dogs remain calm during activities like shampooing and bath time, it’s important to offer praise and rewards like treats. By associating staying composed and cooperative during these activities with receiving treats or rewards, dogs might be motivated to endure the process patiently. Keeping their favorite treats on hand can be particularly effective in such scenarios.

If You Don’t like the Hair Dryer


Following the shampooing process, the subsequent step involves using a hairdryer. A number of dogs tend to have an aversion to the sound and warm air produced by hairdryers, which can lead them to resist and attempt to flee. Nonetheless, leaving them damp can result in unpleasant odors and potential skin ailments, underscoring the necessity of ensuring thorough drying.

If a dog exhibits a dislike for the hairdryer or similar devices, it’s advisable to expedite the drying process. To enhance this process, it’s important to first remove excess moisture using a towel. Preemptively addressing any tangles or dirt will also contribute to time efficiency.

When utilizing the hairdryer, directing the airflow against the natural grain of the fur while simultaneously brushing it can expedite the elimination of moisture from the skin, leading to quicker drying. For dogs that exhibit fear in response to the dryer’s noise, opting for a lower speed setting instead of high velocity is recommended. Particularly for puppies undergoing their initial exposure to the hairdryer, their apprehension can stem from the noise itself. Gradually introducing them to the equipment using a lower setting can alleviate this fear.

Additionally, donning an apron or a similar garment and securing the dryer around the chest area can free both hands, facilitating better control over dogs that may attempt to escape during the drying process. This method enables the individual to maintain a firm grip on the dog’s body while simultaneously conducting the drying procedure.

Furthermore, positioning the dog on a grooming table or a comparable elevated surface can eliminate avenues of escape. Placing the dog on a narrow, elevated grooming table can promote a sense of relaxation and encourage calmer behavior. This provides a window of opportunity to swiftly complete the drying routine. Some grooming tables are equipped with mechanisms designed to secure the dog’s neck, enhancing operational efficiency.

Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that grooming tables have an elevated height, presenting the risk of the dog jumping off. When utilizing a grooming table, exercising caution to prevent such jumps and ensuring a secure hold on the dog are imperative safety measures.


Have reasons for your puppy’s dislike of shampooing been identified? When approaching the task of shampooing and bath time, considering the pet’s emotions and proceeding with care could yield different responses. Trying this approach might help you address your canine companion’s reluctance to shampooing during home baths.