Although it’s most effective to start bath training when they’re puppies, it’s highly possible to get a dog used to bath time at any age; it may just require a few tricks!
1.) Make sure you have plenty of time
Your dog may become panicky and fear bath time in future visits if you rush through the process and don’t treat them as reassuringly as possible. Before you give them a wash, ensure you have a couple of hours of free time ahead of you to relax and completely focus your attention on your dog. They can pick up a lot from your body language and attitude so understandably, if you’re relaxed and calm, this feeling will likely be felt by them, whereas if you’re frustrated and rushing about, it will have a negative effect on your dog.
2.) Put a non-slip rubber mat in the bath
Your dog may become very stressed if they begin to panic in the bath and then find that they can’t stand or do anything without slipping and sliding around on the surface. Placing a non-slip bath mat down will give them something to hold onto and therefore will ease their anxiety. It’s also advisable to fill the bath with water before bringing your dog into the room – if they’re nervous already, the loud sound of the water pouring into the tub won’t help.
3.) Play near the bath
In order to teach them that the bathroom is not a place to be scared of, try playing with some of their favourite toys near the bath! Playing lets your dog know that he is in a safe and fun environment, and he’s also able to go near the bath without anything bad happening. You can also try holding a treat out to them near the edge of the tub and when they walk closer to it, give them the treat and praise them.
4.) Get the water to a nice temperature
Even though you may love hot baths, it’s not necessarily what your dog prefers. Hot water can shock your dog and cause them to associate the bath with that bad feeling. Also, puppies are especially sensitive to temperature, so being careful not to harm their sensitive skin is important. It’s best just to keep the water lukewarm.
5.) Treat them during and after bath time
If you feed your pup a couple of treats and give them a reassuring pat during bath time when they’re behaving well, they will eventually learn that there are rewards with that good behaviour and it is not a bad experience. It’s important to give them a treat afterwards too, whether that be a new toy, a tasty treat or some playtime around the house - this shows that you’re praising them.
These tips will not necessarily suit/work for every dog.