How to Get Your Chihuahua to Love Bath Time
Let’s be honest, your Chi probably hates getting a bath. Like most other dogs, Chihuahuas get nervous and anxious when they hear the sound of running water. Even if your pooch loves splashing around in water otherwise, once you add soap – it may become terrified, hide somewhere, or even become aggressive.
Luckily, there are ways to make your pup love bath time (or just tolerate it)! Let’s discuss why your Chi may hate baths and what steps you can take to make the entire process easier, for both you and your dog
WHY DOES MY DOG HATE BATHS?
You’ve probably asked yourself this question when you’ve prepared your pooch for its much-needed bath. You’re not alone. A lot of people wonder why some dogs hate baths, and the answer isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
- It has no control during the process.
If your Chi loves swimming in general, you may be even more confused as to why it avoids baths so much. There is a key difference between splashing around and bathing in a tub – control. When your Chihuahua is swimming, it has full control over its own body, as opposed to being forced and handled during a bath.
Additionally, you may forget (or don’t know) to put a mat at the bottom of your tub so your pup doesn’t slip in the water. Doubling back on the control issues, dogs hate the feeling of being unstable and the possibility to slip at any moment. As a result, they may feel very insecure in a bathtub.
- It may be traumatized.
Unfortunately, if your pooch hates baths so much, it may be traumatized from past experiences. The source of the trauma can be anything. Maybe your Chi slipped one time and fell over unexpectedly. Maybe the water was too hot/too cold for its liking. Even the fact that it’s feeling unstable may cause trauma to your little egg roll, even though nothing bad happened.
- It’s a scary, new experience.
If your Chihuahua is a generally anxious pup, it doesn’t really need a “reason” to hate bath time. In fact, the whole reason behind its fear of bathing can lie behind the fact that baths are a new experience, which your doggie isn’t prepared for yet.
While these are the most common explanations as to why your Chi may dislike bath time, they aren’t the only. Think of them as guidelines for your Chihuahua’s behavior. If you take a closer look at your pup, you may find out the actual reason yourself.
What Can I Do to help?
While baths can truly be a scary experience for your pooch, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to ease your Chi’s anxiety and help it overcome the fear. While it’s best for you to find out what makes your Chihuahua so afraid in order to properly fix the problem, we have some general tips that can point you in the right direction.
- Set up your bath properly.
Your Chi needs to be comfortable in order to actually enjoy getting a bath. To achieve that, your best bet is to put a mat down so your pooch doesn’t slip, make sure the water temperature is ideal (luke-warm), and never overfill a bathtub. For anxious puppies, it’s best to fill the water up to its knees, never up to its head.
Additionally, if your pooch is adventurous and curious, consider putting some toys in a bathtub to distract him while he’s getting rubbed down.
- Don’t rush the process.
Getting a scared dog to enjoy baths is a long process that requires a lot of dedication and patience. As a result, it’s important to not rush your pooch, as you may do more harm than good and further traumatize your little munchkin.
Introduce milestones in training your pup. Don’t force him into a bath right away. Instead, let him hang around in the bathroom for a while, until he gets comfortable. Next, try putting him in the tub without turning the tap on and see how he reacts.
These small steps will gradually get your pup used to bath time. Just remember to spoil your Chi with lots of rewards for every completed milestone!
- Use the right products.
If you use bath products that are irritating for your little diva, it’s no wonder why it doesn’t enjoy getting scrubbed. Always use shampoos and conditioners that are specifically made for Chihuahuas, as they tend to have more issues with dry skin. Never use human shampoo, as it’s way too harsh for your little Chi!
Additionally, you may already know that grooming your pooch comes goes hand-in-hand with bath time. To make the process more comfortable for your little cupcake, make sure you’re only using high-quality grooming tools that won’t hurt your puppy. You can always take a look at our Daily Care collection, we're sure that you'll find many awesome and high-quality grooming tools for your Chihuahua.
- Start early.
With every behavior training, the best results come if you start the process as early as possible – when your Chihuahua is just a puppy! That way, your Chi isn’t old enough to have developed fears and anxieties about bathing.
Generally speaking, you should start bathing your pup when it’s 3-4 months old. If you start bathing your pooch this early, you’ll have plenty of time to teach him that bath time is nothing to be scared of. As with usual training, your best bet is to keep your pooch food-motivated and reward him with lots of treats after every bath!
- Be mindful of aftercare.
There is a slight chance that your Chi doesn’t actually hate baths, but what comes after – the drying process. There are two ways to dry your pup: with a towel, or with a hairdryer. Both can be pretty scary to your dog.
Some dogs simply don’t like getting dried with a towel. They may growl, show aggressive behavior, or shiver. In that case, your best bet is to dry your pooch with a hairdryer. If you choose to take this route, ALWAYS make sure that the hairdryer is at it’s lowest setting, and remember to keep it at a safe distance from your Chi.
On the other hand, hairdryers can get pretty loud and may startle your doggie. In that case, start drying it with a towel and look out for its reaction. If your pooch absolutely despises both of these options, you can always leave him to air dry – though it may take a little longer.
- If your pup is showing little progress even after you’ve done everything you can think of, consider getting professional help in training your pup to enjoy bath time.
- Never, under no circumstances, leave your dog alone in a tub with water.
- Play with your Chi when it’s in the tub to ease its anxiety.
- If your pooch is terrified of running water (or a bathtub/bathroom), consider bathing it in a small bucket.
- Always praise your Chihuahua for being brave.
To sum up, your Chihuahua may hate getting baths for a variety of reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you are doomed to chasing your pooch around the house whenever it’s in need of a good clean. With our advice, you’ll have your Chi splashing around in a bathtub in no-time!