Cream Toy Poodle Puppy in Bathtub

How to give your dog a bath when it doesn't want one

Katie Court
Authored by Katie Court
Posted: Wednesday, April 17, 2024 - 12:00

Dog owners are being offered easy-to-follow tips on how to get their four-legged friend used to bathtime.  Experts at have revealed six ways to help dogs get used to regularly bathing in the tub.

The idea of bathtime may seem like a nightmare to some dogs as they can often feel confined and are scared of the running water.  However, consistent training and careful handling can help struggling pets get used to the water so they become more relaxed while being cleaned.

The experts say using treats to reward good behaviour and bottles to gently pour water on them are great approaches to making a dog feel more comfortable.  Andy Ellis, expert at, said: "Training dogs to get used to the bath is a challenging commitment but is extremely important to fulfil.

"Bathing is really important for dogs to help prevent nasty odours and bugs from latching onto their fur.  For any pet owners struggling to get dogs to settle in the bath, don't rush the process. Put a non-slip mat on the floor so they can't fall over and gently pour water over their head with a bottle or cup to get them used to the water.  Then if they behave without whining or trying to get out, reward them with a treat so they understand good behaviour is a positive thing."


Here are six ways to help a dog get used to bathtime:


 1. Use bottles when pouring water

Dogs can become easily frightened by bath water if it's hard and fast. Scoop up some of the water with a bottle and gently pour it over their head while stroking them.


  1. Treats for good behaviour

If your dog is whining in the bath, wait until the moments of silence when they've calmed down. Reward them with a small treat so they associate being calm and relaxed with a positive outcome.


  1. Regular routines

Every time your dog becomes covered in mud or begins to smell, take them to have a bath. Getting into a consistent routine will help them get used to baths, making them more relaxed over time.


  1. Relaxing music

 Playing relaxing music in the background such as bird noises can occupy your pups' mind as you're trying to bathe them.


  1. Use non-slip mats

If your dog is more scared of the tub than the water, they're likely scared of falling over and hurting themselves. Having a non-slip mat can provide them with a stable balance and will make it easier to wash them in one place.


  1. Bubbles

Bubbles are a great distraction tool to keep a dog's mind occupied. They'll be more bothered trying to catch the bubbles than getting out of the bath itself. Make sure any products used to create them are dog-friendly to prevent a skin rash.

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