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  1. #1
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    Needing advice on puppy terrified of baths!!

    Hi everyone! I really need advice on our 5 month old large German Shepherd puppy. He's scared of bathing to the point that he freaks out and tries to escape the tub. He literally screams as soon as water touches him. We're not sure if he has trauma from his previous owner but we've never seen a dog act that way. Tried petting him and talking softly but it doesn't help. Really hoping to get him more calm while he's young before he gets to the expected 100 lbs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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    Registered User SilentHill's Avatar
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    Re: Needing advice on puppy terrified of baths!!

    there is a suction cup thing you put on inside of tub with peanut butter. also rescue remedy in his water the day before and day of. the vet could also rx sedative as needed

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    Some dogs don't feel secure in tubs because the floor is slick. You can try putting a matt or liner with a non-slip surface in the tub to see if that helps.

    Put him in the tub when there is no water and then give him a treat when he settles. If he starts to get upset just entering the bathroom, then work on relaxing him in the bathroom first.

    It's also getting warmer outside so you can bathe him outside in the grass with a hose or bucket.

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran cletus's Avatar
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    I like to put an old towel down so they don't slip around. Also starting with pitchers of warm water to gently pour can be less scary than the loud faucet in the tub. Just takes time.

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    Thanks for the advice guys. We actually had a warmer day today and bathed him outside. He took it a lot better than a bathtub.

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    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    But I'd keep working on it so when cool weather comes around again, he'll be a "pro". If he's playful, put toys or treats in the tub for him to find. Not just the bathroom, make a game of it, hide treats for him to find to help him lose fear of the room, then closer & finally IN the tub. I've never regretted that I've trained my dogs to hop in the tub for me when they got bigger...it's no fun wrestling a dog into a bath, you'll end up wet too & you might just as well take him in the shower with you. But being patient, & rewarding him with whatever motivates him (toys or treats) should get you there.

    I like "dog games" anyway. I have 2 dogs & they love to play "find the treats": they both have to wait in the kitchen while I hide little bits all over several rooms, then I say "Go Find!" & they race each other...it's hilarious! And they both double-check everywhere, they never miss any.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-26-2020 at 11:36 PM.
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    That's neat. Dogs are such intelligent animals. He loves treats and toys. We'll give that a try a week or so before his bath. We're excited that see how he changes and grows into adulthood. Definitely a lot of work right now but it's going to be super rewarding when he's older .

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    Fyi, you don't need to bathe your dog weekly unless it gotten in the mud or dirt, etc. By doing so, you are washing away the oil it needs to protect the skin, which eventually causes dry skin and itchiness and your dog will start to scratch.

    No more than monthly if you want to bathe your dog. I usually bathe mine every other month unless we go to the dog park, then a quick rinse to wash the mud off.

    If you are bathing because of the dog smell, all dogs have a slight smell from their glands. Check the diet, some food items can cause your dog to produce more oil than it should be. Work with your vet if the smell is bad and kept returning in a short period of time.

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    Also if you have not already, start his obedience training early. The "leave it" command will be something you will need to master from day 1, especially for a puppy who will test you and get into things, even possibly eating what he shouldn't. Teach him to stay, not jump on people, how to walk on a leash while he is not too strong yet, and recall command in case you need him to return to you asap.

    Check out some of Victoria Stillwell training vids on YT or read her book.

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    And lastly, socialization! I can't stress how important that is to a puppy. Positive experience during this window will help build a confident, happy dog later in life. Take him out to see, smell, hear different things. Of course, make sure he has his shots and you practice social distancing. Allow him to meet many different people of all age and gender. Also, meeting other dogs is important too, the older dogs will teach him manners while he is young, even if you have a 2nd dog at home. Try not to do this at a dog park though if you can.

    German shepherds are bred to be extremely loyal, intelligent and suspicious of strangers. That suspicion can also cause lots of trouble later in life when it becomes overprotective when it shouldn't. By showing him now that not everything in the world is necessary scary, he will grow more confident as an adult dog.

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