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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having trouble getting my dogs to jump into the bathtub at bath time. Here's the story:

We used to have just a normal bathtub where I would bathe the dogs and while neither dogs particularly like bath time, they do tolerate it. Pepper would always jump in for a treat and Kane would go in with a bit of coaxing and treats. This spring we renovated and we don't have that bathtub anymore. Now the only option for bathing them is in our other bathroom, which has a soaker tub. It has higher sides and is slightly narrower. Neither dog will jump in on their own. Pepper knows how to "step up" on something so I bought a small step stool and I've been able to get her to use it to get in until recently. Now she won't even use the step anymore (I suspect because she injured her back leg - vet thinks she pulled a muscle). Kane refuses to go in at all - I have to get my husband to lift him in, which isn't easy and he has to be home for me to give Kane a bath.

So I bought a pet ramp and a rubber bath mat (I though maybe they were afraid of jumping in and slipping). Pepper is afraid to use the ramp because it flexes a bit when she steps on it and that freaks her out. I tried laying it down in the hallway and just had them walk across it to get used to it and Pepper refused to get on it. Kane had no problem while it was flat on the floor.

So where we're at now is with lots of luring and high value treats I can get them both to the top of the ramp at the edge of the tub, but both dogs refuse to jump in. I put my knee up behind them to prevent them from backing down, but they won't jump in the tub, I have to basically shove them in, which isn't nice for any of us. Do you think they're still afraid of slipping? I have a rubber mat now, but I don't think they understand that it's there to prevent slipping. The mat is clear so maybe they can't even see it? I tried to buy a coloured one but they were sold out when I went.

What else can I do? Am I overlooking something obvious?
 

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You could put down a wet towel on top of the mat, that they can see. Have them step off when you start the actual bath.

We've started training the dogs to accept the Halloween costumes already. Suspect princess Ginger is going to milk it for all it's worth but hoping she is happy wearing it in 6 weeks. Try a pretend bath every day and also work on the ramp in the hall with Pepper. Feed them in there. A huge nuisance but it might help. Or go the other way the way I did with Max and the car and c/t approaching, touching, stepping with increasing number of feet but the treat is given away from the scary ramp/tub.

If there's a shower in the renovated bath use a hose and just wash them in there? I have a tiny shower and I did wash Sassy in there a few times for some unknown reason.
 

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I like the wet towel thing Kathy described. Tangible, and they can feel it beneath their feet.

Also, I found that just smearing peanut butter on the walls of the shower, maybe putting a few hotdogs in there, and then stepping out of the bathroom and doing something else while letting the dog explore and find the treats worked best. He usually climbed in on his own to get at the treats in there, and then I would quietly slip in, close the door, and start to give him a bath while he was busy. I mean, he doesn't like baths still, but it's entirely his choice to climb in the tub, and he did it at his own pace. Sometimes I get to clean the whole house while Ralphie decides if he wants treats in the tub or not, lol, but each time he seems to decide a little faster that he'll tolerate a bath to get peanut butter.

And then after he's done with the bath, I'll even smear a little extra in there, so he hangs out in the tub for like 15 minutes after the bath is done licking peanut butter off the walls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You could put down a wet towel on top of the mat, that they can see. Have them step off when you start the actual bath.
I think I'll try this and see if it makes any difference.

Try a pretend bath every day
I tried this the other day with Pepper. I didn't see any noticeable progress, but will keep trying.

If there's a shower in the renovated bath use a hose and just wash them in there?
There is a shower in the renovated bathroom, but it has a fixed shower head. I'm sure we could modify it to work, but it's small and I just picture myself getting completely soaked.

Also, I found that just smearing peanut butter on the walls of the shower, maybe putting a few hotdogs in there, and then stepping out of the bathroom and doing something else while letting the dog explore and find the treats worked best. He usually climbed in on his own to get at the treats in there, and then I would quietly slip in, close the door, and start to give him a bath while he was busy. I mean, he doesn't like baths still, but it's entirely his choice to climb in the tub, and he did it at his own pace. Sometimes I get to clean the whole house while Ralphie decides if he wants treats in the tub or not, lol, but each time he seems to decide a little faster that he'll tolerate a bath to get peanut butter.

And then after he's done with the bath, I'll even smear a little extra in there, so he hangs out in the tub for like 15 minutes after the bath is done licking peanut butter off the walls.
I actually did try putting peanut butter on the walls, but it made no difference. I didn't leave the dogs in the room to explore on their own though. I could try that. Though I suspect they will just scratch at the door and wonder why they're locked in the bathroom. There is no way they will hang out in there after a bath - peanut butter or not. They are out like lightning as soon as I give the okay. Funny they do use the ramp to get out. I guess because it's really the only option and they want to leave pretty badly.

I should also add that they had empty stomach's when I tried to bathe them, so they should have been motivated for the treats, but it wasn't enough.
 

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Oh, I don't even lock him in the bathroom. He goes and hides when he thinks he's getting a bath sometimes, so I just leave the door of the bathroom open and he eventually wanders in on his own and climbs in the tub, then I go in and close the bathroom door.
 

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Even in the tub easiest way to wash the dogs is get in with them. I strip down, wash and rinse them then rinse off, get out and dressed then off we go on the drying walk. I only have a fixed head in my shower too. Used a plastic cup to wet and rinse Sassy. Really dumb as she had a water proof coat that was hard to wet and just as hard to rinse soap from.

I wouldn't expect instant improvement with pretend baths. I'd expect some improvement in a week and be looking more for resignation that it's happening but survival is likely than loving it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Even in the tub easiest way to wash the dogs is get in with them. I strip down, wash and rinse them then rinse off, get out and dressed then off we go on the drying walk. I only have a fixed head in my shower too. Used a plastic cup to wet and rinse Sassy.
I actually did get in one time hoping to coax Kane in and it ALMOST worked. I suppose that's an option go just get in there with them and get soaked, but then I'd have to get out and traipse around the house gathering up the second dog.

I bought one of these from PetSmart for the bathtub and it works surprisingly well! I was even able to install it myself, which I was pretty proud of. https://www.petsmart.ca/dog/grooming-supplies/bathing-equipment/top-paw-3-way-shower-pet-sprayer-12686.html
 

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I have a laundry tub that I can lift my little dogs into for their baths. I do not have a bathtub, just a shower, so I take my bigger dogs up to the Doggy Daycare and they have a raised tub with a ramp going into it. Only costs $10 and they get to clean up the mess. They have a blower to help take the water out of their coats and supply all the soap and conditioner. Worthwhile for a long coated shedding dog which I do not have anymore but my sister takes her Goldens up there rather than use their bathtub at home and have to clean up the mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do not have a bathtub, just a shower, so I take my bigger dogs up to the Doggy Daycare and they have a raised tub with a ramp going into it. Only costs $10 and they get to clean up the mess. They have a blower to help take the water out of their coats and supply all the soap and conditioner. Worthwhile for a long coated shedding dog which I do not have anymore but my sister takes her Goldens up there rather than use their bathtub at home and have to clean up the mess.
They do grooming at our doggy daycare too, but I think a bath is around $20 each, so not really a good long-term solution. There are a couple of diy dog bathing stations at pet stores in town, but again I don't want to have to pay each time I want to give them a bath, plus Kane is fearful so it's not a great option for him anyway.
 
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