How to Give a Stubborn Dog a Bath

Not all dogs are tolerant of baths. If you have a stubborn dog, giving baths are harder than you would like them to be. If you would like your dog to be more tolerant of bathing, this is the article for you!


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    Empathize with the dog. Remember that with a stubborn dog, it is that they just don't understand what's going on, so naturally they're scared and skittish. So it's your job to keep them calm and, soothe them, and they should be fine.
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    Find a comfortable place to secure the dog. If its an outside bath make sure you don't secure the dog to something it can twist around and get away from you. Try an outside wall.
    • While you are securing your dog talk to them and make sure their comfortable. Sit with them for a few minutes before their bath by brushing, petting, and soothing them. You should keep a leash on the dog so you can have control of them.
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    Keep the leash in one hand and the water hose in the other. Stand on one side of the dog and keep the hand with the lease on the other so if the dog gets hyper you can pull them away from you and get out of the bite zone.
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    Clean the dog. Start at their back with the water (always get the dog good and wet before you start with their soap) then slowly go down one side and then the other, switch to whatever side you're bathing but keep the hand with the lease on the opposite side.
    • After the dog is wet apply the soap starting at the back like you did for the water and massage it in well. Throughout the washing keep talking in a soothing voice to the dog to keep them calm and friendly. Every so often, you should scratch and rub under the dogs chin to let them know their fine and you love them. When you need to clean the back legs and end you can put the hand holding the lease on the dogs lower stomach to raise their backs. Also if they give a lot of trouble you can step over them and trap their lower bodies between your legs.
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    Do the water process all over again. While your spraying the water over them you should rub their fur to help the soap come out. During all this you shouldn't let go of the lease but you can use that hand to rub the soap out while still holding the leash.
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    Your dog is finished bathing and you can start the drying process. You should take the same precautions and safety tips as you did with the bathing process.
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    Dry your pup. Be gentle and use a clean, dry towel to rub and pat them dry. Try to keep hold of your dog while drying. Sometimes, dogs will shake, and this won't be the best method of drying.
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    Provide lots of love and affection to your dog after washing. Bathing might not have been the most pleasant experience for your pet and lots of attention will let them know that they weren't just receiving a punishment.


  • It really helps if two people bathe a stubborn dog because it can be a two-person job.
  • Eye wash before and after is good because before the bathe it cleans the cleans of any dirt and after the bathe it cleans the eyes of any soap.
  • Tear-less Shampoo is a good one to use because if it does get in the dogs eye it doesn't hurt or sting them.


  • If a dog is really stubborn and they really don't want/like the bath they may break your hold and get loose. Then they will either run away or turn on you and attack, so beware.
  • When your working behind a dog they can kick you or twist around out of your hold and bite/attack you.
  • Whenever you stand but especially sit/squat next to a dogs head they have the ability to bite you.

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Categories: Dog Grooming