Q: when should I start bathing my puppy?
Aug 06, 2009
Your question may be only about the sanitation issue, however I beg you to think about training and acclimating your new puppy to the ritual of bathtime for your sanity and hers in the future.
A bath will not get your puppy sick - you are getting shots for your puppy because other dogs/their eliminations/etc can get your puppy sick. But giving your puppy a bath in your home on a schedule, (in the water just like you do everyday) will NOT get your puppy sick. The only thing that COULD happen is if you OVER bathe your dog and dry out her skin, she may develop excessive dander.
Getting your new puppy used to the routine of bathing is a very VERY important step to begin as early as possible. You want your puppy to learn that bathtime = funtime or = treat-time. Your goal for your adult dog is that she looks forward (or at least calmly tolerates) bathtime. Just like everything with regard to training dog/animals - take it in steps and positive reinforcements go a long way.
I see that you have a very small puppy who you may decide to bathe in the kitchen sink - these same instructions go for the sink as well as the bathroom tub.
Bathtime can be broken down into several steps. For example, turning the water on - some adult dogs go berserk, simply at hearing the loud reverberating sound in the bathroom. I'm sure you don't want that!! So lets desensitize your little baby to that right away and rather than her associating the running water sound with something scary.
First, make sure you have her on a collar and leash (there is no need to have to chase her around should she decide to bolt). Practice turning the water on the water (don't put her near it yet) and give her treats/praise/affection/her favorite toy. Then turn off the water and stop giving treats/affection. Keep doing this exercise water on = goodies, water off = no goodies.
Then the next step AFTER she is comfortable with the sound of water running begin placing her close to the running water. Again, treats/affection for calm doggie behavior; no treats/affection for fearful, running-away behavior.
If she tries to run away from the sound or cower beneath your legs - resist the urge to comfort her or turn off the water. Hold the leash so that she can't run away (and then you have to go chasing after her). A strong Mommy dog just ignores the pup's fearful behavior - you are not being mean by not comforting your pup, you are being a good Mommy dog. When she calms down or moves toward the sound, as if investigating, again treat, treat, treat. Never respond negatively (saying No, or yanking the leash) if she attempts to run or cower. Just stay put and quiet right where you are at with those yummy treats - let her come back to the water.
Then after she is comfy being very close to the running water, stick her hiney in the running water - that way her mouth is available to gobble up the treats. if she pops out of the water - stop treats/affections.
As you can imagine the steps after this you can break down as much as you want depending on how your puppy reacts. She may fly through them or she might be more cautious. But in the end it is really up to how you approach and reward her that will determine how she will react to bathtime as an adult dog.
I realize this is long - but as you sound like a responsible and cautious new dog owner, you probably want as much info as you can get your hands on.
Please message me if you'd like to talk further.
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Aug 13, 2009
When my dog had puppies, they began getting bathed at approximately 4-5 weeks old! They get dirty in their playpen, stepping in, lying in their urine and poop. You just have to use a very, very gentle shampoo. There are many different brands out there for babies.
I washed mine in the sink. You hold it in one hand so it feels secure, and just have a light stream of water from the faucet to wet, and rinse with. When you are bathing and rinsing, obviously you will have both hands on the puppy and it will feel pretty secure.
Now is the time to start.
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