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Dog is afraid of water

We have a 3 yr old dog named Blue. We adopted him from an animal rescue about a month and a half ago. Blue is afraid of water. I tried to give him a bath a few weeks ago and he howled and cried like he was being hurt. I am wondering what we could do to help him with the fear of water. Out of desperation of him needing a bath I took him to Petco today and had him bathed. They asked me when I picked him up if he had a past experience with water that might have scared him. I told them I didn't know about his past and that we'd adopted him not too long ago. Can you help me?

Valued Contributor

Re: Dog is afraid of water

[ Edited ]

Baby steps, first talk to your vet about medication you could give him 1 hour prior to the bath, so he won't be so anxious.

Don't be afraid to discuss medication with your vet, after a few baths, he may not need it anymore.

Next I would attempt to bath him in a bathtub filled with a little warm soapy water, at the same time every week.

Rinse him quickly, dry him off. Let him run around and shake the water off, dogs love to do this outside on a mowed lawn and roll around on their backs (if possible)!

Praise him profusely for cooperating and give him a special treat, something good, like a bite of meat or chicken. So he will associate the bath with something pleasant. It will take a little time....

New Member

Re: Dog is afraid of water

Your both nin-com-poops! MY black Retriever and my yellow lab both immanently love going to go for a swim in puget sound or lake washington in the coldest of winter. The problem is dogs don't like water sprayed at them and they don't like the perfumes people put in doggy shampoo. It burns their noses. Shame on you for drugging a dog and promoting that behavior. This promotes the same behavior in people that if something is not agreeable you drug them instead of finding out what is wrong and modifying your behavior so that the dog can handle your idiosy. Watch a dog when they find something rotten. They roll in it because they are designed to be scavengers--cleaning up the earth from all of the dead things laying around. This is why they love it so. Human perfumes stink to dogs and burn their noses. Doggies like oily dirty messy hair to keep the fleas off, fleas like lice, like clean dogs. Their easier to snack on. Wake up and smell the doggie!
Valued Contributor

Re: Dog is afraid of water

[ Edited ]

Dogs can suffer from anxiety disorders and phobias...just like people can.
Separation anxiety is an example.
Medication prescribed by a vet has been very helpful in some cases, especially in conjunction with training.
Many dogs, especially small breeds enjoy being bathed and groomed, and gentle shampoos are good for the skin, some dogs are prone to allergies and this helps get the pollens off.
Maybe once a month when he's doing better.
For now, maybe a small kiddie pool would help too.

Put him in it without water first, with some toys, play with he associates the pool with a positive experience.


PS: You could always consider returning to the Petco groomer every couple of months.

I groom my dogs myself and it is a bit of work!

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