Help! My Dog Is Terrified Of Baths — He Freaks Out As Soon As He Hears The Water Running!
"He does nothing but shake and runs and hides for the rest of the day ..."
My dog is terrified of baths. Whenever I run the bathtub water — even just to clean it out — he does nothing but shake and runs and hides for the rest of the day. I've tried making bath time less stressful by putting out his favorite treats, peanut butter, hot dogs, etc. in the bath with him, but nothing helps. What can I do to make him more calm and not so afraid of baths?
You’re on the right track, Carl! Building positive associations between your dog and bath time is key to helping him overcome his fear. But if someone tried to shove a cookie in my face while I was surrounded by cockroaches, I wouldn’t be hungry for that cookie — even if it was freshly baked by Grandma.
The fact that your dog runs at the sound of water in the tub means we have to start slow and build his confidence. This is called exposure therapy (think: me looking at a picture of a cockroach). Start running the tub during the times of day when your dog is doing something enjoyable — like getting ready for a walk, playing with a toy or eating dinner. It may take a week or two, but eventually he’ll get used to the sound of the tub. Once that happens, you can bring him into the bathroom while the water is running and give him treats and pets. When he’s comfortable with that, bring him into the bathroom and splash a little warm water on him.
Breaking bath time into digestible, small steps will help him feel in control and calm. You may have to deal with a stinky dog for a little while, but it’ll be worth it when he has his first anxiety-free scrub. And for more tips, check this out!
My dachshund mix digs a lot! She gets groomed regularly and her nails get ground down, but she constantly digs at the floor, on the couch … everywhere. Sometimes she goes in the corner of the living room and just digs. I have no clue what’s going on.
Ever wonder why dachshunds have those long bodies and little legs? They were originally bred to hunt badgers in their dens — literally born to burrow. And while digging is just a fun hobby for most dogs, it seems like yours is taking things a bit too far. It shows what a good dog mom you are to make sure her nails aren’t the source of the issue. But to find out what’s really going on, play detective with me for a bit: If she’s digging inside, that means she’s likely not doing it for a physical reward (chasing animals in the yard or making a cool hole in the dirt to sleep in). Instead, she must get something mentally or emotionally out of it.
When specifically does she dig? If she digs when you’re not in the room, she could be feeling separation anxiety and digging for comfort. And what is your reaction when she starts digging in front of you? If you tend to react immediately, even if it’s just telling her to stop, she could be trying to get your attention. Or, she could just be bored and looking to release some energy. To curb your dog’s digging, make sure she’s getting plenty of physical and mental stimulation throughout the day. Channeling her energy into something productive, like long walks, social visits at the dog park and treat puzzles, will distract her and tire her out. You can also sit in the living room and give her one piece of kibble at a time for a game like “touch” to give her a more rewarding way of getting your attention. If she’s still compulsively digging after that, it might be time to speak to an animal behavioral therapist and have them assess your pup.