How Not to Give your Dog a Bath

June 17, 2018 12:55 PM for June 15, 2018

I have a new found respect for dog groomers. Their jobs are not easy.  Friday, before my wonderful Meijer shopping trip, I decided to give the dogs a bath. I bought a fancy shampoo and conditioner about a year ago that I haven’t used. It’ll be fun, I thought, to give Sammy a nice bath and condition his coat.

I’ve given Sammy a bath several times in the past. He’s has this thick coat, though, that is almost cat-like. It’s soft, he sheds, and, my favorite aspect, he doesn’t smell. Sammy can get a bath once every couple of months and be fine.

Charlie is a different story. Charlie has a thin, curly coat that I keep clipped short. About three weeks out from his bath, Charlie gets a bit odiferous. After four weeks, he’s downright stinky. If he goes any longer than four weeks between baths, I’m spot cleaning him with a wet wash cloth and soap trying to beat back the scent.

My mom was very particular about who she allowed to groom Charlie. He has very sensitive skin and is prone to razor burns (according to my mother). I figured I better skip the hair conditioner on Charlie.

Mom used a groomer that has a mobile grooming salon that she would bring to my mom’s house. Since having Charlie, I’ve been having her come every four weeks to bathe and groom Charlie. Since Sammy doesn’t get stinky, I have her give him a bath and a small trim every other visit to save money. It’s been at least a year since I’ve given Sammy a bath myself.

The last time I saw the groomer, her next opening was five weeks away. This is one week beyond Def-con 1 of stinkiness for Charlie.

Last Thursday night, three weeks into our five-week wait for the groomer, I was sitting outside with the dogs. I noticed that they were taking turns gleefully rolling on their backs in the same spot on the lawn. Oh-oh.

That night, when Sammy jumped on my lap, I noticed a gamey odor on him. On Charlie, the same gamey odor blended into his normal 3-week-from-being-groomed- dog stink that was already a bit more pronounced than usual (I think because of the kennel stay). I decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and give the dogs baths on Friday.

I don’t know if Charlie has ever had a bath at home. I don’t think so. I don’t think my mom gave him one and I know I haven’t. When I inherited Charlie, I also inherited the groomer. I’ve been spoiled.

Being that Charlie is almost 17 pounds, I didn’t think he’d fit in the kitchen sink where I normally bathe Sammy, who is only 10 pounds. I decided to bathe them in our walk-in shower in the master bathroom.

I put on sweats and got both dogs into the bathroom. They were excited to be able to come upstairs with me in the morning. Normally, they stay downstairs with Dennis while I get ready.

I decided to do Charlie first and get the worst over with. I was not looking forward to giving Charlie a shower. I expected him to be nervous and shake the whole time. I envisioned struggles to run out of the shower stall and him cowering in the corner while I tried to spritz him with the hand-held sprayer.

My fears for Charlie were, once again, unfounded.  He was a bit perplexed as to why I was carrying him into the shower, but as soon as the warm water hit him, I think he understood. He stood perfectly still and let me wash him, and turn him as I needed to. He even let me wash his face and rinse it with the sprayer. I towel dried him for a minute and let him go to wander the bathroom.

Then it was Sammy’s turn. Sammy is not a dumb dog. He saw what was happening with Charlie and he wanted no part of it. While Charlie stood in the middle of the bathroom shaking himself, Sammy was playing keep-away — with me trying to catch him in my wet, bare feet on the slippery floor. Eventually, I cornered him and picked him up.

Once I got him in the shower and set him down on the floor, he bolted before I could get the shower door closed. I got back out of the shower and chased him around the bathroom in my now wetter feet until I cornered him again. This time, I outsmarted him and closed the shower door before I set him down.

He did okay as I was running the warm water over him. However, it’s been a year since I bathed Sammy myself, and I forgot about his undercoat. Sammy is like a little otter when he gets wet. The top part of his coat repels water, and his thick furry undercoat stays dry. I had to put the hand-held sprayer an inch from his skin, to soak his undercoat.

In this midst of doing this, Herbie, our water-loving cat, managed to get into the bathroom without my knowing. Hearing the shower on, he nudged the shower door open a few inches like he always does. Sammy is not a dumb dog. He saw his opportunity for freedom and he grabbed it!

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Herbie the water bug.

Sammy went tearing out of the shower stall sopping wet and ran into the bedroom. In my haste to catch him, I dropped the handheld sprayer in the shower which banged off the shower wall and spun water around the bathroom like a sprinkler. It got the walls, it got the floor, it got the water-loving cat who decided he doesn’t love that much water and took off. Charlie stood there, looking at me perplexed, wondering what all the fuss was about.

At this point, I was as wet as the dog. I got back out of the shower, skated across the wet bathroom floor with my wet, bare feet into the master bedroom only to find Sammy rolling on his back in the middle of our bed. Herbie was on the floor next to the bed licking himself and giving me the evil-cat-eye for spraying him with the hose.

I retrieved the two old towels I had out for Sammy, dried off the bathroom floor and the walls. I got a fresh, good towel, put it next to the shower and went to catch Sammy who was now grinding his wet head into my pillow.

We went back into the bathroom and I made sure the bathroom door was securely shut this time. I carried Sammy back into the shower, shut the shower door and started over. Most of Sammy’s top coat was already dry, but his undercoat was still damp.

I successfully shampooed Sammy okay, but when it came time to rinse I realized I might have used a little too much shampoo. Bubbles were pouring out of his undercoat in an alarming quantity. It was like pouring cold root beer over ice cream. Pure bubbles.

The more water I ran over him, the more bubbles I got. I bent over so long, that I started to get dizzy, so I sat down on the bench in the shower, put Sammy on my lap, and let the hand-held sprayer run over both of us until the bubbles finally stopped.  It took about three minutes. At this point, I decided we were done with bath time and I opted not to use the doggie hair conditioner.

I turned off the water and I put Sammy on the floor of shower where he immediately shook himself, managing to spray water everywhere including my hair and my face and my glasses. I dried my face and Sammy with the last towel. Then I let Sammy out of the shower stall, where he went into the middle of the bathroom and shook again. And again. He shook himself a total of three times which ensured that whatever part of the bathroom hadn’t yet been hosed down, was now wet. The mirror was dabbled with water droplets. So was the window. My make up table had a sheen of water over it, and there was no longer a dry towel to be had.

I took off my wet clothes and left them in a heap in shower and I opened the bathroom door to the master bedroom. Sammy made a beeline for the bed and rolled around on the comforter. Charlie joined him.

I decided I might as well shower for real this time, so I closed the bedroom door so the dogs couldn’t escape and cause mischief. I gathered the wet towels into a heap in the corner along with my clothes, and then I cleaned the shower stall and took a shower. I found an old beach towel to dry off with. By the time I was done and had dressed in dry clothes about twenty minutes had passed.

I sat on my now damp bed with dog brushes and started to brush Charlie. I was so happy to find that he was almost dry. It took about a minute and a half for me to run a brush through his hair and he was done.

And then there was Sammy. Sammy looked mostly dry but when I put him on the bed to brush him, I found that his undercoat was still sopping wet. I swear, it’s like a sponge! Out came the hair dryer, and I spent the next twenty minutes blow drying the dog. Not how either one of us wanted to start our day. Once he was finally dry, I spent the next ten minutes brushing him. I never spent this much time on my own hair even when it was longer.

Finally, we were done. The dogs were dried off, I was dried off and the bathroom was dry-ish. The bed, however, was not. It was damp and had a strong odor of wet dog.

I stripped off the comforter and sheets, put them with the wet towels and put on fresh sheets.

Then I let the dogs out of the room.

There was great joy and exuberance as the dogs celebrated their freedom. They ran at full bore through the upstairs and then downstairs where the three cats were lying in the sun on the floor taking sun baths.

It looked like an explosion of cats when the dogs came running into the room. Each cat immediately jumped up and fled to higher ground. One jumped to the kitchen counter and the other two scaled cat gyms.

Four loads of laundry later, I was finally done with the after effects of bath time. Dennis was forced to towel off that morning with a couple of hand towels but he was a good sport about it. Both dogs were super soft and smelled wonderful.

Later that afternoon, as I sat outside with the dogs, I noticed that they were taking turns gleefully rolling on their backs in the same spot on the lawn. Seriously?

Is it wrong to febreeze a dog?

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Here is Mr. High-Maintenance himself looking all cute and sweet-smelling.

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Mr. Low Maintenance looking very chill after his bath.

 

1:58 PM

 

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