Chances are, if you've given your dog a bath, he has gone absolutely crazy afterward. There are a bunch of reasons for this behavior, from feeling relieved to trying to get rid of a new scent. Often referred to as the "Doggie 500", this can often end up with your dog running over couches, tables, chairs, and anything else they can get their paws on. If you as the owner are not adequately prepared, this can actually end up resulting in damage to property. While there is no definitive proof as to what causes this behavior, there are a few existing theories outlined below that you should know about.
The Root of the Behavior
When your dog bolts after his bath is done, it could definitely be a sign of total relief. Generally, you dog is not going to be too keen on getting a thorough washing, especially if he has spent the whole day playing outside in the mud! As they wait, there is bound to be a ton of nervous energy that builds up. So when you finally dry them off, they are supercharged with anxious energy, and simply need to burn it off.
Related to this nervous energy is another explanation, which is pure unadulterated fun. Just like you, when your dog is able to release all that nervous, pent-up energy they are ready to have a good time! Be forewarned however, that with all that excitement there may be a potty break, sooner rather than later.
Dogs care very much about scent. They use it to mark their territory, and keep track of who is in their "pack". Most shampoos, even those designed for dogs, can be more than a thousand times stronger than your animals natural scent. Pair that with a nose over 500 times more sensitive than yours, and you could very well have a dog in the throes of sensory overload! Because of this, a lot of modern veterinary doctors suggest using neutral or unscented soaps and shampoos when cleaning your canine.
Stress is another common cause of what many pet owners refer to as the "zooms". Plenty of dogs have oils that their skin secretes to keep their coat thick and breathable. When you get them into the bath, they are suddenly confronted by strange body sensations and an inability to regulate their temperature. Once towelled off, they quickly go from feeling overheated to freezing cold! The best way for them to counter this is to raise their metabolism and body heat by running everywhere they can.
Encouraging the Behavior
The running that comes after your dogs bath can be truly entertaining. Who doesn't love seeing their dog at the height of his excitement, jumping around the yard to his heart’s content? This can actually be a great way to get a lazy animal to let loose and get some exercise while socializing with you, the owner.
Another thing to keep in mind is your dog’s scent, and how changing that can impact his behavior, especially around other animals. Changing the natural smells that your dog cultivates can make them shy or scared around other animals. It impacts their confidence and overwhelms their senses, which puts them automatically into a defensive mood. This can result in a lot of conflict if they’re put into a social situation with new people or animals.
Finally, if the running indicates to you that giving your dog a bath is causing more anxiety than good, it may be time to explore other options. Professional groomers, while sometimes costly, have several techniques to avoid giving your dog added stress. A lot of owners choose to stay at the grooming station while the dog is taken care of, to make sure they stay even more comfortable. If you would still like to take care of your dog’s cleanliness yourself, there are several pet stores and vet offices that offer dry shampoos and conditioners that enable you to keep your dog dry and comfortable.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If your dog is getting stressed out by the bath, it might be time to prepare for the running behavior before you clean him off. Many dog owners have invested in warming mats for their bathroom, and a few even purchase dog-specific blow dryers. Another way to circumvent any damage done by this so-called "Doggie 500" is to prepare the house for your dog's crazy antics before you even run the bath.
If your dog gets excited and nervous before you can even get them into the bathroom, a lot of animal behaviorists suggest giving your dog a heavy dose of exercise prior to running their bath. This could be anything from a long run, a play session in the backyard, or if you're really trying to spoil him, a messy romp in the dirt and mud. What's the harm, since you'll be cleaning them after anyways?
Regardless of your dog’s opinion on bath time, it often cannot be avoided. No one wants a house stunk up by a stinky canine companion. But if you simply can’t handle the chaos, or your dog’s moods tend to be negatively impacted by getting wet, there are several options available to keep them at ease. Dogs can be tricky to handle, but “water” you going to do?