Patsy is a poodle cross that hates the water. She will not go swimming with the family at the lake or on camping trips, and when bath time rolls around she makes herself scarce, hiding under the bed and requiring her owners to drag her out and carry her to the bath. Her owners are surprised, since poodles are water dogs and Patsy should be naturally inclined to like water. What gives?
A talk with Patsy’s previous owners reveals that when she was younger, Patsy had a skin condition that was aggravated by water. This may be the root cause of Patsy's water aversion. However, simply understanding why Patsy does not like water still doesn't help her owners at bath time to get her past her aversion. She still needs to get clean. There are several steps that Patsy's owners can take to bathe their water-hating dog with less stress and a few alternatives that may be useful as well.
Any of these situations resulting in pain or discomfort to your dog from water could result in a dislike of water and being wet. Taking steps to mitigate repeating these situations and reassuring your dog that water will not cause him discomfort in the future will be key to getting your water hating dog to cooperate during bathing time.
Your water-hating dog may be a challenge to bathe, but with some considerations and by taking it slow you can get his cooperation. Work slowly with a dog that hates water, to show him that the water will not hurt him. Make sure to avoid getting water on his face, use warm, not hot or cold water, and get your dog gradually used to the sights and sounds of running water. Treats and chew toys can be great tools to create a positive association with bathing. Dry your dog well so he does not remain damp or use alternative cleaning methods like dry shampoos or spot cleaning to avoid excessive use of water when possible. While your dog may never learn to love water, he can at least learn to accept it as a temporary inconvenience for getting clean.