How to Wash a Dog for the First Time

20 - 40 Minutes
1 Month


Whether you’re giving your puppy his first bath ever or introducing an adult dog to proper bathing, the first time can be a little scary. Not all dogs enjoy being wet and covered in some kind of soapy substance, but since bathing is good for a dog’s health, it’s important that the first experience is a good one. Putting a little bit of extra care in this first impression of bath time can mean the difference between a dog that hates baths and a dog that gets excited whenever you get the water running.

Dog's Perspective

Water faucets can be noisy, water can be cold, and shampoo can smell funny. Baths may not be your dog’s favorite activity in the world, especially if he’s confined to the tub. It’s your job to make bath time fun, exciting, and a little more bearable so that your dog doesn’t find it necessary to leap out and cause havoc.

Caution & Considerations

  • Always be cautious about your dog’s eyes and ears when giving him a bath. These areas are especially sensitive and can cause a lot of irritation if too much water or shampoo gets into them. If this happens, rinse the area with a little bit of water in order to flush the shampoo out.
  • If your dog seems especially stressed or fearful, it might be a good idea to keep the bath as short as possible in order to keep the amount of stress to a minimum.
  • A leash may come in handy if your dog or puppy is especially capable of leaping out of the tub, indoors or outdoors. 
  • Have a helper or a family member assist with your dog’s first bath if possible, as one person can focus on rewards and affection while the other gets the actual washing done. 
  • Try using dog toys that are specifically made for the water to encourage your dog to have fun during bath time. It may get you a little messier, but the positive reinforcement is worth the trouble.
  • Remember to dry your dog well after a bath to prevent any slipping and sliding along the floor.


Unfortunately for Fido, baths are a necessary part of proper dog ownership. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be such a struggle and can be an opportunity for a new type of play or relaxation with enough reinforcement. Keep bath time a fun affair by never being rough or aggressive with your pup while you give him a wash and he’ll be much more likely to come running whenever you get the water running!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

border collie x blue heeler
11 Weeks
0 found helpful
0 found helpful
border collie x blue heeler
11 Weeks

she has gotten pretty dirty and i bought puppy shampoo and conditioner, how would i was her with a detachable shower head?

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