For most dogs, bath time can be a traumatic event, however recently, I watched a YouTube video showing two dogs going crazy for a bath– running up the stairs, down the hallway, throughout the bedroom, through the bathroom– and plop– both jumped right into the tub! I guess, you'll never know exactly what you're dog's reaction will be.
For starters though, Chihuahuas are not water dogs. They are genetically bred from dogs who lived in arid lands. Some may have learned to love the water, but most only tolerate it. My two little ones, Annie and Roxy, have learned to tolerate it with a pitiful look in their eye.
Since it is very important to bathe them regularly, the impression to bath time should always be a wonderful one– for both of you.
Having a Good Time
So what does giving your Chihuahua a wonderful bath time experience include?
1. Don't get excited, keep yourself calm. A lot of people start shouting in a high-pitch voice and dancing around thinking that will somehow get the dog to want a bath even more so. Unfortunately, the dog doesn't understand English, let alone your reactions, and only picks up on your crazy energy level. This can get their little hearts racing and make them panic. If they end up loving bath time, by all means, join in on the excitement, but until then I would focus on comforting their fear.
2. Constantly reassure them. Hold them tight and comfortably, pet them softly, or speak to them in a quiet voice. If you must leave the room, don't leave them by the sink alone– take them with you. I always bathe the girls Sunday nights around 9pm– a perfectly quiet time during the weekend, one that has very little outside interruption. Something like this is key to staying focused and getting through bath time with no bumps and bruises.
3. Be prepared. Have all your supplies and towels ready to go by the tub or sink. I will admit there have been times when the moment was right to catch Annie for bath time– and unfortunately, these were before I was entirely prepared. Having to carry her around the house as I gather all the clunky things like the hairdryer, toothbrush, lotions, and such, only freaked her out. That has not been fair to her– imagine her terror!
4. Throw your drying towels and a sleeping blanket into the dryer before you start. I can't tell you how much faster these little dogs dry with a warm towel, it's almost immediate. Not only is the warmth reassuring, but you can prevent a chill– they will catch a cold in a nano-second. A little secret that I've discovered is to warm up their sleeping blanket. Once bath time is over and they've run their 'happy laps' around the house, they hit that warm blanket and are down for the count– giving me some quiet time to clean up.
5. Use luke-warm water. Never warm to hot. They may like the heat, but seriously warm and hot water can hurt them. Sitting in the hot sun is not the same things as sitting in boiling water. Always, check the temperature before you get the dog wet. Even then, listen and watch for your dog's reaction. If Roxy thinks the water is too hot, she'll start to panic and whine– she's telling me that this is no joke.
6. Start at the neck. Don't douse the face right out of the gate, you'll end up with a very unhappy puppy. This is like stepping on the panic button for them. Instead, get them wet at the neck first and when it's time to do the face, use your hands and fingers not the faucet (and you don't have to use soap if you don't need it). Even after 6 years, i still only use wet fingers to clean the girl's faces. Why? It's unsettling and unnecessary to pour water on their heads– not too mention dirt and soap get into their eyes.
7. Have a clean towel handy. Lastly, always, always have a clean soft towel ready to dry their eyes, don't ever let them sit there with a wet face, it may be cute, but it's not fun for them.