Whether you are between grooming appointments or on a strict budget, sometimes you need to wash your dog at home.

To prepare, assemble your bathing tools: towels, wash cloth, shampoo and bath fresh mist, and comb. It is also helpful to have some treats on hand to reward your dog for good behavior during the grooming session. I like to dilute the shampoo for ease of application – you can use any plastic squeeze bottle. Simply pour the soap that you are going to use in the bottle and add water – a 5:1 dilution works well for me.

If you are using heated water (which is always nice!), check the temperature. Start by wetting the dog at the neck and move backwards. The reason for this is if a dog’s head gets wet, his first instinct will be to shake! That is why I recommend washing the head last. To make sure I don’t miss any parts, such as armpits which are commonly missed, I wash from top to bottom, one side of the dog, then the other. Don’t forget in between the toes. Apply the shampoo and then use a gentle massaging motion, talking to your dog as you wash.

Relaxing bath foam to a Golden Retriever dog

To rinse, I begin at the back of the head and move backwards, as all the soap will run down the dog.  I do one side of the body, then the other, then I make sure to rinse chest, armpits and belly really well. Rinse the legs next. If your dog has a fear of getting rinsed on her head, then you can soak a wash cloth and wring it out on her head to rinse away soap.

After rinsing, use your hands like squeegees to remove excess water. This also allows you to feel if you have left any soap behind. Rinsing all the soap off completely is important, as any soap left behind can make your dog itchy. If your dog shakes, allow her to do so, as she will remove a lot more water than you can with your hands.

Using towels, you then dry your dog. Depending on the size of dog and length of fur, you may need more than one. If your dog has long or cottony fur, try to use more of a patting motion rather than rubbing to avoid matting the fur.

After you have dried your dog, followup with a coat conditioner, like Life’s Abundance Bath Fresh Mist. This conditioner helps keep the skin and coat healthy and seals in moisture. Then, followup with combing to remove any excess hair and brush the conditioner through the coat. To finish your bathing session, offer your dog a healthy treat, like Life’s Abundance Tasty Rewards Training Treats to help seal this experience in your dog’s mind as a positive one.