PoodlePleasure ~ Mini Poodles

Traditional & Merle Poodle Puppies for Sale in GA. Occasionally PoodleHybrid Puppies Available.

Your first puppy bath -

 

- all you ever wanted to know about bathing and washing your new puppy!

I often get asked on how to get the new pup started on an easy and enjoyable bathing routine, that does not require major kitchen or bathroom cleaning after wards. I think we all have that picture in mind of a soaking wet, soaped up dog with a long coat escaping through the house and you running behind it, or the alternative - the once a year summer wash outside with a tied down dog and a long distance water hose, LOL.

I can't speak for the pups of other breeders, but when you get one from me - it has had several baths already and is used to getting wet, soaped and [more or less] patiently sitting there waiting its turn while I work over a sibling. They are also used to being fan and blow dried, although they may not particularly appreciate that part yet, most of my pups play through the fan drying and endure the blow drying as it goes hand-in-hand with wriggles, huggies and smooches. Most poodle puppies are small enough to be washed in the kitchen sink - and make it easy on your back and on the clean up after wards. If you prefer to wash him/her in the tub, they are used to that as well, as that is where I usually wash the entire litter at the same time.

A word of advice - bathing a puppy should be a "no-event" for your pup, it should be a regular part of maintenance and no more complex than filling up the food bowl or putting on a collar to go outside as far as your new canine friend is concerned. If you are tense, worried about doing something wrong, or getting stressed out about it - so will your poodle kid. Remember poodles [and poodle hybrids too] are highly intelligent and learn to read your emotional stress level, and consequently pick up on your anxiety. Some will take this as an invitation to see if they can push your buttons and give you a hard time, others will get anxious right along with you - and each bath time will get progressively more complicated and difficult, until you create a hysteric drama queen when it comes to bath time [your groomer will really thank you for that, LOL].

Again - just like you taking a shower or a bath - it is not a big deal [you haven't died yet, and neither will your pup]! If you get a bit soap in its eyes - simply rinse it out - the pup will not go blind or melt away! Same for water in the ears - not a biggie if you allow the pup to shake off after {did you see I said after? All of my adults know I get upset [evil grin ] if they attempt to shake while they are soaking wet and still in the tub! and the pups can learn this too} - after the bath when they are wrapped in a towel.

So go ahead and prepare both the pup as well as the bath area, whether it is a sink in the kitchen or the laundry area or in the actual bath tub. Get your shampoo and conditioner if you use some, and two towels of a fair size for your pup. If you don't have an attached sprayer, be sure to have a plastic cup handy to help with the rinsing.

If you're washing in a sink, fill it up roughly halfway [about reaching the pup's belly or just a tad higher] with water just a bit warmer than luke warm, but not colder or too hot. Do the elbow test if you're not sure - you should dip your elbow into the water and not being able to tell the difference temperature wise if you are in the water or not, and then just add a swallow of hot water on top of that, you don't want the baby to get cold. Add a dollop of the shampoo you're using to the water and manually dissolve - you do not want a lot of foam - just soapy water. When you do that this way, the shampoo cuts straight through the entire coat rather than get poured onto one specific area. If you're washing the pup in the tub, for starters use a smaller container inside the tub [like a dish washing bowl or a large plastic bowl or a drawer type storage container if you have one handy], instead of the actual tub and prepare it the same way as the sink.

Prepare your puppy! Take it outside for a quick potty trip first. If you have a very lively pup that hasn't played off it's energy for a while, go wear it out a bit by taking it for short brisk walk or have a fairly enthusiastic play session and allow for another potty break after wards. Next check the toe nails and clip them if necessary. Check the ears to see if they are dirty, and make a mental note to wash them well if you see a lot of waxy discharge or actual dirt inside or under the ear flap. Take your slicker or bristle brush and give the pup a quick brush-out in advance - this collects loose hair, odds and ends you may have picked up during latest the potty break or romp, and gets you to check for budding knots or mats. Done - you are now both ready for the actual bath.

Pick up your pup and hand carry it to your prepared bathing area. Don't call him to you and have a potential power struggle on whether he comes or not, you want to be totally in control over the bathing event. And you don't want to set a negative precedent for future baths either. You want to be upbeat and relaxed but also cool, calm and collected and project a no-nonsense aura.

Put your pup in the sink [or tub] and for the first few times - use your hands or the cup to soak the puppy, later on you can begin straight with a sprayer to wet the pup down. Start at the shoulders and back, and slowly work up to the head [your puppy should be standing or sitting up at that time]. Ignore wirmings and squirmings, don't scold - just be calm and mellow, correct position calmly and pput all 4 feet back on the ground if it tries to climb up your hand or out of the sink.

With one hand, tilt up the head so the pup looks towards the ceiling and use the cup to wet the topknot and ears. When you tilt the head up, there is less chance of water running down into the eyes and nose, which usually scares them and gets them to struggle. Hand-wet everything beyond eye level of the face down to the tip of the nose. As the pup [and you] get better used to a comfortable bath time, you can bypass all the slow initial cup and handwork and go straight to the sprayer to get the pup wet, but for the first few times - take your time and go easy on both of you.

By now your pup should be wet all the way around [and your washing area and you ought to be still dry, LOL]. Put a quarter size dollop of shampoo on your palm and lather it up between your hands. Because the pup is already semi soaped up due to the shampoo you added to the bath water, you will need only a little bit of shampoo for the actual wash. Do not pour shampoo directly on the pup, as it will take forever to rinse it all off again. With your soapy hands, begin to shampoo the puppy, massage the additional shampoo into the body and use the soapy water in the sink to work up some good suds. Do the body first, proceed to tail and bottom area and don't forget the legs and feet. If the pup is still small enough for you to hold it in one hand, and you have practiced turning it over onto its back - do that now - and thoroughly wash the belly and private area. If it is a larger pup and too heavy for you to balance one handedly or if it hasn't yet learned to submit to belly ups, lift it up by the front legs and proceed to wash belly and privates that way.

Rinse your hand in the soapy water and add another large pea size drop of shampoo to your finger tips and lather your finger tips up. Now you are getting ready to wash the topknot and ears. Both the topknot and the ears are the crowning glory of your poodle - no matter how long the body clip. This is what identifies the poodle from any other breed, and you should give it special care, especially as the hair grows and gets longer. Massage the topknot and wash the ears. Gently poke your fingers into the ear canal and swirl it round in the ear opening [don't force your finger into the ear opening, just as far as it comfortably fits]. Support and steady the head with one hand, while you shampoo with the other, turn the pup to face the opposite side and repeat on the other ear.

If you have a very bouncy pup, you might want to invest in a hypoallergenic or tear-free shampoo, in order to avoid soap in eyes and the eye irritations which come hand in hand with that. Especially important if you have a white or light colored poodle, and you are keen on avoiding the beginnings of tear stains, or if your pup is already prone to them - exacerbating them. Finish the bath by washing the actual facial area [everything below the eyes to the nose] by just using the soapy water the pup stands in. Gently rub underneath the eyes and the side and top of the nose bridge, as well as the throat. Poodles with mustaches or hairy faces need a bit more detail to face washing in order to keep the eye area and the mustache clean, than smooth shaved pups.

I often get asked why I wait with doing the face until the end of the bath when the water is "yucky" - on a younger pup that doesn't go outside much yet, it really shouldn't be "that" dirty to begin with unless it managed to get poopy. To answer your question - I do the face last, as we are now done and the rinsing begins. If I start with the face first, unquestioningly while I do the rest of the pup, the soap from the topknot will slide down the face into the eyes, and will cause irritation which turns into tearing eyes and possible tear-stains Doing the face last, takes us right to the rinsing circle and when we rinse we start on the top, working our way down the pup.

If you have a sprayer attachment, this is the time to use it. Drain the soapy water, turn on the faucet and set the water temperature to luke warm or a bit warmer during the summer months, a bit warmer than that during the colder months. Turn on the sprayer and let it run for a moment until the water coming through is the right temperature [there is nothing to get your relaxed pup stirred up like a blast of too cold or too hot water]. Tilt up the head again - and rinse the topknot from the front towards the neck - we want the soapy water to rinse off away from the face. Use your hands and the straight faucet to gently hand rinse the actual facial area until clean [again - when you feel comfy doing this - you can use the sprayer head for this as well], rinse off the ears very well and proceed to rinse off the body thoroughly. If you don't have a sprayer attachment, in a sink you probably can rinse straight from the sprout, in the tub refill the container with clean water and use the cup again [you'll probably will have the change your rinse water twice before you get all the shampoo off].

Unless your pup was rolling in the mud prior to the bath or has had an accident involving lots of poop, one round is all that is really needed. If s/he was very dirty, go do a repeat shampoo cycle and proceed with a thorough rinse. If you have an older pup with a longer coat, or you want to bathe the dog more frequently than recommended, I suggest you use some conditioner to help maintain the coat quality. Again - rinse very thoroughly!

Gently hand-squeeze the excess water from your pup and wrap him up tightly in a towel to soak up the excess water [make a puppy burrito out of him for a minute or two]. Carry him to a comfortable working surface [like a counter top] or the top of the washer if you're in the laundry room, spread the first wet towel to stand on and use the second one to actually towel dry the puppy. Now is the time my dogs get to shake of the water from the ears and do the all over body shake + wriggle [it's a dog thing and I think you have to be a dog to appreciate that, LOL]. Take a dry corner of the towel or a cotton pad and dry and clean out the inside of the ear canal - again as far as you can comfortably reach, without poking too far into it.

Depending on the ambient room temperatures, you can now proceed to blow dry the pup, or air dry it and enjoy the wet poodle antics [hilarious - this alone is worth bathing your poodle child; I think it is definitely a poodle thing with the scooting all over the floor - we call it the "dying roach mode" here in GA] or crate it until it air dries [you miss the funny show though].

If you chose blow drying, you should brush out simultaneously - she will dry quicker and she will get used to getting this done, before she is old enough to go to the groomer and will be less stressed when she goes there for the first time. If you're air drying, be sure to take the brush to her after she is dry in order to avoid tangles building up. Regardless of the way the pup dries, it needs a second brush out the next day with special attention to the ears and topknot or anywhere else where the hair is longer. If you have a hard time combing through and brushing out, I would suggest you look at the quality of the shampoo you're using and consider adding conditioning to your bath routine.

 

Suggested Bath Schedule:

Every 3-4 weeks routinely, if you bathe more frequently you should use conditioner to preserve the coat. Invest in a good quality dog shampoo if you are a "frequent bather"!

 

What Shampoos should I use?

Ideally you will purchase a better quality puppy or dog shampoo + conditioner, especially if you bathe every 2-3 weeks. It will help you maintain the coat, avoid drying out the hair and skin and will keep matting to a minimum if you brush at least once or twice a week. For the occasional use [say your pup goes to the groomer every 4-6 weeks and you'll give one bath in between] - you can use a good high end quality people shampoo, if you don't have a puppy shampoo handy. Be sure to use a good quality brand, regardless if you use a dog or ppl shampoo.

 

Where can I buy a good puppy shampoo?

I will tell you where and what not to buy! Do not buy the puppy shampoos that are available in most of the pet sections in grocery stores or chains - like Walmart/Kmart etc. If you want your pup to do well and be healthy, pls avoid brands like Hartz, Sergeants, and the likes of them [especially if you're looking for a flea shampoo or flea product!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ] I'd rather see you use a good people shampoo before you get that stuff!

Purchase your dog shampoos in Pet Stores and some Feed+Seed Stores carry a decent selection as well. Most anything that is good for equines [horses] can be used for dogs too. Another place to look for is online.

Summary:

You want your puppy bath time to be a pleasant event, that does not involve getting yourself and the kitchen [or bathroom] soaked in water, and/or gets you and the pup stressed out to the point where you don't like each other no more .

A regular bath routine that is the same all the time, not only establishes good habits + behavior and makes it stress free, but also prepares the way for pleasant and low stress visits when she is old enough to go to the groomer. Take the time to prepare the bathing area in advance, as well as prepping the pup. If you have a very active pup, be sure to play or walk it tired before you attempt to bathe him/her.

Be calm and relaxed yourself, and talk to your pup in a calm and mellow voice. Correct ill behavior like trying to climb out of the sink or tub or trying to jump up on you with a firm but kind hand and your "I mean it" voice. As your pup gets older [or even with a baby] use the "sit" command to teach it to stay put. Say "waaaaait" for him to stay in the sink or when he is getting impatient. I use the "no shake" command and the "arrrrgh" sound in the back of my throat and if needed my hand on the top of the head, to avoid the pup from shaking off and spraying the entire area [and me]. When the pup is wrapped in the towels and halfway towel dry, that is when I allow and encourage shaking off and praise when they do it on command.