Ruff House
Self-Service Dog Wash
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Tips for a Happy Bather

"I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."
- John Steinbeck

It's True.

Most dogs think we’re a little nuts for giving them baths.


Thankfully, dogs put a lot of faith in us as caregivers.


With positive reinforcement, a lot of praise, and frequent exposure to the grooming environment, dogs can learn to be more tolerant of the bathing experience.

Comfort in the bath begins with comfort in the environment

It’s essential for your dog to be familiar with the place in which he or she is groomed.

Bring your dog to Ruff House frequently! 

Between baths and before the first groom, stop by with your dog and the Ruff House staff will be happy to give your pup a special treat.  It’s extremely important that your dog associates good things, like a yummy cookie, with the grooming environment.

Your dog’s reaction is often

directly influenced by YOUR


Always use a happy-sounding, high pitched voice and praise if your dog is nervous. 

Remain calm and positive during your dog’s bath.  If your dog becomes agitated, he or she will feel safer and more reassured if you do not allow your own anxiety to show.

Here are some tips!


Treats are great



Use a handful of small treats to reward your dog during his or her bath.


If your dog resists going up the ramp, use a cookie to lure him or her into the tub.


If your dog is reactive toward a specific part of the groom (such as biting at the blow dryer), praise your dog and give him or her a cookie when the reactivity lessens (i.e. when your dog pauses from biting the hose). 


While cutting your dog’s nails, use a treat as a distraction.


Don’t forget an after-bath goodie or chew toy to strengthen your dog’s positive association with grooming!


Tips for the fearful or defiant bather:

·       Test the water away from your dog to make sure it’s warm.

·         Be careful not to get shampoo in your dog’s eyes and ears. 

·         Cut your dog’s nails after the bath, when they’re softer, and try not to cut the nails too short, as it can be very painful.

·         When drying, keep the airstream away from your dog’s face.  Start with a lower velocity and work slowly up to a higher velocity.

·         During your dog’s first few baths, leave the dryer on while washing so your dog can get used to the noise before being exposed to the force of the air.

·         Try using a “Hoodie” (kind of like a headband for your dog’s ears) while using the blow dryer.

·         Use a detangler, such as “The Stuff,” before trying to brush out tangles.

·         Let your dog sniff each grooming tool before using it.

·         If your dog is extremely fearful or reactive toward other dogs, try coming at a less busy time, such as the middle of week.

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