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Help...bathing the rescue collie

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  • Help...bathing the rescue collie

    Two weeks ago, we adopted our rescue collie. She is very timid and fearful of new things, anything in your hand, chains (making noise or quiet), going out of doors, etc. After the first week, she figured out that going upstairs is a good thing...she's explored most of the 2nd floor with the exception of the bathroom. She sleeps on my bed (yes, spoiled rotten), but will not go into my bathroom, into the kitchen or down the semi dark hall to the office and laundry room.

    She needs a bath. She really, really, really needs a bath. She likes to be groomed, doesn't mind having her nails clipped, etc.

    Any suggestions on how to approach bathing slowly with out scaring the bejesus out of her? My bathroom has a horrible spa tub (won't work) and a teeny tiny shower (won't work). The upstairs bath has a tub...but....

    I could take her to a groomer, but she would be terrified. And there is a self wash place in town, but she will still be terrified.

    I'm thinking outside somehow. I bathe the other dogs in the barn wash stall, but the horses are in during the day and scare her with their banging. And, we'd have to get through the gates first, which are chained. Not going to happen any time soon.


  • #2
    hose in the back yard.

    And make happy noises, not 'poor doggy' ones.


    • #3
      I do

      I do mine with a hose in the backyard as well. Maybe the backyard with a bucket and a sponge and lots of treats.
      Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Goethe


      • #4
        In the backyard, warm rinse water in a bucket, dilute the shampoo to at least 2:1 for quick and easy rinsing, and use a measuring cup because it has a spout. That way you control the flow of water over her. Use treats, really good ones.

        1. put the dog on lead, step on the lead while working with her.

        2. pour the warm water over hindquarters first and only do one leg/side at a time.

        3. rub a few drops of diluted shampoo on your hands and stroke it onto her coat. Pour the clear, warm rinse water into your hand and allow it to dribble down onto the soaped area. Repeat as necessary to get that portion of the dog rinsed.

        Stop now and evaluate if you need to stop here (is she too frightened to continue?) or do another 1/3-1/4 of the body?

        When you do a little at a time, getting the whole dog clean will take longer but it's not so overwhelming for you or the dog and you can quit when you should, not continue because you have to.


        • #5
          There are also various dry shampoos that might be helpful to de-funk-ify her while she is settling in, if a full bath will blow her poor little mind.

          Good luck!


          • #6
            My sheltie was pretty shy about being bathed - just go super slow. The dry shampoos and wipes do get the worst of the smell out, maybe you could do that first until she's a little more comfortable around the house ?


            • #7
              In my experience, any sort of tub - indoor bathtub, outdoor wash tub - creates havoc. What works best for me is to take dog onto grassy or paved area, use a bucket of warm water to wet them down, apply shampoo, use hose to rinse. Keeping foot firmly on end of leash, letting them move around some, just not get away. And do back-to-front, with the head either dead last or left out altogether. The best tip I ever heard about dog bathing is that they hate getting their heads wet, so do the head last. If you're working on decreasing her timidity, maybe you could skip the head altogether at first.


              • #8
                When you groom her and do her nails, do you hold her on your lap? If she's ok with that, then you could get into a baby pool with her and both of you have a nice bath together. It worked for my super-spooky Brittany, who finds the world a fairly scary place with the exception of my lap.

                Is she a border collie or a rough or smooth collie?
                I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show


                • #9
                  Hand held sprayer in the tub. If she trusts you (which it sounds like she does, since she lets you groom her), you can bring her on a leash into the bathroom, give treats. Then adjust water temp and shut off. Pick up dog and put in tub with leash on. Use handheld sprayer to soak. Shut off water. Shampoo. Rinse.

                  It'll help if you have a nonslip mat on the floor of the tub. It makes them feel more secure. And I agree with the poster that said to start at the back. Except, skip the tail at first. For some reason, tails are delicate, and starting with them can freak out some dogs.


                  • #10
                    Get a $5 kiddie paddling pool, fill it water, and encourage her to play in it - sticks, leaves, etc.

                    Once she's happy with that, you can re-fill it - or a similar tub - with warm water, and bathe her gently.

                    Use Cetaphil - doesn't sting in the eyes, doesn't strip out the oils, doesn't matter as much if you don't get her thorougly rinsed, no scary bubbles.

                    Warm water makes ALL the difference, ime.


                    • Original Poster

                      Romany....thank you. With her it's one step forward, two back. She watches what the lab does and a baby pool would be perfect. If I can get the lab out of the pool!

                      I'll try the Cetaphil too.

                      She's so frightened with new things. The door slammed while she was going out the other day (wind caught it) and it took two days to get her to willingly go back out that door.

                      She's really coming along though...faster than I ever expected.


                      • Original Poster

                        She's a rough coat collie. She was a surrender to animal control (in lieu of a seizure). She was 20 lbs underweight when turned in, had obviously been beaten. She's coming along, but it's going to take a looong time. I'd rather have her smell than take steps backwards. So, I'll try the baby pool. And a hose (lab loves the hose). He seems to share his courage with her!


                        • #13
                          Are you near a lake with a gently sloping beach?

                          That is how we clean our collies neither are big fans of the hose/shower, but they LOVE to swim!

                          Bring some tennis balls and you'll have her clean in no time .

                          (If this is a real soap-required job, you can get camping suds, a biodegradable soap that is fine for the lake)
                          "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                          Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                          Need You Now Equine


                          • #14
                            Don't forget to rinse her thoroughly, or she will start itching and scratching. Threedogpacks directions are great, and don't skip the leash part, or prop the back door open.
                            You can't fix stupid-Ron White