Bathing

The typical adult German shepherd that is brushed on a regular basis may only need a bath three or four times a year, barring any incidents involving such activities as digging in the mud or rolling in animal dung.

If you have access to warm water outside your home and you live in a warm climate, you may choose to bathe your shepherd outdoors. Otherwise, bathing your shepherd in the bathtub usually works just fine. Here are some tips for bathing your dog indoors:

  • Set out three or four clean “dog” towels for drying before you begin your shepherd's bath.

  • Wash your shepherd's bedding — a clean dog on dirty bedding will undo your efforts.

  • Put a nonskid surface in the bathtub, or spread out a towel.

  • Use warm water.

  • Shut the door to the bathroom.

  • Reluctant dogs can be enticed with a treat; unruly dogs should go in rear legs first, followed by their front legs.

  • A handheld showerhead helps to wet and rinse your dog.

  • Don't use too much shampoo — it's hard to rinse a lot of suds out of the shepherd's undercoat.

  • If you think a bath might frighten your shepherd or cause him to act aggressively, book an appointment with a professional groomer who is comfortable handling a frightened dog.

  • After toweling off your dog, allow him to dry in a warm, draft-free location.

  • Clean the hair out of the tub when you've finished, and change your clothes to keep from spreading wet hair around the house.

  • You will likely not need to frequently bathe a small shepherd puppy. However, as with brushing, it is wise to at least wet her in the tub every week so that she grows accustomed to the feel of water on her body. If you aren't diligent about this, you could end up with a seventy-pound ball of fur that refuses to be bathed.

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