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  #1  
Old 03-08-2009, 01:27 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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How do you give a bath to a reluctant big dog?

So last night we got a dog. A big dog. (The shelter said he was a Catahoulan Leopard Dog, if you can trust them.) I've never had a big dog - I've only had Westies, which run about 16 pounds. 16 pounds of stubborn, granted, but you can pick stubborn up.

He needs a bath. He leaves your hands stinky. I ran one, stopped the water before bringing him, etc - and he figured out "holy crap that crazy lady wants me to take a bath!" and I could hardly get him through the bathroom door. I tried to lead him into the tub, and he wasn't having that, and I tried to pick him up, and he sank down to the ground (I'm not sure if I could pick him up right now anyway, since I've got this terrible cold and I've been feeling really weak.)

I may try one of those dry shampoos or wipes, but at any rate this dog will at some point need a bath in the bathtub. How do you do it?
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  #2  
Old 03-08-2009, 01:32 PM
Hello Again Hello Again is online now
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I think you're looking at a long-term training project where you praise the dog for entering the bathroom, praise the dog for standing in the tub, praise the dog for allowing you to wet his paws, etc.
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  #3  
Old 03-08-2009, 01:34 PM
MLS MLS is online now
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Outdoors, with a hose? I don't how, really, since he's apparently not yet trained to obey you.

We adopted a full-grown Weimaraner years ago who for some reason was terrified of water. Fortunately he was obedience trained, and we had a shower stall with a door that could be latched shut. My husband would get the dog in there, close the door, and they would shower off together.
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Old 03-08-2009, 02:03 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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We're still figuring out what he knows. He comes quite reliably when you whistle, he sits unless he's really excited, he knows he isn't supposed to bother you when you're eating. We thought he didn't know "lie down" but it turned out he does if you "sit" first. It seems that "get in the goddamned bath" is not one of the things he has been taught.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2009, 02:11 PM
Omega Glory Omega Glory is online now
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Originally Posted by MLS View Post
Outdoors, with a hose? I don't how, really, since he's apparently not yet trained to obey you.
That's the way I'd do it. He stinks now, so I'd just get it done any way I could, before his scent wrecks the entire house, then wait till later to tackle the long term thing.

Actually, I'd probably skip the long term acclimation all together since my dogs get annual baths, and we'd basically be starting from scratch every time.
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  #6  
Old 03-08-2009, 02:19 PM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is online now
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You could pay someone else to do it. My aunt is a professional dog groomer and I used to be her bather and brusher. With large dogs you need either one incredibly strong person or two moderately strong people to lift the dog and physically place it in the tub. They are usually pretty docile once actually in the tub. You can drop him off at the groomer's and come back in a few hours to a squeaky clean, happy doggy.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 03-08-2009 at 02:20 PM..
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  #7  
Old 03-08-2009, 02:24 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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Peanut butter. Give him a big hunk of peanut butter and he'll be way too preoccupied at licking it off the roof of his mouth to object to the bath.

We did have one dog who'd refuse to take a bath under normal conditions but would happily lie down in the tub for us if he were tired out. Take your dog for a long run first.
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  #8  
Old 03-08-2009, 02:47 PM
whiterabbit whiterabbit is offline
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What olives said. It sounds like he needs a scrub, not just a spray with the hose. (olives, I have an aunt who is a groomer too, and I've worked for her. Does every groomer recruit a niece?)

At least this one time if they can get him really really clean, then you can work on washing him at home later. I'm not trying to drum up business for groomers, honest, but a large uncooperative stinky dog who is new to the household? Yeah, I think I'd work on the home bathing later, but would want him clean now.

Last edited by whiterabbit; 03-08-2009 at 02:49 PM..
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  #9  
Old 03-08-2009, 03:15 PM
JaneSaintClair JaneSaintClair is offline
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Definitely a job for a groomer... they have all of the right equipment, and have lots of experience dealing with reluctant dogs.

It'll be worth every penny...
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  #10  
Old 03-08-2009, 05:04 PM
Finally Finally is offline
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If you don't want to pay a groomer I know the pet stores around here have 'do it yourself' tubs. Maybe that would work. For my big dog it's the hose.
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2009, 06:03 PM
Acid Lamp Acid Lamp is offline
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Bribe him with something special. KFC works wonders on reluctant doggies. Lead him into the tub with the chicken and allow him to politely nibble it while he is in the tub. FTR, we bathe our dogs by a pitcher and leave the tap running. Many dogs don't like to get into a full bath but will tolerate a scrub and pitcher bath just fine.
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  #12  
Old 03-08-2009, 06:24 PM
schnuckiputzi schnuckiputzi is offline
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Just be prepared to be soaked to the skin. Our Rott/pit enjoys baths WAY too much, and jumps around, sharing the love with the bather. Luckily, we don't bathe her very often, or the bathroom floor would rot out. Basically, we get her into the bathroom with six inches of water already drawn, and try to keep her physically in the tub while soaping and rinsing. Rubbing her with towels turns into a tug of war. Don't use good towels.
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  #13  
Old 03-08-2009, 07:47 PM
Shirley Ujest Shirley Ujest is offline
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Two people.

Brush the dog out extremely well before the bath.

Positive reinforcement.

Always be in control.

Keep talking the entire time.

Peanut butter on the roof of the mouth.

A shower massagey thingy will expedite the entire process considerably. Wash the head and face last.

Always keep a hand on the dog to help keep them from shaking off the water and as reassurance.

Doggies are always 1000% happier after their bath.

Have a buttload of towels ready and on the floor for when they go into Happy Dog Shakedown and spazo moves.
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2009, 08:12 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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Having him on a leash might help, even if you're not holding the leash tight (yes you definitely need two people). I've heard that some dogs just feel more safe when they're on a leash.

That being said...my big dog (80lbs+) likes baths. She gets in just fine and lets me get her wet just fine. But, at some point during a bath she decides she is done having a bath and starts struggling to get out. There is absolutely no way that a person (and I'm a big, strong person) on their knees can keep a big wet dog from trying to scramble out of a tub. It's miserable and messy and you end up being reluctant to bathe the dog again any time soon.

I urge you to take him to the groomer's, at least this first time.

For the future, consider a booster tub. It's on legs so the dog is at your height (no kneeling!) It's got a built-in harness so the dog can't get away. It's got a non-skid bottom. It's got a handy place to keep your soap, and comes with a spray attachment for the hose that can be switched on and off right at the attachment.

I've got mine set up in the basement and extended the drain so it goes right into the washtub drain. I put a $10 "astroturf" rug underneath it so I don't slip. I use a short garden hose so I can run warm water (my dog prefers cool water and my brother's dog prefers warm water). You can, of course, also set it up outdoors.

At $179 (plus a bit of shipping), the thing paid for itself within a year (I was paying about $30 for a bath). Now I can let Dolly get dirty any time and not feel like it's going to be a pain in the ass to get her clean. Since it's inside, I can also bathe her when it's rainy or cold out.

Dolly was sort of afraid of it at first, but she runs right up into it now. LOVES it. My brother's little dog is afraid of it, but I can put her on a leash and walk her up the ramp, and then transfer her right to the built-in collar. We usually wash the dogs as a set of two - one to wash one side and the other to give kisses and hugs, then we switch.

Anyway, that's my lifesaver product recommendation for the day.
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  #15  
Old 03-08-2009, 08:18 PM
Southern Yankee Southern Yankee is offline
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Outdoors with a hose is what we did. We had a 165 lb. mastiff. One hand on the leash, one on the hose. Lather, rinse, repeat.
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  #16  
Old 03-08-2009, 08:26 PM
Beware of Doug Beware of Doug is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
(The shelter said he was a Catahoulan Leopard Dog, if you can trust them.)
Does he look like this?

They're reportedly livestock dogs, and said to need a very traditional alpha human. Any insufferable douchebags in your household?

Last edited by Beware of Doug; 03-08-2009 at 08:28 PM..
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  #17  
Old 03-08-2009, 08:42 PM
starwarsfreek42 starwarsfreek42 is offline
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I have two dogs so large they can stand up and put their paws on my shoulders. How do I bathe them? Brute force. If I, a 110 lb girl can wrangle them into the tub, so can anybody Some advice though--have all your stuff laid out beforehand. LOTS OF TOWELS, shampoo, brush, whatever else you're using, etc. Clear out any hampers, rugs, portable heaters, cabinets, etc. Anything that can be re-homed for an hour needs to go. Don't fill the tub. Get the dog into the bathroom and into the tub while it is dry. Run the water about high enough to cover his paws, and use a hand shower or wand to spray him down. Lather rinse repeat. If he jumps out, put him back in. Yes, it will wreck your bathroom. Yes, you will be soaking wet and smell like dirty dog. But he has to learn that baths are inevitable and you won't budge.
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  #18  
Old 03-08-2009, 09:00 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is online now
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Originally Posted by Southern Yankee View Post
Outdoors with a hose is what we did. We had a 165 lb. mastiff. One hand on the leash, one on the hose. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Yep, that's what I did with my dog too, though she was in the 50-60 pound range (it was a bigger issue when I was a very small for my age middle schooler). Princess hated hated hated water, but eventually she'd need to be bathed on a warm day, so keeping her on a short leash and hosing her down with water to wet her fur was step one. Step two was to lather on doggie shampoo on the wet, shivering dog. Step three was to let her have the full length of her leash and let her run around while hosing off the shampoo. It's a very wet proccess for both dog and owner. On rare occasions I did enlist some help, but that just meant two soaked people instead of one.
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  #19  
Old 03-08-2009, 10:04 PM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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Newfoundland owner checking in. The only time Angus was ever bathed in the bathroom was day one in the house, 4 months old MAX. And he almost destroyed the place, and us.

Outdoors, with the hose, plus a seriously industrial professional blower/dryer.
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  #20  
Old 03-08-2009, 10:13 PM
Giraffe Giraffe is online now
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We have a big dog who doesn't like the bath, but who we can now bathe simply because he's learned that we will always block his escape route if we can and haul him back into the tub if we can't, so he just stands there and looks pitiful. We had another big dog who never stopped fighting the bath, so we just washed him on a leash outside with the hose. Strangely, that seemed to bother him less than the tub -- I think the dead end on top of the water was just too scary for him. (He was an anxiety-ridden shelter dog.)
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  #21  
Old 03-08-2009, 10:25 PM
Pyper Pyper is offline
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I don't even understand why you would bother with trying to get him into the bathroom unless you have no hose.

We bathed our two large greyhounds outside with the hose. Wet them down, scrub with shampoo, rinse. Of course they were very docile and never tried to escape the bath. They would just do the "Oh my god, I'm wet! My legs can no longer support me!" thing that I've seen so many greyhounds do when they get a bath.

If your dog is a runner, you should have one person for the leash and one person be the bather. Or just tie or chain the dog to a sturdy object.
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  #22  
Old 03-08-2009, 11:35 PM
appleciders appleciders is offline
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I'll say it again- wear the dog out beforehand. Take him for a long run or get a friend's dog to help tire him out. Tired dogs are a million times easier to bathe.
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  #23  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:48 AM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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Offer to wash a friend's pickup truck if you can borrow it to go only to the coin-op car wash and back. Get dog in back with treat, tie dog to various cleats/tie-downs. Go to coin-op car wash, wash dog and truck at same time. Return with clean doggie. Give doggie another treat. Doggie associates pickup with treats, fun getting wet with you, all are happy.
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  #24  
Old 03-09-2009, 03:21 AM
Renee Renee is offline
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Originally Posted by starwarsfreek42 View Post
I have two dogs so large they can stand up and put their paws on my shoulders. How do I bathe them? Brute force. If I, a 110 lb girl can wrangle them into the tub, so can anybody Some advice though--have all your stuff laid out beforehand. LOTS OF TOWELS, shampoo, brush, whatever else you're using, etc. Clear out any hampers, rugs, portable heaters, cabinets, etc. Anything that can be re-homed for an hour needs to go. Don't fill the tub. Get the dog into the bathroom and into the tub while it is dry. Run the water about high enough to cover his paws, and use a hand shower or wand to spray him down. Lather rinse repeat. If he jumps out, put him back in. Yes, it will wreck your bathroom. Yes, you will be soaking wet and smell like dirty dog. But he has to learn that baths are inevitable and you won't budge.

This. We used to have 2 weimaraners, one was 80 lbs, the other 120. Big dogs, and I'm not particularly large myself. However, I could pick them up long enough to get them in a bath if I had to, and if I had to they knew the process was going to be more uncomfortable for them than if they just got into the tub as ordered. You really should get a hand shower attachment, though. Bathing dogs by putting them in a tub of water is a pain.

Also, don't bother with fancy dog shampoos. Standard human shampoo, the cheap kind, has always worked fine for every dog we've ever had.

Last edited by Renee; 03-09-2009 at 03:22 AM..
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  #25  
Old 03-09-2009, 07:01 AM
JaneSaintClair JaneSaintClair is offline
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Just a quick note about the human shampoo... exercise some caution here. I thought the same thing, that I could use human shampoo on my dog. Three days later, she had a rash all over her body, and was keeping us up at night "thumping" as she scratched herself raw. It took two vet visits, two rounds of steroids and and antibiotic to resolve it. She'd had an allergic reaction to something in the shampoo...

So, after almost $300 in vet bills, the gentle dog shampoo seems a lot more worth it.
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  #26  
Old 03-09-2009, 08:13 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Originally Posted by Beware of Doug View Post
Does he look like this?

They're reportedly livestock dogs, and said to need a very traditional alpha human. Any insufferable douchebags in your household?
I think you guys have a very good point about taking him to the groomer for Bath One (although I like the truck idea - the thing is, I have a cold, which is also why I didn't want to hose him down outside.)

Would you believe he likes my boyfriend better than me after I've been the one convincing him to get a dog? "I don't want a dog!" "That's what you said about cats one, two, and three, and they're the apple of your eyes!" "Yeah, but I don't want a dog." One day after dog has moved in: "I think you might have accidentally bought me a dog. Who's a good boy?"
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  #27  
Old 03-09-2009, 09:55 AM
Moirai Moirai is offline
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Joy dishsoap allegedly has the proper ph balance for shampooing dogs...
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  #28  
Old 03-09-2009, 10:21 AM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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When we get a new doggie, they go to the groomer for bath #1.

After that, it's the hose outside. We cannot seem to bathe a dog inside without getting the entire bathroom, including the ceiling, wet. Cleanup's a breeze outside, and they seem to dislike it less - maybe because they're not sealed up in a small space.
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  #29  
Old 03-09-2009, 10:41 AM
cowgirl cowgirl is offline
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My dogs (pit bulls, not huge but very strong) love the bath. What's not to love? Undivided human attention, lots of treats, not one but two good rub-downs, followed by a mighty fine treat.

I get a nice meaty bone from the pet store and put it on a shelf in the tub, fill the tub up a bit, and lure them in. (ETA - one at a time!) Lots and lots and lots of praise and treats. I wear shorts and climb in, I only get wet if they manage to shake. They don't love running water so I scoop it over them with a bowl. They get the bone as soon as I finish towelling them off.

The hardest part is getting the 70lb one OUT of the tub, he loves it in there so much - I had to use the bone to lure him back out again.

The newer dog has only experienced this once, but she has taken a great interest in the bathtub ever since. They both try to get back in the tub when finished their bones, and sometimes at non-bath-time they sniff around in there, just in case.

Last edited by cowgirl; 03-09-2009 at 10:42 AM.. Reason: clarification
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  #30  
Old 03-09-2009, 10:46 AM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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I've done the hose outside, and I've done the brute-force method. But luckily, my dog(s)* is/were so good, I could order them into the tub and they'd go, while giving me that pitiful puppy-dog face.

*the current dog, Jasmine--64 lb. black-mouth curr mix, and the former dog, Ladybug (75 lb. lab mix), RIP (God, she was the best dog.)
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  #31  
Old 03-09-2009, 10:48 AM
TroubleAgain TroubleAgain is offline
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Originally Posted by cowgirl View Post
The hardest part is getting the 70lb one OUT of the tub, he loves it in there so much - I had to use the bone to lure him back out again.
Cowgirl, years ago, I had a chow mix and a spitz mix, and I'd bathe the spitz first, then the chow. The spitz would cower and shiver and act like I was killing her. Then I'd let her out of the tub and put the chow in, and she'd run around chasing the water spray and trying to bite it.
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  #32  
Old 03-09-2009, 11:54 AM
Hockey Monkey Hockey Monkey is offline
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Originally Posted by The Second Stone View Post
Offer to wash a friend's pickup truck if you can borrow it to go only to the coin-op car wash and back. Get dog in back with treat, tie dog to various cleats/tie-downs. Go to coin-op car wash, wash dog and truck at same time. Return with clean doggie. Give doggie another treat. Doggie associates pickup with treats, fun getting wet with you, all are happy.
Please do not, under any circumstances, use a high pressure sprayer on your dog (or any other flesh bearing thing). The backyard garden hose is fine, but the kind of psi you get from a coin op wash (at least the kind we have around here) can seriously injure or kill your dog.
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  #33  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:05 PM
maladroit maladroit is offline
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There may be a mobile groomer in your area, there used to be one in mine. She had a van that somehow had all the gear incl water/power for shampoo and blowdry.
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  #34  
Old 03-09-2009, 02:42 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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Originally Posted by appleciders View Post
I'll say it again- wear the dog out beforehand. Take him for a long run or get a friend's dog to help tire him out. Tired dogs are a million times easier to bathe.
There it is. Get him good and tired. Then brush him out, and take him for another walk, just to be safe.

My Catahoula mix (she tops out at 45 lbs., so not that big of a dog) loves the bath. She was pretty reluctant the first few times, but her last bath a few months ago had her leaping into the tub to get going. She pretty much resigned herself to her fate, and probably remembered how much fun she had running around the house showing off her shiny coat to everyone.



Aside: Doesn't the catahoula seem to be the new catch-all when trying to pin down a breed? Anything unexplained that has brindle or patches seems to get classified as a catahoula. All I know is that Tilly has a brindle coat, webbed feet, and loves trying to climb trees.
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  #35  
Old 03-09-2009, 03:17 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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Yeah, if I saw Captain on the street I'd think maybe he was a pit bull/shepherd cross, although on his "shepherd" parts he does have big darker spots. He certainly doesn't seem to have the temperament characteristics of a Catahoula, although of course individuals would vary - he's not territorial or dominant or any of that. He just wants to be liked. He gets his feelings hurt when the cats hiss at him.
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  #36  
Old 03-09-2009, 03:33 PM
Amfet Amfet is offline
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Why not ask the shelter for help? I bet they'd be happy to help you however they can.
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  #37  
Old 03-09-2009, 06:41 PM
Sunrazor Sunrazor is offline
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Speaking from personal experience: You give a big dog a bath (a) outdoors (b) with a hose. Period.
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  #38  
Old 03-09-2009, 07:33 PM
Munch Munch is offline
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Wait - how big is he? I saw the pics in the other thread, but there wasn't much in comparison, and some dogs tend to hide their weight.
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  #39  
Old 03-09-2009, 11:13 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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He's pretty big - his paw fills my whole hand up. He's very dense (in every possible way, heh) - very heavy and strong for his size. I'd say he's, um, maybe German Shepherd size? But much more solid.
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  #40  
Old 03-10-2009, 12:52 AM
MichaelQReilly MichaelQReilly is offline
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Originally Posted by Giraffe View Post
We have a big dog who doesn't like the bath, but who we can now bathe simply because he's learned that we will always block his escape route if we can and haul him back into the tub if we can't, so he just stands there and looks pitiful.
Haha. That is my situation. The funny part is, my 90 pound lab loves to swim, but hates baths. He's only had about 4 or 5 ever, but he can somehow sense that they are coming. I have to pick him up and carry him up the stairs and put him in the tub.
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  #41  
Old 03-11-2009, 10:13 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I figured out a good way to tie him up outside, so I gave it a try yesterday - he was such a good boy. Now that I have a system it's no problem, I don't think.
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  #42  
Old 03-11-2009, 11:14 PM
AquaPura AquaPura is offline
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I second the recommendation for the booster bath. I got one for my in-laws Great Pyrneesx4 and it is a life saver. They were previously bathing the dogs half at a time in a big round washbasin. Total suckage.

That said however, I usually bathe my dogs in the bath tub. Brute force is the answer, and even if you are not large you can move a dog even if they do that "YOU CAN'T TAKE ME! I HAVE NO BONES!" thing that they are so fond of. Once you lock yourself and the dog in the bathroom the rest is gravy. A massagey showerhead is great, but you can also do this with rinsing with a bowl. Bathing with two people is easier, then you have one person who's sole job is to hold the dog. Prepare to get absolutely soaked, and bring lots and lots of towels. No matter what the dog does do not get angry and yell. This will only freak the dog out. Always be in control and speak in a firm tone.

It also helps to sing "Keikei the good dog" to the tune of Frosty the Snowman.

Or at least it did for me.
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