Can dogs pout? Tales of a traumatic first bath

On Sunday, I decided to attempt Pyrrha’s first bath. Her foster said she hadn’t been bathed at all since coming into the rescue and that fact was starting to become apparent. It was a bright, warm day, and so I decided to set up shop on a small concrete pad in the yard, where I could use the garden hose and hitch her to a fence post with a leash.

Sounds pretty ideal, right? Well. No. Not from Pyrrha’s perspective.

I had an idea that she would hate being bathed, as we’ve learned that she really hates having her paws wiped off after she’s been outside. She also hates being groomed with the undercoat rake (although she is fine with the ZoomGroom). But a bath has to happen sometime. So, I armed myself with bits of hot dog and led her out to the concrete pad, ready to rumble.

Her normal position

Pouting, post-bath.

The second I turned the hose on, PANIC set in. She tried to bolt in every direction, nearly choking herself in the process. She was in such a state that she wouldn’t even accept the hot dogs. I had to put her between my knees and calmly hold her and speak softly while I hosed her down (on the gentlest setting, the setting you use for delicate seedlings). She finally stood still, but she was MISERABLE. When I turned around for a second to pick up the shampoo, she started trying to head-butt her way back through the fence.

It was not fun, for either of us. My legs were shaking from the whole ordeal. Thankfully, however, the bath was over in 10 minutes and I was very grateful I splurged on that chamois doggy towel, which really accelerated the drying process.

For the rest of the afternoon, however, she was pissed. I don’t know if dogs can pout, but I really feel like Pyrrha was pouting. Normally, when I call her, she comes over, wags a bit, kisses me on the nose, etc. The rest of the post-bath Sunday? Nothing. Not even a glance. She’d actually get up and walk away if I tried to pet her. She wouldn’t even accept treats from me. Such a diva! Her feelings were very hurt by this whole traumatic bath ordeal. (And she was also probably angry, because the conditioning shampoo I bought made her smell like a sugar cookie. I apparently didn’t read the label very closely. I kind of don’t blame her; it would be insulting to have to smell like some second-rate confection after you’d just been thoroughly traumatized.)

Mercifully, Pyrrha seems to have a short memory, because she was fine the next day. I think my parents’ arrival helped distract her, and the fact that my father played with her and her new rawhide surely erased all those bad feelings.

So, two questions for you:

  1. Does your dog HATE baths? What do you do to make the whole event less traumatic?
  2. Can dogs pout? What do you think? Do your dogs ever pout?

Pup links!

The prototypical collie/shepherd. Source: LIFE Magazine Archives.

Dog-related links from around the Web this week.

Breed-based euthanasia proposed in NC county. This is so horrible that it barely seems real. Cumberland County in North Carolina has a proposal on the docket that will euthanize all incoming GSDs, bully breeds, dobermans, rottweilers, akitas, chows, and Great Danes within 72 hours and not give them a chance to be adopted. There is a petition collecting signatures here; I signed it last night and encourage you to do the same, if you feel so led. It’s hard for me to believe that this kind of egregious breed-based discrimination still exists. But, clearly and sadly, it does. (Examiner)

Puppy at 500 f/s. On a lighter note: This is a beautiful video and an excellent study in canine movement. Directors of an independent film studio, Kamerawerk, made this short film, titled “Afternoon Pleasures,” of their chocolate lab puppy chasing a ball (and other various objects) and it’s lovely and riveting. Sent to me by my friend Maggie. (Kamerawerk on Vimeo)

Judgment Is Easy, Understanding Takes Work. An inspiring and thoughtful post about reserving judgment of our fellow dog owners. It’s something that I have to work on too, even though I don’t have a dog of my own! (Rescuing Insanity)

De-bunking the “Alpha Dog” Theory. Pat Miller, a positive trainer I respect, reflects on why this theory of the “alpha dog” needs to fall by the wayside. This is something I definitely wish all dog owners knew today. It always surprises me how widespread this theory is–even at the shelter. Seasoned volunteers and sometimes staff members use “alpha dog” language to talk about “problem” dogs and I often wish I had enough credibility to speak up about it. (The Hydrant)

Preparing for Your New Pooch. A practical list of guidelines to help one prepare to bring a dog into the home. Even though I’ve read dozens of lists like this one, I always like finding them and comparing notes. (The Inquisitive Canine)

Mismark Case: Australian Shepherd. The canine-loving biologist writes a post on one of my all-time favorite breeds, the Aussie, and examines the different markings and genetic repercussions that occur in the breed. (Musings of a Biologist and Dog Lover)

Peter Clark Dog Collages. This artist makes collages of popular breeds from found maps and old stamps. The results are eye-catching! (Dog Milk)

Dog Snout Also Makes Handy Bath Snorkel. This pup has the right idea. (Best Week Ever)

Pup links!

Dog walker in Central Park. Source: LIFE Magazine Archives.

Happy almost-Thanksgiving to U.S. readers and pups! Some canine-centric links from around the Web this week…

The Smallest Acts of Kindness. In this season of gratitude, it’s nice to remember that even the smallest acts of kindness can have a big impact. (Modern Dog Magazine)

Meet My Evil Bathtub. These photos are endearing and funny, mainly because Chix’s displeasure is written all over his face. I’ve never met a dog who loved getting a bath. (Love and a Leash)

Orvis: Pre-Race. A cute, short video of our wedding photographer’s lab, Orvis, on race day. (Meredith Perdue)

How to Measure Your Dog for a Martingale Collar. I’m a big fan of martingale collars–we use them a lot at the SPCA, owing to our large number of hounds–and they have saved my sanity on many occasions. This is a great video tutorial from the makers of beautiful martingale collars, Classic Hound. (Classic Hound)

How to Prevent Dog Leashes from Becoming a Pain in the Neck. Some tips on mitigating the problems that often occur on leashed walks. (Inquisitive Canine)

Cancer Part 4: Hemangiosarcoma. This series of sobering posts about canine cancer has been eye-opening. My attention was caught by this one in particular, because my research of the GSD has indicated that hemangiosarcoma is an unfortunately common cancer among the breed. It sounds dreadful. But it’s good to know the facts. (Borderblog)

Recognizing the Signs of Bloat (Video). Another serious topic, but one that people with big, deep-chested dogs are always aware of. I’ve also read about this being a quick and terrible killer of GSDs, and so this video and the corresponding facts were very helpful. (The Bark)

Healthy, Homemade Sweet Potato Chews for Dogs. An easy recipe for roasting yams for your dog. (Raise a Green Dog)