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?