Riggins, my 11-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer, is tough to keep clean. He just loves being dirty. Unfortunately, for him, I don’t like snuggling with a big ball of dirt, so he has no choice but to take baths. Since our move to a small studio apartment, I’ve been debating the best way to do this.
When I got my baby boy, he was covered in fleas and a bath was the first order of business. He was so small it was an easy job. I held him with one hand, scrubbing with the other, while my dad assisted by pouring water and manning the suds. Just 3 months old, and you could already tell he wasn’t fond of this whole “being clean” concept.
For awhile, he was still small enough that I could plop him in a tub. It wasn’t long before he was too big to clean using that method, as I found myself trying to toss buckets of water up from under him and onto his tummy.
At this point, I decided he was big enough for a shower. When I talked about my struggle bathing Riggins with my friend, who has a Lab, she said she just jumps in the shower with her dog. Sounded like a plan to me.
I invested in a dog shower kit that involves attaching a hose up to your shower head. A brilliant invention! I’d coax Riggins into the shower, and then jump in after him. He didn’t like it, but it was easy to get to all his furry parts and scrub him down. When he was finished, I let him run around in his crazy dog post-bath rampage. You know the one, where a dog runs in figure eights and circles all around the house, only pausing to throw himself on something clean and wiggle around.
We recently moved, and I haven’t wanted to put Riggins in the new shower. For one, it is smaller and has a curtain instead of a door. That didn’t seem like something that would contain my water-hating beast. Secondly, despite my best efforts to keep dog hair from going down the drain in my old place, we all know it happened. Dog hair is everywhere in my life, including the drain. I didn’t think the new place’s drainage could handle it. What to do?
I decided to try a dog-washing station. Have you used one before? It’s wonderful! You get to wash your dog away from your house, therefore keeping your space nice and clean, and still save money by doing it yourself.
Prior to our move, Riggins had experienced a couple of different self-wash setups. One, up at my sister’s house near Yosemite, Calif., is hilarious. There’s a little shed in front of the self car wash. It is fully equipped and works just like the bigger version for your car. I took my niece and nephew to provide Riggins with moral support, and they giggled as I made Riggins “walk the plank” into the big metal tub. Once in place, there was some fighting over who would get to put in the quarters and who would get to wash the dog as we rotated the dial from “pre-wash” to “suds” to “rinse” to “condition.” I may have gotten as wet as Riggins, but he was clean!
I’ve also taken him to a self dog wash in a small pet store. It, like many places, offers 20 minutes with the tub to do what you need. That can mean a luxurious shampoo and blow-dry or, if you are Riggins and think the hair dryer is a tool of the devil, you can bring along a few four-legged friends. I could wash three dogs with one token. What a bargain!
I recently found another pet store that offers a similar service, but this time you pay per dog/tub. For me, it ends up being a less expensive option. It also has a tub choice that is lower to the ground, and Riggins is able (and willing) to step up into it. Finally, the shampoo isn’t built into the treatment, like at a self-car wash. You are still supplied shampoo, but it lives in a bottle, as nature intended. The great thing about that is I can bring Riggins’ shampoo, which I prefer to use.
We’ve only been to the new place once, and I really like it, but I’m open to suggestions. How do you get your pup clean? I’d love some tips. Let me know in the comments below.