So, your dog is getting bigger and could no longer fit in your shower stall or bathtub. You have no choice but to let them bath outdoors now. The problem is – your dog is afraid of the garden hose and can’t even stand the sight of it.
If this is your current dog care dilemma, do not worry. There are some tricks that you can do to alleviate their fear of the garden hose. Here are some ideas that you should try out.
How to fix the garden hose fear
Introduce the hose slowly
Desensitization is a great technique for fear-based issues such as these. Do this by introducing the hose slowly. Sit down with your dog, give them reassuring hugs or pats and talk to them with a calm and gentle voice while showing the hose. Let your dog investigate it. If your hose is made out of durable material, allow your dog to bite it, sniff it, feel it.
Touch gently with the hose
When your dog seems fine after exploring how the hose smells or tastes, try to use the hose to touch them gently. This will show them that it does not hurt and the hose cannot attack them. Repeat the first step and this step every day until the dog shows signs of comfort.
Start with a low-pressure water flow
Once your dog is okay with the hose, you have to reintroduce them to the hose while it is running water. Start with a low-pressure flow. Your dog may be surprised once it sees water emitting from the hose. Do not direct the hose at your dog. Place it on the ground while you are sitting down and allow your dog to investigate it. Let your dog approach the water at his own pace – do not force it to happen. Your dog needs to realize on his own that it is just water.
Hold the running hose while standing
Slowly stand while holding the running hose. Observe your dog’s reactions. Make sure that you continue to talk to them with a calm and gentle voice, even if they react angrily. Once your dog calms down, try walking around with the hose.
Increase water pressure
Once you notice your dog is now comfortable at the sight of you walking around with the running hose, ask someone to increase the pressure of the hose and see how it goes. Continue to talk to them in a gentle and calm voice and give them time and space to investigate.
Initiate contact on a hot day
Wait till the sun is out and the heat is on before you test out your dog’s reaction to being watered down with a hose. Your dog will feel hot and would embrace the water contact than fear it. Make sure to use gentle pressure so that the pressure will not harm your dog. When you do so, do not start on the head right away. Aim for the feet then slowly up to the body and then the head.
Make sure to expose the hose to your dog slowly and calmly. Do not rush the process. Fear and anxiety in dogs are real – especially if you have a rescue dog. If your dog has had an encounter with a snake before, this may also be one of the reasons why it fears your garden hose.
It may take some time for your dog to accept that a garden hose is okay. Be patient and both of you will soon be loving outdoor dog baths!