I received my first reader request for a post about dog washing, since that was on Saturday's agenda. Here's what I can say about washing your (large) dogs inside during the winter:
1) It is not the preferable method. I highly recommend the ole hose-them-off-in-the-driveway method, but that's only effective between about April and October.
2) Wait until your bathroom is in need of a cleaning. There is no point in starting with a clean bathroom, because no matter what you do, you are going to get a little messy.
3) Don't bathe your dog too often. My Puppies for Dummies book recommends bathing Fido no more than once a month, if even. We're on more of a once-every-six-weeks routine with Max and Doc. Of course, our boys aren't rolling around in the mud, and if we've taken them to the beach they will get a bath sooner, but dogs don't produce oil like humans do, and too-frequent bathing leads to dry skin.
4) Have all your supplies on hand before you begin: dog treats, large cup, two towels per dog, dog shampoo (this one is our favorite, made by AvoDerm, the same people who make our dog food).
5) Use a shower stall, if you have one. The dogs cannot shake all over the place and get out before you're done with them.
6) Lure them into the shower stall with treats.
7) While the water is running over the dog, speed up the process by filling up that large cup and soaking Fido. The same applies after you've lathered up Fido -- keep filling that cup to rinse him and therefore speed up the process.
7) Now comes the difficult part: drying. This is where it's best to have a buddy to help you out. Because I'm the one in the shower with the dogs, I ask Matt to hand me the towels. Then I dance around to get the dogs to shake out, and they oblige. Finally, I spend a few minutes drying each dog. Then, Matt grabs the dogs and ushers them downstairs to the deck, where they sit outside for a few minutes while Matt dries them off more (we don't want to be too mean in the dead of winter).
8) After the dogs are completely dry (one to two hours later) furminate! This is an ideal time because they are shedding a little bit more post-shower.
This process takes only about 10 minutes per dog, which isn't too bad. I like to wash them on Saturday mornings at 11 a.m. because then I can listen to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on my shower radio.
And, get ready to clean your bathroom!
Next up...Sunday coupons!