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How bathing a dog can rescue a romance

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

What do you do when a German Shepherd dog is afraid of the bath but has rolled in fox poo?

My customer, let's call him Bob, is a fine, dog-loving gentleman with a small London bedsit, and a doting girlfriend who stays over at weekends. But after Denzel had fun in a fox poo frenzy, the resulting stench was way too much for her and she couldn't bear to stay over. Not that Bob blamed her, Max was stinking out the whole flat. And the car. And was putting a downer on his relationship.

Bob did try to give Denzel a bath, but Denzel resisted even going into the tub at home and struggled hard against it. Denzel is only 18months old and a rescue. Unsurprisingly, he is as strong as he is obstinate.

The smell was staying.

That's when Bob called me at The Artful Dog Grooming Parlour.

I had two grooming sessions with Denzel. Since Denzel is quite 'mouthy' (this is typical of many Alsatians that they communicate using their mouths), he is much stronger than me, and still full of puppy-ish exuberance, Bob stayed in the salon both times to help me with handling and to give reassurance to Denzel.

By the end of the first groom Denzel had allowed us to lift him into the bath (in and out a few times actually) and got to the point where he let me rinse half of him. However, he was panting hard, his tail was between his legs, his ears were flattened back. I hadn't restrained him - going into the tub had to be his choice - so when he started growling and leaping out the bath with more vigour, I stopped. I could have tried to push him to stay in the tub, but at the risk of me getting hurt, and of Denzel never trusting me, or a bathtub, or his owner, ever again.

Denzel was going to be a stinky boy for a few days yet. Romance had to wait.

Two days later, Denzel jumped into the tub all by himself to snaffle the treats I had left there for him. He hokey-kokey-ed in-out in-out a few times, and then let me shampoo and rinse him thoroughly, twice. Bob was there too, holding him firmly but not forcefully and giving lots of praise and encouragement throughout.

Denzel was dried and smelled lovely. Bob was delighted. I asked him what his plans were for the rest of the day. Buying a new mattress, and bedding, and clothes, and airing out his car were top priorities. The hum had been that bad.

Girlfriend of Bob, wherever you are, this one's a keeper, and his dog is lovely too.

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