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Question
Hi, I have an over 100 pound black gsd, and he absolutely hates the bath. He's trained, but at 3 years old now, I can't break his fear of the tub. I have been using some cleansing pads, with aloe and oatmeal and some other stuff in them, also some all natural spritzers. When it rains i run him outside sometimes and then wipe him down with a towel really well, which does seem to make his fur a lot softer and not so grimey.

Being that I normally would only bath him twice a year, and generally in the winter, (because we have a lot of ticks where i live, and fleas, and i don't want to remove the treatments from his coat), so in the winter its much to cold to bathe him outside. He hasn't had a bath since about 4 months old.It was just stressing him out way too much, and no matter how i approached the issue with treats and praise and rewards. At that age of 4 months he was also extremely ill, and nearly died from a bad batch of food, so i didn't attempt it again for a while after that illness. He's not good with strangers, so having him professionally groomed isn't an option either.

I have been searching around for water-less/dry shampoos, but i don't want to just deodorize him, i want to cleanse. The ones at the pet stores don't seem like something i would want to put on him at all. The first ingredient is usually alcohol.  I was hoping you would have some insight into some products i could check out that don't normally mess up the PH of a dogs skin. I was looking into Bio-groom, some groomers have told me that's a spot treatment, but for his size, it would take nearly the whole bottle. But, that would be fine, i don't care about price, but can you use that stuff on a dogs entire body? is it healthy?

Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated

Thank you for your time :)

Answer
Ok then- I hear all what you are saying and you have some mis-information going on in a few places. Waterless shampoos do not necessarily have alcohol in them. The chemical treatments are not on the hair but absorbed into the skin and into the blood stream so you won't wash them away. Oatmeal shampoos are not in my repertoire AT all they cause more reaction than not.
There are some things you can do- Most dogs that are afraid of baths are because of the sound of the water coming from the faucet so get the water ready ahead of time.  Use 2 large - HUGE sponges and one large (think Home Depot commercial paint buckets) bucket of sudsy water then one bucket of clear water. I highly recommend Pro-line Self Rinse. If you can add one 16 oz bottle into a large bucket of warm water and just squeeze it into his coat, the dilute solution will get much further down than heavy shampoos that require tons of rinsing. Forget what the groomer told you about spot cleaning - you need to give your dog an entire body sponge bath with a waterless liquid shampoo. Once you squeeze the shampoo on, do a little massaging (according to his tolerance) to loosen up then gunk then start squeezing the clean water through. I would drill a large screw eye into the wall and use a locked grooming loop hooked on to keep him still. Better yet- if you can't get him into a tub buy a baby swimming pool and stand him in the middle. You just have to stabilize him with a leash.
Of course you are going to get wet and there will most likely be a mess so have plenty of towels and cleanup rags. I strongly urge you to do a very very thorough job of brushing him out before you start. You could try to find a do-it-yourself dog wash and use this method while the dog is hooked into a tub. No spray or hose - just sponges.
Keep baiting him and baby talk him all the way through but you have to have control. You probably have a bigger problem than he does and he knows it. You may have to search but there are plenty of great groomers who have a lot of patience and experience working with dogs like yours. Some in DIY places will work with you so that's another option. A muzzle should be readily accessible for safety sake.
http://www.chrissystems.com/pro-line-winning-ways.aspx- heres a link for Proline.
The more you practice the easier it gets- and don't believe the old wives tale about 2 baths a year- bath them often, especially when they stink up the house!
good luck.

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ElizaBeth CRONK (Horch)

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Professional Dog Groomer-How to groom dogs- all breeds but specialize in the Art of the Hand Plucked Terrier, Bichon and Portugese Water Dog. Scissoring, clippering, and most known for hand plucked terrier skills. I am well known for my private business in Manhattan. I train owners and professionals looking to upgrade their skills Trained at NY School of Dog Grooming and apprenticed with several Internationally known expert breeders, handlers, and judges, assisted many years Westminster and Montgomery Kennel club shows.

Experience

28 years private residential dog grooming service- I have groomed over 30,000 dogs I teach professionals and private clients

Organizations
Member Twin Brooks Kennel CLub- NJ Morris and Essex Kennel Club American Fox Terrier Club

Publications
terrierific.net DVD Splish Splash the Doggies Bath- a how to for basic dog bathing Terrierific Facebook Fan page consultant for various pet publications and manufacturers of pet products

Education/Credentials
New York School of Dog Grooming/ worked with many professional handlers, assisted many dog shows, bred my own dogs, private tutoring

Past/Present Clients
private listing over 250
video now available on website testimonials on website

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