Using a Self Serve Dog Wash

The self serve dog wash is popping up everywhere as an alternative to a groomer, which can be more costly. If your dog doesn't need a cut, but rather just a good bath, a self serve dog wash can be a great choice.


Self serve dog washes have wash tubs raised to human height so you don't have to bend down to wash your dog in the tub, which can hurt your back and knees. Since you're bathing your dog elsewhere, you aren't clogging your drain with hair. In addition, these establishments have warm water, which makes bathing more comfortable than a cold hose.

Dog washes are equipped with brushes, shampoo and other items so you don't have to bring any of your own equipment. This can reduce costs, even though dog washes aren't that expensive. Most self serve dog washes also have hand dryers, which can get your dog drier than a towel.

Training your Dog

It may take some practice to get the perfect dog wash, but most canines understand the process once they've done it a few times. If your dog is fearful, move slowly and use a lot of treats. You can reduce the amount of treats you use as your dog gets more comfortable.

Use the leash hooked to the tub that keeps your dog from moving during the bath. This will restrain the more excited dogs and keeps even calm dogs safe. Reward your dog every time he accepts a new step calmly. If he's not calm, keep going but give fewer rewards.

In the first few visits, don't feel like you have to do everything. For example, if your dog is afraid of the hand dryer, don't worry about getting him completely dry. Just teaching him to tolerate it a little is successful.

Bathing your Dog

Before bathing your dog, brush him thoroughly to reduce all dead skin and loose hair. Since you don't have to worry about the hair clogging your drain, it's a good chance to get rid of all loose hair, especially when the weather is changing and your dog may be blowing his coat.

Make sure the water is warm, but not too warm, and begin to bathe your dog. Most self serve dog washes have a hook on each side of the tub so you can wash one side of your dog and then hook him to the other side, so you can wash him more easily.

Once your dog is completely soaked, you can rub him with shampoo. Most establishments have a standard type but offer hypoallergenic, sensitive skin or flea bath for an extra dollar or two.

Finally, rinse your dog and dry him while still in the tub. This prevents your dog from making the floor slick, which could cause an injury. Move him to the grooming table where you can brush him again and add a spray-on conditioner, which is also supplied by most companies.

If your dog will tolerate it, try using the dryer. Use it on the lowest setting and point it away from your dog's face. Start at his rear and slowly move toward his face. This will help him get used to the scary noise gradually. Use lots of rewards during this process and stop if your dog gets too stressed. You want to avoid stressing your pet so he enjoys going back to the self serve dog wash.