General Question

evander's avatar

Ideas for getting a dog to not fear getting dried off before coming into the house?

Asked by evander (465points) July 2nd, 2007

Our dog will resist coming to the house after a walk down to the creek for a swim because she knows we are going to towel her off. We have tried her favorite treats, turkey dogs, which in any other circumstance she will gobble down but she refuses the treats when she knows she will be dried and when we are drying her. We are always really gentle when we towel her off, just like petting her. Any ideas?

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3 Answers

andrew's avatar

Seems like there are two associations you need to tackle: coming back from creek = towelling and towelling = bad.

Try changing up the routine... take her to the creek, then go for a long walk so she can air dry.

Have you tried changing the place where you dry her (dry her outside rather than inside)? Or leaving the towel next to the door when you aren't going to dry her (to disassociate the negative feelings she has for the towel)?

Once you can get her to come back inside without problem, you just need to find a way to train her to enjoy (or at least tolerate) the towelling. How does she she react if you just try to towel her when she's dry?

Angelina's avatar

My dog used to hate this, too, but we were able to turn it into a game, a playful kind of towelling off, and now he loves it. Two suggestions: rather than chastise her (if you do) when she's resisting the towelling, use your playful voice and encourage her to rub into the towel; also, introduce the towel into your play time when she's not wet and doesn't actually need towelling off. You can use the towel to rub her belly and help her understand it's a part of fun time. This is what worked for me.

bodyhead's avatar

If the dog is still afraid at playtime you could first use a washcloth and gradually go up in size to a hand towel before incorporating a real towel into playtime. Other then that Angelina is right on.

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