As some of you know, I recently acquired a rescue Great Dane dog.
She is delightful in almost every way EXCEPT bathing. Its seldom you find any rescue dog with no hang ups. Jewels issue is bathing. In her book its simply UNACCEPTABLE.
What I get when I attempt to bath her is.....ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!! ESCAPE!!
So, if anyone is coming home and the gate is opened for a vehicle, she will push past the person at the gate and take off like a rocket down the road. She isn't a naughty dog, she is actually a highly sensitive animal, so fortunately all I have to do is walk after her and she will eventually come to me and allow me to attach her lead to her collar and bring her home.
The trouble is, she's not only afraid of herself being bathed, she's afraid of us even bathing Bronson our 10 month old Great Dane male. Bath Bronson, and Jewel takes off too. If the gate is not open, she jumps over the fence and hides out in the neighbors undergrowth. She's extremely athletic and jumps like a buck. Rather painful business!!!!
I've been searching for answers on how to handle this problem since its new to me. I found so much rubbish info that I started wondering if I would ever find a solution to this problem till bingo, someone finally made sense. The sensible answer was:
Take a wet sponge/cloth and wipe her face, legs, paws....anything she will allow without panicking. Do this as often as possible to get her used to water without fear. Also, brush her as often as possible to create that pleasant feeling on her skin. They also suggested taking time to help her heal, but time is something I don't have because she picked up demodectic mange (bush mange) on her first outing and has to be dipped every 5 days. It's so catchy that not only has she got it, but Bronson and my nieces Great Dane who came to play for one hour, one day. So every 5 days this was what could be seen in our home.
Get bucket of water and dip ready. Hunt and flush dog out of neighbors garden. Bring her home. Attempt to put first drop of water on her and she drops like she's been beaten which means you can't get the dip onto her underbelly, throat etc. It takes two people to roll her over to get her coat all treated. You also have to have her collar REALLY tight because she just pulls and wriggles till she's free. The second you release her, she either disappears back into the neighbors garden or flees indoors and leaps all over the furniture trying to "hide" under my lounge suit overhanging armrests. She lies trembling.....its very sad.
Dogs engage firstly by smell, but she goes into such a mental state, that she won't even take a treat of any kind after her bathing ordeal.
Still, I was determined to help her past this fear zone regarding bathing. After a couple of weeks of doing the wetting her and making her feel comfortable about being brushed and wet, things are much better. For the first time yesterday, she stood and allowed me to wet her underbelly....thats a huge improvement. She also ate a marmite sandwich almost immediately after the dipping.....another huge improvement. Priorly she could not be tempted with any treat what-so-ever, even turning her face clean away from the treat.
I now have a different plan of how I go about the whole process. My dogs are indoor animals, so I close the house doors to keep them indoors, while I mix the dip and leave it in the kitchen for an hour while I potter around doing other water things like setting the washing machine in motion, and doing the dishes (all water sounds). When she settles to these sounds, I clip the lead onto her collar and walk her around all over the house before taking her and the bucket with dip outside. I also towel dry her after being dipped and bring her back indoors so she cant run anywhere. This is working much much much better for us.
So this is what it all looks like after the bath.
Jewel who NEVER climbs on furniture, unlike Bronson, ends up diving straight on to the couch and staying there.
Once Bronson is bathed, its like they both see the couch as the "safe house."
Photo not clear because its a photo of a photo on my phone (lost my phone to pc cable)
Bronson tries squashing in between Jewel and whats left of the space on the couch.
Not comfy, he did some major twisting and turning and attempted another position which still included parking on top of Jewels back. Baring in mind these are two giant dogs attempting to share a two seater couch. LOL
After Bronson gave up and disappeared, Jewel spread out and got really comfortable.
I went to the kitchen for some water, fully expecting to find Bronson on his bed in the kitchen but no dog? The doors were still shut, so where was he? Checking out the other rooms, this is where I found Mr Bronson......on daddy's bed.
Ooooh wet puppy on Justins bedding. Luckily for me it was bedding washing day hence the unmade bed. Dogs!!!
So poor old Jewel has bathing issues and hopefully over time I can help her come to terms with the fact that its ok now.....no more pain and no more hurting is what she will experience in our home. Hopefully I will get through to her subconscious which is where the damage lives.
That being said, I'm attempting to teach myself the same thing as I lose the weight this year.
The damage is in my subconscious and I need to get to the place in my life where my conscious knows that what happened to me as a helpless child is a million miles away from then to now. I am safe, it wont happen again and heal up once and for all regarding being slender. I need to come to some complete cycle in my head that it IS safe to be a different shape other than out of shape.