DEAR OLD TRAINER: Why do you advise “throw away the tick collars”? Are they that dangerous?
A: We are dooming our dogs by coating them with toxic chemicals. The instructions on a popular tick collar sold by vets reads, “If the product touches your skin, wash with soap and water for 20 minutes and contact your local poison control center.”
If merely touching it is that dangerous, what is it doing to your dog when it is on the skin and in the blood for months? And what happens to you and your children when you pet the dog every day?
No one at the company that makes the product could answer those questions. Neither could the vets who sell the product.
That’s why I advise the common-sense approach. Look at the ingredients in any tick collar and check the EPA site to see if they are carcinogenic. If they are, don’t put your dog and yourself at risk.
DEAR OLD TRAINER: I’m amazed you give all eight of your dogs a bath every week. I don’t see how you find the time. It takes me an hour to give Lovey, my 3-year old golden Lab, a bath because she jumps and plays so much. Then it takes me half an hour to clean up the bathroom. Do you have some secret?
A: I use a method that avoids all those problems you mention, but it’s no secret. I write about it a couple of times a year (and get more thank-you emails than I do for any other subject).
I had the same problem you have until I realized there is no logical reason to bathe my dogs in the house merely because that’s where I take my shower. Now I do it in a few minutes – with no mess – using the garden hose.
Dogs don’t need a tub or shower cap or bath salts. And they don’t need shampoo unless they have a skin problem that requires special shampoo.
All they need is the clean, cool water you get outside. Put the leash on Lovey and lead her over to the garden hose. Wrap the leash around your foot to keep her in one place and spend five or 10 minutes just running water through her coat. Move your hand through her fur to ensure the water gets down to the skin. Make sure her entire body, including tail and feet, gets wet and gets a good rinsing.
Talk to her and pet her to keep him calm and let her know it’s a game. If she starts to shake, grab the fur on her neck and say “no.” When you finish, say “shake” and let her shake all she wants – no dog does it better than a golden Lab – and pet her and praise her when she does.
Let her roll in the grass if she feels like it. Towel her down if you want. Anyone who tries this method will never bathe their dog indoors again.
Bathe Lovey once a week in summer and once a month in winter. She will smell good, her coat will be fluffy, and she will enjoy it so much she will come running the next time you pick up the hose.
A trainer for more than 30 years, Jack Haskins has rescued, trained and placed more than 2,500 dogs. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.