Monday, March 14, 2011


My dogs need baths.

At least I feel like they do, simply because I know they haven't been bathed since last fall. Whether they are actually dirty is another matter.

They are probably dirty. It's springtime. There is mud everywhere. They run through it. They have to be dirty.

They don't look dirty.

They don't smell dirty.

They don't feel dirty.

If you ask them, they would fiercely deny being dirty.

They would tell you they had baths yesterday.

Then they would tell you they don't need no stinkin' baths.

Then Jamie would try to hide behind the couch and Phoenix would go jump in the tub because SOMEONE thought it would be cute to clicker train the puppy to jump in the bathtub. Now the puppy is 4 years old and obsessed with getting in the bathtub. Whether it's already occupied or not.

Ahem. But I digress.

The part of me that equates cleanliness with all being right with the world says it is almost springtime and thus time to bathe the dogs, especially with a gazillion shows coming up soon. Baths would make them run faster and score higher. Right?

But I'm not going to do it this week because Phoenix and I are headed for 3 days of agility in a dirt horse arena that is probably going to be surrounded by a mud swamp parking lot this weekend. It would be a waste of time to bathe him.

Jamie is staying home with the Farmer. No need to bathe a dog who is staying home, either.

See? Excuses. I'm good at it.

It's the dogs' fault. They are very good at not needing baths. Belgians, like many herding breeds, have wonderful fur that while not exactly self-cleaning, tends to shed mud, etc. as it dries.

Phoenix looks exactly the same after a bath as he did before, so bathing him for any sensory value is pretty much a waste of time. He's wonderfully low maintenance. Other than clipping nails (which are the approximate consistency of the rebar that the roads department puts down before pouring concrete) I spend embarassingly little time grooming him. It's awesome.

I spend all my free time vacuuming.

I vacuum so much, I had to take my vacuum to the repair shop this morning. It made horrible noises - like someone throwing marbles down a metal heating duct. No good could come of this. I made it clear to the vacuum repair dude that I needed it back ASAP. It was not to loiter in the backroom of his shop for several weeks while tumbleweeds of malin-fur drifted about my kitchen, clogging heat ducts and ending up in the butter.

Ahem. But I digress again.

Dog baths were simple when I had my Shelties. Shelties have white paws. If one does not bathe white-pawed dogs who live in a farm environment, they start to look grungy. So I bathed the Shelties regularly. There was never any question of whether they needed it, I just did it.

Then I got Jamie and began my descent into becoming a lazy groomer. Admittedly, giving Jamie a bath and blow dry is a wonderful sensory experience. He looks, smells and feels wonderful. It's very rewarding. But I can accomplish basically the same thing with a spray bottle and 30 minutes of line brushing. No cleanup required.

Bathing Phoenix is kind of a disappointment. His coat does not hold the scent of any shampoo I've tried. Within 12 hours, he is back to smelling very neutral. Nice, but neutral. Can't tell I've done a thing. So totally not worth the amount of time it takes to bath him: 15 minutes to bathe and rinse; 1 hour to clean up the mal fur that is stuck to all four walls of the bathroom and the ceiling, too.

The following weekend, I'm busy with a training group and a club activity.

The next 4 weekends after that I have trials and/or seminars and/or nationals.

So see, there is no time to bathe the dogs.

Nope, no time at all.

Weekends are too busy.

Nights after work are out of the question, too busy with classes and packing and getting ready to go to trials.

Maybe they can have a summertime bath. Yeah. That's it. A summertime bath will be fine.


  1. I will be bathing the little black/blue dog the day before we leave for said trial. I am OCD that way :-)

  2. That makes me feel better. Ours get baths about every 6 months and never seem too dirty in between.

  3. I wish I had dogs that hid dirt are lucky! I am a bit anal when it comes to clean dogs, and really have to make myself wait til AFTER the horse arena agiity trials. My problem is housecleaning...I have tons of excuses for why I don't have time for that!

  4. I think I've bathed Pie 3 times in 4 years. Twice because she was sick in her crate and once before the ABMC National Specialty because she was going into the breed ring and it seemed to be the thing to do. Oh, and once she got skunked so she got a few bath in one day for that. I think it helps that Pie has a hardish, non stand-up coat. But Malinois coats stay clean and don't get that doggy smell. Just another reason they are awesome!

    Bathing Pie is also unsatisfying because I can't get the shampoo to lather up like on the long coated dogs. And then, when I go to dry her with a big fluffy towel, she is pretty much dry after shaking herself off. Very disappointing. :)

  5. The white dog got a bath/groomed before we go to said arena as well. Kind of silly, huh?

  6. I am insanely jealous reading this. I have 2 setters and a spaniel. Bathing happens 1-2 times a month for 2 of them, weekly for the therapy dog. Last night the heavens aligned and all 3 needed baths.