Diablo Valley German Shepherd Dog Club

The Coat - Bathing

German Shepherd skin is dry, not oily, so bathe yours infrequently, not more than once every few months. Your dog will feel more comfortable if you can walk it into a bath, giving it a chance to ease in to the experience. Most will fidget and attempt to escape during the bath, helped out by being soapy and slippery. Securing your dog with a collar and leash tied to a sturdy tie-down restricts its movement, and leaves both of your hands free for shampooing and rinsing. Also, if you bathe your dog in a bathtub or shower, put a rubber mat or industrial type rug down to give your dog more solid footing, and to protect the surface from scratches or gouges.

What You’ll Need – Bathing

  • A bathing area

  • Lots of running water

  • Shampoo

  • Towels

  • Slicker brush

  • Comb or shedding rake                

Ask your breeder, vet or pet store to recommend a shampoo that is right for your dog. If you use a dish washing detergent (club members often use Dawn®), dilute it by as much as half with water; it will clean just as well and be much easier to rinse out. As you do for yourself, keep soap and water out of your dog’s eyes and ears. After shampooing, rinse and rinse some more. The double coat, especially around the neck, chest and rear, hangs on to the shampoo. You want water from every part of your dog to run clear and without suds. 

Your dog will shake and you, and the whole bathing area, will get wet. That shaking alone (whether or not you got a towel on or near the dog beforehand) will help but you need to towel your dog as dry as you can using two or three towels. After that, use a slicker brush and your hands to fluff the coat to allow air to circulate and dry the hair. If you use a human blow dryer, only use the low heat setting. Dog dryers are much more powerful, blowing moisture out of the coat (and, again all over you and the drying area).