Has it been so long since the last time you enjoyed a good bath?
A peaceful one that’s free from any stress.
Where you can just relax and be alone with your thoughts.
Because now, all you hear is constant yapping and scratching at the door.
Uh-oh. Does your pooch hate you getting cleaned?
Read on to discover:
- What makes your dog so noisy when you bathe.
- When you should be alarmed by their excessive barking.
- 5 tips on how to help and calm canines with this kind of behavior.
- And much more…
Why does my dog bark when I’m in the shower?
Your dog barks when you’re in the shower because they have an extreme fear of storms/downpour, have separation anxiety, lack confidence, want some attention and cuddles, or are worried because they hate baths. They could also do it due to either a positive or negative association with a past event.
7 reasons why your dog barks when you’re in the shower
#1: ‘Storm phobia’
You might have read or heard of this before…
But if your pooch is also acting weird and highly anxious during a storm, they might have this phobia.
How is this connected to my problem? you might ask.
PetMD says that dogs who have it will also react to other related sounds, which include rain.
So if your Fido is okay when they’re left with toys… Then only start barking when you turn on the shower… That might verify it.
The sounds of the falling water resemble a downpour. So it might be triggering their anxiety. Which then causes them to panic and vocalize.
Most dogs will flinch during lightning and storms. But if they have a phobia, it’s more than that.
Experts say they’ll also show some of these behaviors:
- Self-inflicted injuries.
- Destructive behaviors.
- Wanting to be near their owner.
- Trying to escape or go somewhere.
A study was conducted among 69 canines who have this condition.
It was observed that 42% of them tend to seek attention. For example, they follow their parents and jump or paw at them to feel safe.
What causes this isn’t fully verified. But based on their results, many herding dogs are affected by it. So it could be due to genetics.
Also, rescue dogs could be more prone to this. As they could have limited or bad experiences with storms.
#2: It triggers their anxiety
Is your pooch always by your side…
And do they also cry when you leave the house?
Hmm. Your dog might be suffering from separation anxiety.
And it’s no joke. Dogs who have this will always feel extremely anxious when their human is away.
So they can’t bear to be separated. Even for just a bit and will also exhibit some of these:
- House soiling.
- Excessive barking.
- Destructive behavior.
Merck Manual says they’ll do these 15-30 minutes after you leave them.
This might be due to innate anxiety, hyper attachment from a young age, or a significant change in their life. It can be their routine, environment, or household.
But before concluding it…
It would be best to rule out any behavioral problems first.
Because it has signs that are similar to other conditions. Like soiling and destructive behaviors. They could be due to a lack of house training, or they simply want attention.
Trivia: Researchers say that dogs who have noise phobia are 3x more prone to separation anxiety. Because they’re fearful of noises, they also find it scary to be alone.
Read next: Why does my dog bark when I sneeze?
#3: They still lack confidence
Puppies or newly adopted doggos could be dependent on their parents at first.
That’s because they’re still growing or adjusting to their new sweet home.
It’s a bit different than separation anxiety. Because this is due to a lack of confidence in facing unfamiliar situations, which is normal in their case.
So they’ll be scared if you leave them alone or if they can’t see you. Like when you shower with the door closed.
If yours is still a pup, they might just be starting to gain confidence. Or if they’re around 8-11 weeks, it could be due to ‘fear periods.’
It’s the phase where they’re starting to be fearful of things and people. So they might be extra clingy during those times.
But if it’s a pooch you recently adopted, how long have they been staying with you?
A few weeks? Months?
If it hasn’t been that long, they could still be wary of their surroundings. So they might always rely on you as they don’t trust others well.
But don’t fret. There are ways to build their confidence. And young dogs might outgrow this behavior in the future.
And I’m sure there’s nothing impossible with your proper guidance and help. 🙂
#4: They want something from you
It could also be due to ‘demand barking.’
Attention, treats, cuddles, whatever it is. You probably have given it to them before when they do it.
So your pooch learned that you’ll let them in when they cry. Or step out and pick them up when they bug you.
And you might have done that just to comfort them. As they’re inconsolable at the moment.
But don’t feel bad. It’s not too late to fix it.
#5: Bad memory
Does your pooch bark really loudly with no pause?
Oh, no. It might be out of fear.
They might have linked your act of showering to a stressful event in the past.
Any episode that comes to mind?
For example, it could be that your smoke detector set off one time right after you shower. Because of the steam. And this event scared the wits out of your furry friend.
So from then on, taking a bath reminds them of that terrifying moment.
Experts say that canines could really remember specific memories. Especially if it had an impact on them. Whether positively or negatively like this one.
#6: Association to a routine
Dogs are highly observant.
Not to mention their amazing associative memory.
You might have already proven this…
But they’ll know if you’re going somewhere by your actions. Like picking up your keys or getting your shoes.
Cuteness and brains, indeed!
So, does your pooch often do it at a specific time of the day?
For example, you have a routine before work, right?
Your Fido might have observed that you usually take a bath first before going out. And if they have anxiety, it might be kicking in.
So they let out some long barks to tell you, “Don’t leave, please!”
Or do you usually shower first thing in the morning before you feed them or take them for a walk?
If so, they know that they’re going to eat or go outside after you bathe.
And they’re being impatient. So they repeatedly yap to tell you, “Hurry up! Come! Now!”
So, you may think about what you often do before or after showering. And you might find an answer there.
You might also like: Why does my dog cry in the morning?
#7: They hate bath time
“Hey, are you alright in there?!”
Does your pooch hate baths or being in the water?
If so, they might be thinking that you’re in danger whenever you shower.
Cleaning yourself might appear as a ‘torture’ to them. So they bark for you to let them in.
Because they want to check and keep you in their sight.
In their minds, they could be thinking, “I dislike taking a bath. My hooman must be uncomfortable right now. I must help.”
Or they can also be afraid because they think that you’re going to bathe them too.
5 tips on how to stop your dog from barking when you’re in the shower
#1: Try the ‘Yo-Yo exercise’
If your pooch has separation anxiety, you can do this ‘Calming Yo-Yo.’
It aims to teach them that all they need to do for their parents to come is by settling down.
For this, you’ll need:
- Patience and time. Lots of these!
- Crate, tether, or fence. Something to prevent them from following you.
- Clicker. If you don’t have one, you may use a whistle or make a ‘cluck’ sound.
No need for yummy treats. As the reward will just be you being near to the dog and petting them. Because that’s all they’re asking for you if they’re anxious.
Also, I have to remind you that this could take a while. But it’s pretty easy.
Just watch this video below:
#2: Counter storm phobia
I’m saying this to you now, but beating an irrational fear will be hard.
Experts found that dogs’ cortisol level was raised up to 207% when exposed to a storm.
Their stress hormones just went skyrocket.
And mind you, it went like that for the next 40 minutes.
So if they’re in a panic, it’ll be hard to soothe them.
But for the sake of your dog and…
For bringing back the once peaceful bath times, you can do it.
A clicker is needed for this as well. As this might help in redirecting their focus.
So first, play rain/shower sounds. Make sure the volume’s low to avoid scaring them. And place your dog far away from the source.
Then try to increase the volume gradually. And move closer to the speaker.
Every time you raise it or go nearer and they’re calm, click the clicker. Then give them a treat. If they react, step back and lower the volume.
Do this until you see progress.
When should I go to the vet?
Based on the study mentioned earlier, traditional methods mostly didn’t work for severe cases.
So if they can’t seem to mellow down, you may consult an expert for the right medications.
Those will lessen their anxiety. And will put them in a more trainable state.
#3: Allocate a safe spot
Think of this as their own room.
This is where they should go whenever they feel uncomfortable. Or when you need to shower and their training is still in progress.
So give them something cozy to rest in. It could be a bed, crate, or mat.
If it’s a crate and they’re anxious, cover it with a blanket. And don’t close the door as they would feel trapped inside.
And oh, make sure you’ve removed anything that they might destroy.
Also, if your dog is scared of its sounds, you can play some music. Classical, rock, or heavy metal could help soothe their nerves as per studies.
Or just keep a TV, radio, or fan on to block the noise.
#4: Always reward calm behavior
Want it to be more effective?
Training alone might not be enough sometimes to entirely correct bad behaviors.
So, having a ‘maintenance’ might help to preserve good ones.
Make them enjoy being calm by giving them a surprise treat while they’re just lying down. Or happily settled down.
Note: Avoid giving it when they only seem to ‘act behaved’ for the goodies. You only want to reward a naturally relaxed state.
#5: Build their confidence
Same with kids, dogs also need to be more comfortable by themselves. And learn not to rely on others every time.
To help you in achieving that, here are some tips.
Apart from cuddle time, also give them an ‘alone hour.’ And let them play with their toys by themselves in their spot.
By doing this, you might prevent them from getting too attached to you.
Because although they’re social animals, they also need some space.
Oh, but not too much!
Vets recommend not leave them alone for 6 hours at most a day. And make sure to have at least 2 hours of socialization to balance it out.
It’s important to expose them to different things to avoid fears. So keep all experiences positive.
Also, have some short training sessions and reward them along the way. This will help boost their confidence as finishing a task gives a sense of achievement.
So they shouldn’t only stay by your side at all times.
Let them explore things on their own, but still guide them in the side lines. And they’ll be fine.