1) Drink a strong coffee (or fortifying drink of your choice).
2) Assemble your tools - a waterproof apron, some old towels, a specialty shampoo or conditioner if you wish, and ear plugs. (For the sake of little fishes, DON'T forget the earplugs!!)
3) Load the dog and tools in the car and drive to the nearest dog wash. We use one in a large pet store and it is wonderful because they CLEAN UP FOR YOU!
4) Walk to the dog wash and answer the usual questions from the general public - yes, it's a husky, no, it's not a puppy, it's full grown, no, they don't actually get as big as everyone thinks, yes, we have a sled at home, yes, they pull a lot....
5) Once inside the store, consider asking for an extra long dog wash, to make sure you get through the double coat. Consider handing the dog over to a professional groomer, but ONLY if you are confident that they won't clip, trim or shave your husky.
6) Convince the dog to get into the hydrobath. If you're feeling really brave and/or have an extra pair of helping hands, remove the collar. Don't worry if you can't remove the collar - imagine the chaos of a wet, hysterical husky leaping from the hydrobath and running amok through the shopping crowds! Those hydrobaths are installed with chains for a reason.
7) Start the hydrobath. Most commercial facilities have clear instructions and supply their own shampoo and conditioner mixes. Make sure you work each stage all the way through to the skin, and rinse thoroughly. When you think you've rinsed enough, rinse again!!
7a) remember to put your ear plugs in!!!!
7b) check out your husky's waistline when the water damps down all their fur. Remember that your dog should be lean and muscular, with clear definition at the end of the rib cage, a trim waist and hips. If your dog's silhouette from above looks boxy, with a straight line from the shoulders to the hips, it's time to rethink your feeding regime. Dogs need less body fat than humans, and are more likely to have shortened lifespans if they carry too much weight. Huskies have been bred to do a lot of work on a minimum of food, so it's important to check them regularly for signs of weight gain.
8) Dry your husky. DON'T take the earplugs out yet!!! Be aware that to completely dry a double coated dog may take more time than you have at the hydrobath. Consider donning a face mask and safety goggles to keep flying fluff out of your face. When you think the dog is dry, do it again anyway.
9) Look at the mess your clean dog now is standing in. Wash the hydrobath down - or at least start to. The two pet stores we've used in recent years have staff who rush to say "I'll do that for you" which is lovely, but DON'T be the arrogant jerk who just walks out and leaves a huge mess for someone else to clean up. Thank the staff profusely - they've just listened to 10-20 minutes of a husky telling them about the torture of a bath!
10) Take your mostly-dry dog home and hopefully they can sit out in the sun. If they lie down in a paved area, DON'T be surprised to see them leave a wet body print when they get up. Try to discourage digging or other dirty behaviours... If you can!
11) If you find spots you've missed, baby wipes do a great job of cleaning up faces and feet. Enjoy the next few days of fluff explosion - the bath loosens hair, but doesn't get it all out. Consider daily grooming until you stop seeing clumps of hair protruding from your dog's coat.
12) Consider trimming the fluffs between the toes... But honestly, this can wait til next week when you've regained your strength and hearing!
Check out our Facebook page (Sixteen Feet Blog) for some hilarious videos of Ishka getting her pre-Christmas bath.