I posted this question about my whippet here: How can I help my Whippet cope with his shaking and trembling?

This is a question related to my whippets shivering, but a little specific.

He is very nervous, whippets can be like this, but I am having trouble bathing him. He doesn't fight, he's very cooperative, but he shivers and shakes so badly, it's horrible to see. He has been vet checked and is perfectly healthy.

I have tried a couple of different bathing methods:

I've tried filling the laundry tub (as it is high and not too large so I can be up at his height and reassure him). I use warm water and do not run the tap while he is in the tub.
The other method I tried is to use a bucket and soft cloth and gently sponge him in the sun.

There are two concerns I have.

  1. Being a skinny Whippet, is he getting cold, or is it just nerves?
  2. If it is nerves, how can I alleviate his stress?
  • If I get you right, you question is how to bath your whippet without him shivering? – user34 Oct 13 '13 at 11:04
  • Does you whippet swim? Can you just throw a ball into a lake and have him retrieve it? – virtualxtc Jan 9 '14 at 16:04

Knowing that my Bichon does this same thing, I can say comfortably that if there is no medical reason for his shivering, it is most likely a nervous tendency.

Depending on where you acquired your Whippet, and his own personality, he may have had a bad experience with bath time, feel unsafe with his footing, or even just dislike water that much.

I suggest starting fresh, and gradually counter-conditioning him to bath time, as well as showing him that there is nothing to be afraid of. Much in the same way of desensitizing a dog with Separation anxiety, it can take quite a while, but will be well worth it in the end.

Here is a link to give you a general idea of how counter-conditioning works: ASPCA on Anxiety (separation)

If you are concerned about the possibility of his being cold, crank up the thermostat or use a small heater to bring the bathroom up to about 80. That is quite warm enough to ensure that he wont catch cold.

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