It’s been an especially stressful day on the job, and you’re finally home. You feel you could really use a little on-time, authentic affection. Your dog pops into your mind. You cannot wait to get out of the car to hurry inside, but wait! There is no fanfare, no greeting at all. You go looking for her, and she is in the bathtub again. What is up with your dog and bathtubs, why is it a bigger deal than you may think, and what can you do about it?

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Why does my dog get in the bathtub?

Your dog’s reason for climbing into the bathtub could be something that eludes you forever. You may have to keep buying new shower curtains or get rid of your dog. New shower curtains it is! You can search for clues and maybe figure it out, but in many cases, the remedies are the same anyway. Take a look at the reasons why your dog may be getting into the bathtub.

Does she do it to get cool?

Your dog may seek out the bathtub simply to cool down. You know that surface can feel cold to the touch from your arm touching up against it in the shower. A dog’s body runs hotter than yours, so she may want to find a cool place on a hot day even more than you.

Does she do it to escape chaos or annoyance?

Does she do it when you have more than one person over for supper or maybe when you are watching a chaotic movie with the surround sound on? Maybe your new dog won’t leave her alone or one of your company’s children keeps grabbing her tail. Some dogs just don’t like chaos, and no dog likes aggravation, so maybe she is trying to escape it all.

Does she want a bath?

Maybe she’s just ready for another bath. Is she a bath-lover? If so, this is a likely culprit.

Does she want to get away from something that scared her?

She could also quite possibly be hiding from something that caused her to be afraid. The simplest things, the things we take for granted, can cause trauma for dogs. The trauma can then turn into a phobia (yes, that’s right, a dog phobia) if not treated. So trauma is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. See more under “Why does my dog hide in the bathtub?” Loud noises when the dog’s owner isn’t home are usually the reported problem. The two most often reported causes are fireworks (firecrackers) and thunder, but sirens would be a close third.

Does she do it to get attention?

Maybe you work long hours or maybe you just work so hard that you are too tired to play with her much when you do get home. Do you make a big deal out of it when you find her in the tub? Maybe she just craves the attention — good or bad.

Why does my dog sleep in the bathtub?

Sleeping in the tub is a crayon of a slightly different shade but of the same color. Take a look at why your dog may be sleeping in your bathtub.

Maybe the comfort level of her sleeping quarters has changed.

Has some aspect of her sleeping quarters changed? Did you change the bedding in her bed? Maybe you moved her bed. Does she sleep on your bed? Maybe there is an extra person in your bed lately. Maybe there is some kind of change, and she is not taking kindly to it.

Maybe the noise level of her sleeping quarters has changed.

Is it possible that the noise level has changed where she usually sleeps? Maybe your son just came home from college for Christmas, and he is playing video games in the living room, her bedroom, until 3 a.m. Maybe there is suddenly a Christmas tree that’s faintly playing “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, and she has had enough.

Maybe there are other things upsetting her rest in the usual sleeping spot.

Did you get a new puppy that won’t let her sleep? Maybe she is escaping the invader. Have you started a new habit of running the dishwasher at bedtime? Maybe she feels the vibration and can’t rest.

Maybe she has simply come to feel that the tub is a safe place.

If she has used this as a safe place in her times of trouble, maybe she views it as a haven of rest, and a haven of rest seems a perfect place for sleep. Maybe she can simply relax there.

Maybe she knows this will get her some attention.

If you wake up and find her in the bathtub, do you try and coax her out with treats and affection. At this point, maybe she just wants treats and affection.

Maybe she is ill.

Dogs will do weird things when they are ill, especially lie or sleep in places that they don’t usually use for such. If she is showing any other symptoms, like lethargy, loss of appetite, or anything different from normal, you will want to take her to the vet for evaluation.

Why does my dog hide in the bathtub?

She is in the bathtub again! What reason could she have? One of two, probably, would be the right answer. Read what the two answers may be.

She may have done something bad.

You already know this, but if your dog has done something bad, she will find a place to hide. If she does come out when you get home, she will come up to you with her back arched and her head down. Otherwise, you will find her in the tub the same way. Did she get into the trash or chew up your new Louis Vuittons that you saved 4 months for? Dogs don’t really know any better until they are taught.

She may have been scared badly.

If something has scared your dog, she may escape to the tub. Maybe she heard sirens, or she heard thunder. Studies are now giving some steam to the belief that dogs can sense that tubs are grounded and that they know tubs are a safe place to go when it thunders. Who knows? Most dogs are pretty sharp. Maybe she is a shelter dog that you rescued, and the abuse traumatized her, as it would any creature. 

With trauma, dogs develop anxiety, causing symptoms that present in all sorts of ways. Just to name a few, there are shivering, cowering, or pacing. In the most severe cases, there is documentation of dogs chewing through a door and jumping through a plate glass window. An anxiety disorder only gets worse as a dog ages, so now is the time to act if this is her problem.

Why does my dog go into the shower?

Some people’s dogs follow them into the bathroom. Some people’s dogs sit outside the shower while they are showering like a shower guard or something. Your dog — she gets into the shower. Why does your dog get into the shower? Take a look. Here are some of the possible reasons.

She may be cooling herself.

The shower tiles are cool like the tub, so she may just like the feeling of coolness she gets from the tiles on her belly.

She may want to bathe with you.

She may desire to get in with you and bathe. She sees you bathing, and it looks like a blast. She thinks what fun it would be for the two of you to do it together. However, if you do decide to bathe her in the shower with you, heed this advice.

Don’t bathe her too often.

Bathing a dog too often can wash all the natural oils away, drying her skin out very badly and causing her to itch all the time. It also harms part of her defense against illness. To find out how often you should wash your particular breed of dog, consult the AKC (American Kennel Club).

Don’t get the water as hot as you may like it.

You should never bathe your dog in water as hot as most people like to bathe in. Dogs should be bathed in tepid water and not hot water, no matter how dirty they are. You can burn them easily and dry their skin out very easily.

Don’t let your human cleansing products get on her.

Human cleansing products are bad for a dog’s skin. They will also burn a dog’s eyes and can cause them ear trouble if it gets into their ears. Make sure to keep your products separate from yours, and bathe her first. Put her out, towel dry her if you need to, and then, wash yourself.

She may feel safe there.

Just as in the sections on “Why does my dog get in the bathtub?” and “Why does my dog hide in the bathtub?”, your dog may find your bathtub to be a fortress. She may just feel safe there from whatever has made her afraid. A shower is grounded just like a bathtub, so the thunder theory would also apply here.

How to stop my dog from going into the bathtub?

After all is said and done, is it really a problem, for you, for your dog? No one can really answer that but you. However, consider these things about how to stop your dog from going into the bathtub and why you might want to.

If she just loves the coolness of the bathtub:

If it’s the coolness of the bathtub or the shower she loves, just makes sure she has another cool place to lie or sleep. Take the padding out of her crate or use cooling pads made especially for dogs.

If she just wants a bath:

If she is just wanting a bath, bathe her in the shower with you, bathe her outside, or take her to the groomer more often. She obviously loves being clean. Most dog owners would love to have a dog like yours.

If she just wants to sleep there:

If her sleeping place has been disturbed, for whatever reason, you will have to make things right again or do her one better. You may have to follow some of the advice under “If she’s just hiding from something that scared her:” to get your dog back to normal

If she’s just hiding from something that scared her:

If she has been frightened, and she is hiding from something (and she may not even know what it is), here are some hints to follow.

Don’t punish her.

Punishing her will only make the situation worse than it already is. It helps nothing. So, do not punish her.

Don’t leave her alone.

If you know that, say, it’s Independence Day, and your dog will be exposed to firecrackers, don’t leave her alone to face the fear alone. Be there with her, and maybe next time, she will have more of an understanding that everything is all right.

Crate her.

If you cannot help but to leave her alone, you should think about crating her. At least, in a crate, she couldn’t chew through a door or jump out a plate-glass window. If you use a metal crate, put a sheet or something over it, like curtains, so that she will feel more enclosed. This will enhance her feeling of safety. You may want to begin teaching her that her bed or crate is the place to go in a frightening situation.

Counter-conditioning.

Counter-conditioning is a slow process that takes a long time and lots of patience, but the results are usually long-lasting and sure. Research counter-conditioning on the AKC website.

Buy her some anxiety-wear.

They now make anxiety-wear for dogs. They make vests, headwraps, even earmuffs. They have calming dog chews with melatonin and chamomile.

Buy her some pheromones.

Buy a diffuser with calming liquid with pheromones for your dog. This calming liquid, which also comes in a spray, is the same chemical a dog’s mother gives off to calm her puppies.

Get prescription medications.

Sometimes, your vet may prescribe medications from the pharmacy that may help calm his anxiety.

If she is trying to escape chaos:

If your dog is getting anxious because there is too much excitement, tone it down, or create for her a quiet, calm resting area until the chaos is quieted down.

If she wants attention:

If she just wants attention, give her plenty, and shut the bathroom door.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.