These last couple of days I have gotten quite a bit of rain at my house. Although my toy poodle, Lucy, prefers for me to hold the umbrella while she “does her business” she always manages to find a muddy place in the yard to check out. I know that I am not alone in this problem. From the time we adopted her, we worked with her to make her more comfortable with getting her paws wiped. Here’s how we did it.
First, we started with baby or ‘puppy steps’, by touching her paws while they were still on the ground. Lucy had been abused by her previous owner, and has some trust issues so this took some practice. Once she became comfortable with this, we started using a small towel and each time the she let us touch the paw, we rewarded her with a small treat. We practiced with each paw. Lucy soon found this to be her favorite part as she is pretty food motivated.
Once your dog is happy to see the towel coming to their paws and realizes this means they get a treat, you should be able to wrap the towel around their entire paw to get them really clean. If your dog is hesitant, remember to reward and take puppy steps to help your dog adjust.
If all of this seems overwhelming, there is another option. I found it to be a curious invention, but a local television tested it and reported it does work. It is called the “Paw Plunger”. Their moto is “Cleanliness is next to dogliness.” It looks like a plastic cup which is filled with warm water. But when you look inside the cup, there are several soft, small brushes that gently remove the dirt without causing the dog any discomfort. The dirty water can easily be dumped. According to the inventors the Paw Plunger will put an end the mess of cleaning your dogs muddy paws. While it may remove the mud, it doesn’t dry them, so you would still need to use a towel. Since Lucy is only 5 pounds, this looks a little too big for her so we are going to stick with the towel and if she gets her way, the treats too.