The first thing you should know about bathing a puli is that it is time consuming. The second thing that you should know, is that you must dry them completely. If your puli doesn’t get fully dry, he will smell.
Hopefully you got your puli used to baths as a puppy. Your puppy class instructor will have helpful tips to achieve this. As in anything, some puli will love baths, some will tolerate baths, and some will hate them. Mojo will tolerate baths, while Bojtár hates them (he doesn’t like being wet in general, let alone soaked).
Step 1: Pre-bath
- Pick out any burrs, sticks, etc.
- Take the opportunity to do some cording. The bath will help tighten them up afterwards.
Step 2: Prepare the Bathroom
- Place a bathmat in the tub. Your puli will appreciate the non-slip surface.
- Set up the shower sprayer or bucket you will use to wet and rinse the dog.
- Have a supply of towels ready – thick fluffy ones, high absorbency, etc.
- Gather any shampoos and rinse aids you plan to use.
- This is also a good time to set up your drying area and apparatus.
Step 3: Bath Time
- Wet down your puli. Since the coat is water resistant, this will take a bit of time. It is helpful to squeeze water into the cords. We usually leave getting the head wet until the end of the bath.
- Apply shampoo and squeeze it into the cords. We use a RapidBath sprayer. It has a high and low pressure setting for water, and a shampoo setting that combines the shampoo with water for instant suds. Most dog shampoos are concentrated, so follow the instructions on the label. Some people apply diluted shampoo from an old dish soap bottle, or use a cup and bucket.
- Initial rinse. Be sure to squeeze the soap out of the cords.
- Shampoo again, if necessary and rinse.
- Shampoo any areas that need undiluted shampoo like bums and bellies, and rinse.
- Wet head and shampoo it. You may need undiluted shampoo around the muzzle. Try to avoid getting shampoo in your puli’s eyes.
- Final rinse. Squeeze the cords to ensure you get all the soap out. This is also when you would use a rinse aid, the cheapest of which is diluted vinegar. This helps kill any soap residue you may have missed rinsing out.
- Squeeze out as much water from the cords as you can. The more you get out in the tub, the less towels you will go through, and the less time it will take them to dry.
Step 4: Drying
- Towel dry your puli, with cotton towels, high absorbency towels, whatever you like. Squeezing will get the
most water out. We choose to wrap our boys in several layers worth of towels and sit with them on the couch for twenty minutes to allow the towels to soak up a lot of the water. This also calms Bojtár down after getting wound up from being in the tub, and prevents him from running around the house rubbing up against every surface trying to dry himself.
- Air dry your puli. This can be accomplished with one or more stand dryers, hand held blow dryers, or box fans. We have a stand dryer, and put the dog on a towel covered grooming table. some people line a wire crate with towels and put box fans around the crate, changing the towels frequently. Hot air can damage the cords, so I don’t recommend a human hair dryer.
It is important to note that if you do not fully dry your puli, he will smell.
Step 5: Post Bath
- Once your puli is dry, then you can start to trim them.
- Give them a cookie for being so good.
Shampoo: What shampoo you use is your choice.
- You may want to consider how often you bath your puli, and if you need to replace oils that shampoo strips from the coat.
- Scent is also important to some people, as your puli will smell like the shampoo for the first day or so after a bath.
- Do you need a specialty shampoo for sensitive skin? or a black out shampoo? or a whitening shampoo?
Finishing Sprays: This is also a personal choice to use or not.
- We use Ice on Ice as a post bath finishing spray. On their bellies and bum, it acts like a conditioner to help keep pee and poop off the coat, and for the rest of the coat, it contains sunscreen, to help the coats stay black.