Jindos are themselves, very precarious and are careful not to get dirty. This can been seen in them stepping around puddles and staying away from mud. (In fact, it’s usually interacting with other smelly, slobbery dogs that gets Mochi dirty and in need of a bath.) However, sometimes getting dirty is unavoidable. In these instances, regular bathing maintenance helps keep control of a smelly Jindo.
Korean Jindo dogs are naturally hygienic animals that tend to groom themselves often. Again showing similarities to a cat, licking their medium length coats to maintain cleanliness is habitual. Mochi keeps us awake licking himself sometimes! We can tell he is calm and comfortable in his environment when he lets his guard down to self groom. Over time, he's also come to show affection by licking us and enjoys licking the salts off of our skin after a workout. Affectionate licking and grooming others releases endorphins for dogs that cause pleasure, calm, and comfort.
They are considered double coated with a thin, fluffy, insulating undercoat covered by longer, waterproof, stiff coarse guard hairs. It is a true delight petting a Jindo, and their ears are especially soft.
Shedding occurs seasonally twice a year, but can vary especially in Jindo mixed mutts that may shed more often. This makes the Jindo versatile to many temperatures. Mochi adjusts well to the heat of Las Vegas by shedding most of his undercoat when the temperatures start to climb but loves playing in the snow when it grows back in thick for lower temperatures in Winter!
It also makes for a much needed bi-annual trip to the groomers. I prefer the de-shed treatment in which they give special attention to brushing out the shedding undercoat for a longer period of time. Shedding can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a month. Hairballs often litter the floor unless regular biweekly sweeping and vacuuming occurs. At the end of the week we always do a deep clean removing all pet hair and maintain as needed until the following Sunday.
At first, baths will be difficult especially for a Korean meat farm rescue. Rumor has it that the butchers boil the dogs alive and I believe this carries over into a deeply imbedded fear of water in Jindo meat farm rescues. It helps to introduce them to water slowly and with patience.
It was a traumatic experience for Mochi the first many times we gave him a bath. His aversion to water lasted well over a year despite many introductions to lake shores camping and riding passenger kayaking with us! The key is patience. Mochi would run around the house pacing and wiggle out of any hold knowing we were up to getting a bath prepared. Sometimes you just have to pick up your Jindo and carry them to the bathtub or shower. The poor thing may urinate out of fear, which happened several times. Trembling, fear induced biting, whining, pacing, panting may all ensue into a full blown panic attack. Always try your best to finish the procedure as fast as possible. They are quick to recover after a bath by licking themselves to their original scent.
Tips for Bathing Your Jindo
Use tools to help. Lead your Jindo on a leash towards the bathroom and pick them up from as close as you can get to the bathing receptacle. We also like taking him to self grooming stations where he can see other pets being bathed by their owners. I think the smell of tasty treats at these pet stores helps too!
Get wet with them. I always make sure to be in the shower or tub with Mochi when bathing him so that he sees it’s safe for me. Over the years, now he know if we have a leash and are in skivvies, he is probably getting a bath. He used to shake uncontrollably in the shower but now (we think) he kind of likes it!
Start with lukewarm or cool water. The warm to hot water did not comfort our Jindo at first. I believe he may have been tortured with hot water in his past as he is extremely cautious in drinking water that is not at home. Often if we leave him with a sitter, the first thing he does when he gets home is drinks a lot of water.
Be noise conscious. Run the water for a tub before bathing your Jindo and run the water for a shower grooming session after coaxing them into the shower.
Use all of your positive behavioral queues. For Mochi that is his “Good Boy” voice with lots of pets and kisses in his favorite spots.
Use food motivation. This took two rounds of beginner obedience classes for Mochi and many times getting his anxiety calmed to accept food in stressful times. He used to never eat treats in the shower but now he's gotten so comfortable he reluctantly snacks while he bathes.
Expose your Jindo to you and other dogs being wet, bathing, and water in general with random rewards. Sometimes I would give Mochi treats for just being in the bathroom with me. Mochi also got rewarded kayaking in the boats many times before we carried him into the lake to swim. It takes exposure and patience. We never forced him in, but rather got him used to water being safe by demonstrating enjoying water ourselves and showing him that other dogs enjoy swimming voluntarily. When we would go swimming, Mochi got tied up next to the shore so that he could experience the water at a safe distance, though he would still sit as far away as possible from the water. The best exposure to dogs enjoying water was when we took him to the off leash dog park in Ocean Beach. This was the first dog beach in the nation and is HUGE!
Don’t use scented shampoo. As we know, the Jindo’s recognition and memory bank of scents is incredible at 30,000 and counting! Our Jindo licks himself after his baths and I would never want him to ingest toxic fragrances or chemical preservatives found in commercial shampoo / conditioner products. Below, we outline our favorite all natural, unscented yet effective dog shampoos!
Don't use products designed for humans. Your Jindo dog's skin has a normal pH balance that is higher and more alkaline than ours at approximately 6.2 - 7.4. Using products meant for humans are more acidic, and when used on your pup, agitates the acid mantle or a top layer of skin that keeps its pH balanced. Using acidic products meant for humans can not only dry out your dog's skin causing itching or irritation, but also makes them susceptible to bacteria, parasites, and viruses by disrupting the acid mantle.
Brush and bathe. For best results to prevent shedding, use brushing in conjunction with bathing. We will brush Mochi dry, then bathe him while brushing him at the same time. This helps release grime and dead skin while loosening any fur that could easily shed. We love massaging him with the gentle Bodhi Dog Bath Brush, which is much gentler than the metal toothed 'de-shed' brushes.
Our FAVORITE Dog Shampoos
Are you wondering what the best all natural, unscented shampoo for your Jindo is?
We've tried most of them all, but prefer the selection below because not only do they clean, they also leave him silky smooth and are safe for him to consume. When we first rescued Mochi, it was very important to us that we found a shampoo that helped him regrow hair where his scars were and that it was nontoxic. Since he licks himself clean, we made sure to buy unscented options as most essential oils can be toxic to dogs when ingested. The Chagrin Valley Soap bar does have rosemary extract, but rosemary is non-toxic to dogs. In fact, Mochi loves rubbing his body on our local neighborhood rosemary bushes on our walks and he often smells like luscious, herbal rosemary! Brushing Mochi while bathing is immensely helpful as a 'de-shed' treatment that is gentle and effective. We also add supplements to his meals to help his coat shine from the inside out!