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The SelfServeDogWash.com Message Board.

Tub Designs

Anyone out there have the pros and cons for traditional grooming tubs vs. ones that sit out from the wall (three side available to work from, not one)?

I too am trying to decide on which kind of tub. I do not like the raised "people" tubs, and can't decide on the stainless with ramps. I do like the free standing tubs where you can work on three sides of the tub. However, the one tub that I have found is outrageously expensive for the construction - big plastic water tub on metal legs with a formed plastic ledge around the top of the tub. I also feel that this version is way too deep for dogs under 70 pounds. Once the smaller dogs are in the tub - it is pretty deep and difficult to get the dog out of the tub. Have you seen something out there more user (& cost) friendly?

Response from Dave Grass:

"Tubs without sides and back tend to result in MUCH bigger messes (hair and water). They also tend to be much more difficult to control dogs in that would rather not stay put (both because the dog feels less contained and has more sides to try to get out of, as well as the lack of well-located restraint eyelets or bars).

Good 3-sided tubs allow you to easily turn the dog to work on the other side if it's easier for you that way. I especially do not recommend tubs without high backs and sides in a self-serve facility."

I have pretty much come to the same conclusion after visiting a SSDW outside of my area last weekend. There were four tubs of the side less version, and the place was quite messy. Another SSDW I use locally has the same tubs and she hates them - for all the reasons you mentioned. Think I now have a direction for tub purchases. Thanks for the input.

Well, Now that I have been in operation for a tad over a month, I can provide a bit of info regarding tubs. First let me say that everything that Dave has said here about the tubs without sides is TRUE! Thankfully I do not have any of those crappy tubs. We got the stainless tubs that are sold on Dave's site. My only disappointment is with myself for not purchasing Ramp tubs for each station!! I bought 6 tubs, and to save a bit of money I bought 3 with ramps, and 3 without....MISTAKE!!! buy the ramp tubs!! I wish that I had either bought 4 ramp tubs, and saved for the other 2 with ramps, or just found moer money to buy them from the start. Not having a ramp on a tub limits your ability to use that tub, plain and simple!

Quick plug for Dave's site. I am very pleased with my purchase from www.selfservedogwash.com One of the tubs arrived with a broken foot (very minor) but Dave had a new foot sent to me in less than a week of my making him aware of the issue. VERY good customer service. I tend to judge based on how a problem is dealt with, and Dave not only did his best to be sure that no problems popped up, but when that one did, it was dealt with quickly and effortlessly.

Response from Dave Grass to questions about a particular tub that has no splash walls:

"My personal opinion on the tubs you referred to:

  1. Tubs such as those without significant (or any) splash walls on three sides will result in much greater messes than would otherwise be the case. When a dog is being washed, water from the sprayer splashes, mistakes are made in regard to aiming the sprayer, people splash water and shampoo when scrubbing, and of course--dogs shake water, shampoo, hair, dirt, and in some cases drool, around. The result with inadequate splash walls will be FAR more of those things ending up on walls, the floor, other wash stations in some cases, and people.

    Someone who recently began using walk-around tubs echoed this when she said: 'With big dogs, water just goes everywhere!'

  2. Another problem related to walls is that while the pictures you see show dogs sitting or standing calmly in the tubs, the reality is that many will try to climb out, at least until they realize they can't. What you absolutely don't want is the dog putting its front legs on or over a side (which dogs that don't want to be in a tub inevitably try to do)--then you have either a struggle with the dog, or if it is allowed to stay in that position, A REAL MESS, as water, shampoo, and hair then go right onto the floor. With a tub that is only open in the front, a restraint keeps the dog contained from moving toward that one direction. Restraints are more difficult to use with more than one open side. With 2, 3, or 4 sides open, control becomes far more difficult.

    Remember that even though YOU may have a dog which sits perfectly still and patiently cooperates 100%, many dogs do not (often because they haven't been trained to cooperate with their caretakers). For these dogs, tubs with open sides can be an absolute nightmare!

  3. Related to the above is a safety issue: I would also be concerned about the possibility of a rambunctious dog getting part or most of its body out of such a tub with a restraint attached, which would be dangerous. These are my three biggest concerns regarding such tubs when it comes to washing medium to large dogs (which most that typically frequent SSDW's are).

As for the tubs being low to the ground, typical tubs have bottoms that are around 18-20" high. If too high, it is more difficult to get dogs in; if too low, bathers have to bend over too much, which is hard on one's back (and is one of the reasons washing dogs at a self-serve facility is easier than doing it at home in a regular bathtub). It appeared in the case of one tub style you referred to, that several customers were bending over quite a bit.

In conclusion, I have to say that I don't at all agree that such tubs are easy to use compared to better designed tubs. I hope this helps."

Additional comments from Dave regarding such tubs:

"Three things I've been hearing people say about these walk-around tubs (generally before they actually try using one), is that:

  1. They have a nicer, more pleasant look than standard stainless-steel tubs.

  2. They will make washing easier because there is access from both sides, and dogs don't have to be turned to properly wash them.

  3. Two people can wash a dog at the same time from opposite sides.

My response to #1:
I advise you to consider more than visual appearance. Functionality will likely be far more important to your business than aesthetics. If you like the look of a tub, but it doesn't function well in actual use compared to another tub (which in my opinion these tubs don't), it is going to make your job much harder, and your customers more frustrated and less satisfied. As I've said before, walk-around tubs have a number of issues that anyone considering them needs to consider.

If you want a nonmetallic tub that looks nice but is well-designed and better built, consider the Poly Pet Tub.

My response to #2:
Dogs are easily turned in good tubs with splash walls (and better secured, as previously discussed). Plus, they have to be turned in order to get out of the walk-around tubs anyway!

My response to #3:
The person on the side across from the person using the sprayer may want to wear a bathing suit, as they are likely to get nearly as wet as the dog! By the way, standard-size tubs with splash walls also allow easy access for two people to wash at the same time, and without all the inconveniences.

Another issue I need to bring up is construction. Most of the walk-around tubs sold have wooden frames underneath the visible liners...not a durable material in such a damp/wet environment. I've seen these tubs seriously warped and rotted because of this."

Does anyone have any experience with the Booster Bath Dog Wash Tub? It's plastic, but supposedly handles up to 350 lbs. It's much cheaper than the metal models, and I think it is ok for home use, but I'm not certain that it's durable enough for commercial use. Any thoughts?

Response from Dave:

"Where do I begin?

There is a lot more to be concerned with than durability. I hesitate to disparage a particular product, but it is important to me to be up front and candid with people when they ask questions that I have knowledge about. So here it goes:

Those plastic tubs may be OK for some people to wash their dogs in the backyard with a garden hose, which is what they are really intended for--but that's about it. They are vastly inferior to standard dog tubs (to put it mildly), and are not at all appropriate for commercial use. And again, they weren't designed for commercial use, only the occasional backyard wash in the summer.

Here are just a few of my reasons:

  1. They don't have splash walls, which results in:

    a) A big water and hair mess from the sprayer and the dog shaking.

    b) Much greater difficulty keeping a resistant dog properly in the tub (or jumping out with a restraint attached, which is dangerous).

  2. Small drain, no hair screen or trap, and small diameter drain hose, result in drain quickly and continually clogging with many dogs. It is also not a commercial (or even indoor residential) drain system, and wouldn't begin to meet building codes.

  3. Easy overflow: In a setting such as a self-serve dog wash, a customer not removing hair from the drain promptly, or otherwise blocking drain (e.g., with a towel), would result in water quickly overflowing onto the floor.

  4. Restraints are apparently only at one end in one spot, and require adjustment for each dog.

  5. Difficulty of cleaning out by spraying, without making a mess due to no real splash walls and very low lip at drain end of tub (the direction that one mostly sprays when cleaning out a tub).

I also honestly can't imagine having a 350 lbs. dog in one of those (or getting it in!)..."

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