You will want to give your rescue dog a bath. This may go really smoothly--some rescue dogs love the attention and like water--or it might not. There can be some serious challenges when bathing a rescue dog; they may be really dirty, have matted fur, or have parasites. Also, rescue dogs may have previously been abused or never been bathed before, leading them to react in a frightened, aggressive, or excited way. Because you will probably not know your dog's history and experience with bathing, proceeding in a slow, careful manner and using a little trial and error to find out what works best when bathing your rescue dog will be necessary.
A rescue dog has probably been through a lot. At the very least, the dog is experiencing a rehoming situation and a change in his residence, which will be very stressful even for a well-adjusted dog. Other rescue dogs may have experienced abuse and neglect, be suffering from malnutrition, parasites, health problems and even injury. A rescue dog may have limited or no experience with being groomed or bathed.
It's not uncommon for a stressed or abused dog to react in a frightened or aggressive manner when handled, including receiving a bath. The enclosed area may make the dog nervous, or the sounds and feel of running water can startle him. Work slowly, talk calmly to the dog, and watch the dog for signs the dog is becoming overwhelmed or about to react aggressively. You may want to have an assistant help you handle the dog, reassure him, and watch for signs of trouble. Adjust your bathing as necessary, and try to be organized and keep the bath short so as not to cause undue anxiety in a rescue dog.
We just adopted a dog from a foster home, and he was definitely stinky! We were able to bathe him with much difficulty (lots of growling and biting). He seems to trust us now, but will still curl his lip and bite us if we try to wipe his feet with a towel after a walk. He will let us hold his paws normally without a towel. How can we make this cleaning process for both bathing and cleaning his paws easier?
Congratulations on the adoption of Basil! He may have very sensitive feet. It may be worth your while to wait until you have had him much longer and he is super comfortable before you use the towel. Just to get him into a good comfort zone all of the time. If he is letting you hold his paws without a towel (and it is good to do that, gently touch the paws when you are cuddling to get him used to it), try using pet wipes instead to clean the feet. That way, you feel better that his feet are clean, and he'll be more comfortable without the use of the towel. All the best and enjoy your new dog!
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