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Thread: Fostering. Should we, or shouldn't we?

  1. #1

    Default Fostering. Should we, or shouldn't we?

    Hi Everyone,

    I’m just after some advice from people who have fostered dogs before.

    Some background about us:
    Myself and my husband adopted a 2 year old staffy x mastiff by the name of Diesel around 8 months ago. Diesel is your typical staffy who loves people! His previous owners unfortunately failed to socialise him properly (with dogs or new experiences) or provide him with any basic obedience, so the last 8 months have been pretty interesting for us! We employed the help of a professional dog trainer to guide us through the basics to ensure we would end up where we wanted to be and I’m happy to say that Diesel has come in leaps and bounds and we’re so proud of him (he definitely isn’t perfect though!!). Unfortunately we are still not in a position to let him off the leash at parks or beaches but I’m confident we’ll get there eventually with enough patience (from us) and practice. When we’re out walking and he sees dogs, he immediately becomes extremely alert, tense and starts pulling at the leash to get to them, but never barks or growls or anything like that. We did let him off the leash when we first got him, down at the beach and he took off to play with a couple of border collies and was absolutely fine (though their owner wasn’t impressed as she was topless haha, my husband didn’t complain when he had to drag Diesel away!!), it took a while for us to get him back that time though, hence why we now don’t let him off because if something more interesting is happening (like topless ladies) he isn’t likely to listen and come back! I also remember that when we got him from the shelter he was in a kennel with a smaller female staffy and didn’t appear concerned by it, though I realise the shelter environment can change their behaviours. I think perhaps the leash enhances his behaviour when other dogs are around, and because we don’t let him off the poor guy probably doesn’t have a hope, particularly when other dogs approach him and he reacts unfavourably because he is the one who is restrained.

    So I come to my question, which is have other people fostered dogs with a resident dog who as above is somewhat uneducated when it comes to being social with other canines? Myself and my husband are really keen on helping out our local dog rescue by becoming foster carers but obviously want to make sure that our resident dog doesn’t get his nose too out of joint, as he is our first priority. My first concern is that Diesel will not accept them being around, which could make life pretty miserable if it takes the organisation time to find an alternative carer for the foster dog. But perhaps that is true with any dog match, maybe even well socialised dogs take a dislike to some other dogs for no apparent reason! Based on the research we have done we would be somewhat selective about the foster dog, meaning we’d prefer it were a female and smaller in size than him, but not so small that he would hurt her as he is fairly large at around 27 kg and is about as boisterous as they come.

    Whether we decide to go ahead and give it a go, or not… who can share some stories and/or advice about being a foster carer?

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi 'emma8001' and to the forum ! Hope you enjoy being a member here !

    Have a look at the following link - it may help you with some of your questions:

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/general-d...fostering.html

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    4,292

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    Hi Emma. I have female bitser, possibly a staffy cross, but some other breeds mixed in.

    She doesn't like most strange dogs she meets. I describe it now as her simply not being into small talk. I'm able to manage it on walks now. She is well trained and gets walked off lead every day. I actually find it far easier to manage dog greetings when she's off leash, but I did heaps and heaps of recall training before she developed this social awkwardness.

    I started fostering dogs a year ago. The first one, a young wolfhound cross pup, she growled and snarled at a lot for the first week. It was quite upsetting because I didn't know how it was going to progress. After that first week she was fine with him. The second foster pup, she put in her place a few times in the first days, then they became best friends. And even after a break of a few months, when we got our third pup, she growled at her once the first day and that was it.

    But I do think it is important that you feel confident about your control over your own dog. And it is much easier if the resident dog can help teach the foster some basic doggy manners by example.

  4. #4

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    Hi Beloz, thanks so much for your post! Definitely food for thought, particularly regarding the resident dog helping the foster dog with manners. I don't think our dog would help much in that area... I guess he is good around the house though.

    How did you go about introductions?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Canberra
    Posts
    4,292

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    I always intended slow introductions, but due to circumstances just ended up chucking the dogs together. Not a strategy is recommend if you can avoid it.

    I planned to follow the strategy that a behavioural trainer taught me. Both dogs on lead, walk them parallel to eachother at a 'safe' distance, block the dog's view of the other dog if they tense up, then decrease the distance between the two dogs. Then very short greetings (5 seconds max), walk away and repeat. I never had another person to help me though.

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