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Behavior & Training > What do you teach first?

Sawyer- *ADOPTED*

Shy Boy
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 22, '13 5:54pm PST 
I have done just this with my fosters. Both of them seemed to have some basic understanding of sitting on cue but nothing really well-polished. In order to live comfortably in a home with people I usually teach:

Sit
Down
Recall
Loose-leash walking
Leave it
Wait (food bowl manners, waiting at doors)
Handler focus/eye contact

I will also take the time to work with that specific dog on trouble spots. Like Jagger with his lack of self-control and mouthing and Sawyer with his fear of being touched/picked up. I also make sure to work on some fun things like "101 Things with a box," the agility tunnel, the wobble board, and anything else fun I can think of.

This is pretty much how I would start out a performance dog as well, not just a family pet. But with much more emphasis on a formal heel not just a LLW and a LOT of focus on focus!
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Rescue, Adoption & Happy Endings > What does it take to foster?
Sawyer- *ADOPTED*

Shy Boy
 
 
Barked: Wed Feb 20, '13 6:30pm PST 
Maybe I'm a horrible foster mom but all I can think of are the things that explain why someone wouldn't want this dog. Or maybe that's just the two fosters I've had. LOL. Honestly, both dogs are great dogs but they just need the right person. One who understands how they tick and are willing to work with them so that their obnoxious behavior is less of an issue. That's not to say I don't see their good traits. More like I'm apt to discuss why someone might not want them rather than why they would. I'd rather know a dogs faults and love them anyway than paint a glowing picture of a dog and have someone totally turned off by one of his less-than-stellar traits. But that's just how I roll. smile

I also tend to enjoy the challenge of a less "normal" dog and like taking the time to do some training with my fosters. Give them an extra leg up on their journey.
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» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Mar 6 4:49 pm


Rescue, Adoption & Happy Endings > What does it take to foster?

Sawyer- *ADOPTED*

Shy Boy
 
 
Barked: Sun Feb 17, '13 4:41pm PST 
Great advice so far. I agree you really need to know what you feel comfortable taking on and stick with it. It also helps to find a group who gels with your training philosophy and other beliefs. You really need to feel comfortable with the rescue group and the dogs they handle.

The group I volunteer with covers pretty much everything. Toys, treats, food, vetting. It's like having a second dog for free. wink (Honestly, if I fed kibble I would provide my own food for the foster dog. But Risa eats home-cooked.) They are also have quite a few adoption events to really get the word out there about their dogs.

You also have to remember that you might have this foster dog for a week or you may have him for months. Some dogs don't stay in foster long. Others are either less in demand or have issues that prevent them from being adopted immediately. I'm on my second foster dog and both of them have been "long term" fosters. Jagger was with me for 2 months. Sawyer has been here for one month so far. I expected Jagger to stay for a while. He was odd-looking and a high-energy guy. A bit harder to place. Sawyer I expected to get picked up in a heartbeat being a super-cute young puppy.

It's also critical you keep your own dogs in mind. I have only fostered male dogs who are good with other dogs and small or medium in size. (Though it turns out Sawyer is actually dog-selective and leery of other dogs. He is GREAT with Risa, though.) My house isn't huge and most of the dog things I own are for medium-sized dogs. It's just easier for me to have another dog about Risa-sized. With her dog issues, I need to have a dog who's socially savvy. Keep in mind that sometimes the report you get about a dog isn't entirely accurate. Dogs may behave differently in a shelter versus in a home. Be prepared just in case you discover your foster dog isn't who you thought he was. wink

I think it's also important to have baby gates, crates, and/or x-pens to keep the new dog separate from the current family for a while. For the first week, I keep everyone apart; they live separate lives. Certainly they are able to smell and hear the other dog but I don't let them see each other or meet. It gives everyone time to settle in and destress. After that, I tend to keep the foster in the x-pen when I cannot supervise and I slowly introduce him to Risa. I play it by ear depending on what I see from both dogs. I let Sawyer meet Risa much faster than I did with Jagger because they are very different dogs.

I think PATIENCE is also key. You have to keep in mind these guys have been through a lot. Sent from the life they knew to a shelter then from a shelter to one foster home and possibly to another before arriving on your doorstep. They need time to figure out you, your schedule, and the new environment. It's likely they haven't had a lot of training and possess some bad habits. You need to realize that it will take time for them to feel comfortable and that you will have to give them some guidance so that they can become the wonderful companions they were meant to be.

Most people say the hardest part is letting them go. It hasn't been for me. I take them in knowing they're not going to stay. I knew from day one that both Jagger and Sawyer were not meant to stay here. I like both of them and they both have characteristics I like in a dog. However, I knew they weren't the right dog for me. I was simply a rest stop on their journey.

Good luck if you decide to foster!
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» There has since been 23 posts. Last posting by , Mar 6 4:49 pm


Behavior & Training > When do dog to dog corrections become bullying type behaviours?

Sawyer- *ADOPTED*

Shy Boy
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 7:25pm PST 
I think "normal" depends on the dog. Risa is pretty subtle in her suggestions unless she is overly stressed by the interaction. Like Chandler said, some dogs communicate loudly and others less so. I think what is important is not what it looks or sounds like but how it is perceived by the other dog. If a subtle suggestion is repeatedly ignored by the other dog and you can see it getting close to escalating, you should step in. If the one dog does a loud snark and the other dog backs off and reassess his play style, then I would say the interaction is fine. It's more about how the two dogs interact and communicate with each other rather than their method for telling another to "back off." It's when one of the parties doesn't listen to the other that problems occur.

(And thanks for calling Mr. Sawyer cute. smile Fortunately, Risa and he get along pretty well and have similar play styles. Unlike our former foster Jagger who was a bit more into body slamming than Risa liked. Though she was surprisingly tolerant of it. I often had to step in, though, as it was clear she wasn't really enjoying herself.)
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» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by , Feb 3 2:33 pm


Behavior & Training > When do dog to dog corrections become bullying type behaviours?

Sawyer- *ADOPTED*

Shy Boy
 
 
Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 5:19am PST 
I think it highly depends on the dogs you are working with. If you have two, socially well-adapted dogs, you can allow them to correct each other without a huge risk of it turning into a fight. If you have one socially inept dog in the mix, that mode of thinking can lead to disaster.

One of the puppies I worked with was very friendly with other dogs. To the point of being obnoxious. She was all in their face and totally ignored any social cues from them. If the dog corrected her, she continued on as if nothing had happened. It was up to whoever was working with her to intervene before she really ticked off the other dog. She could have started a fight because she didn't understand how to knock it off. This pup needed human intervention to learn that she needed to listen to other dog's signals and to keep from stressing out the other dog. Corrections certainly didn't phase her or diminish her love of other dogs but her inability to listen could have started a fight.

I have also put two dogs together who have dog-dog issues and it's very tricky. If one gets a bit upset about their interaction, it doesn't take much for it to become a huge tiff. (Not a fight as no one was injured nor was it difficult to break them apart in my experience.) Neither dog is confident in the interaction and, once they get upset, their fear takes over and they cannot back down. They panic. With dogs like that, you really have to watch the signals and intervene quickly before it has a chance to escalate.

I have also put socially well-adjusted dogs with my own reactive, fearful dog. This can be tricky as well; I need to make sure the other dog listens to the signals given so as not to overwhelm my dog and cause the other dog to get corrected unjustly.

I agree that a well-adjusted dog should be able to understand the signals given by other dogs and not take them as a slight against them. That they should read them for what they are, communication, and heed the warning behind it. So that, ideally, a dog would not have to resort to an actual correction (like an air snap or an inhibited bite). While life is not perfect and things like that can happen, I aim to not let it escalate to that.
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