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Michelleva

Our First Ever Foster Dog - The Final Update

289 posts in this topic

Michelleva - it's quite normal for the resident dogs to get a bit cranky at first towards the newcomers. As long as it's not a protracted hackling/growling, very aggressive type behaviour, a bit of telling off/crankiness is normal and understandable. It takes time whenever an interloper comes for the pack dynamics to be established. My dog Hoover gets upset with puppies because they cry/bark and sound distressed. Elbie gets annoyed with newcomers at first because they annoy him. Dodge gets hyper-excited by newcomers and can take a little while to settle. Sometimes it's the foster that paces restlessly, sometimes it's one of our dogs that paces restlessly.

Our dogs always get along great with the fosters that come but there are inevitable times when foster oversteps the mark/foster gets in the face of resident dog and gets told off. Bringing in a foster can be a stressful experience for everyone and sometimes our dogs pick up on that, I think. I just watch, do not leave them alone unsupervised and do not keep anything high value around them until everyone is settled in and chilled. We feed our dogs together but supervise very closely but to be extra prudent, you would feed them apart or in crates.

If you look at my foster dog thread a few threads down, you'll see that we've had a few doggies come and go and with all of them it takes a bit of time for them to settle in :)

Some dogs settle faster than others. Usually within a week, everyone's chilled out here although we are still pretty cautious about leaving a foster alone with our own dogs. Good luck with it - fostering is quite stressful and challenging sometimes but it's so rewarding :)

Edited by koalathebear

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Puppy farm dogs can take some time to adjust to being a "normal" dog. It may be better to pen off or crate her at night to stop the pacing. She is not used to a large free area and feels stressed. My ex pf dog paced up and down my hallway particularly at night. I penned him off in a small area beside my bed with a basket and some blankets on the floor. He eventually learned it was a safe zone, and I taught him "basket". Over weeks/months the "zone" got bigger and he could then free range the house. It took a week or so before he stopped pacing. Good luck with Bonnie :)

eta when circling I divert their attention and correct with an "ah ah" and then try to refocus on a toy/ball.

Edited by schnauzer

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Michelleva - it's quite normal for the resident dogs to get a bit cranky at first towards the newcomers. As long as it's not a protracted hackling/growling, very aggressive type behaviour, a bit of telling off/crankiness is normal and understandable. It takes time whenever an interloper comes for the pack dynamics to be established. My dog Hoover gets upset with puppies because they cry/bark and sound distressed. Elbie gets annoyed with newcomers at first because they annoy him. Dodge gets hyper-excited by newcomers and can take a little while to settle. Sometimes it's the foster that paces restlessly, sometimes it's one of our dogs that paces restlessly.

Our dogs always get along great with the fosters that come but there are inevitable times when foster oversteps the mark/foster gets in the face of resident dog and gets told off. Bringing in a foster can be a stressful experience for everyone and sometimes our dogs pick up on that, I think. I just watch, do not leave them alone unsupervised and do not keep anything high value around them until everyone is settled in and chilled. We feed our dogs together but supervise very closely but to be extra prudent, you would feed them apart or in crates.

If you look at my foster dog thread a few threads down, you'll see that we've had a few doggies come and go and with all of them it takes a bit of time for them to settle in :)

Some dogs settle faster than others. Usually within a week, everyone's chilled out here although we are still pretty cautious about leaving a foster alone with our own dogs. Good luck with it - fostering is quite stressful and challenging sometimes but it's so rewarding :)

Thats really helpful. As far as food is concerned I know Georgia is VERY food oriented, to the point of stealing it off someone else if the opportunity was there. So I'm feeding them seperately, I'm having limited success getting Bonnie to eat, but I'm sure that will improve in coming days.

I was worried about Georgia accepting another dog, she's been an only dog her whole life. She does of course have feline siblings, but thats different to living with another dog.

Bonnie seems to have found a safe spot under my desk, whenever she feels unsure she goes there. The only problem is that's one of Georgia's favourite spots to snooze. I might have to try and squeeze two beds in there to keep the peace. I've never even had two dogs let alone a foster, so I'm on a steep learning curve. Fortunately there has been no real agression from either, the growl was just a warning I think.

I'll go and check out your other thread, thanks. I'm sure I'll be back asking for more help along the way. The rescue group has been really helpful too, I gave them an update today, but that was before Georgia got a bit snooty.

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Puppy farm dogs can take some time to adjust to being a "normal" dog. It may be better to pen off or crate her at night to stop the pacing. She is not used to a large free area and feels stressed. My ex pf dog paced up and down my hallway particularly at night. I penned him off in a small area beside my bed with a basket and some blankets on the floor. He eventually learned it was a safe zone, and I taught him "basket". Over weeks/months the "zone" got bigger and he could then free range the house. It took a week or so before he stopped pacing. Good luck with Bonnie :)

eta when circling I divert their attention and correct with an "ah ah" and then try to refocus on a toy/ball.

A friend who has rehabilitated quite a few puppy farm dogs suggested that I crate Bonnie next to Georgia for the night. Georgia has been crate trained since she was a pup, so that was easy. Bonnie was very scared going into the crate, but settled quickly and slept all night with no accidents. So I'll keep up that routine. Georgia is quite confident and outgoing, so I'm hoping that she can teach Bonnie some confidence, but that will take time.

The rescue people told me to just let her wander for a while last night and just ignore it, which I did. Then today she paced again, but definitely not to the same extent as yesterday. Today she's been able to stop, lay down and relax, which is really heart warming but she does get spooked easily and then starts pacing again. They did tell me she's not a really bad case, they've had much worse. :cry:

I was also told for the first few days I should take her outside for the toilet on lead, because they are very evasive and won't come to you. I had her coming on command this morning. I just have to say come on Bonnie in my happy voice and she's there, which is great. She hesitates at the back step, but thats just because its all new experiences.

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aaaaw .. your bonnie is just like my rescue jordan , i got him when he was approx 2 yrs according to vet . He lived until he was 14 nearly 15, and although showed anxiety when i first got him , was one of the best dogs ever. I did have to get him a friend ( we still have peanut she is 14 going 15 ) so he would settle down .

Another thing to try when she begins to pace may be to get the lead and walk her around the house with you while you go about doing what ever it is your doing , this did work for one of my dogs as it helped her to relax . Jordan also had basket , and would always get in there when i asked him to .

Your Bonnie is beautiful .

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RuralPug   

O bless you - you are doing everything right. thumbsup1.gif

Georgia may have even been reacting to your anxiety about Bonnie and her previous treatment. Georgia trusts and loves you and could have just been letting Bonnie know not to upset you - dogs are amazingly resilient and Bonnie will probably forget her previous tribulations long before you do.

I think she might just be your foster failure, too!biggrin.gif

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manlynau   

oh bless her .. her eyes say it all ... you know Michelleva its ok to have a foster failure .. some things are just meant to be! when I was young I had a rough collie called bonnie ... my late father was Scottish and he called her his bonnie wee lass ... hence the name Bonnie ...

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Oh stop it you guys, you're making me bawl like a baby. I'm happy to hear I'm on the right track. I had the same idea as you with the lead happy paws. Just attach her to me and where I go, she goes. But I'm worried about creating seperation anxiety on top of everything else. I' probably over thinking again, thats my speciality. :laugh:

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I've got an ex puppy farm dog here as a foster - 6 months on and he's greatly improved. He's not my first and not the worst either but they do take a lot of time and patience.

I recommend for the first couple of weeks to not do too much with them or overwhelm them with attention - I hardly touch them (this advice comes from a behaviouralist and it works well), keep to a simply routine and just try and teach them some housetraining etc, this may take quite a bit of time unlike a normal dog that's lived in a backyard.

Give them a safe place to go to - the crate is a great idea!

My current foster is still pretty nervous but not like he was at first - he'd never seen a car, bike etc etc.

Good luck!

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Oh stop it you guys, you're making me bawl like a baby. I'm happy to hear I'm on the right track. I had the same idea as you with the lead happy paws. Just attach her to me and where I go, she goes. But I'm worried about creating seperation anxiety on top of everything else. I' probably over thinking again, thats my speciality. :laugh:

Sorry, but I totally disagree with this. I think you'd create a huge problem with Bonnie thinking she HAD to be with you and what about Georgia? A dog doesn't need to be his or her person every second of the day, even those who, like Bonnie, need a lot of reassurance.

In my book, whilst you give the dog plenty of love and caring and cuddles if and when the dog can accept them, you also give it space and the ability to learn that it is safe even when you aren't in view or aren't around.

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I agree with DD. I tend to give foster dogs space when they arrive here. They might be crated or tethered near me to stop them doing messes in the house, but I try to let them wander around a secure room and become comfortable in their surroundings.

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I have nothing constructive to add, only that I think she is adorable <3 I really hope her transition from PF to much loved dog is easy for both her and you x

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Thanks for the input guys, I appreciate it. My thoughts were only if the pacing dragged on too long, then attaching her to me could help break the cycle, but I don't think it will get to that anyway.

Today is a new day, the sun is shining and this little dog is just AMAZING!!!

She slept through the night in her crate again, then when it was time to get up she bounded out of the crate just like Georgia and she was the first one out the back door. Even yesterday it took a lot of coaxing to get her to walk through the door. I had to walk out and then she would follow me, its only 7.30am and its already been a positive day for Bonnie! :thumbsup:

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She's sitting at my feet, and quite calm, no pacing at all. I know once I get moving on the chores and stuff thats when she panics and paces more. But I can't just sit with her all day.

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tdierikx   

It's amazing how adaptable dogs are when we just let them work it out for themselves... I've had a couple of nervous/shy fosters and didn't have too much trouble once I let them do their own thing and get their bearings in the new environment...

T.

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But I can't just sit with her all day.

and that's what she has to learn.. she has never had to think for herself ... or cope with situations . I guess she was penned .. had food once a day .. and that was that .. all this must be hurting her brain :(

When you are doing things - perhaps put her in a crate where she can see what's happening .. but doesn't have to make decisions ? that way, too, Georgia gets some free time ...and you can get about your life .

I have no experience .. but would just go slow .. and give her a rest .. She has so much to take in .. best to do it in a way that happens ..not that is 'made to happen' if she is settled in a crate .. then she can watch/absorb for a while ..safe . You can then just open the door in passing - with no effusive greetings ..and let her out ..

*shrug* that's what I'd do anyhow :)

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Sitting with her all day won't help, I promise. Try getting some Rescue Remedy for you and her - maybe you are feeling stressed and she's picking up on it?

You've done a great thing, you've given her a chance at a happy life so try and relax and give her space - that's no 1 otherwise she may come down with separation anxiety because she'll have had so little attention at the puppy farm and then you give her lots and she wants more so gets anxious.

I'm just going through a behavioural modification program with a dog from a normal home but one that gave him over the top attention for 5 years and he was a mental mess. He's now on Prozac and has gone leaps and bounds in 3 weeks.

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Don't worry Dogmad I have no plans to do that, I don't have time anyway.

Today she hasn't paced too much and she's stayed in her safe spot by herself quite a bit, which is fantastic. She's happily going outside with Georgia every hour or two for wees, etc. She was just out there and had her first bark. Georgia is a huge yappa and the kids have been saying she's the quietest sheltie we've ever met, I just keep telling them to give her time, and I was right. So Georgia is already teaching her the sheltie ropes. :rofl:

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Don't worry Dogmad I have no plans to do that, I don't have time anyway.

Today she hasn't paced too much and she's stayed in her safe spot by herself quite a bit, which is fantastic. She's happily going outside with Georgia every hour or two for wees, etc. She was just out there and had her first bark. Georgia is a huge yappa and the kids have been saying she's the quietest sheltie we've ever met, I just keep telling them to give her time, and I was right. So Georgia is already teaching her the sheltie ropes. :rofl:

Sorry, I wasn't suggesting you were going to do that, just giving an example :)

I'm sure she'll find her voice - they soon learn. My current fosters were a joy on the lead until I started walking them with my Jack Russell - suddenly they've found their voice when they see another dog now :(

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