Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pooches: Choosing Foster Dogs

From all the photos we've shown, it probably looks like we just took Levi in and threw him into our mix. But there were really a lot of behind-the-scenes events to make sure that all the pooches would be happy together. We know all dogs have some levels of dog acceptance and dog tolerance, and we had to take that into account when adding another dog into our home, especially since our dogs are aging, space is at a premium, and we don't have a backyard.
Here is the behind-the-scenes of how we made it work:

Dog Tolerance
While Mr. B rarely cares about other dogs, we know Miss M is a complete alpha. Like we wrote in our earlier post about gender issues, it seems male dogs can take Miss M's bossiness much better, so we're partial to submissive males. We had been keeping an eye out for males when we saw Levi at New Leash on Life needed a foster home.

Having Proper Dog Introductions
Even though we liked Levi, we knew it was really up to the pooches. We had to schedule a proper dog-to-dog introduction to see how they got along. We took the pooches to a neutral sidewalk, and walked them by each other to gauge their interest. The eventual idea is to see how they react with a couple of walk bys, then try to get them to walk as a pack at the end.  Twenty-six to Life just wrote a really good post about how she does dog intros (and she has handled a household with a German Shepherd and 3 pit bulls of varying ages).
During our intro Levi had very bad dog manners and kept getting in the pooches' faces and trying to play with them. While I never would have expected it, Miss M completely ignored him and wasn't bothered by his rude intro. Could it be because she also suffers from poor dog manners? With her acceptance, we knew we could take the next step of testing him in our home.

Monitoring Home Interactions
Even in our home we've been careful with the 3 dogs to make sure no one becomes possessive. Each dog is fed in their own bed to make sure they don't food guard. We give out treats separately, and we monitor toys to make sure there aren't any squabbles. None of the dogs are really resource-guarders, though Mr. B does get a little sad if anyone tries to take his pink stuffed toys:
Levi is still learning dog manners. He doesn't understand it's impolite to shove your face in another dogs' faces, luckily, our pooches are being very tolerant with him. He is also learning good habits by watching our dogs: he is learning to wait for food, wait to be excused from the crate, and to lay nicely without rolling around. We also bought this fantastic Adopt Me collar from Sirius Republic to advertise his 'single status' to anyone he meets. 
These are the steps we took to make sure all the dogs were happy in our home. Any other good advice for integrating foster dogs into your home?

20 comments:

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

Levi's happy face cracks me up. He just looks like such a happy silly puppy (and grateful to be in such a great foster home!). I think how you've integrated Levi into your house is great - and I LOVE his collar. It's too perfect for him! (and thanks for the link back!)

mastertealc said...

Love the "adopt me" collar and Miss M's grumpy face :)

Slobbers Master T.

PS: my hooman hasn't forgotten about the traveling with your dog post! Just really busy at the moment :(

Two Crazy Coaches said...

All very good advice! I have no doubt he will find his perfect home quickly hanging out with your crew. Levi is an adorably goofy boy and who wouldn't fall in love with him!

road-dog-tales said...

Oh, my, we'be been out of the loop and missed some stuff! Levi is a cutie! Hey, does he lay around in frog pose?? hehe Mr B and Ms M are becoming excellent foster pawrents. What a good job you all are doing at getting Levi ready for his new forever home!

The Road Dogs

Tucker The Crestie said...

Levi is just adorable! I love his Adopt Me collar!


Great post, as usual!

kasia077 said...

I'm lucky my dog Max is very accepting of other dogs in our home, so squabbles with fosters aren't usually an issue. I like to do two things when introducing a new pup into our house:

1) Make sure Max always has his own space where the other dog is not allowed or doesn't have access to. Usually it's my bed. Max likes to sleep at my feet and he's the only one allowed to do so. (It also doesn't teach the foster pup that being on the bed is okay).

2) Try to take the pups on individual walks a few times a week. These can be short and are not daily, but I think it's important to give Max (who is used to being the only dog in the house) individualized attention and it's good for the foster pup to get some one on one time too.

Dog Foster Mom said...

Great tips, and great pictures!

Daisy Dog said...

Excellent piece! I have used baby gates to separate but allow the to see each other and sniff too. I have integrated 2 kittens (now cats) and one 4 lb Chihuahua successfully into the house Of Daisy and Roscoe. They all get along, but I still won't leave Mouse (the Chihuahua) alone with Daisy when no one is home. He is so small, I just think its better he has his own space when they are alone. He doesn't mind. When I first found him I kept him crated until his bathroom manners were fine tuned. He is perfect now and stays in the den or bedroom while I am at work.

Froggy said...

Great post! I recently signed up to be a foster home for OTAT. Maize is also a bossy alpha female so I have to be veeeerry careful on who comes in. I haven't found the right foster match yet but I know once we do Maize and Pug will be great foster brothers and sisters.

A&A Friese said...

Love this post! Great way to intregrate a foster, we do things very similar around here as well, it also helps to have a resident dog that is pretty tolerant in the first place much like Mr. B and Miss M.

brooke said...

Love the adopt me collar!
Mr B and his pink stuffies is so cute!
Does Levi have his own crate (if so where does it go)?

Two Pitties in the City said...

Yes, Levi has his own crate that is near Miss M's crate and where we normally keep our bicycles. It makes things kind of crowded, but a good reminder of why we'll never own 3 dogs.

Kari in Vegas said...

I think that is so important (the choosing) and some people are so anxious to foster that they dont make it a good environment for ALL dogs in the house

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Mr. B with his pink stuffies is so cute. It makes me want to send him some more right through the computer. Hmmm, I wonder if they go as an "attachment" :)

Emma

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Great post! Our dogs have been much more accepting of Sinatra once they realized that he would always be in his crate when they ate or had a bone. They love having freedom when he's restricted!

jet said...

This is why I can't foster at the moment - I don't have enough time at home to supervise all the dog-dog interactions. Not to mention the dog-cat interactions!

jen said...

I am so glad you shared this info because I was wondering the step you take to introduce a new member to your family. I really like the walk by approach and think that is a very good tool!

loveandaleash said...

Hey- great post. I think we're catching "how to integrate dogs into the home" fever and we may do a post on our own methods pretty soon. It's interesting seeing the methods used across the spectrum of dog-sociability. Your dogs are very tolerant and friendly, Kate's are also tolerant but need a little more finesse, and my Chick needs even more finesse and time to make sure things go well.

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

Love the collar! We may have to get one or two :) We have to admit that we do not even meet the fosters before we get them; our only requirement is that they are not cat or dog aggressive. We often have to separate our older girls from the fosters which is to be expected considering their advanced age. So far Pauley has gotten along well with everyone.

Susan Campisi said...

I've been so insanely busy with my foster, I haven't kept up with your blog. So what a surprise to see two pitties are now three. Wow! Good for you.

I don't have any advice. I did all the wrong things.

I love that collar. Might have to get it for Louise.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...