Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Pooches: Adding a Foster Dog to Your Home

Our new foster dog Feeney is the 7th foster dog we've had along with our own two pups. Though it's been awhile since we've had a foster (remember this little guy?), as we've jumped back into fostering there were a couple of things we needed to be reminded of ourselves.
While our Facebook page has been filled with photos of the pups holding hands and sharing beds, we've actually put a lot of thought and work into making sure all of the pups are comfortable in our home.

Introductions for a Good Match
While our own dogs are very tolerant, we know that not all dogs that need fostering are a good match of our family. Being older, our dogs aren't as interested in romping so we know it would be frustrating for them to have a dog that incessantly wants to play. We also know Miss M doesn't know a lot about personal space so the foster would need to be submissive. We love working with Miss M's rescue group, New Leash on Life Chicago, because they really work to match fosters with the personalities of resident dogs so fostering is a good experience for everyone involved.
Once they have a foster that seems like it might be a good fit with our pups and home, we do proper dog introductions. We watch their introductions to see if anyone is over-interested in anyone else, if the new dog wants to play beyond comfort levels and if they listen to corrections from a dog that doesn't want to play. We do the introductions on neutral space before introducing the dog to our home.
As the foster dog stays with us, we also use our family walks and tandem walking as a way for our pups to continue their socialization with one another.

Hide Your Toys, Hide Your Shoes, Hide Your Dinner
We are so used to the habits of our own dogs that sometimes we forget that other dogs don't have the same manners. The first day we had our very first foster dog, we left a marinating salmon on our kitchen counter. While our own dogs would never dare go near food left unattended on a coffee table, we were surprised to see our new foster pup jumped up on the counter and was eating our dinner.
We've since realized that we just need to remove all temptation as the new fosters become accustomed to living in our home.
We also make sure to hide all of the toys so we can sense if the new dog has resource guarding, and to make sure they don't take Mr. B's stuffies.
After we get to know the new dog, and knowing our own dogs' toy interests, we are able to introduce chew toys under supervision.

Have a Set Routine
We know things can be new and exciting for the foster dog, so we try to keep things calm and normal with our own pups. Our dogs have a set routine where they know where to line up and wait for dinner (and the foster is fed in a separate area to avoid any potential resource guarding), the sitting and check-in behaviors on walks,  and expectations in the home. This helps the foster adjust by using our own dogs as mentors.
We have noticed foster dog Feeney has learned to sit at corners along with our own dogs, and when our pups head to bed for the night, Feeney puts himself to sleep in his crate.

We are definitely not experts, but these are some things that have worked for us.
What are some must-do things you do when integrating foster dogs or even having dog visitors in your home?

Remember this hilarious tandem walk?
And how Miss M made her mini-me?
Check our Facebook page for more photos and story lines beyond the blog.
Contact New Leash on Life Chicago if you are interested in meeting foster dog Feeney, or becoming a foster for a dog who needs a home.


Two French Bulldogs said...

You guys give pitbulls a whole new meaning. Kudos to you
Lily & Edward

Minabey said...

You guys are the best. :)

Melanie said...

I can't get over how cute Feeney is! Every time I see a picture of him!

Also, I agree with other comments. Y'all are so wise when it comes to training and caring for dogs. Thank you so much for putting your time and energy into sharing what you've learned. I wish all dog owners (and potential dog owners) read your site.

JustaGirl said...

I love Feeney! What a face :)

OG said...

Genius post! "not all handshakes and sharing beds!

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

He's so cool! I also forget that not all dogs have the same set of manners when new ones come over. Makes me appreciate how easy my dogs are in so many ways but they all start somewhere!

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