Bringing in a new foster

Last Friday we brought Rosie in to our house. Rosie comes from DFW German Shepherd Rescue and is our first foster with this organization.

One of the first things I worry about when bringing a new dog in to the house is how the other dogs are going to react. The next concern is whether or not the new dog will get along with the cats in the house. To deal with the first issue when we arrive home one of us stays outside with the new dog while the rest go in and get the dogs ready for a walk. Then we take the dogs outside one at a time to meet the new dog. We let them greet each other for about 30 seconds or so and then move our dog off a little ways to make room for the next dog. Each dog gets to meet the new dog before we bring the whole pack together. If everything looks good we take a quick walk around the block and then in to the house.

The upstairs is blocked off so the cats have it all to themselves. We also keep the foster dog on a training leash (a twenty foot training line) so it can explore a little but is also under some control. At this point we’re primarily interested to know if the new dog is really house broken or not. We’ll take them out back almost immediately because the car ride can be long.

We also have a crate setup for the foster dog. It’s actually pretty nice and has plenty of room so they can stretch out. There is also a dog bed in it so they’ll be warm.

Once we’re in the house and business has been taken care of outback we are in to foster mode: get to know the dog so we can help find it a new home. We want to know what type of personality it has, does it get along with the cats, how does it handle strangers, does it have any obedience training? All of this will help us find it a home.

In Rosie’s case she has no obedience training at this point so I’ll get her started right away. She gets along with the cats ok so I don’t need to worry about that. Best of all though is that she is extremely affectionate to people and the other dogs. She has spent most of the day playing with Kaiser and Sparkles. She also spent most of her first night sleeping on top of my wife. So I think she is good with people.

The fun part this time around is that I’m 99% positive we’re going to be foster failures this go around. My wife seems to really like her. We’ll take our time getting to know her and start getting her trained so she’ll have slightly better manners (not that I mind a 45lbs German Shepherd who thinks counter surfing is an Olympic sport or anything like that).

 

Just out of the kennel

Last year I decided that I wanted to get a German Shepherd but because of work and other things going on I wasn’t sure if we were ready. So we, my family and I, had the brilliant idea to start fostering dogs for the Humane Society. The thinking was that we could put off adopting a dog until we had a better idea of what was going on.

During the course of the year we fostered 5 dogs. The first was a Dutch Shepherd mix who was adopted by a friend of mine. The next was a Labrador who we very nearly adopted ourselves, but another family wanted her so we sent her to them. Next came a pair of Chewenie puppies who were adopted by my daughter’s soccer coach and his mother in law. Our last foster was another Chewenie from the same litter. She had been returned twice for the usual reasons. We searched around for her but she was adopted during an adoption weekend. We brought her to the Pet Smart where the events are held but she didn’t even make it in her kennel. Just as we were putting her in another family asked if they could meet her.

As is normal with planning, fate had other ideas. What I wanted was a black and tan male German Shepherd between six months and a year old. While we were fostering I had also put in applications to adopt at the various German Shepherd rescues local to us. Sure enough Kaiser came up at the DFW German Shepherd Rescue. He was a 7 month old black and tan. He’s high energy with a great personality. He’s been very puppy like since I’ve had him. We also have two boxers, one male and one female. They all get along very well.

With the New Year we have decided to start fostering again. Currently we are keeping Rosie who we are very likely to adopt. She is a very sweet dog. Probably the smallest German Shepherd I’ve seen, she weighs in at 45lbs! She is very affectionate and has already made friends with everybody in the house. We’ve only had her here for two days so we’re still getting to know her. Also, if we do adopt her we will continue to foster but will not ‘foster failure’ again.

The reason I’ve started this blog is share what I’ve learned through our experience both as fosters and owners. I’ve been learning a lot about dog training and have made a lot of observations about it. Also as an owner interacting with other owners and their dogs I have more comments to make. Finally, as a foster and a person involved with rescues I have one or two thoughts to share.

I hope you subscribe and follow along, maybe even ask a question or make a comment.