Dog Foster Question:
“I have a foster dog that is an American Bull dog, the rescue isn’t sure of her age because they saved her from a horrible shelter and the shelter listed her as 2yrs and a stray. I think she is young because of the way she mouths my hands, arms, legs and she an also tries to chew on everything she can get her mouth on. My two other dogs aren’t tolerant of her because she is so big and clumsy and she is pushing them around and out of the way. They are a 8yr female GSD/Pit/Chow mix and a 6yr Pit bull. They are both smaller than her. How can I help the foster with the mouthing and nipping at me and with her pushing and knocking the other two dogs around. The Pit Bull snapped at her pretty bad one time when the foster jumped on her while running in the yard. I really can’t get a trainer because I am only fostering her for the moment but I want to adopt her eventually. Any suggestions???”
The first order of business in a situation like this, is the new dog is always the low man on the totem pole. This means she has limited freedom while also offering her socialization in a meaningful way.
Being that she is so young and most likely a stray, she probably has very few manners and has had limited experience in living a domestic life. This can become an ugly situation even when all the dogs have pretty stable temperaments.
Every new dog that comes here, I try to keep a protocol that gets things off to the right start. Because this gets involved, I am going to link some articles to these bullet points:
- New dogs do not get freedom around other dogs until they learn something about settling and calm. Sit on the dog is a good exercise to start with a dog like this (and remember you older dogs are not allowed to come up to her during this nor other people).
- Rotate new dog in and out of the crate when they can not be supervised. To get them used to observing their new friends while learning calm, the crate can be in a room where their new friends are visible. Crate training is essential for a new dog.
- To get some energy out of the new dog without irritating her new friends, have one on one play sessions, walks, and training with her (sans the older dogs and until she begins to learn their cues).
- Have the new dog tethered to you and/or dragging a leash around the house when being supervised. This makes it easier to stop her if she is about to do something that will irritate another dog. This article is leash protocols for young puppies, but it has some common sense ideas for new rescue arrivals as well.
- By all means, start obedience training with the dog even if it is just simple stuff. You want to remember to not start her out in distracting situations that are too much for her at first. Start off in a quiet indoor room and then move up the ladder slowly.
It is important to work with equipment that is well built and safe when handling a new rescue or foster dog (or any dog not trained to be off leash for that matter). Also be sure the equipment is well fitted so it can not come off the dog’s neck at an inopportune time (or any time).
Also remember while your dogs have their preferred place in the house, this does not mean they can inappropriately do things to her. It is actually, in my opinion, appropriate for an older dog to tell the new dog to back off. That is if it ends there, not if it goes on to something else. What you want to do is make it unnecessary for your dogs at home to feel the need to do this or take it up a level.
There is a lot to talk about and do here, so I hope this little bit will be of some help to you!
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