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Discussion Starter #1
So I ended up fostering-to-adopt a dog and just brought her home this morning. She's great so far. About 18 months, so still a little rambunctious puppy. I took her out for a mile run and pooped her out, but she's starting to get some energy back. So this is what I know about her so far from the rescue and her observed behavior...

  • Housebroken
  • Crate trained
  • Knows "Sit"
  • Walks very well on leash
  • Very food motivated
  • No signs of aggression
  • Does well with kids and adults, not well with small dogs and skateboards
  • Slight separation anxiety - barks a few minutes when I leave but then quiets down. Only tested for 15 min. absence though where I hid in the hallway of my condo.
So I want to get her into obedience classes, but in the mean time, how can I make this weekend as effective with her as possible before returning to work on Monday? I want to bring her to a dog park, but is this a good idea? How about where to start for basic obedience? She knows "sit" but nothing else. She does pick up a lot on my non-verbal cues though. Very smart dog.
 

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NO DOG PARKS! Get her used to you and her new house first. Then think about where to take her next weekend. Dont overwhelm her without knowing her. Socializing isnt just meeting and playing with other dogs. Why do people think that? Socializing is getting her used to everyday things in LIFE. Car rides, vet, (even used to being held for an exam), walking politely, not reacting to stimuli, how to greet people (sit to be pet), loud noises. Look up Kiko pup on youtube. Start like she is a baby and work up from there.
 

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Thank you for fostering! Huge kudos to you for opening your home to help this dog, and for wanting to help build behavior to make it as adoptable as possible! That's really terrific of you.

It's too soon to start real OB training with new foster, in my opinion. Games are ok. Crate training is ok. Using good behaviors the dog already knows is great -- you can praise and reward for that, building a bond.

Most dogs need a good week to decompress, relax, and realize they are in a good place, etc. It sometimes takes even longer to see their "true" personality. You are potentially still in the "honeymoon," so take it slowly.

Even if you don't believe in 2-week-shut downs, I think you should take it easy with a new foster dog -- generous crate time to relax without being messed with, no outings other than walks around the neighborhood, no meeting random dogs, etc. I don't even let my own dogs play with a new foster for a week. Limit people coming over for about a week too -- it needs to be all about you and your household members at first. (If the dog is "fresh from a shelter" then I would even say it needs to be in home-quarantine, isolated from other dogs with a separate potty area on-leash, due to disease exposure in shelters -- it takes about 5 days for kennel cough to break, for example, and it's super-common for it to appear in the first week of a new foster home).

So for now, set up the dog to succeed in everything, using the very good foundation the dog already has -- then you can make things very positive while you build your relationship. That will help you have the kind of trust you need to thrive in an OB class (some rescue-friendly trainers who do group classes invite foster dogs to come free of charge, by the way -- your rescue/shelte/organization may even have a list of awesome trainers who do that for their foster families).
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How do I deal with the separation anxiety? She's crate trained, but since I live in a condo, I worried about her barking when I go to work since she's got a pretty powerful bark that can be heard down the halls.

I don't want to force her in her crate or give her a bad association with it when I leave. She already goes in there voluntarily to relax or when she knows it's bedtime.
 

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Skip the dog park. Is she safe alone? I would confine her to one room with safe toys, water and may even a radio playing music out of her reach. Can someone let her out a few times while you are working?
 

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Skip the dog park. Is she safe alone? I would confine her to one room with safe toys, water and may even a radio playing music out of her reach. Can someone let her out a few times while you are working?
Dog park skipped. Thanks for the tip. I have a neighbor who can occasionally let her out during lunch. I'm trying to crate her when I'm home to get used to it, but I'm not going to force her since I don't want her to be scared of the crate.

Another thing - I had to have 2 colleagues over for business... she didn't take too well with their entrance. She was fine after they sat down, but started to bark if they stood up. How do I address this?
 
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