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question for all you fosters out there.

1767 Views 25 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  mamallama
hi. i have a question for you guys. do most of the people who foster not have children? or maybe not have young children?

i ask this question because i would really like to start fostering dogs until they find their forever homes, but the question goes through my mind,,,,,, the foster is there to give the dog a good environment until his forever home arrives. also to start teaching him some in house manners, and also evaluate what type of personality he really has. what happens if you get a dog not good with children, or fear aggressive to where a family settign would be bad for your family or the dog him/herself ?
you can't just keep the dog crated, so what happens then. i would like to hear some situations that some of the fosters who have young children have had with a dog that was not good with kids. what happened in these scenarios.???
thanks alot.
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If you are working with a reputable rescue, they will attempt to screen the dog, evaluate them for behavior/issues, and place safe dogs in homes with children. If the dog turns out to have some issues not uncovered in an extensive evaluation, they would then take care of the problem by placing that dog in another foster home more suited/matchy for that dog.

Anyone else? I don't have kids!

i was thinking about doing some fostering for the erie county spca. do they do good evals. at spca's ? woudl it be better to foster for a rescue ?
A good rescue will not hesitate to take the dog out of a foster home if there are issues.

I don't have kids but make it a point to get any dog I foster around kids.
I have 3 kids and foster. My kids ages are now 9,10 and 13.
I get, the "marshmallow" dogs. If there is an issue with a dog, like they said , if it is a reputable resuce, they will find the dog another foster.
It has been a great experience for my kids, and they enjoy having the dogs stay with us and find their forever homes.
Gsd&mal crazy: you could always come and foster for BrightStar
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I agree that a good rescue will do their best to place the foster in a suitable situation for all involved.

I rescue and foster and I have two children, 9 and 12. It started with my vet's office calling to see if I would foster a doggy over Christmas several years ago. That foster wound up being long term. Then, people would call out of the blue and ask if I could keep this dog or that dog that they found. I work with A/C, vets and local rescues to help find the owners of lost dogs. That just turned into rescue/foster/adoption. My family is supportive and it has been wonderful for my children!

I always take a picture of the foster with the kids. If we are looking through pictures, they will say, Oh, do you remember that one? He used to do this.... He is the one that peed on Mom's leg that first night....

If you are thinking about rescue, please try it. You will be so thankful and wonder why you didn't do it sooner!
i would love to start fostering. absolutely love to . my only thing would be like i said my concerns with getting dogs that were not good with children. i have 5 children, ages 10,8,6,3,21 months.
so small children at that. an active dog that knocks kids down from his excitement would not be a problem. that's workable with some training. but any agression would be scary. i just tried to adopt a dog from a couple that did not give me his true history and the dog got aggressive. lots of pepole here got on me for sending the dog back to his previous family. although i fell in love with him so quickly, and he was bonding with me, he was iffy with every one else. he gor aggressive with my hubby and hubby made it clear that that was the cut off point. you never know if the kids could do something to set him off and get aggressive.
honestly i wanted to keep him. but i knew it the best thing for my family. but if it were only me we would be forever friends. it was a hard situation.
and like i said i owuld absolutely love to foster. i owuld just be nervous about getting fear aggressive, or child aggressive dogs. have to send the dog back and people hate me and say i'm not giving the dog a chance. even though i understand where they are coming from, there are limitations with every situation. and some are set and need to stay in place, no matter what.

Kularing. i actually have a foster app. that i have to finish filling out and send back into brightstar
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Fostering is not for the faint of heart. If you've given up an adopted dog after a few days because of behaviors they've exhibited then I don't think fostering is a good option for you.

A lot of foster dogs show fear when you first get them and, frankly, you never REALLY know what you're getting when you get a dog into foster care. Furthermore, the reason a reputable rescue requires dogs to stay in foster homes three weeks before adoption is because you can see a lot of changes in behavior in 3 weeks as the dog gets more comfortable. As so many people have said, a dog can be very different in a shelter environment from a home environment. And dogs can be very different from home environment to home environment as well. I know someone who adopted a dog who had shown no aggression in his foster home and then bit someone in his new adoptive home. He went back to his foster home and has not shown any aggression since.
My son is 14 but we've been fostering his whole life and about half the fosters in our group are parents. I think it can be a great combo for some families and all our kids are very involved.

That said, I'd think long and hard about fostering with 5 kids, 2 of them very young. That's a lot! How well it would work would really depend on how well you can keep everyone supervised and if you have a way to separate kids from the dog if necessary. There's a lot of potential for either a dog or a child to get hurt or into trouble. Coming into a very active and busy home can be very overwhelming for a dog and it could create a fear situation where there wasn't one. Obviously you don't want any of your children to get bitten and even a small bite can be a death sentence to the dog depending on your group's policies, so that's all stuff to think seriously about.

As BowWowMeow says, fostering is a big commitment. Yes, a reputable group will try to remove a truly bad match but foster homes should expect that new fosters may need an adjustment period and may have qualities that aren't their favorite that you just have to power through. Sending back a foster dog creates a lot of hassle for the group who has to scramble to find alternative placement, so it's not something that should be done unless absolutely necessary.

Not every dog is going to be a great fit but for most stuff, I think that's just a part of fostering. I had a pair of sable puppies who ate all my cookbooks in the 30 seconds it took me to go grab the phone, dogs that didn't get along some of my dogs and had to be pottied separately the entire time they were with us, dogs that were aggressive to my cat and had to be kept away, dogs that barked outside or climbed the fence and had to be supervised every second they were outdoors. I don't consider any of those issues to be "bad match" issues, they're just stuff you have to work through.

I'm not trying to discourage you but it IS a lot of work and can be rocky. If you decide to do it, depending on your set up and preferences and if you're willing to do a lot of supervision, large breed puppies might be a good match for your situation.
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well i would not really say i was faint at heart. the dog was growling at my husband and, my husband would not have that. he got along good with the kids and was doing great with me.

my question was for those who do have kids and have had situation of dogs that were aggressive with children. i have met plenty of dogs that did not like kids. a child comes near and they are barking, growling, and lunging so with all the experience on this board i know some one had to have encountered a situation with a dog like this. with kids.
Originally Posted By: gsd&mal crazy the dog was growling at my husband and, my husband would not have that. he got along good with the kids and was doing great with me.
Unfortunately, the growling at men is not an uncommon response. So far, almost all the dogs that i have fostered (still new to fostering..
, so my sample size is small), they have growled at my DH and shown fear initially. No problem with me or with kids. Perhaps the deeper voice of men, triggers some fear response or perhaps abuse? It is something that both DH and I have had to work with the dogs to overcome the fear. It meant commitment from DH too and he has been very supportive (did not happen at first ... I had to work with him on that too
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The fear aggression is often normal and if you treat the dog correctly it should disappear in a few days.

I am finding that most shelters that label some of their dogs as aggressive are simply off base.

If you decide to foster, take one dog at a time, and make sure you have a crate.

My favorite foster is a lady and her husband who have four horses, 2 kids under the age of five, and anywhere from 4-7 foster GSD's. Her and DH both have full time jobs. Ironically their yard is clean and they do wonders for the dogs they foster.

So can you take a foster with kids, absolutely.
yeah , maybe i'll need to talk to DH about that. maybe get him a better understanding before i try again. that's going to be needed for a better outcome. he is very supportive but lacks better understanding of dogs and their nature.
so moei, thanks for your response.
There are other ways to help-you could go to a shelter (if your schedule allows) and volunteer there. That way you wouldn't have to worry about things quite as much.

Frankly, if I had 5 kids I'd be looking to get outside the house more.
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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAAN

Frankly, if I had 5 kids I'd be looking to get outside the house more.
I am glad someone thinks like I do ....
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I dont know if I would call the dog aggressive-it sounded more startled, maybe scared, and a bit unsure in the situation that transpired with your husband. I had a foster that came to me last August. I was told she was great with kids and just had a small animal high prey drive. Well, when she got here I quickly found out she nipped and herded small children as well. Didnt nip to break skin but caused a few red marks. I have a 5 year old and several daycare children, under the age of 5. That being said, I found different ways of working with Sage on her nipping/herding the children, she is also very reactive and if I even raise my voice at all she does this horrible barking/wailing type episode and wants to nip. It took me months of working everyday- but I figured I made the committment to foster her and I was NOT going to give up on her, that had already happened to her once. You know, its been 8 months, she is still with me. I adopted her, behaviorial and health issues (Moderately severe HD) and every day Sage is a work in progress. I have to keep everything in her world calm, I always have to have that bit of an extra watchful eye on her, but I can honestly say she is WONDEFUL with my daughter now... and has improved 80 percent with the kids. No, it hasnt been easy- but absolutely worth it. I have learned what her triggers are and found ways to work with them and prevent them- it took me months... so definately one week is not enough time to label a dog by one barking/growling episode. Maybe for whatever reason, he took your husbands body language as a threat and was barking because he thought he was protecting you?
I foster for BrightStar, even with all the kids. The dogs I take in I always ask if they have been kid tested, although I feel that even if they have been, its not a gurantee how they will act in your home. I believe the right kind of environment, handler, and the foster having a good knowledge of the breed/dogs is one of the most important things.
Dont know if my rant helped at all lol.
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Danni, i thought of the 'trying to protect me thing too, because he was sitting right by my side, and hubby came towards me when he did his jump. but it was a straight in the air jump, but yes i did think of that also., i think he may have been one of those dogs that really bonds to one handler,,anyways,

i really just want to know now about other fosters with children so i appreciate your response. i do have a question. if you did notice that she was breaking skin when she nipped the kids what would you have done ? would there be no situation to where you would not take a foster, or send a foster back ? i understand having the deep committment to fostering, but where do you cut the line where you family safety comes into the picture ?
If I was told a dog was child aggressive I wouldnt take that foster in. If it was a case like Sage, where I feel she had no prior guidance and proper structure in her life, and I dont think she was doing it to be aggressive- I believe she was doing it control the situation by herding the kids I would continue to work with the dog. With her I had her leashed to me alot for quite some time, I would have the kids (while she was leashed to me) give treats after giving her a sit or down command so she learned to associate good things with them. My daughter's job was to feed her after I got her food prepared, I would walk with them to her feeding area but my daughter is the one that actually gave her the food. She learned very quickly that Brianna was not to be nipped, but it took her longer to realize that with the daycare kids. So mostly for me, I limited her exposure to them- it was very small incriments, heavily supervised, with her on a lead so I had control over the situaton. I also have taught my daughter and daycare kids that when Sage is around, not to run, jump, and be loud around her, as I know thats a trigger for her. There are other things I have done with her with that I learned from prior experience from a behaviorist at Cornell, and I am lucky that Sage had made progress. If I ever have a foster in that has true aggression towards children, and I know for SURE that it is aggression, and my daughters or daycare kids safety is at risk, then I would talk to the rescue and see if there was a more appropriate foster home. I
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i see. thanks

Danni, can you tell me more about this herding and nipping ? this is a typical gsd thing i have heard of before but i have never seen it before. is it easily recognized ? where can i learn more about this trait of theirs ?

i guess i will just try to search it on the internet.
thanks for your responses though, i appreciate it much.
Literally-herding behavior-he's a mix, but here's Kramer at 13 his first time on sheep:

ANYONE who would run past him would get lunged at. He thinks it is literally the best thing in the world to chase and herd. He almost failed the CGC at age 11 because they used someone running past-I was lucky to be aware enough to give a little yipe and kind of fall (OOH! I can grab her instead!) to get his attention on me. Moving object=chase. Desire to control it=grab.

On the other hand-here is my Bella, a GSD, who can't even bear to look at the sheep:

So dogs do vary in this regard.

Forgot to add-an evaluator way back that I knew would run past the dogs to see what they would do. I don't know if any other evalers do that. I do-but I am only doing that with my own fosters AFTER the fact.
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