Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Tricks, obedience, behavior, and more.
gladahmae
Newborn Bully
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby gladahmae » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:47 am

Are there any particular behavior issues that I should be on the look out for with our foster mama? We're going to pick her up today, pups are six weeks old and are being sent to other foster homes, and we are taking her in while her milk dries up, she gets spayed, and hopefully adopted shortly thereafter. They estimate that she's about 2 years old. Since she's going to be so recently seperated from her pups, are there any behaviors she might exhibit that are "normal" versus things I should be concerned about?

Best-case-scenario (she's super cute!) is that we'll have her for about 4-5 weeks. I'd like to be able to get some obedience training in (love the kikopup channel on youtube) but I'm not sure when I can really start that if we do some form of the 2-week shutdown.

User avatar
jamielvsaustin
Moderator
Posts: 6369
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:13 am
Location: Palm Bay Florida

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby jamielvsaustin » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:08 am

I would do whatever form of the two week shut down that works for your family. I would strongly suggest against introducing her to your resident dog right off the bat (you're the one with the 9 year old lab right?). The two week shut down doesn't necessarily mean isolation. She doesn't have to be locked in a room the whole time without any interaction. The idea is to move extra slow so that you're not rushing anything and the dog learns to look to you for guidance. Imagine being dropped in a foreign country, not knowing anyone, the language, what the signs mean, what the food tastes like, where the bathroom is, where you're supposed to sleep-think of it like that. This dog needs to learn your "language", where your bathroom is, what is and isn't acceptable behavior, etc. I would create a space for her-when we did it we put our foster in what we call the arts and crafts room. We did crate her while we weren't in there because we weren't sure if she was a chewer or a destroyer. But I would go in there and read a book or do homework, having her out of the crate but not really engaging her. Letting her check me out, check the room out, sniff under the door-those kinds of things. We rotated our dogs-she'd be in the room and the resident dogs would be in the house. Then we'd let her out in the house and put them up in a room. The amount of time she spent out in the house was minimal at first. Our goal was to have a positive interaction with her, then to put her up so she could dwell on that interaction and have "happy thoughts" about us. We kept her leashed for what felt like forever-even in the house. First we limited her area to the living room (where we spent the most time)...but slow she was allowed access to the kitchen and other rooms (that weren't the arts and crafts room) very slowly. My husband did end up taking her for a couple walks-which is not recommended in the two week shut down thread-but he didn't fully understand the idea of the shut down and she was a spaz. Playing in the yard for her wasn't enough. So just remember to take baby steps. Even if they seem insignificant to you (and are hard to follow because a new dog is exciting) they're probably a very big deal to her.

I don't know what goes along with fostering a mama that just had babies. I don't know if there are behaviors you should expect her to display-say, looking for her babies, or being very concerned about whines/cries/yelps from your other family members (dog included)...I don't know what is cause for concern, so hopefully someone else will be able to chime in on that. I know some dogs are given a stuffed animal to carry around either while they're in heat or having a false pregnancy...but I don't know if that'd help your foster mama.

If I remember correctly you guys were interested in adding a second dog to your come, right? I think fostering is a great way to decide if-one-that's a good idea for your family situation and-two-if this is the right dog for you. Kikopup is a great YouTube channel, and is recommended here often, so you're definitely on the right track!

What do you know/understand/have heard about the possibility of dog/animal aggression when it comes to Pit Bull type dogs? Do you know that it's a completely different thing from a dog being human agressive? What do you know/understand/have heard about crating and rotating? Since you're a new member the other forum members are going to want to go over the basics of ownership with you (myself included) but to be frank, you seem like you've got your chocolate together so I, personally, don't want to tell you stuff you already know.

gladahmae
Newborn Bully
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby gladahmae » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:25 am

Well, our plan right now is to put her and her crate in our laundry room. It's about 6x8 of space, and is off the kitchen. There's a passage door to our bedroom, and we're going to keep that door shut, and baby-gate the door to the kitchen. If we need to swap the gate to the other door because she's getting over-stimulated (our mainfloor is an open floorplan) or hang a sheet over the trim to knock down the sights, but not the sounds/smells we can. I think I'll have more difficulty with DH and the kids (in the evenings when I'm at work) leaving her alone since they love to play and the kids are pretty excited about having a new doggy to take care of teach how to be a good girl. After 3 days I think they'll want to let her out (assuming we don't have any behavior problems like chewing, peeing/pooping in the house, jumping up or being extremely wild) and treat her like our other dog. I'll do my best to ensure that she gets at least a 10 day break, hopefully the full 14.

I was only thinking of taking our dog because on rare occassions, he just doesn't take a liking to other dogs.....not aggression, but more of the "stay the heck out of my space" type of behavior. He usually has the run of the main floor, but we can do our best to keep them seperated while everyone adjusts. Since we have small children, I was thinking of having them meet just as an initial take on if they got along, or if we really needed to be on extra guard for a possible dog fight. It also seemed like, if you're going to require potential adopters to bring THEIR other dog(s) to meet and greet before adopting, it would make sense to have the fosters bring THEIR dog(s) to meet and greet.

I know that pitbulls love their people and are/were bred to do so. I know that they generally get along with other dogs, but that it's good to keep everyone in their own space when we're not home. That last part just seems like logic to me. When someone can't be home, we'll crate her, and put him in an upstairs bedroom (the stairs are gated off because I have a toddler who thinks he can climb them.) Minimalizing things to fight over (food, toys, beds) will definately happen when the dogs have "together" time.

How soon would you recommend starting any informal training?

User avatar
jamielvsaustin
Moderator
Posts: 6369
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:13 am
Location: Palm Bay Florida

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby jamielvsaustin » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:06 pm

gladahmae wrote:I was only thinking of taking our dog because on rare occassions, he just doesn't take a liking to other dogs.....not aggression, but more of the "stay the heck out of my space" type of behavior. He usually has the run of the main floor, but we can do our best to keep them seperated while everyone adjusts. Since we have small children, I was thinking of having them meet just as an initial take on if they got along, or if we really needed to be on extra guard for a possible dog fight. It also seemed like, if you're going to require potential adopters to bring THEIR other dog(s) to meet and greet before adopting, it would make sense to have the fosters bring THEIR dog(s) to meet and greet.


I understand your train of thought. I think that there's a huge "honeymoon" period at first where the new dog is really on it's best behavior because it's not sure what's acceptable, so there's a chance you might not know there will be a problem between the two dogs until later on. However, you also may know right off the bat that there's going to be a problem. It's up to you on what you want to do, but as far as the fostering situation I think if you're going to have your foster interact with the other dogs of potential adopters you should do it a couple times...not just the once. When I first meet new people (for the most part) I want to make a good impression so I try to keep my crazy/off colored/possibly seeming rude comments to a minimum...then after I've hung out with them more and more I let my guard down a little each time-I think it'll be similar for dogs.

gladahmae wrote: I know that pitbulls love their people and are/were bred to do so. I know that they generally get along with other dogs, but that it's good to keep everyone in their own space when we're not home. That last part just seems like logic to me. When someone can't be home, we'll crate her, and put him in an upstairs bedroom (the stairs are gated off because I have a toddler who thinks he can climb them.) Minimalizing things to fight over (food, toys, beds) will definately happen when the dogs have "together" time.

It's refreshing to hear that you "get it" when it comes to not leaving the dogs unsupervised together. However, Pit Bull type dogs do NOT generally get along with other dogs. It can happen, but I think it's most common for them to not get along. They were bred for years and years to (first fight other larger animals-i.e. bulls and then when that was made illegal to) fight other dogs. And they're good at it. It's not a fault. It isn't anything that you or I or anyone else has done as an owner. It's just the way they are. Sometimes it's hard for people to be okay with that. When they think of dogs...they think of just that-dogS...more than one...playing and interacting with each other. But these guys have this trait that is undeniable. They're not the kind of dogs that need "doggy friends". They're perfectly happy with being with and pleasing their humans.

A Collie is used for herding, a Golden Retriever for retrieving. If you had a dog that you never trained to herd or retrieve but they displayed those behaviors/activities you wouldn't be upset with the dog-right? You'd say, oh, well he's a herding breed so that makes sense. While it's very likely that the dog you're fostering (or perhaps will adopt in the future) wasn't specifically bred to fight (and very likely not the parents of that dog as well) it's still something that is there.

BUT, as you may have noticed there are plenty of homes that are a multi-dog household and some of those dogs may include PB type dogs. They are successful homes because they are fully aware of the possibility that one day their dogs may not get along, and because they're willing to deal with it (or currently are) if it comes to that point. It's going to have to be the same for you. Luckily, you're fostering so if this dog doesn't work in your household you know you won't have her forever. But if you decide to take in a dog that is most likely a PB type dog-you have to be aware of this. And lots of people, myself included, believe that you should think this way for any two dogs in your home. If your kids don't get along, you're not going to give one up right? You're going to find a way to make it work. Dogs, in my opinion, should be just as important.

I know I make a lot of comparrisions with people and dogs. Please don't think I'm trying to humanize the dog, I just want to give you an example I'm confident you'll understand.

gladahmae wrote:How soon would you recommend starting any informal training?

I think that's going to depend on your foster. I'd probably try to wait a couple days...then just maybe say some things to see if she responds...try to figure out what motivates her-does she really like food? Toys? Balls? Being petted. I'd probably try to do a lot of "capturing" so that there isn't any pressure. There isn't the option of her failing at something you've asked from her, she just does some thing that you like, and you reward her for doing it, and hopefully she'll start to associate that reward with the behavior and start offering it up more often. For example when she comes to you, or sits on the floor rather than the couch or pees in the yard-something easy like that.

gladahmae
Newborn Bully
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby gladahmae » Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:18 pm

well she's here! she seems to be very sweet, anxious to get as much affection as she can (hopefully that translates to a motivated learner), and just a little nervous. She rode great in the car, and has only whined a little since we've been home. I put a Kong in her kennel with a ziggie in it, and she kind of looked at it, gave it a lick, and has since ignored it. I may have to put a little peanut butter in there to give her the idea.

She does, however, smell. I'm thinking a good bath will be in order to get the "puppy stink" off of her. Little pooping machines, those puppies!

Apparently we get to name her as well. They want to make sure we aren't doubling up on names of other dogs in their system, so I have to get it "cleared" by the rescue when we decide.

I guess we'll start some light training on Friday or Saturday, depending on how the initial adjustment period here goes.

User avatar
jamielvsaustin
Moderator
Posts: 6369
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 9:13 am
Location: Palm Bay Florida

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby jamielvsaustin » Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:19 pm

Congratulations! You MUST post pictures after she's had a chance to settle in :)

gladahmae
Newborn Bully
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby gladahmae » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:10 pm

well, she still seems quite unsure of things in the house. outside she's much more alert/excited about things (we live a ways off the road, no super-close neighbors, etc) and will prance and jump a bit, likes to sniff a lot. Inside the house it's mostly ears back, tail down, lots of time in the kennel observing things. We took her to the vet today (the one inside petsmart) and she was quite excited about being in there....lots of tail wagging, ears up, a bit of pacing, so I know she was probably a bit nervous but she was pretty much the opposite of what she is in the house.

I tried the 'default leave it' exercise where she gets a click and a treat for not mouthing my hand that is holding the treat this morning for a few minutes while the kids were napping/upstairs and the other dog was outside. about the time she started to catch on, she completely lost interest. she is very hesitant to offer eye contact during this too (was trying for a bit of that at the end since she was doing ok staying off the treats/hand) so we ended things for today.

at the vet she was very lovey with the female vet tech (tail wagging, ears up, licking) and ears back, tail down, and nervous when the male vet was in the room. she's also a bit shy around my husband. any tips for exercises to get her over this a bit that we can try in the next few weeks?

User avatar
Nickdawg
Addicted to PBF
Posts: 7050
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2006 7:15 pm

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby Nickdawg » Fri Feb 08, 2013 2:50 pm

I would just focus on letting her settle in more w/o training too too much- sounds like she is uncomfortable around men - perhaps have your hubby give her treats - even just tossing them to her intermittently when they are together so she can see good things and nothing bad happens when he is around... have him give her her dinner, fun toys etc. I would give her lots of space and wait for her to approach you first a fair amount of the time - lots of hanging out together in the same room etc. but she takes the lead if that makes any sense....

also I feel I have to say that while there are certainly lots of pitbulls who don't get along with other dogs, there are some who do and like doggie play friends - mine was one of them - it is always about the individual dog - obviously this doesn't mean not being smart/aware about it...

thanks for taking her in....

User avatar
Mooresmajestic
Bully Lover 4 Life
Posts: 1456
Joined: Thu May 07, 2009 11:42 am
Location: The "D"... ish

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby Mooresmajestic » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:29 pm

I will suggest having your husband turn into her personal treat machine.
Start with him gently tossing her treats at random whenever they are in the same room. He shouldn't "engage" the dog at all yet. Just be a guy that drops lots of yummy things. No talking to her (but quietly talking to himself or to you is a good way to get her used to the sound of his voice without engaging the dog), no looking directly at her, no touching her. Do this for a few days.

Everytime she does approach him, he should drop a large quantity of treats on the ground, and walk away. This will encourage her to approach him more frequently, and reassure her that he will not encroach on her personal space and make her feel more secure when around him. Do this for a few days.

Now when she approaches him (at this point she should be approaching him freely and frequently, and even making some physical contact), he should feed her a fairly large amount of treats or something super-duper high value directly from his hand. Still no other direct contact with her, so no looking at her or talking to her yet. After a few days, he can start quietly talking to her, but not looking at her. Say her name, tell her how pretty she is, tell her she is a good girl, etc, in as soft of a tone he can manage. Do this for a few days.

At this point she should be actively seeking him out. Repete the last step with him sitting on the floor. This will make her more comfortable when he is in a different position and and will give her a different visual perspective of him.

Once she is seeking him out regularly, he should start feeding and dropping treats while he is moving around. Walking, raising his arms, raising a leg, bending over, etc, while keeping his movements slow and deliberate. Once she is comfortable he can speed up his movement.

Now she will more than likely be following him around trying to get him to engage her. She should be voluntarily engaging him with physical contact, such as nose bumps and body "checks". She should basically be making a herself a pest. This is when he should start to engage her with physical contact. A gentel pet to her body or her chest, not the top of her head. Just a few seconds, then drop a treat on the floor and walk away. Slowly increase the time he is touching her and and begin touching more of her body. Take this step really slow.

Once she is actively seeking him out for physical contact and is comfortable
wth this level of "closeness", now is the time for him to start looking at her. Try to avoid direct eye to eye contact, but still look at her. If the above steps were followed and he went slowly enough, this step should be a breeze. She should feel secure enough with him at this point that it shouldn't faze her.

Finally he should actively begin to engage her. Call her over for pets, call her over for a treat, call her over to play. Now she should want to be by him and readily and happily accept his attention.

Once her confidence has been given a boost by making friends with a man, have some trusted friends help you out and do the whole routine from the beginning. The exercise shouldn't take nearly as long, and she may be able to go through the steps in a few days. If done enough and slowly enough, over time she may just turn into a social butterfly. Since now every guy she meets is now a source of good things and they aren't pushing her beyond her comfort zone, she will view men as friends.

If at any point she is not comfortable, go back a step or two. The point of the exercise is to build her confidence and to change her perspective of men.

User avatar
MarMar
Bully Lover 4 Life
Posts: 1114
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:18 am
Location: Sooke, BC

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby MarMar » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:14 am

Why did they take the puppies away at 6 weeks?

User avatar
BrokenAquarian
Addicted to PBF
Posts: 11122
Joined: Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:43 pm
Location: 39° 24′ 35″ N, 123° 21′ 20″ W

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby BrokenAquarian » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:54 pm

MarMar wrote:Why did they take the puppies away at 6 weeks?


That's what I was wondering. Even if they're away from mom, they need to stay together for basic social behavior training. There are things pups learn from their litter mates that are important in becoming a well rounded dog.

gladahmae
Newborn Bully
Posts: 13
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:39 pm

Re: Fosting a recently weaned mama....

Postby gladahmae » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:53 am

alright. due to all of the concern, I went back and dug around to get the correct information. I really wish I could edit my original post. Pups were 8 weeks when I picked up mama. They were fostered out in pairs or trios (for socialization reasons I assume).

Back on topic now, since this was a post with questions about training and not puppies, she's really starting to come out of her shell. It's GREAT to see. She's pretty much got the 'default leave-it' down now, and is offering eye contact without the super-unsure body language.

We worked on "sit" last night, and she already knows that one. However, I CANNOT lure her into a sit (which is fine since she knows that one), and I CANNOT lure her into a 'down'. I've tried kibble, treats, and some leftover turkey. If I try to 'wait her out' and figure out on her own what she needs to do to get the treat, she gets distracted by something, and I'm only doing training while the older kids are upstairs, and the toddler is napping. I usually stick our other dog in the bedroom since he gets whiney when he hears the clicker and isn't the one getting treats, so he isn't pacing around as a distraction either. Thoughts?


Return to “Training and Behavior”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests