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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just feeling really tired and discouraged this morning, and I guess I'm looking to vent and maybe get some encouragement.

Got myself into the difficult situation of adopting a year-old husky-kelpie mix and fostering an 18 month old am staff within one week of each other. On top of that I've got a 12 year old sheltie-shepard mix, other pets and two kids (12 and 15). I'm juggling two jobs at 60 hours a week, and I'm a divorced mom taking care of all of this on my own. So crazy busy.

I'm fostering the pittie for a rescue group. She's been with me for about 6-7 weeks, went through a heat cycle and kennel cough here, and I had her spayed. They started advertising her a couple of days ago--they list on Petfinder and Craigslist. Their procedure is potential adopters contact the foster, foster decides if they want to set up a meet-and-greet, then the potential adopter puts in an application of all goes well. First two inquiries were annoying to deal with. I just don't know if I've got the energy and the time to deal with the batshit-crazy people I'm likely to encounter via this adoption procedure. Is this a typical rescue procedure? I emailed my contact to see if there's some other way to do it so that I don't have to screen all of the crazies myself. I just don't feel like I have the emotional energy to do it right now. I'm not much of a people-person to begin with. Thus all the pets. :)

Sophie (the foster) is exhausting. She pulls on the leash, jumps, mouths, grabs stuff she's not supposed to have, grabs the leash and pulls. I've been working with her as much as possible, but my schedule doesn't really leave much time for training. Because Sophie has been a bit snippy with my other two, and because my older dog is somewhat frail, I have to keep them completely separate. Sophie is, at the moment, living in my garage in a very large crate. That means walks, exercising, feeding, treating, snuggle time--everything has to be done separately. I don't trust my kids to walk the foster. She's 55 pounds of hyperactive muscle. They're also with their dad half time. So the vast majority of the work falls on me. We've been muddling along O.K., but I'm physically and emotionally exhausted some days. I feel like I'm letting the foster down by not training her to be less mouthy, jumpy, dog-reactive, etc. But I just don't have the time or energy. All of my time and energy is taken up in simply exercising, loving, feeding, snuggling, pottying, etc. You know--the essentials.

I also feel like I'm letting my new adoption down. I'd love to do some training with her, as well. But there's simply no time. She's generally a great dog and I know we'll have many great years together. But she needs work, like any adolescent, untrained dog.

Anyway, if anyone feels they can offer any encouragement re any areas of my long ramble, I'd really appreciate it. I guess I feel like my tank is empty right now.
 

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With every rescue I've fostered for, they reviewed all possible adopters and sent them my way only after they were cleared for adoption.

If there's no time... then I think you need to reevaluate your ability to properly care for your foster. You should think of your own emotional and physical wellbeing first. If you cannot keep up then I think it's time you take a break. Perhaps help find a new foster for your current dog, and help volunteer in other parts of the rescue like transport, etc.?
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
I thought I was keeping up? Am I not doing her justice if I don't have time for formal obedience training? This was a death row dog--she'd likely be dead if she didn't come here. I'm definitely not taking on another foster for a while after this one gets adopted out. But I'd really like to stick it out with her until she finds a new home. Another transition would probably be worse for her than not getting formal obedience training, right? I want to do what's best for this dog, but it's so hard to know.

Re the rescue--yeah, I was expecting them to screen potential adopters first, and then send them my way after approval. This would weed out some of the window shoppers that I'm likely to have to deal with. I just don't have the time (or the patience, frankly) to deal with that.
 

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While getting obedience training from you isn't an absolute MUST have it would go a long way towards making her more adoptable and help get her adopted quicker.

I've fostered for two different organizations. In both cases it was the rescue group who did the initial screening of applications. With the first group I'd only see the promising applications and then set up a meet and greet with them assuming they hadn't seen the dog previously at an adoption event. I had input on if I thought they were a good match but rescue group had final say on adoption, never disagreed with my assessment though.

Current group I'm fostering for has adoption events every weekend so I've met all potential adopters at events and have already been talking to them about the dog. This group then has them fill out an application and does two interviews. Same basic interview, going over the application and talking about the dog, I'm sitting in with them when possible. They just like to get two peoples opinions. If that goes well a home visit is done during the week and they pick up the dog the next weekend at the adoption event. The extent of my screening will usually be turning the interested adopter away before they even bother applying simply by being honest about the dog and why I don't think they'd be a good match.

Again obedience training isn't strictly required but it's always to the dogs benefit to get some training before adoptions when possible. Helps you learn more about the dog's personality, biddability, what motivates them, energy level, etc. I always want to get my fosters adopted into a home that knows what they are getting into, no surprises when I can help it.

I understand wanting to finish out your commitment to get the dog adopted but if you are stressing yourself out because it's just too much right now there is no shame in trying to find another foster home to take the dog in. You have to think about yourself, you kids, and your pets first. I was close to returning my current foster after one week because he was driving my dog crazy, me too but I signed up for this experience and could deal. My dog did not agree to being harassed by a crazy dog with no manners. Thankfully Marty started to grow a brain and all the work I'd been putting into him during the first week all started to click Thursday evening. If you had asked Wednesday I would have said he was going back to the shelter on Saturday, but by the next evening he was starting get it and he SO wants to be a good boy. Three weeks in and he is so much better. Still a bit obnoxious but significantly improved. But that is because I put a fair amount of time into training with him. Mostly impulse control and learning to settle/relax in the house but outside a crate. We've worked on other things but those are the biggies and what has made it possible for me to continue fostering him until he gets adopted.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are a couple of photos of the gorgeous ball of muscle. If you know of anyone in New England in the market for a very loving, but boisterous, Am Staff, let me know... :)



 

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I thought I was keeping up? Am I not doing her justice if I don't have time for formal obedience training? This was a death row dog--she'd likely be dead if she didn't come here. I'm definitely not taking on another foster for a while after this one gets adopted out. But I'd really like to stick it out with her until she finds a new home. Another transition would probably be worse for her than not getting formal obedience training, right? I want to do what's best for this dog, but it's so hard to know.

Re the rescue--yeah, I was expecting them to screen potential adopters first, and then send them my way after approval. This would weed out some of the window shoppers that I'm likely to have to deal with. I just don't have the time (or the patience, frankly) to deal with that.
Sorry I didn't mean that you had to do formal obedience or anything. I meant that you sound like you are flustered/stressed. You repeated multiple times that you don't have the time to train the dog or your dog as much as you'd like, and it just sounds like you have a lot on your plate! I think if you don't have time to teach the dog even the basics (i.e. learning the ropes of living in a house, basic leash manners, crate training, sit, stay, down, come, etc.), then maybe you should look into finding a foster home that does. The whole point of fosters, imo, is to get dogs ready for adoption... a part of that is making them more adoptable ime.

I would ask the rescue if it's possible for them to screen ahead of time because yeah... I've never had to screen the adopters on my own. In the end I got the ultimate veto (like if I felt they weren't a good match), but it was only when I met them irl when they would come see the dog.
 

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The timing of getting your own new dog and a foster seems to be the really tough thing. It is a whole lot easier and more practical to deal with an untrained and active foster when your own dog is basically well trained and can get along with the foster so you don't have to split all your time. A big strong hyperactive and untrained foster is a lot of work under the best of circumstances, add into it trying to train a second dog and having kids and your long work hours and you'd practically need to be superhuman to deal with it all and not be very stressed.

First thing to consider is that even if the training and work with the foster is suboptimal, if she is safe and cared for and not getting to practice bad behaviors (as in, she's not getting worse at least) then she is better off than in a shelter on death row or even just cooped up without any walks or training to speak of.

Second thing is the adopter screening, I think the rescue should be doing first line screening and then only forwarding you emails or texts from potential adopters if they seem like decent potentials. The rescue should also try to handle the meet and greets if you are not able to due to work commitments and kid commitments. I mean, you should try to be there as the foster since you have direct knowledge of the dog's personality but it shouldn't be a deal breaker towards a successful meet and greet either

Ask the rescue if they have anyone who can't foster maybe due to housing or having an elderly dog etc but who wants to help out and see if they can find a volunteer to do a few walks a week with Sophie. One of my friends walked dogs that the rescue had in boarding (between fosters or when foster parents were out of town, some dogs got boarded for a week to a month ish) since she lives in an apartment and cannot foster. Such a big difference when she walked a dog 3-5 timed a week after work rather than them just getting potty breaks from kennel staff.

Look for exercise that maximizes your time. Hills for example for walking rather than just flat work. Short jogs in between walking parts (18 months for a medium sized dog is fine IMO for starting jogging, esp as well muscled as most pit types are). Swimming if you have access to a safe body of water. Carrying a few lbs in a doggie backpack on walks add both a bit of physical and a bit of mental work. Try feeding meals from a toy like a Kong Wobbler because it takes more time and effort for the dog and makes them think a little bit

While this might delay or set back your training with your own new dog to a degree, I think that if you cna continue to carve out some decent one-on-one training, walking and cuddling time with your own dog plus the attention from your kids (get them involved in training your own dog as much as possible / as much as they are interested) then she'll be okay. When this foster gets adopted, you can really refocus your energies and build a solid foundation and bond before attempting another foster. I would suggest not less than 6 months foster-free to let your dog really connect with you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for many great suggestions, Shell. I'll definitely put some of them to use! I really want to try and stick it out with this foster until she finds a suitable new home. She doesn't need to be shuffled between foster homes after losing her first owner/canine siblings.

Sophie is definitely getting better, not worse. When I first got her she barked/growled at strange men, and even some women. Now her general reaction is to flop over on her back for belly rubs when we meet someone friendly on our walks--man, woman or child. She is no longer grabbing her leash during our entire walk (just when she first comes out and is super excited), so that's better. She sits when asked when overexcited, and sits for food, treats, before I throw the ball, etc. She has gotten to the point when I don't even have to ask. If she's jumping, and I tell her no, she usually sits and looks up at me. But she's still much more mouthy than I'd like to see. But overall, she's definitely better.

In addition to trying out some of your suggestions, I might approach the owner of a dog training/boarding facility about 10 minutes from us. Someone told me that he rescues himself, has a soft spot for bully breeds, and might be willing to do a few sessions with Sophie for free. Or at least assess her for me so that I have a more "professional" opinion of what I should be looking for in a placement.
 
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