Advice needed - 1st time foster - puppy mill dog

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Peaches- ♥

I'm adopted!!
Barked: Thu Jul 31, '08 8:50pm PST 
Our local humane society has 35 small dogs rescued from a puppy mill from another county. We've contacted them about helping out and may foster one of the dogs.

Being a first time foster mom, I know absolutely nothing about this. I haven't seen any of the dogs yet so I don't know anything about their condition or temperament. I do know that they've been in cages all their lives, so housetraining will be an issue. I'm sure there's been little to no human contact so that kind of socialization will be an issue. I'm also sure that there will be some dog-to-dog issues as well. I fully expect this to be very challenging for me, my husband and probably our own dogs but I don't feel like I can just stand by and do nothing.

I'll happily accept any advice - even if it's that I shouldn't foster since I don't really know what I'm doing. Even if I can't foster, I will still help out a couple of times a week with walking the dogs, getting them used to human interaction, etc. Any help you can give me will be appreciated.
Klein Adoptable

Boxers Rule
Barked: Thu Jul 31, '08 9:27pm PST 
just the fact that you want to help is great. My goal when ever I get a new foster is
1. Do not get attached and keep them , especially the first one. when you do that then you can't help more.

2. Think about what you have to do to get the dog adoptable.

3 This dog has been through a lot and had very little human contact.
So when ever you do any thing do it slowly, and if she starts freaking out stop or figure out a different way to do it.

4. Buy a crate if you don't have one.

5. when you take her out side for bathroom sit out side with her. that way you can see her use the bathroom and praise her. plus it gives you a chance to win her trust by spending some time with herblue dog

Thats enough to think about let me know how it goes.
I still get excited when getting a new foster.
I started a journal , and photo albumwhen I first started because I didn' t want to forget them .
Glady Jo

I am weenie,- behold my roar!
Barked: Thu Jul 31, '08 9:29pm PST 
To start off with, thank you so much for considering fostering one of these poor pups. applause

One thing that I'm curious about. Are you in charge of the expenses for this dog? Because if you are, that can get expensive, especially since the dog will have been severely neglected.

Other than that, my suggestion is to ask yourself if you feel you have enough time to dedicate to this dog's socialization and training. If you think that you do, then go for it! Obviously, you've adopted dogs and know a lot about them. So, I don't think you're ignorant in any respect. Rather, it takes a lot of patience and time to return a pitiful, neglected dog to the state s/he should have been in all along. Something my mother pointed out to me (in the wrong way) is that sometimes when you've got the time and the knowledge, all you have to have is enough love in your heart. My mother told me I didn't when I was thinking about adopting Glady. Well, I showed her! Hope this helped you in your deciding. If it makes any difference, please know that fostering better prepares a dog for adoption into someone's home than time spent in a shelter does. way to go

ps: I've found that it's a lot harder to let go of a foster when it's a dog breed that you like a whole lot. For example, I know I could NEVER foster a doxie. I'd be heartbroken when they got adopted!!!

Edited by author Thu Jul 31, '08 9:34pm PST



Barked: Thu Jul 31, '08 9:51pm PST 
You most certainly should foster! This will be a GREAT experience for you. I really, really, really suggest you take a look at this thread and utilize it on the dog you are going to foster:


This shutdown will allow the dog to view the daily household hustle bustle from his/her crate. Take more than 2 weeks if you deem it necessary. This WILL WORK. I've seen results by using this in as little as 2 days. Don't expose them to your other dogs beyond through-the-crate interaction. Let the dog take in the sights, sounds, and senses of an indoor family environment. Yes, I know this is a pit bull site, but this training resource works for ANY dog. There is a lot of excellent information about fostering issues, etc.

I would also suggest reading:

Dogs learn a lot through unspoken words. You can do this, and I really think you should.

It's mine!!!
Barked: Fri Aug 1, '08 8:27am PST 
Peaches, good for you for offering up your home to one of these pups! Maya was adopted a month ago. She was rescued in a puppy mill raid so I looked all over the internet for any information about them. Most said the same things so I won't list all of the sites. Every dog is different so there is no telling what you will experience. Maya has had an easy adjustment to our home and other than a little leash aggression, you would never know her background (five years in a cage).

Hope this helps!

adopting the puppymill survivor

Too smart for my- own good!

Barked: Fri Aug 1, '08 9:51am PST 
Actually from what I have heard puppy mill dogs tend to bond more with other dogs than with humans (at first). Just watch for some resource guarding issues.

My best advice is time and love. These dogs have never known kindness and will probably need some time just to be scared little dogs. Don't expect too much too soon and figure out what motivates them- for some hopefully it will be food, or others affection, and maybe even being left alone will be a reward. Just give it lots and lots of time. hug
Peaches- ♥

I'm adopted!!
Barked: Sun Aug 3, '08 3:53pm PST 
Thanks, everyone. Your advice really helps and we'll use all of it, I'm sure. I especially liked the "shutdown" thread. I really never thought much about that before but it's absolutely true and we'll definitely take that into consideration when we foster and the next time we adopt.

I never thought about the fact that it's going to be harder to foster a breed I love...it makes total sense. There's already one I've fallen in love with just from her picture. *sigh*

As far as the medical bills go, I 'm not entirely sure how that works. The dogs are currently being boarded at a vet hospital, so I'm thinking all of that would be worked out by now. But I'll definitely find out.

I haven't heard back from the HS director yet. I know she's got her hands full, so I'll check back in with her tomorrow to see what they need.

Thanks again!

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Sun Aug 3, '08 4:04pm PST 
Peaches, bless your heart.

Of course it will depend on the dog and what condition it is in, but take everything slow.

I've found depending on the mill, the dog can be just fine or completely shut down.

I do usually find the mill dogs do better with my dogs than with people and I depend a lot on mine to show them what houselife is all about.

If possible, I would suggest handfeeding. Don't be discouraged if you can't. I've had dogs who don't even know how to eat out of a bowl and won't eat in front of people.

As for housetraining, if you can, tether the dog to you. You are very right. Mill survivors have a tough time with housetraining. They have learned that it is OK to go where they eat and sleep.

it usually takes about 2 weeks before you start to see any true personality emerging, so be patient.

And do go ahead and fall in love. It makes the parting harder, but these dogs so need to be loved. Additionally, I find that once they learn to trust a first time, it is easier for them to transfer that trust.

You are a very special person.
Peaches- ♥

I'm adopted!!
Barked: Tue Aug 5, '08 5:07pm PST 
They still haven't called but I found out from a friend (who volunteered to help with walking some of them) that most of them have been adopted or fostered out already. cheer

Since there was some media coverage of the case, a lot of people got the word and several of the pups have at least a temporary home to go to just as soon as they get medically cleared for adoption, spayed/neutered, etc. Until then, there are lots of people helping them get used to being handled, etc.

BUT - I'm still fostering, I'll just be fostering a pup (or two) from the local shelter that I volunteer for, so much of this advice will still come in very handy. Thank you all!

One sad/sweet thing I heard about these pups: There was a very old pomeranian momma that's about 8 or 9 years old and was horribly overbred, matted and just miserable. They were trying to coax her out of the crate so they could take her for a walk but she wasn't having any of it and was cowering in the back of the crate. This little tiny lady in her 50s came in, very reserved and proper. She took one look and plopped right down on the floor on her stomach and started softly talking to the dog. After several minutes, she was able to reach in and pet the dog and several more minutes after that, she was able to coax the dog out. As soon as she got the dog in her arms, she told the nurses "bring me the paperwork - this little girl is all mine." They could see there was an immediate bond between the two. She's finally going to have the great home she deserves.

It's mine!!!
Barked: Tue Aug 5, '08 5:21pm PST 
Oh, Peaches! That is the sweetest story. How happy are those two little ladies going to be together! Does my heart good to hear about people making that kind of connection to other needy little souls...especially puppy mill survivors (we are a little...no, a lot...biased). Thank you for sharing!