What's Fetch's biggest challenge right now? Our foster parents are too good. They're awesome at introducing dogs slowly. They're really cautious with dogs and kids, and ensure safety for all involved. They're consistent and successful at potty training dogs, and many never have an accident. They're excited about training dogs, and work them through separation anxiety, door charging, leash reactivity, and stranger danger. They're adamant about getting their dogs the exercise they need. Overall, they're just phenomenal advocates for their foster dogs, and aren't afraid to stand up for them. Seriously, these foster parents kick butt! Sounds like a pretty great problem to have, right?
The problem comes into play when these Fetch dogs then go home with their new adoptive families. Everyone is flush with joy and love. There's cuddling and playtime and the treats overfloweth! It's tough to be the bad guy, but I'm here to tell you - you're not doing anyone any favors. While we work hard to keep our dogs placed in their adoptive homes (that's why they're called furever families, after all) through training and advice, it's often what happens when the trainer isn't around that makes or breaks you. So, here's some advice for you. Follow our steps -- listen to us! We really do know how these dogs work best.
Take your dog out to potty within 15 minutes of him arriving home. Take him out again within an hour. Give him a tasty treat each time he potties outside!
- Get your dog some exercise first thing in the morning with a nice walk. He's going to spend the rest of the day in the crate.
- Keep him on a leash on for the first week. This makes it easy for you to grab the leash and correct actions.
- Keep everything in the house is v e r y l o w e n e r g y. There are no baths, trips to the park, extravagant play sessions or exciting doggy dates. It's all about letting the dog settle in and reveal his true colors.
- Don't introduce him to any new people for at least one day, any dogs (resident dogs or neighborhood/friend dogs) for at least two days, and cats or kids for three days.
- Be a hard a** for the first few weeks. He's not allowed on the furniture or the bed. He sleeps in a crate. He waits patiently for food. He doesn't jump on people at the door (this is a great time to use that leash!).
This all sounds so easy, so mean, and so unhelpful all at the same time. However, please refer to paragraph two -- listen to us!! We do this a LOT and we get better at it each time. Setting basic ground rules for your pup is, without a doubt, the best indicator of whether or not you will successfully integrate your dog into your household.
And by the way, if you're ever looking to become a better dog owner. . . try fostering :-)