This part of the website is different from the rest... when you work with a rescued animal, it's rare that you have background: medical, nutritional, and behavioral information so that you know where to start in their training. No only that, but they've often been treated in ways that aren't conducive to learning lessons that you'd WANT them to learn, in order to be well-mannered loving pets for the average pet-owner.
I always assume these things about the animal that comes to me for fostering (it means that I teach them as though they've had the worst beginnings imaginable... which they often have -- but it lets me 're-write' their histories as much as possible with training, in the limited amount of time I'll have them.):
I assume that their name has been associated with nasty stuff -- people get frustrated, and when they do, it's very common for them to yell the name in a nasty tone, followed by hitting (hand, newspaper, leash are all common). In addition, it's very common for owners to believe that rewards are bribes... and that a bribe is a Bad Thing. So, dogs (especially Big Ones) are often trained using harsh punishment, with no reward. Understanding how this type of training might present itself (so that you'll understand how to 'fix' it) is important.
In fact, I go a step further than #1... I assume that the animal has been trained using solely punishment and aversives. Many people think that yelling, then giving a treat, is positive reinforcement... it's not. If you do something YUCKY to interrupt behavior, then offer a reward -- that's not positive reinforcement training. No yelling, no smacking, no spraying with water or lemon juice, nothing that will be associated with the trainer in a Bad Way. Only Good Stuff for those items you want to keep. If your dog does something you don't like, Manage It.
I assume that the collar has been used as a 'handle' (people often grab the collar when they're Angry) -- the CDC estimates that 40% of dog bites are a result of collar grabs. Making this assumption allows me to lessen this risk with exercises. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter... the exercises don't hurt anything, and may actually be necessary.
I assume that the dog isn't housetrained. People often LIE and say that he is, to try to give him a better chance at adoption... but my own theory is that unless your dog has been trained in my house, he's not housetrained there. I'm going to have to housetrain him in my house, regardless of whether he's housetrained in yours. This helps to give new owners a better understanding of how the dog will need to be managed in the new home, rather than allowing them to think that 'at least they don't have to teach THIS.'
I assume that the dog isn't leash trained, or trained in the car, or trained not to chase the cats, not to jump on the counters, how to greet humans, not to drag out the garbage, how to greet other dogs, etc.
The following articles and videos will let you see how I manage and teach... if you have trouble replicating any of this, please let me know. I'll help all I can. Foster homes get FREE help... most can be done in chat, or over the phone. If you need extra help though (like introducing dogs, or a cat and a dog, or setting up exercises with humans) let me know -- I'll help you!
Thinking About Fostering? Let me help convince you.
Kirby Intake to foster 2/9/22 adopted 2/19/22
Kirby's foster story tells about how to effect a Changed Emotional Response (CER)
Evie Intake to foster 2/23/22
Every facet of Evie's training was neglected before she was brought to the shelter, as she is thought to have been chained to a tree for her whole life. She's a very strong 8-month-old German Shepherd/Coonhound mix, so she had to be managed in even the most benign circumstances, like hanging out in the evening to watch TV (she had never been in these kinds of situations, so was very stressed -- it took several days before she was able to just Lay Down And Chill). Teaching her to walk on a loose leash was very time-intensive, but she does well now, with the use of either a head collar or no-pull harness. There is a listing off all the things I've worked with, with Evie, so that she's a well-mannered edition to someone's home!
Starting Week 3 -- see the amazing changes!
Final Notes on Evie -- Brenda