I got the message yesterday, “Are you up to taking in a foster?” Lucy was adopted weeks ago and doing well with her family, Flipflop is getting restless and board with his “senior” sister, and we have the space in our home and hearts, so “yes” I said and the arrangements start.
I put out clues for my dogs that company is coming, an extra bowl goes out, a dog bed is pulled from storage, Dahlia and Flipflop sniff and are curious. But it’s not until the new dog arrives that my job really begins.
Ben is a 1-1/2 year old lab mix who is being dropped off after work today. I have already arranged for a neighbour to take my dogs out to meet Ben and I. I never introduce a new dog into my home in my home. We always introduce the dogs outside, this ensures Flipflop (and Dahlia, but it’s usually Flipflop) doesn’t get territorial and try and challenge the new dog, especially when it’s a male dog.
I already know when we get in from our walk, Flipflop will be upset that this dog has come to live with him. Flipflop will require extra snuggles and reassurance from me that he is the baby. He will watch the new dog carefully making sure the new dog doesn’t hurt Dahlia or the cats.
Once we go to bed, Flipflop will again get territorial, over me this time. I will need to remind him I am the boss in the house and he needn’t worry. He will then calm down and sleep beside me, I know likely to show the new dog I am his, which I shouldn’t encourage but I allow Flip to snuggle into me for the night anyway.
In the morning everyone will go for a walk, Flipflop may or may not like the new dog yet. Dahlia really won’t care as long as she gets her attention and morning hugs from me. And then Flipflop and the new dog will go to daycare, where they will spend the day together and start to bond.
Flipflop will start thinking his foster sibling is ok, and start being more welcoming in our home to the new arrival. He’ll start showing the new dog his toys and seeing if he can engage his foster sibling in play. Once and awhile he’ll still get upset and give the new dog a warning which I will continue to correct.
By day 4 or 5, Flipflop and his foster sibling will be the best of buds, wrestling and chasing each other. The first few days of uncertainty and stress will seem like a distant memory as Flipflop takes his sibling under his paw and teaches the dog to play, trust and of course be a dog!