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 Post subject: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:26 pm 
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I used to be a dog person but years of apartment living has turned me more into a cat/ rabbit person. We are now living somewhere that would be great for a dog. We have been looking for our future dog friend for about a month and I am realizing that I could use a little dog socialization myself.

We live 30+ minutes away from any shelter, so it isn't practical to volunteer at the Humane Society, which was my first thought.

We have thought about fostering a dog through a local rescue group but I am a little worried that it would be unfair to our cats. Our cats like dogs, and once we have our forever dog I think that things will be fine. But it feels a little mean to bring a dog in and have them adjust only to have the dog go away when he/ she finds their forever home. Plus I feel a little nervous about a rescue dog potentially getting our cats sick (I have no idea how realistic that is and I may just be paranoid).

I don't have any neighbors with nice walkable dogs (that I know of). But in my dream world I would love to be able to walk a neighbor's dog a couple times a week. I would even love to take a dog to a training class, since I know that a lot of those classes are really more about teaching people how to communicate with their dogs.

Basically I want to spend more time with dogs but I don't know how to get started. Any ideas?


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:33 pm 
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Do you have an off-leash dog park near you? Or even a park where lots of people walk their dogs? I know I never mind when someone approaches me and wants to meet my dog. And at an off-leash park, no one would necessarily even know you were there dog-less. You could just hang out for awhile and interact with them.

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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:34 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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are there any doggie parks around you that you know of? you can always visit one and talk to the people there and get to know different people and their dogs! maybe some of them could use a hand walking theirs as well - and perhaps you'll find some dog owners that live near you.

i worked at the spca as medical technician for 3 years - and in those 3 years i foster cared for over 100 animals, i'd say at least half of those were dogs. i had 2 cats of my own at the time (and they're both still with me) and my kittehs loved having the company and didn't seem to mind the pooches coming and going as they were brought home and then left when they found their forever homes. my cats never got sick or injured by any of the foster dogs and it was a really great way for me to help out a dog in need. you might want to consider foster care - some cats can be really easy going (like mine are - and it sounds like yours are as well. so awesome!) and don't mind the change in doggie friends every now and again. i think it taught my cats how to be more patient and tolerant, too. :)

if your local rescue group needs help at adoption stands and off-site activities you could voluteer to help out as well - i'm sure they could use a hand and you'd get some interaction with some pups as well.


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:55 pm 
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We do live near a couple of off-leash dog parks and we used to go there all the time. Once the weather gets better I will definitely start doing that again.

I will give the fostering more thought. How will I know if the dog has a medical condition that could be transferred to my cats? It feels a little weird to think about having a dog in the house and not taking him/ her to our vet to get checked out. I also worry that it would be really hard to take the dog back to adoption events if he/ she spent much time staying with me.

I have read that some rescues have volunteers that take dogs to obedience classes to help the dogs become more adoptable. I wish there was something like that I could help out with.


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Update: I am fostering two young dogs and it is great. Having them in the house (and digging up the backyard) is giving me good insight to what it would be like to have a dog around. I don't think that the dogs had ever been inside a house before but they are both learning the routine and I even got one of them walking on a leash last night for a bit (with a few treats and some encouragement). Helping out at events is a great idea too, I'll ask about that!


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:58 pm 
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Naked Under Apron
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so awesome, Zoey! i am actually unsure if illness from dogs can transfer to cats. as long as your cats are up-to-date on their vaccinations they should be a-okay.

that rocks so hard you're fostering 2 doggies. awwwwww. yay! you should totally post pictures of them! :) it will fo 'sho give you an idea of how having a dog can be, and remember - should you/when you choose to adopt a dog - sometimes getting an older one is great because they're already pretty trained in most areas, plus - adult dogs have a tougher time finding homes. hooray for the pups getting used to a routine - and teaching them "house manners" will do wonders for them and get them adopted faster. it's always a good thing when a dog has been fostered because not only do they get some training and manners, but you know more about them and can match up a potential adopter better to them because you know their traits and charateristics. it's just awesome all around! yay!

a tip for leash walking: peanut butter. just dip a wooden spoon or your hand in some pb and hold it out in front of them as they walk along. when they're do'n good keep up the vocal encouragement and give them a little taste of the pb. :)


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:05 pm 
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I never would have thought of the peanut butter trick. Can I use almond butter instead?


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 Post subject: Re: How can I become more confident around dogs?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:08 am 
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Naked Under Apron
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oh yeah, almond butter is just fine. the only kind of nut you should never give a dog is macadamia nuts - they're toxic.


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