I adopted my first dog, Roxy, last year in June, and I've been fostering dogs for that same rescue Roxy is from since December of 2009. Before I adopted Roxy, I had minimal knowledge of this thing called "dog rescue" and even less knowledge of training dogs. I mean, I had a dog growing up, sure.... a beagle we adopted from a shelter. We picked her because she was this small little scared dog tucked away in the cat room at the shelter because she was cold and nervous around all the other crazy barking dogs. Aside from "no, bad dog!" when she peed in the house and "want a treat?" when she did something good, I truly had no clue what I was doing. I'm sure I thought it was that simple at the time we adopted Roxy.... but boy was I wrong.
I guess I'll have to backtrack a little, since it's been a year. But basically, I adopted Roxy not knowing she had fear issues. We went to get a dog, and didn't really do much research beforehand. Typical clueless adopter. I wanted a dog, I fell in love with this dog, and that was it. We noticed she was shy right away, but I don't think we understood the full picture. She loved Rob and I immediately, so we figured she was just unsure of what was going on.
The first few months, we noticed a bunch of silly things she'd do, that we just sort of described as shy, or that she was easily spooked (more on this stuff later). We thought maybe having another more well-adjusted dog around would help settle her in, so we started fostering dogs in December, 6 months after we got Roxy. Roxy didn't seem to like all dogs, so we pretty much would let her pick which dogs we would bring home to foster. It made the most sense to us, so she wouldn't be stressed in her own home.
So we've been fostering dogs for 6 months now, and I'm really happy it's something I wound up doing. I feel like this has been the one activity, hobby, whatever you want to call it, that I've found that I truly enjoy. I realized there were lots of dogs in rescue that had issues, and since I was fostering dogs, I realized I had a lot to learn.
So I began reading. I read Jean Donaldson's "The Culture Clash." I read Fearful Dogs by Debbie Jacobs. I read Dog Star Daily. I read, and I read, and I read. I joined a rescue-related forum full of dog and Pit Bull lovers. I learned more about rescue there than I did anywhere else. I learned about dog training there, as well. There were trainers on the forum, and people who'd used trainers, and people who had been rescuing dogs for years and years and could give advice to someone who was just starting out.
So that brings me to now. I have one fearful dog, and I'm fostering another dog right now who seems relatively normal. The only thing I wish I had done differently, is that I wish I started this blog earlier, to better detail Roxy's fear issues. But, like I said, I had no clue what I was doing when I adopted her, so I'll have to backtrack a bit in order to get everything on paper.