We brought Sonny home to foster yesterday.
I brought Roxy and Buster to meet him at the kennel. We did one-on-one intro walks and short play dates in the yard after that went well, and then brought all 3 in together just to make sure there were no immediate issues. It's important to me that there are no issues up front because of Roxy. We've tried the crate and rotate thing with her and she just plain doesn't tolerate it; and she's come so far in her training, I can't jeopardize what we've accomplished.
Anyway, so Buster, Roxy, and Sonny hit it off. Roxy was play bowing and inviting him to play left and right. Buster tried to hump him a hundred times (he has this thing for other male dogs) and we did some Time Outs and that fixed Buster's humping issue. But whenever he tried, Sonny didn't mind. Sonny was licking both of their faces, in between trying to jump over the 7+ foot fence to get away, poor baby.
When we got home, I took Sonny for a walk. Then I took Sonny and Buster for a walk together. Then I took Sonny and Roxy for a walk together. Everything went great. Sonny even peed while I was there, for the first time since I've met him.
When we got home, Sonny went in his crate and slept with one eye open for about an hour... then we went outside and he did pretty good out there, aside from trying to jump the fence. At this rate, he'll never be allowed outside without being on leash. Once we came back inside, though, he went and hid under the fake Christmas tree we have yet to take down. He crawled underneath the front of it and hid in the back and underneath it.
I went to the back room to prepare their dinners, Roxy and Buster followed me, and Sonny followed behind them. While I was there scooping food out into bowls to bring to the kitchen and stuff into toys, Buster snapped at Sonny. I never feed them there, ever. But the food comes from there. And when I first got Buster, he had some major guarding issues. He's amazing now, he's never guarded toys, and doesn't guard food/chews/high value items from people. He's great with toys and other dogs. And I haven't had a problem with him and the food-prepping station with Roxy, but Sonny is new and Buster is just showing that he's a little nervous because there are big changes going on, with a third dog in the house. Okay, mental note -- dogs go into crates prior to me preparing their food. Done. I do high-value items in their crates already, so this isn't a big difference. Sonny doesn't seem to be holding it against Buster, in fact, he seems to love Buster and is taking cues from him as to what to do.
So, I fed them dinner in their crates, and while he was eating in his crate, I took the silly Christmas tree down before he came out of his crate. Once everyone was done eating, I opened his crate and he followed Buster around the house. Then he walked back towards his crate, and instead, he chose to literally crawl into the bottom shelf of my bookcase, on top of some picture frames. The poor guy just laid in there for a while cowering.
I tried dropping high-value treats somewhat near him, but he didn't budge. So I went and grabbed a dark colored sheet and covered his crate with it, to see if that helped him any. I walked into the other room and my guys followed, with Sonny in tow. When we went back into the living room, Sonny went right for his crate. Poor guy just wanted his crate covered. Done.
And now he's using his crate as his hideout, runs back to it when something scares him, so at least he has somewhere to go where he feels safe. And he's not trying to break out of it (knock on wood) so I'm thankful for that.
He only eats if I leave the food with him and walk away after a few minutes, and he refused to pee last night so this morning he peed for a good minute and a half or more. And he's totally terrified of Rob right now, so Rob's completely ignoring him, except for occasionally dropping high-value items in his general direction. He scrambles into the corner when you walk around, if you accidentally look at him, he flattens out on the ground. If you talk while he's exploring, even if you're not talking to him or looking at him, he stops what he's doing and just stares, curiously.
But Sonny just loves Buster and Roxy. His tail wags for them and he wants so badly to play with them. We saw a couple of play bows (Sonny has the cutest play bow ever) but he's still not sure of himself. But any dog-friendly Pit Bull is uber-special to me.
We have some work to do, but he's already perfect to me.