View Full Version : Aggressive foster

15th April 2009, 01:35 AM
Hi all, we have a 6 YO male (neutered) OBESE cavalier at the moment. He was taken to a shelter b/c he is food and toy aggressive, and the shelter called me.

He is fine if I feed him by hand, but is *very* aggressive about his bowl (even empty!) and his bed, he has snarled and growled visciously (it scared me) at both the dogs and myself. Plus, he hates cats so my cats are now in prison in a guest room in our house.

Question #1: Any advice for helping him with the aggression?

Question #2: How do you keep from feeling like your entire household is walking on eggshells when you have a foster? (This is only my second one, so I'm a foster newbee). Should I crate him for a few hours during the day so my cats can get out and my dogs can act like normal or would that make his issues worse? I feel guilty separating him, but I'm feeling anxious over the whole situation and not sure if fostering is for me.

15th April 2009, 02:13 AM
Don't give up on fostering, but perhaps in this situation, you should have your coordinator find a better placement for this one. I don't have training advice, but I am sure you will get some good comments from others who have been in this situation. However, I decided to foster last Fall, and have only done it once so far. (I am a foster failure, as Claire was a perfect match for our family.):)

In my case, I filled out an application with Lucky Star, then was contacted and visited by the local rescue coordinator for a home check. When the "California 7" arrived, we brought Dottie along and we basically watched her socialize with the available dogs. She and Claire seemed to like each other, so we brought her home. I probably would not have taken a foster if there had been initial aggression toward Dottie.

Perhaps you should see if they can place your foster in another home with no cats or animals, with someone who can really work on diminshing those problems. Even my coordinator said that foster dogs and familys are not always a match. Good luck with whatever you work out with your rescue group.

Cathy T
15th April 2009, 03:22 AM
Don't give up on fostering, but perhaps in this situation, you should have your coordinator find a better placement for this one

I'm with Marianne on this. Especially since this is just your 2nd time fostering. I've fostered 5 or 6 times and don't think I'd be able to handle this one myself. Sounds like he needs an experienced hand. You shouldn't be walking on eggshells around your foster and no one should be a prisoner is a spare room. It won't do any of you any good. No shame at all in saying this is beyond your capabilities and knowledge....I wouldn't be comfortable with the situation, I don't have the knowledge or skills to deal with a dog like this but there are more experienced people who I'm sure could handle it. Are you fostering for a group? Is there someone you can turn him over to?

Cathy Moon
15th April 2009, 03:30 AM
It sounds to me like this dog should be placed in a different situation, perhaps with a professional trainer or someone with more experience and/or no other pets. I would call the rescue and ask them to make different arrangements for him. I'm sure there will be other foster dogs that would be a better fit for your family. While you're waiting for other arrangements, perhaps you could let him stay in an x-pen for parts of the day so you won't have to worry so much.

Here are two food guarding behavior modification protocols:
[/URL]http://www.maddiesfund.org/Documents/Resource%20Library/Food%20Guarding%20-%20MYM%20Food%20Program.pdf (http://board.cavaliertalk.com/Bookmarks%20Toolbar%20Most%20Visited%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/index.php%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=40%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=40%20http://www.google.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/%20http://en-us.start2.mozilla.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=63%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=63%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?f=43%20http://board.cavaliertalk.com/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=43%20http://en-us.www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/central/%20http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/-/2/hi/default.stm)


Here are trainer's lessons for food bowl guarding:

15th April 2009, 04:11 AM
Always keep a leash on him and if he gets snappy, grab the leash and take him away from whatever he was trying to control.

15th April 2009, 07:13 PM
Thanks everyone. I have let my rescue coordinator know that I feel I'm in over my head and she is working on relocating him. I feel very guilty, though, like I've let my group down.

15th April 2009, 07:30 PM
you shouldnt as you did your best:) relocation is for the best before any harm is done to yours or your foster. i had to move on a rescue recently (Isaac) & i still feel guilty but luckily he only went to my mums where he is an only child. its always said they might take a few days to settle in & i like to hear the updates when all falls into place but sometimes its too obvious its not going to happen sadly. Isaac has taken to trying to attack every dog he sees so im awful glad he's at mums, shes retired so has time to help him overcome his issues. so maybe its kinder to relocate

15th April 2009, 07:39 PM
Please dont feel guilty I would do the same thing has well
---Aileen and the gang (Barney---Jazzie---Jake)

15th April 2009, 07:42 PM
You haven't let anyone down and don't let this experience put you off fostering.Sometimes it's just a case of placing the fosterdog in the best environment to meet his needs and he'd be better off in a household with one or even no dogs.

15th April 2009, 08:07 PM
Please don't feel guilty asking for help on this issue and relocating the pup to someone with experience in food issues. Hopefully you will continue to foster. It sounds like "resource guarding" and that can require some specifiic training with an experienced animal behaviorist if it is very strongly ingrained. One can be located here: http://www.iaabc.org/Divsn/dog.htm

There is a good book called "Mine" by Jean Donaldson that has good info on the issue: http://www.dogwise.com/itemdetails.cfm?ID=DTB740

15th April 2009, 08:08 PM
Haha, finding a foster home with no dogs would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack! ;)

15th April 2009, 09:08 PM
icon_whistlingThere's always someone willing to take on a challenge!

Cathy T
16th April 2009, 03:08 AM
I feel very guilty, though, like I've let my group down

You shouldn't. I think I'd feel worse if I kept a dog I couldn't handle and ended up having something bad happen. I was given the option, when I had my very first foster, of giving her over to an experienced fosterer at any time. I was told all I had to do was make the call and someone else would step in and I wouldn't be judged for it. It was such a relief to know I didn't have to do this but it was more of an option. Made the whole experience so much easier. So much so that I continued to foster and enjoyed it.