I don't put a timeline on the steps above. But two weeks is the standard amount of time it takes and about how long you should plan to spend before moving on to letting your dogs meet.
Some dogs will need more time. I've stayed in the, "see but don't touch" phase for several months, with some more extreme cases.
Every time, with positive reinforcement and a focus on mental and physical stimulation and the positive projection of my own energy, the dogs have eventually advanced to the next stage.
When you're ready to get your dogs to meet each other, you have to think like a dog if you want a good interaction. Humans like to stand in one spot, make eye contact, and talk.
Dogs like to run around and move, they avoid too much direct eye contact, and they'd rather smell than talk.
So, take your dogs for a walk. A nice, long walk. Have your spouse or a friend help you and spread it out. Dog-Person-Person-Dog.
Keep everyone moving forward and remember the 5-second rule. No, not about dropping your food on the floor. If you have dogs in your house that food shouldn't last 5 seconds on the floor. The 5-second rule about eye contact. Nothing good ever comes from more than 5 seconds of two new dogs locking eyes.
Watch them, count silently in your head, and around the 3 to 5 second mark, take the lead and redirect the dogs BEFORE any negative body language, growls, or snaps happen. Reward them positively for the good, short interaction.
Then repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Always short interactions, always ending on a positive note.
Dogs are wonderful, loving creatures and we've enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with them for thousands of years.
Not all dogs know how to be dogs but many are willing to learn if we help them, and if we can just slow the process down and give them time to learn.
Dogs learn through experiences, both good and bad ones. Through those experiences, they shape their understanding of the world and how to react to certain things.
Your dog's way of thinking can be summed up by a sequence of "If/Then" statements. If I see a dog, then I need to do this. If I see a cat, then I need to do this. If someone rings the doorbell, then I need to do this. The more we shape those experiences with positivity, and the more positive experiences we provide, the more we can do for misunderstood, abused, unwanted and neglected shelter animals that might not otherwise make it out the front door.
Everything is about being realistic with your abilities, your time and your other obligations. It's the only way to set your dogs and your foster dogs up for success. Not to mention the rescue you are helping.
Many of them will only take a dog in because someone offers to foster. If you're unprepared, you're going to place a big burden on that rescue soon as you force them to quickly find another foster while you deal with unexpected behavior problems you're ill-equipped to handle.
You, as the foster, are on the front lines of deciding the final outcome for the dog you're taking into your house. Take that responsibility seriously, and you will experience one of the most rewarding feelings ever.