The Dog Listener, By Jan Fennell, go to your Library and borrow a copy > Fostering advice & tips


Thank you for fostering, you have saved a life.

Brining a dog of any age into your home, is hard work and I appreciate your humanity.

1, Keep the dogs world small, they can be introduced to other dogs/pets later. When ready to meet others, the dog should be on leash or behind a baby gate. Never set a dog up to fail.

2, Have the dog on a leash and without other animals around, show them your home & yard. Where should they relieve? This is the first step to slowly introducing your new friend the lay of the land. Take them out to relieve, give them time...15 minutes, at least. Praise and reward with food-if they go. Keeping them on a leash, gives you a chance to show them how to behavior in your home. Boundaries equals safety for all.

3, Perhaps you live in an apartment, if so....once you have walked the dog around your apartment, go outside, find a spot to relieve the dog. Walk them in a circle and if they go..praise and give a food reward. Then back home...baby steps.

*Some very anxious dogs will not eat/take a food reward, they are too frightened.  Never fuss or baby an anxious dog. (Please see the article..anxious dogs). Give a dog of any age-time, they are often very afraid and have been through a lot, gaining their trust takes time*.

4, Accidents are bound to happen, newly arrived dogs are confused and may have an accident in your home. By keeping their space small (Not a crate) you reduce the chance of an accident happening. Keep a relieving log, a time table of when they go-this really helps them get into a routine. *Print off the relieving log & get to know their schedule (the log can be found on the articles page)*.

5, Decompression is the key word....less is more, stay calm, have boundaries...A small space, this can be a corner of a room, with a piece of old linoleum down, use an exercise pen or puppy play pen. This will reduce your stress & worry about any accidents and will aid the foster dog's rehabilitation. Of course they need to go potty, but for a few days, give your self time to asses the dogs real personality. *Build the right relationship*.

6. Baby gates will be your best friend, you can often find them for free on craigslist or even on the roadside. Baby gates are instant boundaries, helping the foster dog to get used to your pets and people coming and going. *Ask all visitors to ignore your foster dog, this helps them decompress and reduces their stress*.

7, Please do not take the dog anywhere to start, keep friends and family visits to a minimum. By doing this you will know what your foster dog can cope with. Slowly build up and watch them bloom! Socialize them the right way, when you/the foster parent really know them & what they can handle.

8, When your foster dog is ready, work on come-using phase and reward with food. Teach the dog to walk in your home and back yard. Build up...*Please see the article on walking your dog*.

9, Shape the dog's behavior by using praise. Praise the behavior you want....

Rescue groups, should do a home visit to the foster home & meet the family-prior to them fostering. Check the yard (if there is one) and talk about how the dog is to be cared for. Supporting the foster family with advice, equipment & vetting. Dogs need time in a foster home to relax from all the changes he or she has been through (shelter, vet, transportation). This also gives time for any illness to show up and be treated. Please make sure that the rescue you foster for, treats you (The foster) well and does right by the dog you are fostering. A home visit should always be done prior to adoption, foster to adopt works very well. As a foster parent you have valuable information/advice to pass on to the adopter. Thank you for saving a life.

Louise Pay