The selfless act of opening the doors to your home for a foster dog can have a profound effect on both the dog and you. However, it’s not for everyone. A foster dog requires a loving and stable home with which to mesh into, feel loved, secure and nourished. This means a sincere consistent dedication to time, attention and trainingbe devoted to them 24/7. If you can handle that, then read further to discover what you need to do to prepare your home for a foster dog.
Preparing the Family
It’s important to remember taking in a foster dog affects not just you but also the lives of every member in your household — from your spouse and children to other pets, your landlord and babysitter. So, make sure everyone is onboard and as committed as you are.
With children and cats in your home or if you expect to have children visiting, this is of paramount concern. It’s imperative to find out if the dog will be accepting of children and cats prior to selection. Take the time to gather as much information as possible about them and introduce the family slowly at the shelter before committing yourself.
Before you rush off to pick up your new foster dog, be sure to have some basic supplies beforehand.
Food and water bowls
Dog bed or clean blankets
Dog Proofing 101
New pets are like children — especially foster dogs due to the unfortunate circumstances of their life. Shelter dogs can come from a variety of backgrounds including: abuse, neglect, abandonment, surrender by owner, disaster areas, and more. Never underestimate a foster dog’s abilities.
You need to dog proof all areas of the home and car where your foster will be in order to avoid: potential injury, death, accidents, destruction of property, and more. Approach this as if you were preparing for a toddler or crawling baby to enter into your home. For a detailed room-by-room list of suggestions, visit Petfinder.
We realize your first inclination is to sweep up your new bundle of foster joy into your arms, lavishing them with love and attention. But please… take it slow! We cannot stress this enough. It’s easy for foster dogs to become overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and possible excitability.
Remember when animals of any kind feel afraid, cornered, nervous, anxious, or overly excited, they can become aggressive and lash out. Improper introductions into the home can cause the situation to go south quickly. Introduce your foster to the home by restricting them to a small room at first. Allow them to explore the new smells, sounds, and sights. Once they have settled to a relaxed state, slowly begin a meet-and-greet one by one, so as not to overwhelm them. Don’t force it.
Be aware it may take days, weeks — or even months — for a foster dog to feel secure in his or her new setting. Be patient, loving, and kind at all times. Respect their space and never corner them.