Fostering can be a significantly rewarding experience, but it doesn’t come without its commitment and potential hardship. After you go through your orientation, complete your application, check your homeowners insurance, and meet all the requirements, you might be thinking the hard part is over. Fostering a dog for the first time however, isn’t all cuddles and we want to make sure that you are prepared to take in a new responsibility. Cultivating patience, kindness, and compassion are the first steps to getting ready.
What to prepare and know before:
- Get your home ready for your foster dog by hiding electrical cords, making sure trash cans have lids, putting cleaning products, medicine and sharp objects where the dog cannot reach.
- Get your supplies ready and check off this list: high nutritional food, heartworm/flea medication, water/food bowls, leash/collar, crate, identification tag. Wait on the fun stuff like toys until you have a better idea of the personality and chew intensity of your foster dog.
- Be prepared for any illness or sickness that might come up. It is smart to have a veterinarian’s number handy, reach out to Foma for inquiry, alert the community and don’t panic
- Taking in a foster dog is a commitment, but also highly rewarding. You are preparing them for their forever home. This is important to realize as you are the first step to their training, not their fun, relaxed babysitter while you wait for their adoptive parents to be the strict parents. It’s important to set them up for success for their future home, which could be in any environment, not only the one you are currently in.
What to do during:
- Take it slow!! It’s not just you fostering a dog for the first time, but also your dog is getting to know your home for the first time…as well as everyone in it. If you have other animals let them get to know each other slowly outside the home first, feed them separately and do not engage with toys while they are together.
- They need structure. Freedom around the house can come later, but simple rules to start go a long way. Positive reinforcement through not feeding them from the table, only feed during certain hours, don’t let them go on your furniture, etc.
- Arriving at a new home can be scary for a rescue dog, set up a special area and provide a quiet space for your dog to ease into. Providing them a crate will help create this safe space as well as creating a boundary.
- During this first few days provide calm, long walks to de-stress
- Once your dog is starting to feel more at home, socialize with other pets – help them learn social skills that they can take with them to their homes.
- Each pet is unique, so we need to showcase them for adoption. Include their rescue story if you know it, what they like to play with, their quirks and what they dislike. Include pictures and videos. Make sure to lead with the positive, but don’t ignore the “flaws”. Every dog has a unique personality and we want to help find them a good fit for their forever home – tag @fomapets for free publicity, take to social media and send out to your personal contact list!
After reading this list of everything to prepare and handle, we feel confident that you can take on fostering a dog for the first time. If you still have questions, we are here to help! Email or call us at email@example.com and (305)854-2800.