Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
gcv-border

Advice for "how to foster"

Recommended Posts

If this topic is not appropriate for the category, feel free to move it. I wasn't sure whether to post here or under "Rescue Resources and Dogs"

 

For those who foster routinely, what advice can you give for someone who is interested in fostering? I know that the advice/answers will depend on the individual fosterer's abilities and facilities, but I would be interested in personal experience and general advice.

 

For example,

Extra supplies needed? - crates, toys, etc

Facilities? - extra rooms!?, fenced runs or yards

How to become associated with a rescue (mainly to be able to spread the word as widely as possible to get the foster a great home)

What are the qualities that are associated with someone who is able to successfully foster dogs?

The good and the bad of fostering dogs.

I am sure I have left out some topics so feel free to comment.

 

My approach would be to treat the dog as my own for the period of time it was in residence -- i.e. same food, training, interaction, vet care, socialization, etc. with the understanding that each dog has individual needs. Is this naive?

 

Thank you in advance for the input.

Jovi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A good fenced yard is almost a must. The dog may not have a name that anyone knows of, and you don't know what kind, if any, recall they have. Have a good vet. Search the internet to find rescues in your area, or ask some vets. Different rescues have different rules for what you are responsible for. Usually, vet care is paid for by the rescue. You will most likely be responsible for food, treats, toys, etc. Remember that your objective is to prepare the dog to be a good pet. Find out what the dog knows or doesn't and work on those. Personally, I like the dog to have a decent recall, know sit, lie down, stay and able to walk on lead. Also the dog should be house broken. Remember that SOME people expect more from a rescue dog than they would one they raised. Not sure why this is, but it happens. Crates are good to train them to as a lot of people use them. Expect to get fosters that are older and not house broken. You will be cleaning up messes! Some have never lived in a house, so rules will have to be learned. You have to have lots of patience. You need to never lose sight of the fact that it is ALWAYS about the dog. Make sure the family you are turning the dog over to is the right fit. Don't be afraid to ask potential adopters questions, or to tell them you don't think the dog is the right fit. It might anger some people, but it keeps the dogs off a foster/home/foster/home merry go round. You want their next home to be their last home. Be prepared to fall in love and then give the dog up! That's the hardest part. You will get some dogs in that are ready immediately for adoption, but most likely, they will need some work. And it is work. Make no mistake, you don't know what the dogs have been through, or what they will react to, or how to fix it. It takes patience and dedication. Most of the stuff you need to know will come from the rescue you affiliate with.

 

Good luck, and thanks for wanting to help homeless dogs!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Coming to terms with the fact that 9 times out of 10 the foster is going to have some sort of "issue." The severity with vary, but there is almost always an issue. Be prepared to begin to work with the dog in overcoming or controlling the issue. Be prepared to (and let yourself!) love the dog. And then give it up. The first is the hardest, but it always is bittersweet to say goodbye. Be involved in the foster and treat him/her as your own pet BUT try not to ignore your own personal pets and I like to have them get their own "family" time without the foster. As Dixie has said, be prepared to clean up messes. A lot of adult rescues aren't housebroken or some may appear to be but if you watch them like a hawk you might catch them sneaking off to urinate. I see this a lot more with males. Be patient and cautious. Sometimes families don't tell the rescue everything or some things may not have been evaluated. Always use caution, don't ever assume the dog is OK with or has experienced something before. Generally rescues will place dogs that are at your experience level and won't overwhelm you.

 

I find it better to take some time off between fosters. Sometimes a month, other times just a few weeks. But I think it makes my own dogs feel more comfortable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I foster exclusively puppies. I find that they fit in better with my lifestyle and my personal dogs.

 

- I keep extra crates on hand. I have 4 dogs personally and 9 crates. I also always have extra collars, leashes and such.

- I crate train, potty train and basic obedience train all fosters. I have a fenced in yard that I have no idea what I would do if I didn't have.

- I treat them as members of my family. If we go to the park, so do they, etc. I do make sure that my adults get some non-puppy time though. The puppy gets crated and they get to just hang out and play.

- I make sure they get good vet care, some need it more than others.

- I make sure they get the extra care they need if they need it (see my post "Four Week Old Puppy" for a step by step progress report of my current foster that is still going on).

- I have plenty of cleaning supplies...

- I love them more than they know.

- I let them go when it's time.

 

I run into a lot of people who say that they couldn't foster because they would want to keep each one. Not true for me! Some dogs are harder to let go than others. Some I just don't mesh with and am happy to see adopted. I try to keep my mindset along the lines of "this is not my dog, I am just helping it be the best pup she can be until her forever family finds her."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Coming to terms with the fact that 9 times out of 10 the foster is going to have some sort of "issue." The severity with vary, but there is almost always an issue.

 

I'm not really sure I can agree with this statement. 9 out of 10, really? I don't have hundreds of dogs as a sample, but I would really think the number is lower. Seems too many people already think rescue dogs MUST come with an issue or two, without passing on statistics like that. (who, me? oversensitive? :rolleyes:)

 

As for the OP's question, I suck at fostering, so don't ask me.

 

Twice a Foster Failure,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say, try your best to make sure you align yourself with a good rescue and make sure you are 100% clear on what they cover. The rescue I'm with supplies all vet care, food, crates, toys, collars, leashes, pretty much everything. All the foster home has to do is take care of the dog.

Being aware of all different kinds of behavioral issues is definitely handy. Not a necessity, but handy. Especially if you're going to foster adult dogs. I've had fosters that have had everything from separation anxiety to being 100% afraid of human contact. Of course, the rescue shouldn't pair you with a dog you can't handle, but it makes things a lot easier if you can handle a timid dog or a dog that needs help learning how to share. Not all rescue dogs come with issues though. We get our dogs as strays from rural areas and First Nations communities, so a lot of our adult dogs do need some work. They don't trust people and have never lived inside a house, sometimes they don't like other dogs either, especially if they've had to compete for food. So some of our adult fosters do require a bit more work than puppies, usually they turn around into excellent companions with a little bit of time and some work on the foster homes part.

You aren't going to want to keep every dog you foster! Yes, you'll care for them all, but you won't be head over heals in love with them all. I've had a few that I was very happy to place in a home! Others, well, it was incredibly hard to say good bye, but knowing they found the perfect home was the best feeling in the world!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm not really sure I can agree with this statement. 9 out of 10, really? I don't have hundreds of dogs as a sample, but I would really think the number is lower. Seems too many people already think rescue dogs MUST come with an issue or two, without passing on statistics like that. (who, me? oversensitive? :rolleyes:)

 

As for the OP's question, I suck at fostering, so don't ask me.

 

Twice a Foster Failure,

 

 

About 90% of my fosters have had issues. When I say "issues" i don't mean it as serious as it sounds. Marking in the house, barkers, attacking vacuums, aggressive on lead, pullers, resource guarders, aggressive to men/women/children/dark skin/overweight, beaten, not housebroken, possessive over toys... I guess what I should have said was it's very rare to get a "perfect dog" as a foster. And there will most likely always be at least one "thing" that sets them off or makes them not "ideal" to most people. Again people is generalized as in the general public, not necessarily the general "dog" public.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
About 90% of my fosters have had issues. When I say "issues" i don't mean it as serious as it sounds. Marking in the house, barkers, attacking vacuums, aggressive on lead, pullers, resource guarders, aggressive to men/women/children/dark skin/overweight, beaten, not housebroken, possessive over toys... I guess what I should have said was it's very rare to get a "perfect dog" as a foster. And there will most likely always be at least one "thing" that sets them off or makes them not "ideal" to most people. Again people is generalized as in the general public, not necessarily the general "dog" public.

 

Yes.

 

the best thing I can suggest for your supply list is a large amount of patience.

 

You will have extra work, loss of sleep and stress. Your foster will be stressed, confused and unclear about his or her place in the new situation.

 

Over time, they will settle in, grow, learn and teach you stuff. You will love them, then you will give them to someone else.

 

I recommend a crate, a supply of belly bands if you get a male (even a well mannered housetrained dog can be stressed to mark, and if you see an issue its easier to use a belly band until you get training then experience your books being peed on), earplugs if you get a never crated screamer, a harness in case you need to drag a leash (please don't let a leash drag on a collar, I almost killed a dog doing that), a present for your put out spouse (its extra work for him/her too), a variety of toys to play fetch with (I find many foster dogs haven't learned to channel excess energy into an acceptable game so if you can make them a ball or frisbee fetching fool a. they can exercise easily and appropriately and b. people LOVE a dog who likes to play fetch), and appropriate pee clean up stuff (papertowels, old towels, and pee neutralizing stuff and a carpet cleaning machine if you have wall to wall).

 

My goal with a foster dog is to have them leave me with the following skills:

 

1. clean and housetrained

2. accepting of a crate

3. walk on a lead with some semblance of manners

4. accept needed grooming

5. a sit and/or down and a wait/stay

6. door manners (I ask dogs to not enter or exit any doors with out permission, including cars)

7. an acceptable game to help exercise and burn off energy

 

I try for a functional recall and a stupid pet trick if I can get one.

 

I have spent many nights thinking "why did I do this again" while the dog screamed in his crate or I scrubbed pee off of something...and I have never regretted a singe foster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, don't start with a sick pit bull that's six hours from being put to sleep that just happened to come housebroken, with obedience training and a sweet, perfect personality.

 

That is how you become a foster failure. I got a great dog, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a foster needs:

1) Time enough to heal a broken spirit

2) Patience...Patience...and yet more patience

3) a heart big enough to find a place for a lost soul and not feel over whelmed

4) the ability to say good bye while smiling through the tears

6) understanding that accidents could happen, do happen, will happen,

7) the understanding that not every broken soul can be fixed no matter how hard you try or how much you want to

 

I've been foster for seven years - havent kept any yet but the potential is always there :rolleyes:). I've fostered for as short as 2 weeks, and for as long as 1year (and counting) with my current foster. I strongly recommend getting in touch with a reputable rescue and letting them know you're interested in fostering. They'll want to talk with you, check out your home and yard ect. just like you were going to adopt. There are few things more rewarding than seeing a dog who came to you broken..greet his/her adoptive family with a wagging tail and happily hop into their car. Alot of fosters do have some kind of issue most can be fixed --some sadly cannot fortunately they are few and far between

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm so glad you posted this - I've been wondering about a lot of the same things. And everyone's responses have been so helpful!

 

I've already found a rescue group about 3 hours from my house that I'd like to work with, but I haven't contacted them yet because I'm a little afraid of the rejection - what if we can't give them what they need in a foster parent?!?! I've got 2 BC's now and really feel like I have more to give towards helping other dogs. We've been considering adopting a rescue, but I really want to be able to help more than just one more dog, which is why I'm considering fostering. The main reasons I'm afraid we'll be rejected are: we work full-time so the dog would be crated during the day, and we only have an invisible fence. I could come home during lunch to be with the dogs, but that would still be 4 hours that the dogs would be in their crates... I suppose if there were dogs that could handle that, it wouldn't be such a big issue. There is a smaller area of our yard with fencing but my current escape artists could get out of it in a heartbeat so we got the invisible fence which worked so well for them.

 

Both of us want to go visit the rescue farm during September and I was going to discuss some of the aspects of what they require for fostering when we set up our appointment. Regardless of whether we can help foster, we want to volunteer to help out around the farm - every little bit counts! Its going to break my heart if we can't help with fostering, but maybe I can do something with the doggies transport. I really want to do more than donate $$ (although I know that's needed too).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...