A Lesson on Fostering Dogs Part IV: Dos and Don’ts

Here we are – the last installation of our series on fostering dogs! Don’t forget to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3.

In this post, we’re going to talk about Dos and Don’ts about fostering dogs. Our earlier posts have lots of tips for how to pick a rescue to work with, what questions you should ask, and the process to bring a dog home, so this will be more general information from my experience. Let’s get started:

Do be patient with a new foster dog (or really any new dog) at home. They’re in a completely new space, possibly went through some traumatic experiences at the shelter, and generally are highly stressed. A good rule of thumb is after a few weeks, you’ll have a better idea of the dog’s personality compared to the first few days.

Don’t judge a dog by its breed. I’ve seen golden retrievers who are aggressive with humans and pit bulls that are well trained and want to love all over you. While breed may be an indicator of a dog’s personality, you won’t actually know until you interact with them.

Do advocate for breed-specific rescues in lieu of purchasing puppies from a breeder. I’ve seen dozens of puppies (as young as 6-10 weeks) placed with families through Gold Ribbon Rescue. While it may require a little more patience because they aren’t always available, you can get the benefits of having a puppy while also rescuing.

Don’t let your dog off leash in an unfenced area until you know how they will react. I learned this the hard way with a foster pup in 2016. She seemed attached enough that she wouldn’t bolt but the minute I let her off-leash, she ran and hid in a bush.

Do crate train your pup (to start). While crate training can be a controversial topic, I believe it’s a great tool for understanding where your dog is training-wise if they come in with an unknown personality. I generally will crate or baby-gate a new foster into a specific room in the house while I’m away until I see how they react, and eventually let them roam the house while I’m out. A mutual trust gets developed over time.

Don’t use a shock collar on your dog. This article goes into more in-depth explanation on the harmful effects of shock collar use. TLDR: they do more harm than good.

Do foster before adopting! The beauty of fostering prior to adoption is that you have an opportunity to get to know a dog without the 100% commitment up front.

There you have it! 7 dos and don’ts of fostering dogs. Have you thought about fostering lately? Let us know in the comments. Stay tuned for more content about pet ownership in the future and let us know if there are any other questions you want answered about fostering dogs.

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