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Advice for a First-Time Dog Foster

If you’re fostering a dog for the first time, congratulations! You are able to experience something incredibly rewarding even if it feels slightly scary at the moment. The rescue and foster community will be there to help you and there are lots of safety nets as well as resources for you.

To prepare for bringing home a foster dog, you don’t need to buy everything at the store. A few basic supplies are all you need to start in addition to ‘dog proofing’ your home (e.g., put away any fragile pieces, remove loose hanging cables, etc.):

  • Food – Most fosters will eat dry food as that is likely what they were eating in the shelter. Your rescue organization can typically help provide a few recommendations or even a bag of food to cover your foster dog’s first few meals. Tip: Use food as a positive reinforcement training tool to reward good behavior and teaching new things!
  • Crate – Crates can easily be ordered online or you can ask the rescue organization if they have one for you to borrow. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist can also be a great source of gently used crates. Tip: There are many kind, generous people who will often donate or sell their crate at a deep discount for fosters!
  • A few towels or blankets – No need for fancy bedding! Anything you provide to your foster will be cozier and more comfortable than the loud, sterile shelter environment. Plus, chewing or accidents can happen and you wouldn’t want anything too precious.
  • Patience and Love – Many times we don’t have the full back-story for each dog so remember to focus on maintaining patience with them as they adjust to a world where almost everything is new.

Once your new foster dog arrives, take some great photos and help your rescue or shelter enhance your new foster dog’s profile with key information potential adopters will look for, including personality traits, any training or obedience skills, and suitability with other household members, including children, other dogs or cats. All too often the photos taken at the shelter or during transport are blurry or poor quality. With amazing online platforms like Petfinder and Adopt-A-Pet, as well as social media, good photos or videos are free and are often the number one reason dogs get noticed by potential adopters.

When the day finally comes that your foster dog finally moves onto his or her forever family remember that “goodbye is the goal” and with every foster that you shepherd onto a forever family, you can then help save another! Take a moment to celebrate the story you got to be a part of because you did a wonderful deed. Time to foster the next one!

The Complete Dog Fostering Guide with Jess of @101Fosters

How to Become a Foster Dog Parent

Tips for Bringing Home a Foster Dog

What to Expect the First Day with Your Foster Dog

How to Introduce a Foster Dog to Your Dog

How to Make Crate Training a Foster Much Easier

5 Tips for Feeding a Foster Dog

Obedience Training a Foster

Fostering Puppies Tips: 5 Things You Should Do

Don’t forget, if you are fostering puppies, you are required to pay puppy tax in the form of cute photos and videos. If you can, consider fostering a mamma dog and her puppies!

Jess was recently a guest on Bark Building’s Fostering & Adoption 101 Virtual Chat which is now on YouTube.

Read Our Interview with Jess on Her Fostering Experience