So you’re getting ready to take in your first senior dog foster. Congratulations! A rewarding experience is ahead of you.
To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of 5 ways to prepare for your first senior foster dog.
First, you’ll need to gather supplies for your new foster dog. Here at CSDRH, we provide fosters with the supplies they need; however, you’ll need to check with the rescue you work with to see what they can provide.
You’ll need all the staples like:
- Dog bed
- Food and water bowls
- Dog food
As well as other optional supplies like pee pads (your preference), dog toys, and grooming supplies (in case you need to bathe your foster).
Set Up A Designated Space
Your foster dog will need a space where it can decompress. Shelter dogs have been through a lot of transition and trauma and will require a safe and secure space where they won’t be bothered by other animals in the house. Ensure the area you have for them is away from hazards like electrical wires and small swallowable objects.
Have A Dog-Meet Plan
Introducing a senior foster dog to your resident animals is an important part of bringing them home. Well-orchestrated introductions can help set the tone for their stay with you. For info on how to conduct dog meets and cat meets, check out the following resources.
Introducing New Dogs to Resident Dogs
- Dog Training: How to Introduce Your Dog to Another Dog in Ten Easy Steps
- Introducing a New Dog to Your Resident Dog- Pet MD
- Introducing a New Dog to Your Resident Dog- Paws
- Dog-On-Dog Household Aggression
Introducing New Dogs to Resident Cats
- Introducing Your New Dog to Your Resident Cat- Reach Out Rescue
- Introducing Dogs to Cats- American Humane
- How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat- Best Friends
- How to Introduce a Dog and Cat- Animal Humane Society
Introducing New Dogs to Kids
- How to Safely Introduce a Dog to Your Children
- Kids and Dogs: Part 2
- Introducing Kids to a New Puppy
- How to Introduce Dogs and Children- doghealth.com
Safely Transport Your Senior Foster Dog Home
Depending on the size of the dog you’re taking home, you can use a crate to keep your foster dog safe and contained during the ride home. When a foster dog first enters our rescue, we typically know minimal background and behavioral information. Some dogs can become quite stressed in the car and could get overly excited or anxious, which could lead to unwanted and unsafe behavior in the car for both them and you. So it’s important to make sure you have a way to transport your foster dog home safely.
Prepare For Crying and Little Sleep The First Night
Your new foster dog has been through a lot. They’ve lost their home, spent time in a scary shelter, and now are in a home they’ve never been in with people and animals they don’t know. Since they don’t speak English, we can’t tell them that it’s okay to relax and that it is a safe space for them. They might cry and whine the first night. Before putting them to bed, make sure they’ve had time to pee and poop outside and address any other needs. Try to ignore the whining and crying as much as you can. It’ll get easier for them to settle as the days go on.
Your new senior foster dog is in an environment utterly unknown to them. They don’t know the routine or boundaries, so give them time to adjust. Overall, be patient. Never yell or hit your foster dog, but use positive reinforcement to redirect undesired behavior.
Give Your Senior Foster Dog Space
When you first meet someone, you’re not all over them, hugging and kissing and running your fingers through their hair. The same goes for dogs. Don’t be overly affectionate or handsy with new dogs. Let them warm up to you at their own pace and follow their lead. Give them plenty of space and let them come to you.
Be Calm and Consistent
The best way to demonstrate that you’re a safe person and someone to trust is by remaining calm and consistent and using positive reinforcement. Your foster dog has likely been through a lot, and being compassionate and calm can go a long way in helping them feel safe.
Reach Out To Your Rescue For Help
Always remember that you’re not alone in this. If you’re having trouble, unsure about something, or observe a medical concern with your foster dog, reach out to the rescue or shelter you are working with for help and advice. At CSDRH, we are committed to supporting our foster homes as much as possible. Rescuing is a team effort, and we are here for you.