Tips for Fostering a Dog When You Have Dog(s)


You might think that having a dog (especially the zany/not-always-great-with-other-dogs kind) might preclude you from being a good candidate for fostering, but au contraire! Rescue organizations love placing foster dogs in homes with pet dogs because it means family members have experience caring for / living with / training dogs. Fostering dogs is an incredibly fulfilling experience that truly saves lives and truly doesn't take a ton of extra time or resources. Here are some tips for making sure your first foster experience goes smoothly, including minimizing potential stress on your forever dog!

PRE-ARRIVAL TIPS:

  • Invest in a pressure gate (get a tall one), playpen and/or crate (or check with the rescue to see if your foster pup will come with a travel crate which works well!) to ensure your dog and the foster dog can be easily separated into their own safe spaces when needed.

    • This gives you way more flexibility than having to rely on closing doors - which some dogs can open, and other dogs can destroy!

  • Buy pee pads and have old blankets and towels around - other great things to have:

    • Spray bottle that you can fill with water: this is a good/harmless way to discipline a foster dog (or your dog!) if needed for things like incessant barking :) After the first few times you should only have to show the dog the bottle and they will chill

    • Stain remover spray: accidents will happen so prepare for it and you will get less upset. We love Rocco & Roxie Supply Co.'s stain & odor eliminator!

  • Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccines and heartworm/flea preventatives - seems obvious but is important. Rescues usually do their absolute best to make sure your foster pup will arrive in great health, but illnesses can slip through even with the best vetting protocols.

 ARRIVAL TIPS:

  • Introduce the foster dog and your dog outside instead of in your house/apartment - this will reduce your dog's potential instinct to feel territorial or threatened. Then, if possible, take your dog on a walk and have someone else bring the foster dog inside so he/she is there (in a safe spot) when your dog gets back.

  • Give them a bath/shower right away, even the best transport conditions are still just not great and your dog might be less suspicious if the foster doesn't smell like a truck full of dogs.

  • If you only have one heavenly Kingboy dog bed, make sure your dog and the foster dog each get time to lounge on it during the day ⁺₊ ⁺₊

  • Accept that the foster dog will be annoying for at least the first 48 hours. They don’t know any better! 

  • Expect that the foster dog will be in potential flight mode whenever they are outside - BE CAREFUL. Nothing is worse than having to tell a rescue that your foster dog got loose, and this happens more than you think :(

  • Expect that your dog may be mopey while a foster dog is around, especially if they are a pesky puppy that wants to play with your dog's toys etc. It is a great character building experience for your dog (haha) and they will snap back to themselves as soon as the foster goes to its forever home!