Thank you so much for your interest in fostering a dog from Pixie Mamas Rescue! By opening up your home to foster pets, you’re not only helping to save lives, but you’re also providing the individual attention and love these dogs desperately need to help them prepare for their forever homes! Many of the dogs who need foster homes require extra care and attention. Most that come to us are very scared, nervous and un-trusting of us—especially those who have come from a bad past. Fostering is a big commitment. While fostering, all we ask you to provide is a healthy, safe and loving home with socialization, exercise and positive stimulation to help them develop into great dogs!
Although fostering is a lot of work, it is a very rewarding experience. By participating in our foster program, you are saving lives and helping many different types of dogs find the families they’ve been longing for. Through fostering, we can work together to save them all!Pixie Mamas Rescue, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to rehome abandoned, stray and neglected dogs. Federal ID Number: 27-0876835 NY State Reg. #: 46-37-20 NYS DOA # - RR143
Here are some tips to help get you started!
Preparing for your Foster
When you take your foster dog home, they may be frightened or unsure about what’s happening, so it’s important not to overwhelm them. Prepare a special area for the foster dog to help ease their adjustment into a new home environment. Sometimes it is better to confine the foster dog to a small room or area at first to let them adjust before giving them free rein in your home. This area should be large enough for an appropriately sized crate for the dog and should allow the dog access to his food and water dishes and toys.
If you have personal pets who are dogs, you’ll want to introduce them to your foster dog one at a time and supervise their interactions at first. It’s a good idea to introduce them outside in a large yard, keeping all the dogs on a leash and allowing them enough space to get adjusted to one another.
Make sure that high-value items (food, chew toys, plush toys, Kongs, or anything else that your dogs hold in high regard) are put away whenever the dogs are interacting. You don’t want to allow the possibility of a fight. Those high-value items are best placed in the dogs’ personal areas. Finally, never feed your dogs in the same room as the foster dog; always separate them at feeding time.
We can’t ensure that a foster dog has been “cat-tested,” so if you have pets who are cats, you’ll need to make the introduction to the foster dog carefully and safely. Start by keeping them separated at first. You can keep your cats in a separate room (equipped with food, water, litter boxes and beds) or confine your foster dog to a room. Over a one- to two-week period, let the dog and cats smell each other through the door, but don’t allow them contact with one another. Exchanging blankets or towels between the dog’s area and the cats’ area will help them get used to each other’s smells.
Children and Dogs
Since we don’t always know a foster dog’s history or tolerance level for different types of people and activities, please teach your children how to act responsibly and respectfully around your foster dog. We will do our best to place you with an appropriate animal for your home situation, but you should still supervise all interactions between children and your foster dog. Key things to remind your children:
Do not allow young children to walk the foster dog because they may not be strong enough or experienced enough to handle encounters with other dogs or cats who cross their path.
When you first take your foster dog home, take care not to overwhelm her with too many new experiences all at once. Sometimes, too much stimulation can cause a dog to behave unexpectedly toward a person or animal, which is why it’s a good idea to keep introductions to a minimum initially after you bring your foster dog home. It’s also important to establish a daily routine of regularly scheduled feedings, potty breaks and walk times. Dogs take comfort in having a routine they can count on.
It’s unlikely that your foster dog will be perfectly house-trained when you take him or her home. Most of the dogs in the foster program have lived in a shelter for a while, often with minimal walks or chances to relieve themselves outside. At the very least, be prepared for an adjustment period until your foster dog gets used to your schedule.
Because a dog has a better chance of being adopted if they are house-trained, please help your foster dog perfect this skill. Take your foster dog outside to go potty multiple times per day (3-6 times daily, depending on age). Initially, you may need to take them out more frequently to remind them where the door to the outside is and to reassure them that you will take him or her out for potty breaks. Most dogs will give cues — such as standing near the door, sniffing the ground, or walking in small circles — indicating that they need to go out.
If your foster dog has an accident inside the house, don’t discipline or punish them. It will only teach him or her to fear and mistrust you.
Crate training, done in a positive way, can be an effective component of house-training. A crate can be a safe place for your foster dog to have “down time” and can also limit his access to the entire house until he knows the rules. A crate should never be used as a form of punishment and a dog should never be left in a crate for an extended period of time.
You can prevent problems with crate training by setting your foster dog up for success. He should only associate good things with the crate, so start by putting treats and/or toys in the crate and encouraging him to go in. Some dogs warm up to the crate slowly. If he is afraid to go in, place a treat in the crate as far as he is willing to go. After he takes the treat, place another treat a little farther back in the crate. Keep going until he is eating treats at the very back, then feed him his next meal in the crate with the door open, so that he can walk in and out at will. Crate training a fearful dog can take days, so be patient and encouraging. If a crate is properly introduced and used, your foster dog will happily enter and settle down.
One of your goals as a foster parent is to help prepare your foster dog for living successfully in a home. So, we ask that you help your foster dog to develop good habits and skills through the use of positive reinforcement training, which builds a bond of trust between you and your foster pet. The basic idea is to reward desirable behaviors and ignore unwanted behaviors.
You must not punish a dog for a behavior that you find undesirable because punishment is ineffective at eliminating the behavior. If the dog is doing something undesirable, distract him or her before the behavior occurs. It is also important for every human in the foster home to stick to the rules established for your foster dogs, which will help them to learn faster.
Some foster dogs will have behavioral issues, which we are aware of at the time of their rescue. These behavior challenges include separation anxiety, destruction of property, fear issues or aggression toward other animals. We will only place dogs with behavioral issues with a person who feels comfortable working with the dog on his/her particular issues. We will provide that person with all the necessary information so that the foster dog can receive proper care and training.
If you cannot manage any behavior your foster dog is exhibiting, please contact us to discuss the issue and options. We will guide you and help in every way that we can. Please understand that we have limited resources, so we will personally work with the dog for basic training and minor behavior problems.
Criteria For Emergencies
What constitutes a medical emergency in a dog? A good rule of thumb is any situation in which you would call 911 for a person. Here are some specific symptoms that could indicate an emergency: