Bringing your foster dog home

A Guide to the first 72 hours at home

Your new dog will be confused and frightened in his new environment, especially if he is in pain due to an injury, illness or post operative recovery.

 

Allow him time to get used to his surroundings and don’t expect too much from him to start off.

Dog proofing

Dog proof the areas the dog will be in - clear up wires/ plastic bags/ poisonous plants/ household chemicals and any other hazards so that the dog cannot come into contact with them.

Create a safe space for your dog

Create a comfortable area/ space for the dog in a quiet corner of the room where he can relax and decompress when he comes home. We recommend this is in a small room with a barrier across the door to prevent him from escaping. This should be in an area where he won’t be constantly interrupted and should include:

  • A bed and some blankets.

  • Fresh clean water which is available all of the time

Helping your dog associate you with good things

You can drop a few pieces of food on your dog’s bed to help him understand that his bed is a great place to be. You can also gently drop some food next to him as you walk past his bed area so that he gets used to the idea that your presence is a really good thing for him. This will help him to get used to you and know you are safe.

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Food

We recommend that you feed your dog two meals a day. You can decide on a morning and an afternoon meal time and feed your dog regularly at those times every day, for instance at 8.30am and 5.30pm. Puppies may need more frequent meals or special feed for younger dogs. A well balanced commercial feed is probably the easiest way to feed your foster dog as balancing a home cooked diet can be tough.

Toileting

  • If you have outdoor space and you can easily and safely get your dog out for a regular potty break every 1-2 hours then do so.

  • If that is not possible, create an indoor toilet area for the dog separate to his bed area but close enough that he can get to it easily. You can create this area from newspaper/ puppy pads etc or a tray with soil or sand – whatever works best for you.

  • Give the dog plenty of opportunities to go to the toilet in the designated area. Ideally this should be at least every 2 hours.

  • You can strengthen the behaviour of going outside, on the pad/ toilet area by giving him lots of praise and rewarding him with a treat for toileting in the correct area.

Dos and Don'ts

Do:

  • Use distance. If your dog seems scared, anxious or conflicted by anything in the environment, even if that’s you, move the thing he is scared of further away. Frightened animals value space more than food or attention so keep that in mind when interacting with the dog.

  • Allow your dog to sniff around and get comfortable with the space.

  • Give him lots of quiet time and space to get used to his new environment.

  • Create a barrier using a baby gate or other dog safe tool in front of the door that will prevent your dog from escaping his environment.

  • Supervise all contact with your other animals. Remove bowls and toys so that fights don't break out. Give the new dog the chance to meet the animals in a safe way from behind a barrier first.

Don’t:

 

  • Please don’t allow your dog to mix with your children. There should be a barrier between them at all times. It is not safe for them to mix even under close supervision. The dog will be frightened and might be in pain, so not emotionally equipped to meet new people.

  • Take your dog outside the house or yard area for the time being unless absolutely necessary until you have obtained a well fitting harness and leash. A scared dog can easily escape and get lost

  • Have visitors over until your dog gets used to his new home. If visitors must come over for any reason, please keep them separate from your dog.

  • Punish him or shout if he has an accident in the house.

  • Invade your dog’s personal space. Only pet him if he comes to you otherwise let him choose when to interact with you.

If you need further help with your foster dog please contact emma@houndcharming.com or via our Facebook page (using Private Message).