Animal shelters are overwhelmed with unwanted pets, many of whom face death row as there simply isn't enough room to humanely accommodate them all.
A visit to an animal shelter can be a traumatic experience, but it can also be very rewarding. If you adopt a shelter dog, you know in your heart that you saved a life, and believe me a shelter dog will know it too and will reward you with a lifetime of loyal devotion.
If you are not in a position to take on the responsibility of adopting a dog, then you may want to consider dog fostering. Dog fostering is one way to reduce the burden on animal shelters, and it not only gives foster dogs a second chance in life, but any dog removed from an animal shelter to foster care, allows room for another unwanted pet to be accommodated – a pet that may otherwise have been put down. If you foster, rather than adopt a shelter dog, you are providing a dog with a temporary loving home, until it can be re-homed. This allows dogs to be properly socialized before they are adopted, and can prevent behavioral problems that may result in the dog being returned to the shelter by adoptive parents in the future.
If you would like to help a pet in need, and have decided that dog fostering is for you, the following tips will help make the fostering process go smoothly.
Love and Patience
The first thing that you need to bear in mind is that homeless dogs are often confused, frightened, and very stressed. They are potentially lost, or have been removed from the comforts of their familiar surroundings and dumped at the shelter, where they are in unfamiliar territory surrounded by strange dogs and people. You need to know what you are getting into, and be prepared to provide lots of love, affection, and patience to the new member you are welcoming into your household.
When deciding on which dog to foster, make your decision based on which dog is likely to be the best fit for your home. Is the dog good with children; does it get on with other dogs; what about cats? Take into account how much space it needs, and the size of your yard. Does it need plenty of exercise? While this may work if you are a sporty outdoor type, if you work all day and don't have time to exercise the dog sufficiently, it could be a recipe for disaster.
Because they are full of fear and mistrust, a newly fostered dog can easily run away; therefore a collar fitted with an identity tag is a must. This may enable you to find the dog again should it run off, and could save its life. Make sure that the dog is properly restrained when walking him out of the yard – they can easily slip their collars when afraid, so opt for a secure harness, or pinch collar that will prevent escape.
Stress can cause behavioral problems, such as digging, chewing, and barking, which you will need to address. In many cases the dogs have never been properly socialized or trained, and once they have outgrown the cute puppy stage, their owners decided they couldn't cope, and simply dropped them off at the local animal shelter.
Proper training will not only make your new addition more pleasurable to have around, it will also make him more adoptable, as everyone favors a well trained, well behaved dog. Enlist in behavioral classes, or simply invest in a good dog training collar, and begin training the new member of your family yourself. Remote dog training collars are an excellent training aid, and are very efficient at breaking bad habits. Once your pet has become conditioned to the ultrasonic trainer stimulus, remote dog training collars allow you to let your dog run free at the park or beach, while you still maintain control.
If you are concerned that your fostered dog may try to dig under a fence or jump a fence, or if your fencing is not adequate to contain him and you do not want to go to the expense of fencing your yard due to the temporary nature of dog fostering, you could consider purchasing wireless fencing as a containment option. Wireless dog fences are flexible, allowing any configuration, and will contain your dog wherever you want to in your yard, without the need for a physical fence barrier.
By following the above tips, you will soon turn that fearful, mistrusting dog, with plenty of hangups into a happy, well adjusted pooch that anyone will want to adopt – you may even realize that he is too precious to give up, and decide keep him for yourself.