Foster Fundamentals

Before You Bring Home

Your Foster Dog

Are you ready to bring your rescue dog home?  If you haven’t brought your new foster dog home yet, here are 4 things you should do before bringing any new dog home?   Just like if you were bringing home a new baby, your house needs to be safe for your new dog. Oh yeah, dogs are cute and cuddly, but they can be packed full of trouble.

  1. Dogs are constantly looking for things to test with their mouths, sniffing out the best-tasting shoe, figuring out what all those wires are hanging just waiting for someone to play with.  Pick up small items a dog may find enticing to chew, gate off areas of the home you don’t want the dog to have access to. Dogs are curious, just like a baby, they use their mouths to explore.
  2. Walkthrough your yard and make sure the fence is in good shape with no areas the dog may squeeze or dig under the fence. Check the gates to make sure they are closed and latched.  Ensure any fertilizers, bug sprays or other chemicals are stowed away.
  3. Purchase a crate and set it up in a quiet place, such as your bedroom. A crate will give your dog a safe place to decompress.  The crate must be large enough for the dog to stand up and turn around comfortably.  If you have a large dog maybe use a hexpen or baby gate to make a quiet area for them to rest.
  4. Purchase necessities such as food, food/water bowls, collar, leash, and ID tag. Of course, a few toys and a bone would be nice too.

Bring a Foster Dog Into Your Home!

  • Give them time to decompress.
  • No matter the age of your new dog, it’s going to be a lot like bringing home a new puppy.
  • You have no idea how this new dog will react to your home.
  • Potty accidents, chewing, and running away are all possible.
The 3 Days, 3 Weeks, 3 Month Rule of Adopting a Rescue Dog

Here Are Some Tips to Help During This Time:


    When you first get home, introduce your new foster dog to the outside of your house before bringing him inside. Let him take in all the new smells. Show him where he will go potty.


    Don’t leave kids alone with your new foster dog. For the first few weeks, the dog is going to be stressed from moving to a new home he is not familiar with… add a child that just wants to hug and kiss the dog, and it’s a recipe for disaster (i.e. dog bite). Even the nicest dog can bite out of fear and protection.


    If you have another dog at home, introduce them outside before bringing him inside. Even if they’ve already met at the shelter or foster home.

    Take them for a walk together or put the resident dog in the backyard, bring the new dog to the outside of the fence to let them smell each other.

    It is important not to let the new dog “invade” your resident dog’s territory. Take this step very slowly.

    As hard as it may feel, you should wait 24-48 hours before fully introducing the new dog into your pack. Keep them in separate areas of the house for the first day to let everyone decompress.

    Even if your current dog or pet loves other dogs, this separation time is the best way to set up your foster dog for success.


    Enter and introduce your dog to your house slowly. Restrict his access to one area of the home. He is going to be stressed for the first few days (read the 3-3-3 rule of dogs on the left), so the smaller the new area is, the more comfortable he will be.

    Keep him on a leash for at least the first day, preferably the first 3 days. You don’t always have to hold on to the leash, he can drag the leash around with him, but this gives you quick access to him if needed.

    It helps the dog not get overwhelmed and helps limit potty accidents.


    Creating a routine will also help your dog feel more comfortable. Schedule his feeding, walks, sleep and playtime.

    Dogs thrive on routine; it will help your dog adjust more quickly. Get your new dog on a schedule right away. Be consistent with feeding, walking, and sleeping times.


    Research dog training classes. Training your dog is so important Give them the abilities they need to make a good impression for their new forever home family.