Your Role as a Foster Parent

Your primary role as a foster parent is to be a loving and patient caretaker while your foster dog acclimates to domestic life. Your “job” as a foster parent is to learn all about the dog’s personality and behaviors, in order to help find a great adopter.

Once you are approved by the rescue group and confirm your commitment to fostering for a certain duration, please keep your promise, for the pup’s sake.

Be patient

Part of fostering is about taking a risk– an exciting one!– and you can’t always know everything about your incoming foster dog before they arrive. Stay patient and understanding when learning about your foster dog’s personality and behaviors; this will be a big help to the rescuers and to the dog’s future adopter!

Work on training

Some rescues work with a trainer, and are happy to connect you if you want to have a call or session with them to make sure you are following the rescue’s guidelines, as well as properly handling and training your foster dog. Many dogs are treat-motivated and respond well to positive reinforcement. Remember: consistency is key!

Slowly and safely expose the dog to new experiences

Ask the rescue if it’s ok to take your dog new places, like to work or on the subway, or to introduce the dog to kids, other dogs, and cats.

Get good photos

High quality pictures of your foster dog can help your dog stand out among the thousands of other dogs looking for homes online. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take a good picture. 

Help the rescue GROUP promote the dog

The best way to get exposure for your foster dog is by having the dog wear brightly colored “Adopt Me” paraphernalia whenever you leave the house. The rescue might be able to provide you with a leash sleeve, vest, or bandana for your dog to wear, and download foster business cards on our resources page to hand out to interested adopters you may meet. 

Sharing pictures and short descriptions of your foster dog on your social media profiles (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) can get your extended networks interested in possibly adopting your foster dog. Some dogs might be adopted quickly from the rescue or shelter, but some might require a little more work and promotion. Keep your messaging positive!

Tag #FosterDogs on Instagram if you want @FosterDogs to promote your foster pup!

Share what you’ve learned with the new adopter

After spending days, weeks, months with your foster dog, you’ve gained knowledge about this dog’s temperament and interests. Be sure to share anything you think might be helpful for the new adopters to know about your foster dog with them or with the rescue!