Fostering a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience. You're helping to care for and love a dog in need while they wait to be adopted into their forever home. It's a truly generous and compassionate thing to do and can be beneficial for both pup and foster parent. However, it's important to remember that fostering a dog can also be extremely challenging. You're taking in a dog who has been in questionable circumstances, meaning they might display erratic behavior... and then, after devoting your time and love to them, you eventually have to give them up. It's tough, and it isn't for everyone. If you're considering it, there are some ways to know if you're really ready to foster a dog, because this is a decision that requires some serious thinking.
After all, you don't want to agree to foster a dog if you actually aren't able to do it correctly. The whole point of taking them in is to help them, and if you aren't able to do that adequately, then you're better off not doing it at all. That's for the dog's sake, of course, but also yours. You want to make sure you're doing the right thing for yourself and all the puppers out there, because you all deserve that! So before you make a huge commitment to being a foster parent for a dog, you'll want to make sure you're 100 percent ready to be in that situation. Below are a way ways to tell:
1. You Have A Pretty Open Schedule
Fostering a dog is like owning any pet: it's going to take up a lot of your time, and how much will depend on the type of dog you get. Do you have the time to take the dog on walks, play with them, feed them, give them the love they deserve, and also bring them to events and such when necessary?
You should also be able to spend a decent amount of time with the dog to monitor their health, as well as to make sure they're getting adjusted to their environment. Plus, you'll need to dedicate time to helping train the dog. If you work a lot and go away often, fostering a dog might not be the best idea for you.
2. You're Emotionally Ready
Before you decide to become a doggie foster parent, you really need to think about the feelings involved here. You're taking in a pet, learning everything about him or her, probably starting to really care for the dog, and then giving him/her up. That's not an easy thing to do. If you get easily attached, and you think it will be heartbreaking for you to give up the dog, then this might not be the right move for you. Why put that emotional strain on yourself?
You'll also want to think about the fact that the dog could be really tough to handle. You aren't guaranteed to get a dog who behaves perfectly. In fact, many dogs who are looking for foster homes came from bad environments and might be really hard to train and deal with. You need to be emotionally ready for that kind of turmoil as well.
3. You Have The Space Necessary
Dogs need a lot of room, and so if you're living in a tiny apartment, you might not want to foster one. Do you have enough space for all of the things that come with a dog? Will the dog be able to have some of their own space as they get adjusted to their new environment? Do you have a backyard where the dog can go out, or are you able to walk the dog? These are all important things to consider.
4. You're Ready To Speak Up For This Animal
Fostering a dog sometimes means that you have to help find a home for the dog (some organizations already have homes for the dogs, and you're just watching them before they can get there). You'll need to be able to advocate for the dog, and that means speaking up to others about how great the pupper is. If you're shy and you don't want to have that responsibility on your hands, then maybe you shouldn't foster — or you should at least only take in dogs who already have a home lined up.
5. You've Learned Basic Training and Obedience Techniques
You don't need to be a certified dog trainer to foster a dog, but it certainly helps to know the basics when it comes to behavior and obedience. In fact, it's helpful to have as much knowledge about dogs as possible, since you never really know exactly what you're going to get. Take a class on dog training or speak to professionals before fostering.
6. You're Patient and Not Easily Spooked
Sometimes you'll foster dogs who are sweet, loving, and very well-behaved. Other times you'll foster dogs who are hard to take care of, full of energy, and not obedient. And sometimes foster dogs can even have a tendency towards violence or bad behavior. You need to be prepared for any of this. Many foster dogs will be erratic, so even if they seem wonderful, they could have their moments where they behave badly. You need to be patient enough to deal with the tough situations that come up, and you need to know how to act if the dog gets a little aggressive.
7. Your Pets Are Going To Be Cool With It
If you're thinking about fostering a dog and you have other pets, you need to make sure that they'll be OK with having a dog enter your home as well. For example, if you already own a dog, you need to make sure the two are both friendly enough to get along with each other. If you have a cat who hates dogs, don't foster one! You're then putting two animals in bad positions.
8. You're Prepared For A Longer Commitment If Necessary
Fostering a dog is usually a temporary situation — sometimes you might only do it for a short period of time. Other times, you might end up having the dog for much longer than you originally thought. That's another thing you need to be prepared for — the fact that the dog could stick around for quite a while. Make sure your schedule is able to accommodate that, and that you'll be ready if necessary.
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