GUIDE FOR FOSTERS
Thank you for being a foster! As a new foster you will be matched with a Foster Mentor who will answer your questions, offer guidance, and ensure your success.
Foster Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Equipment Do I Need?
A list of supplies that you will need for your new foster friend includes:
A standard 6-foot leash and cloth collar. An Easy Walk harness may also be valuable. Lab Rescue prohibits the use of metal or electric collars, as they may hurt your foster dog.
A Lab Rescue ID tag is provided; an ID tag with your home or cell phone number is also valuable
A crate (Lab Rescue can lend a crate if needed)
Food, food bowl, and water bowl just for your foster
Toys for your foster
Lab Rescue LRCP does not reimburse foster families for food, toys, supplies or damage that might be caused by the dog.
What If I Have an Emergency or Have to Go Away for a While?
Please contact the Foster Coordinator team as soon as possible. The more notice we have, the easier it is for us to arrange for an alternate foster home to take your foster Lab, either for a short time or until he or she is adopted.
What Can I Expect When a New Lab Arrives in my Home?
Some of our foster dogs have experienced a great deal of stress by the time they reach your doorstep. They may have been in a situation where they were ignored, tied outside, played with too roughly, reprimanded loudly, or never trained at all. They may have been strays who had been without food or water for a period of time. In short, they may be unsettled when they first arrive.
Take it slowly with your new foster Lab.
Watch your foster Lab closely when not in a crate to more easily redirect behaviors, control dog interactions, and to ensure the dog does not try to bolt out doors or jump over fences.
Give him/her the chance to get to know you, your family, your other pets, and your home.
A little bit of love and patience helps everything.
You can expect to see some signs of stress when your Lab first arrives. Some common signs of stress in a Lab include panting, pacing, shedding and drinking a lot of water (you'll need to take more frequent breaks outside to allow the dog to eliminate.)
If you have any questions or concerns, contact your Foster Mentor.
How Will My Foster Lab Get Adopted?
There are two ways that Labs get adopted through Lab Rescue:
An approved applicant comes to meet your foster Lab in your home
Your foster gets adopted at a monthly Adoption Event
You play a key role in your foster Lab being adopted, regardless of whether they're adopted at an event or directly from your home.
Approved Applicants Visiting Your Foster at Your Home
All applicants are screened before being approved to begin meeting Labs available for adoption. Our volunteer Adoption Coordinators (AC) will work with you to ensure that the approved applicants are a match for your foster dog.
An AC will call first to tell you about approved applicants who are interested in meeting your foster dog. Be sure to discuss what you think the dog needs (exercise level, quiet home, and such) to be sure the best possible match is made. The AC will pass on your contact information to the applicants. When the adopter calls, share as much as you can about the dog with the potential adopter; if it seems like a good match, arrange a time for the applicants to come to your home to meet your foster dog.
When they come to visit, the entire adoptive family, human and canine, is expected to attend. You are not hosting a social event but are just making yourself available to answer questions they may have. Please leave your own dogs in a separate room so the focus will be on the foster dog. Unless you have serious reservations about the match, the approved applicants can take your foster dog home with them and they will supply their own leash and collar. Your foster dog will remain available for adoption if the adopters choose to leave without him or her.
Lab Rescue hosts Adoption Events once a month. You and/or your foster Lab are encouraged to attend. Adoption events offer a great opportunity for your foster to meet their new forever family. If you attend with your foster dog, you can show the dog yourself so that anyone interested in adopting him/her can ask questions of the person who knows the dog the best.
How Long Will I Have my Foster Dog?
Typically, a foster can be with you for as short as a few days or as long as several weeks. Sending and posting updates, good-quality pictures, and details about the fun things you are learning about your foster Lab will help him/her get adopted more quickly.
Welcoming a New Foster Lab
Before Your Foster Lab Arrives
It’s a good idea to tidy up. You probably don’t know all of the Lab’s habits—he/she may like to carry around socks or find a loaf of bread on the counter a great temptation. To help make the transition as easy as possible, remove anything that might spur any unwanted behavior.
You should also close the doors to tempting rooms like kids’ bedrooms with toys, laundry rooms, and the kitchen, if possible. It will not only keep the dog out of the tempting rooms but a smaller space is going to be easier for your new foster dog to investigate.
Preparing Your Dogs for a New Furry Roommate
If you have another dog in the house, it’s a good idea to do a little extra preparation. If there’s going to be any territorial issues, they’ll appear in the first few minutes of the Lab’s arrival. Put away dog toys and chew toys. Let them all get acquainted and make sure they’re getting along before adding toys to their play.
Introductions: Slower is Better
It is best to give the dog a few days to settle in before introducing him/her to anyone outside the immediate family.
Resident Dogs: If possible, introduce the dogs outside and in a neutral place. Consider having them meet up on the street or in a nearby park, as if it were a new dog in the neighborhood, and then walk back together to your home. You can also introduce them in your backyard. The foster dog may also appreciate the opportunity to run around your yard first by itself to use up some pent-up energy before making the introductions. You will want to limit interactions with your dogs to times when you can supervise. In addition, it is always a good idea to feed the dogs separately.
Adult Humans: The best way for an adult to meet a new dog is to just let it come to you. Take a seat on the sofa and when they come to you, offer some kind words and a few gentle pets, but no hugs.
Children: Please do not have your foster dog interact with children under 10 years of age unless specifically approved for children of that age. Do not leave your new foster dog alone, unsupervised, with children. For some helpful guidance on introducing and facilitating interactions with children (your own and visitors), please read this helpful article from YourDogsFriend.org.
Reinforcing Good Bathroom Habits
To avoid accidents, take the dog out frequently. Keep the dog with you so you can supervise inside the house; crate the dog when you can’t. You may want to keep a leash on your foster dog even in the house for the first day or two to help you usher him/her outside quickly if you notice it lifting a leg or starting to squat. If your foster dog does have an accident in the house, clean it up quickly and thoroughly with an odor-control product such as Nature’s Miracle
Give Your Foster Lab Time to Settle In
They’re probably a little stressed, and your patience will help them settle in. One seasoned Lab Rescue foster parent refers to the 3-day rule: a foster will have settled in and will be showing their normal “Labby” personality within 3 days. Try to give them that time, and help them be as secure as possible while still establishing the rules for your home.