Fostering Changes Lives! Here you will find a list of tips and ideas to make the experience successful for you and your decompressing dog.
TWO WEEK SHUTDOWN FOR DOGS
You're excited to have your new friend. Your new friend still isn't sure what is happening. Things have been constantly changing and once again are new and scary. It's been a stressful time and as much as you may want to jump in to this great life and start immediately trying to make up for the time in the shelter, you need to let the dog rest and decompress and get comfortable and trusting.
Two weeks is nothing when it means the rest of life will be easier.
HOW TO ADDRESS COMMON BEHAVIORAL ISSUES
Not all dogs who leave the shelter and enter in to foster care have behavioral issues. However, many dogs that undergo significant emotional trauma may develop behavioral issues as a result of the fear or anxiety resulting from that trauma. Behavioral issues don’t only come from “abuse” as is commonly assumed. It could, but it could also come from:
Neglect, or lack of basic needs (food, shelter, safety)
it could come from spending an extended period of time not sleeping (it’s very challenging for the dogs to sleep well in the shelter, as there are many dogs barking constantly and it’s very hard for dogs to sleep as much as they need)
Lack of exercise/appropriate activity
Lack of human contact or socialization for an extended period of time
pain/medical issues or injury
Initially, it’s important to rule out that your foster dog is experiencing pain, medical issues or illness and that those things could be the root of the behavioral issues. The rescue organization will schedule an initial wellness visit for your foster dog. That visit plays the important role of making sure that there are no underlying issues that would impact your dog’s health. In addition to that medical visit, pay attention to your foster dog and make note of any changes in appetite, bowel movements, significant changes in activity level, or changes in behavior. If you observe any of those issues, notify your rescue organization contact and schedule a check-up.
Additional behavior issues can be addressed through management strategies most easily (management means making it more challenging for your dog to do the unwanted behavior, and easier to do the desired behavior). Your Dog’s Friend has a wonderful tutorial on effective management strategies: