The Initial Adjustment:


A happy foster family

Introduce your dog(s) to the foster dog on neutral territory, not in your home. Walk them together before taking them into the home. If this is not possible, put your dog(s) either outside or block them off in the home so they do not overwhelm the foster dog when it first enters. We suggest that you let them greeting through an x-pen or baby gate.

IMPORTANT: Crating at night or when leaving the home is a requirement. It will give your dogs a break and also protect your home from accidents and/or destructiveness. At night, the crate can be moved into your bedroom.

Your foster dog should never be out of your sight for the first week. Leash the foster dog to you if working around the home. If you can’t watch it — crate it! REMEMBER: Your dogs were there first. It doesn’t hurt a foster dog to crate it when necessary to give your own dogs a break.

Be very cautious when taking the dog off of your property. Until the dog has bonded with you it is very likely to bolt at the first opportunity. Some dogs back up when frightened or startled and can slip out of their collars. Check the foster dog’s collar and, if this seems a possibility, let us know and we’ll provide a more secure collar. If the dog does happen to break free try to approach it as calmly and nonchalantly as possible; rushing up to it will only make it run away. LET US KNOW IMMEDIATELY IF YOU LOSE POSSESSION OF THE DOG.

Be cautious when exposing the foster dog to children that are not in your household and to strangers. Get to know it a little first. In most cases, we do not know the dog’s history and so we cannot predict how it will react in some situations. Be aware that, if the dog bites, even if through fear, it may have to be euthanized. Don’t put your foster dog in a situation that will cost him his life.


Your foster dog should always be fed in a crate. Please do not over feed the dog. A fat dog has a shorter lifespan and multiple health problems.


Potty the foster dog outside on a leash or in a restricted area until it has adjusted to the new surroundings and you feel comfortable that it will come into the home when called.

Don’t assume the foster dog is housetrained — changes in homes and families are stressful for the dog and it may “forget” or need some time to adjust to your routine. Praise when foster dog does its business outside.


Do not reach over the dog’s head to pet it as they may perceive this to be a threat. Instead, pet the dog under the chin.

If foster dog is shy or fearful don’t make direct eye contact or stare. Again, the dog may consider this to be a threat.

Do not pick up a foster dog that doesn’t know you very well! This is good way to get nipped.

Teach the dog basic manners – “sit”, “down”, “leave it,” “wait” (as in don’t bolt out the front door), “stay” “quiet” and how to walk on a leash. Good manners help the dog become more adoptable!

General Guidelines:

Discourage the foster dog from getting on the furniture and on your bed. You may enjoy it, but the new adopter may not. You need to assist the dog in becoming more adoptable. In addition, this provides a clear signal to the foster dog and to your own dog(s) that the foster dog has a lower status in the pack. This is reassuring to your own dog(s) and also to the foster dog who is trying to figure how where he fits in.

Must Do’s:

The foster dog must have on an ID tag at all times. the tag can be purchased at a pet supply store and should say; “Rescue Dog, your phone number and U-CP phone number”, 269-273-1514.

The dog must be returned to us if you are leaving for vacation or going out-of-town. Pet sitters are not approved to foster.

Fosters must be clean, brushed and have their nails clipped. Grooming can be arranged but weekly brushing is necessary. Potential adopters could visit at any time and it is important that the foster dog makes a good impression. Let the dog adjust for at least 2-3 days before attempting to groom it.

If a veterinarian is needed, please contact us for an approved facility. The foster parent must be willing to take foster dog to vet appointments when needed. All vet visits and procedures must be pre-approved by the foster coordinator.

A foster agreement must be signed for each dog fostered.

Your foster dog must stay with you for at least 2 weeks before it is available for adoption.

Medical Care Our dogs have all been vet checked and are up to date on their vaccinations, have been heartworm checked. If they were heartworm positive the foster family will be instructed about their care. All of our dogs have been spay/neutered unless they are too sick when the go into their foster home, if this is the case they will be placed in a foster home that is willing and able to care for a special needs dog and the surgery will be done when the dog is healthy enough to undergo the surgery.

Need Help?

If the foster dog isn’t working out for any reason, contact us immediately. You are not a failure — the foster dog just isn’t the right match for your home. U-CP does provide counseling, especially during the adjustment phase. We are here to help you so, if something isn’t working or, if you are struggling, ASK FOR HELP!