You saw his picture on a Facebook post. He looked so forlorn–sitting in a kennel run with a wistful “please pick me” expression. You HAD to help him. You filled out your foster application and a week later he arrived on the transport with the same wistful, but slightly more hopeful expression. What do you do now? How do you set him up for successful adoption? A dog’s first few days in your home (the decompression phase) can set him and your relationship up for success or failure.
By the time your rescue arrives on the transport, your excitement at receiving him is high. You want to cuddle, play and get to know this sweet creature. By the time your rescue arrives on the transport, HE is scared, exhausted and hungry. He needs time, space and quiet to rest and get used to his new surroundings. Only then, can he cuddle, play and learn to love you.
Prepare a quiet sanctuary for Fido before he arrives. Ideally, it will be located in a quiet, but easily accessible area of the house. Locate his crate, bed and food dishes in this area. A crate is a safe haven for your foster pup. Provide a Kong or other food toy in the crate and allow him quiet to get used to new sounds and smells. Young Living Lavendar essential oil, delivered in a cold air diffuser, is also a useful tool for producing relaxation.
Allow him at least 24 hours of quiet before introducing new humans. During this time he will eat, sleep and eat some more. Feed smaller meals to keep his digestive system from becoming overwhelmed. New food + stress=Mess!
Keep Fido segregated from all other animal family members at first and make introductions slowly. It is best to introduce dogs in a neutral space such as a park or on a walk before allowing them to be out together in your backyard. Supervise and watch body language. This will tell you whether they are ready to be together in the house or if they need to live separately a little longer.
Remember! The crate is your friend. It is the saver of couches, rugs and draperies. It is your dog’s safe place. If you do not have a crate, beg, buy or borrow one prior to your foster’s arrival.
NEXT WEEK: CRATE TRAINING 101