Attn: Mike Zev...Fostering!


Alright bro! Been looking over the foster 'parent' application for the spca in my area. Tell me what I need to know about this stuff!

What are the typical guidelines with regard to socialization and training? Meaning, are they gonna give me a skills checklist for leash obedience, commands, and environments the dog need be tolerant of? Or is it solely dependent on the capability of each fosterer(ie: most people just feed, water, and walk their dogs)?

Must I disclose my training background?

Must I disclose which training tools and methods I use? As in should I keep my mouth shut about the prong collar, obedience under stress and/or taking them into the mountains for all natural agility work? ;o)

 well, spca isnt gonna really grill you about training the dog or your training experience. Keep in mind that they WANT to get the dog out of the building but need to feel warm and fuzzy about who they go to. Most

The number one thing my gf looks for in a foster is responsibility. An idiot is not gonna get a dog from her. They want to know that you have a stable job/lifestyle as well as adequate time/facilities to properly house the dog. The basics really.

Some things to make yourself more appealing as a foster:

Walking in to a place like that you and I know that you probably know more about trainng dogs than anybody in the building, dont be preachy about it. Keep your description about working dogs short, mention little more than your experience in sports. when you get home with the pup, do what you want as far as training goes. Remember, positive reinforcement  is heavily supported by such organizations because it gets them more donations and grants.

Sign up as a volunteer. Come by and walk the dogs. No serious training or anything, just walking. Work on heel a little bit and sitting at corners. enjoy yourself there! the dogs and the staff will notice! Many shelters will let you start by just taking a dog for the weekends, sometimes a vacation from the shelter really helps dogs keep thier sanity.

Talk a little about breed experience. now, some orgs get a little curious when people talk about pit bull experience and it doesnt have to do with rescue. Dont talk about breeding.

Overall, dont come off like a crazy dog guy and keep in mind that most people in animal welfare are fucked up.

Good Luck!

 and btw, they wont ask, so dont mention the prong or training under stress. like i said, do what you want when you go home but keep in mind that you're not working with a dog bred for real work in most cases and you may have to take it really slow. Shelter dogs may have some damage.

Thanks for the info! ;o)

I'm not planning to disclose my intentions or experience if I don't have to. I was just curious as to whether or not these organizations are proactive in their selection process, making sure people can competently handle dogs as opposed to temporary living environments outside the shelter.

Shit man, I'll go in there with pink head collars and PETA shirts if it means I win their favor! lol

As well, is there usually a minimum timeframe in which dogs are fostered? 2wk blocks? Ideally I'd like to work with problem dogs for at least 6-8wks so they can be adequately stabilized, but shorter periods will allow me to get my hands on a greater number of dogs in addition to having some optionas/freedom in case my work/school schedule turns to shit. Meaning, can I agree to take a dog in during Christmas break but return it before school starts again? And what about multiple fosters? Do they frown on someone handling more than one dog at a time?


MikeZev -  Overall, dont come off like a crazy dog guy and keep in mind that most people in animal welfare are fucked up.

Didn't see this before...damn! lmao


For some reason I'm picturing smiley showing up to the shelter wearing a full bite suit and carrying a prong collar.

^haha, dick! lol

It's gonna be a little while before I'm move on this project, but yeah, I'm sure it's gonna be quite the *funny* experience. Imagine Gomer Pyle(FMJ) walking into an animal shelter talking about schutzhund and asking to foster all of the scary breeds. I can see their expressions now! ;o)

I'm just cracking up at the idea of you doing the stuff you talk about with a pound puppy. Don't take that the wrong way or anything. I'm just imagining an "odd couple" pairing of someone like you working with a little mutt.

In all seriousness though, best of luck with it when it does commence and keep us updated on the progress.

 Well, as funny(and odd) as it may seem the foundation work is the same for all dogs. Doesn't matter if they're protection dogs, therapy dogs, or just a family pet. It all starts with uncompromising obedience.

And the best way to achieve desired results is by stressing the dogs in agility. Get a dog up off the ground and you'll not only get their attention, but also motivate them to trust and bond with you. The only difference lie in the intensity of the work done. Meaning, I'm obviously not going to expose genetically unsuitable dogs to bitework or live gunfire, but  even so I will see to it that thresholds and confidence are increased via communication.

It's gonna be fun and hopefully by the time I'm ready to do this I'll have a camera/camcorder so I'm able to upload footage to the OG. I'm sure y'all will get a kick out of seeing labs and little terriers doing the stuff I've talked about for a few years now. haha!

 No PETA shirts! nobody likes them.

Multiple fosters are almost always a no. Most orgs, from what I know, are pretty flexible as far as how long you have a dog and when you have them. Our local shelter has a couple people that call up every once in a while and offer to give a dog a week vacation at thier place.


And IU was serious saying that a lot of people in animal welfare are fucked up. Lots of nice people but being constantly surrounded with animals in bad situations - abuse, neglect, etc - puts a bitter taste into a lot of people's mouths and effects them emotionally and socially.


Like i said, go there and spend some time with the dogs. Have fun. You'll get a better idea of what you want to do and what you can do. It may take you a good while to find a dog you consider up to your working standards but in the process of looking you can do a lot of good and maybe a little mutt will make an impression on you that you werent expecting.

Good luck, keep us updated and let me know if you have anymore questions - I could always ask the GF more specific.

 Nah, it won't take long to find suitable dogs. Why? Because as I said the foundations are the same for all dogs. Uncompromising obedience and communication. There's not a dog(or handler, btw) that cannot benefit from it.

So it really doesn't matter what dogs I work so long as the organization doesn't give me shit for the methods used. However, I will er on the side of large/scary dogs that would otherwise not get adopted due to breed and media hysteria. Stabilize a bunch of pit bulls and guardian breeds so they transition into homes smoothly and safely? Can't ask for better results.

Will probably start volunteering in a couple of weeks.