You Can Be A Hero!

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And it’s so easy – just open your home to an adult dog in need.

Winter is upon us, and with it comes an influx of dogs needing emergency placement in our program. We are receiving calls almost every other day for placement of adult dogs. Our classification of “adult” is anywhere from 6 months to 2+ years old. Unfortunately, adult dogs carry different stigmas than puppies that prevent people from wanting to foster them. Most of our foster homes will tell you that almost ALL of those stigmas are not true and there are some amazing benefits to it! We’ll go over a couple of the benefits here and provide you with some foster home testimonials, too.

Fostering an adult dog has a direct impact on that animal’s life and well-being. Our adult foster homes are almost always full. Without you, it is unlikely we could bring the adults into our care.

What you see is what you get
One spectacular benefit of fostering an adult dog is you know exactly what size of dog you will be getting and they likely won’t get much bigger during the time you are fostering them. Additionally, they can usually sleep through the night without having to go out, unlike most of our foster puppies. Another amazing benefit to this is that you, as a foster home, can find a wonderful match for your foster dog. An adult dog already has his personality and you can really “fine-tune” the adoptive home criteria.

I found the adoptive families of adult dogs were also more attentive the the dogs’ needs. Both Keesha and Airabella were fearful and shy fosters and both families were so understanding of what each dog needed individually. We were extremely hesitant with fostering our first adult too, and to our surprise it was so much more rewarding than the puppies! Lisa – ARF Foster Home

You can teach an old dog new tricks
Adult dogs pick up house training much, much faster than puppies and they tend to be less destructive. That being said, there is always one or two that go through a second “puppy period” and have to be taught what they’re allowed to chew on and what they can’t. After all, they’ve never lived in a house or urban environment before and most of this stuff is new to them. Their attention spans are much longer than that of a puppy and they can usually tolerate longer training sessions. They also pick up new things fairly quickly and adjust to new routines quite fast.

I have fostered both puppies and adults and find the adults to be more rewarding and a lot less work. The foster dogs are eager to learn and adjust to routine quickly. By using positive training and lots of treats they quickly learn. Reanna – ARF Foster Home

Active and outdoorsy? Adult dog is the way to go
If you are a runner or a jogger, having an adult dog as a running companion can be an excellent way to work on training and bond with the new him/her. Puppies can’t run or jog until their bones have matured, so an adult dog will fit right in to an active lifestyle like this.

Adult dogs fit into our lives a bit easier – both my husband and I work full time, and our Koko isn’t the biggest fan of puppies. We adored that they were ready to pick up running with us, and were constantly amazed by the progress you could make with them in such a short time. Stephanie – ARF Foster Home

What about behaviour problems?
This can be a little complicated, yes. Some dogs can have behaviour problems. 99.9% of these problems are fear-based and have come from a lifetime of fending for themselves plus a lack of socialization. The good news? We have an fantastic support team at your disposal. Our Dog Program consists of many volunteers who are highly educated in canine behaviour and we have some fabulous local trainers on stand-by ready to help any dog who has complex behaviour problems. That being said, the number of dogs with real issues is minimal and usually something we can work with to improve.

What kind of issues might you see? Well, in short, there is a good chance you will see dogs who have never lived inside a house and are nervous around household items. They may never have had a leash or collar on them, so that might be strange to them at first. They might be protective of their food (resource guard), which is understandable, since they’ve had to fend for themselves – we know this one sounds scary, but when managed and worked with in a positive and appropriate way, it can be fairly easy to bring around. You might go through a few “puppy-like” experiences as well, like chewing on shoes etc. but remember, they’ve never lived in a normal home, so we just have to show them what’s right. Sometimes we’ll see dogs who, because of their lifetime of fending for themselves, are reactive towards other dogs. Again, we have an amazing team of volunteers and trainers able to help with this. No foster home is ever left to figure things out on their own. Most adult dogs have never been in a crate before, so taking the time to crate train will be helpful in the long run and for adoptive families. Finally, they’ll all need some basic manners and training, which again, is pretty easy to work on! And remember, we have a ton of volunteers who have amazing behaviour experience at your disposal.

We fostered Knox, who was probably our biggest challenge and most rewarding adoption. He had resource guarding issues, and as scary as it was at the beginning, I learned an incredible amount working with him and felt like we truly made a difference in his life. The family still keeps in touch with me and he went to a home with 4 children, this family was so willing to take it slow and continue working with him and his best friend is now a 10 year old little boy. Breanna – ARF Foster Home

Most of the time the adult dogs know a good thing when they see it and meld right into living in a home environment so quickly. Most of them are house-trained right away and just appreciate a warm bed and regular food.

People may worry that they might be a bit wild and not adjust to living in the house but when I fostered adults I was surprised that there were no accidents in the house and they were just so happy to be included and loved. Jinx sticks out for me because she had been shot in the back and we expected to have to do a lot of work for her to trust people but she was just the happiest most loving dog.  Emily – ARF Foster Home
If you’re interested in fostering, check out our foster home page and fill out an application today!
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