Fostering or adopting rescue dogs can be a rewarding experience. It provides a bonding opportunity for the family and gives an animal a loving home. While hiccups are inevitable, there are things a family can do to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
Joanne Johnson, a 15-year volunteer with Greyhound Crossroads who has fostered nearly 500 Greyhound rescue dogs, says the most important thing a family can do to prepare their home for a rescue dog is to get a crate.
Crating Helps with Potty Training
"Most dogs understand they don't potty in the crate (their den), so it is perfect to use when you aren't home or can't supervise your dog closely during the potty training phase," Joanne says.
Catching the dog and correcting him in the act is crucial for the dog's understanding that it's never okay to potty in the house. "Every accident the dog has teaches it something," Joanne explains. While you should have enzyme cleaners available for cleaning up accidents, getting the dog outside and rewarding it for going in the correct place is one of the primary tasks of welcoming a rescue dog into your family.
Crating Creates Safety and Good Habits
Joanne also explains the crate is important for keeping the rescue dog and your home safe when you're away. Without a crate, a dog left alone for the first time could potentially cause significant damage to itself and your home. "A dog that is supervised all the time will learn it isn't allowed to steal food and chew furniture. Just one stolen loaf of bread or steak can turn a mistake into a bad habit that is difficult to break."
Check out Greyhound Crossroads for more information. While their primary focus is Greyhounds, the rescue group's tips on how to handle the first week are valuable for all types of rescue dogs.