How do you become a Foster Parent for a Dog?

How do you become a foster parent for a dog? All you need to do is contact a rescue organisation and tell them you’re interested in fostering. There are so many rescue organisations who are desperate for foster carers as there are so many abandoned, surrendered and abused dogs in these shelters who deserve a little love.

I have been fostering for the RSPCA for 4 years now and the process of signing up was very simple. I filled out a form stating what animals I could look after and whether or not I was able/willing to foster dogs with medical or behavioural issues. I also had to state if I was comfortable with juvenile animals who weren’t old enough to be adopted out just yet.

The next step was to attend a training session which included an assessment of your suitability to the fostering program.

If you are interested in finding out more about the foster program, check out the RSPCA website which will have all information required.

rspcavic.org

The kind of animals you can foster include cats, kittens, dogs, puppies, rabbits and guinea pigs. Some animals enter foster care because;

  • How to become a foster parent

    Snuggle time

    they are recovering from health problems which need treatment before they can enter adoption

  • they are too young
  • Animals with behavioural problems or requiring socialisation.

The RSPCA supplies everything needed for the animal and is there to support you if you have any issues.

My first foster was Dolly the miniature fox terrier.  She had to have surgery on her patella so needed a place to recover and be on restricted movement. Dolly was adorable and loved to be with you all time and snuggle up too you.  Dolly became part of the family very quickly, however she had her bossy side, often letting my dogs know that they weren’t allowed on the couch anymore because that was official Dolly cuddles time!

Just like Dolly, Conrad and Pumpkin were two other dogs I fostered for medical reasons. This meant strict guidelines on food, on medication, and also on the amount of physical exercise they could or couldn’t do.

Wesley and the little Staffy pair, Billy and Milly, were all juveniles who needed some basic training and socialisation before they were allowed to go into adoption. Lots of time was spent on doggy playdates teaching them how to approach and play with other dogs.

Hansel was the first guinea pig I fostered who needed to be fattened up for de-sexing.

Before taking on any fosters I always consider if I have the time to put in the work required as I want the best outcome for the animals.  Fostering is very rewarding and I would do it more if I didn’t have dogs of my own as I have to think about my girls too.  All my fosters have a special place in my heart and I wish I could help more animals in need. Fostering is great if you love animals but can’t commit 100% to keeping one, this way you get to love them and see them blossom and find their forever home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dog Park Etiquette

A dog park can be great for dogs to burn off energy and play off leash with other dogs.  Dog parks are also great for the owners to socialise with other dog lovers and their pets. Owners need to realise dog parks can be dangerous as well.  Not all dogs get on and some dogs are bullies.

Here are some tips to reduce any incidents at the park

  • Have a good recall

Some dogs don’t like groups or individual dogs rushing up so train your dog to come when called before they get into trouble with other dogs. Keep your dog focused on you once he is with you, then release him to play again. You should also teach your dog that it’s fun to play with you instead of playing with other dogs all the time.

  • Know your dog

If you haven’t been to a dog park before ease into it. Go when it’s less busy. Observe how your dog reacts. If your dog is licking his lips, trying to hide behind you and yawning these are some of the signs your dog is afraid and wants to leave and you should listen. A fearful dog can become aggressive. People with dogs that are bullies should not go to off leash parks as fights will no doubt occur.

I have noticed some people just standing and talking and not taking note of their dog’s behavior or they say the dog needs to harden up. You wouldn’t like being put somewhere where you feel uncomfortable so please don’t do it to your dog. Think baby steps when you start socialising a fearful dog, start from afar so the dog gets used to seeing other dogs then move closer.

  • Take responsibility of your dog

Always keep an eye on your dog. If your dog is stalking or humping the other dogs, call him off and move to another area of the park and do some focus work with them to calm their energy levels down then release. If the behavior persists leave the park to avoid any fights happening.

  • Know the difference between playing and fighting

Dogs that are well socialized will display a relaxed posture and take turns chasing each other, and pause frequently to calm themselves down. Some dogs do get over excited and can go into prey drive so I recommend always breaking up play. Get your dog to focus on you then release. Dogs which are out to have a good time will take turns being on bottom when they’re wrestling. Dogs normally are good at telling each other to back off by showing their teeth or growling but some dogs don’t get the message so always keep an eye on both dogs to make sure both are happy to play.

4

A pet hate of mine which I hear from some pet owners at the park is the dogs will sort it out or the dogs are just playing. If you don’t want your dog to end up hurt you should intervene to avoid any fights breaking out. I highly recommend dog owners to learn a bit about dog body language so they know how their dog is feeling.

 

Dog Off Leash Parks around Bentleigh

There are a number of Dog off leash parks around Bentleigh.  Here is a list of some of the dog parks around Bentleigh,

Moorleigh Reserve

Bentleigh – Hodgson Reserve

Halley Park

Victory Park

Centenary Park

Marlborough Street Reserve

King George VI Memorial Reserve

Bailey Reserve

As a dog walker I like to get to know where the parks are in the areas I service. To find where the dog parks are I look on the council webpage. The council gives you a guide to the on and off-leash parks in their city. Dog-off leash areas are beneficial for the dogs health and the council knows this and many parks have designated dog off-leash areas. Dog owners have an obligation to have their dog properly restrained by way of leash, whenever they are in public. The exception is if you are in a designated off-leash park. For dogs to be able to be off leash they must be under effective voice control at all times or kept on a leash that does not exceed 1.5 metres in length. Dogs must not be off-leash within 20 metres of barbeques and picnic areas: children’s playgrounds: sporting events: sportsground preparation and organised public meetings. Off-leash areas are still public areas and used for other things so consider other park users. Not everyone likes dogs and some find it intimidating if a dog runs up to them, so never let your dog jump up on people.  If you have difficulty controlling your dogs behaviour and your dog has no recall you should never let your dog off leash.  Not all dogs like it when dogs rush up to them so if your dog rushes to greet another dog and you have no control then that dog might snap and a fight may break out.  Be considerate of other park users and pick up after your dog, its one of my pet hates when I go to the dog park and see poo dropping everywhere.

 

3