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Foster handbook 07012008


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Foster handbook 07012008

  1. 1. LONE STAR BOXER RESCUE PO Box 541286 Houston, TX 77254 FOSTER HANDBOOK As of July 1, 2008 Table of Contents Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 1 of 7
  2. 2. This handsome dog came through our program and is now living in his forever home! 1 Lone Star Boxer Rescue Lone Star Boxer Rescue is not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization. Lone Star Boxer Rescue was started in 1999 out of a love for the breed and a tremendous demand in the Houston area for alternatives to local kill shelters. Each year, our all volunteer organization has continued to grow. We have added new volunteers, new foster homes, and hundreds of new dogs. In 2007, we were able to re-home 231 dogs and we hope to exceed 300 for 2008. These dogs come into our program with multiple issues. Each of these dogs would have a very high probability of euthanasia if they were surrendered at the local shelters. This is because many of them are unaltered and have other medical issues such as heartworms, poor nutrition, skin conditions, broken bones, or broken spirits. Lone Star Boxer Rescue has contacts within each of the local shelters and animal control organizations. These groups reach out to us to come and take animals before they are euthanized. Our organization provides these animals with veterinary care, spay/neuter, vaccinations, and temporary foster homes. Our organization is affiliated with four local trainers. We use these trainers for advice and as fosters for our more "difficult" dogs. As you may know, there are a number of Boxers that are born white. These dogs do not fit the "standard" and are many times given to shelters or dropped off on the street. A high number of these dogs are deaf and require special training techniques. Without these trainers as fosters, many dogs would not be able to be adopted. The trainers work with "hard to adopt" dogs and the deaf dogs to insure that they are trained and ready to be adopted. When a dog has been with a trainer, we require the adoptive families to work with the trainers as part of the adoption process. 2 Your Lone Star Boxer A dog that comes into Lone Star Boxer Rescue is a Lone Star Boxer for life. These dogs have already been to shelters or rescued from abusive or neglectful situations and we do not want them to go back. Please remember that the first week with a new dog in your home will always be the most difficult. This dog does not know you. This dog is probably coming out of a very bad situation so please allow time for you to get comfortable with your foster and vice versa. You really are saving a life by being a foster parent. The reward will be greater than any house training accident! 3 What do Foster Homes Do? Foster homes allow our volunteers to rescue homeless animals from a variety of situations by providing these animals with temporary care and shelter until they are adopted. Foster homes are asked to provide foster animals with plenty of love, adequate food and water, shelter from the outside weather, and exercise. Administering medication may also be necessary. In addition to providing these basics, foster homes are asked to transport the dog to adoption events. Foster homes play a crucial role in rehabilitating our Boxers. Foster homes ar e in a unique position to help abused and neglected animals learn how to love and trust again. Foster homes can help these animals become more "adoptable" by providing socialization and basic training. By teaching or re-teaching a dog how to live in a home setting, foster homes help increase the odds for a smooth transition into a permanent, forever home. Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 2 of 7
  3. 3. 4 Supplies The following is a checklist of supplies that you will need to foster a dog or puppy. Please let us know if you need us to provide any of these supplies: • Food and water bowls • Leash and Martingale Collar • High Quality Dog Food • Vet Approved Chew Toys • Crate or Kennel • Dog Bed & Blankets 5 Setup Set up a confinement area. This will be a place your dog will stay when you cannot provide them with a 100% supervision. The ideal confinement area should be easy to clean and easy to close off with a door or baby gate. It should be mostly free of furniture and non-dog related objects. Furnish the confinement area with a bed or crate with something soft to sleep on, a water bowl, and several toys. This is not a negative area. This is the place your foster dog can call his own as he makes the transition into his new home. It's where he gets good things like meals and his favorite toy. It sets him up for success in the process of housetraining and alone time training. If you use a crate, the crate should be just large enough for the dog to be able to comfortably stand up, turn around, and lie down. Because a dog will not soil the area where he sleeps, he will usually not urinate or defecate in a crate. Don't make the mistake of giving the new dog complete freedom right away. It is better to give him a safe, confined place so he can make a gradual and successful transition to his new home. In our experience, we have had foster dogs that are good when you are home, but get bored when you are away. This has resulted in shredded couches, drapes, and furniture. A crate is a valuable tool for a new foster. Like a confinement area, a crate eases the process of housetraining, chew training, and alone time training. It helps the dog make the transition to his new home. 6 Dog Proofing Your Home Dogs, especially young ones or untrained ones, are like children. They will get into everything. This can be very stressful for you. The kitchen and garage need to be dog proofed. Kitchen cleansers, soaps, drain cleaners and other household products will kill a dog if they are ingested. In the garage, detergents, cleaners, antifreeze, paint remover, and some garden supplies can also be deadly. The garden can also be a dangerous area. There are many plants that are poisonous to dogs. It is very important that you check for mushrooms during damp weather as these can be lethal even in very small amounts. Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 3 of 7
  4. 4. 7 Arriving Home with your Foster Dog When you arrive at home, take your dog out for a walk or bathroom break. Introduce her on leash to her new home, including her confinement area. Give your foster a chew bone and leave her alone in her confinement area/crate for approximately 5 minutes. If the dog begins to howl, whine, or bark, wait until she has been quiet for at least 10 seconds before you respond. Otherwise, the dog will learn that whining and barking makes you appear and gets her out of the confinement area/crate. You must get your dog used to short absences starting within the first few hours of her arrival. This is extremely important. You will want to spend every minute with your dog when she first comes home, but you should prepare her right away for a normal routine. She must learn to be relaxed, calm, and settled when she is alone. Alone time training is necessary because dogs are highly social animals and being alone does not come naturally to them. Leave your dog along in her confinement area/crate while you go out or spend time in another part of the house. Vary the length of your absences from 30 seconds to 20 minutes and repeat them throughout the day. 7.1 Quiet Time We recommend that after you bring your foster dog home, let her check out the area of the house where she is allowed. Let her figure things out for 3-4 hours with you supervising. Wait a couple of days before inviting friends over to meet the new dog. Rescue dogs have been through a series of changes, so quiet time with her immediate family is VERY important. If the dogs wants to play a bit with you, that's fine but do NOT allow her to interact with young children yet. If the dog does not solicit play or attention from you, let her establish herself for a while. Do not force her to play. 7.2 Bedtime Put a chew toy in your dog's crate or sleeping area when you leave him for the night. He might have trouble settling in at first, but he should eventually relax and go to sleep. Remember, it's important not to let your dog out of his confinement area if he's crying or barking. If he gets attention for barking, he'll keep it up for LONG periods of time. 7.3 Socialization Rescue dogs come from a variety of backgrounds, but all dogs can do with more socialization. We recommend that you not start any socialization until after the first week or two in the new home. After your new dog has had some time to settle in and he is showing some confidence with you, give him lots of pleasant social experiences. He should be able to meet people, and other dogs, at home and near home. Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 4 of 7
  5. 5. Try to make sure that you allow your new dog to be handled by other people only after he has had a chance to trust you. Do not force the dog to accept people, rather allow him to approach people. When people first come to meet the dog, be sure to tell them not to reach for the dog right away. Rather, ignore the dog and wait until he comes to smell and interact with the visitor. Remember, patting the top of a dog's head is interpreted by dogs as a dominance attempt and can issue a challenge to some dogs or frighten other dogs. 7.4 Dog Parks Lone Star Boxer does not want you to take your foster dog to a dog park without approval from the board. Dog parks as most of these dogs have not been evaluated for this type of situation. If anything were to happen, Lone Star Boxer Rescue would be held responsible for any injury to another dog. 7.5 Housetraining Some adult dogs are not housetrained. If your dog has an accident, it's not because he is incapable or unintelligent. Rather, it is because he has not been properly trained. Most rescued dogs have spent most of their lives outside and never learned the rules of living indoors. Other dogs may have been housetrained, but may still have an accident or two when transitioning into a new home. To successfully housetrain your dog, you need to treat him like a puppy. The confinement area or crate is your KEY to success. • When the dog is allowed out of the crate or confinement area, he should be taken outside immediately. • Until your dog is perfectly housetrained, never leave him alone unless he is in his confinement area. • He must be 100% supervised when he's outside of his confinement area. • Take your dog out on a leash frequently. Start by walking him at half-hour intervals. • If you see your dog sniffing and circling in the house, take him outside IMMEDIATELY. • Praise and reward him with a treat when he relieves himself outdoors. • NEVER punish or yell at your dog for a potty training accident in the house. Do not rub the dog's nose in the mistake. This method of training has been proven ineffective by trainers. The only message the dog gets from this is that you are angry. Do not correct the dog after the fact. Again, this is ineffective. While the dog may look submissive or guilty, it is because he knows you are angry. He does not know he did something wrong. 7.6 Food Lone Star Boxer Rescue recommends that you use a high quality dog food. There are a number of brands such as Natural Balance, California Naturals, or others. Let us know if you want a list. They are a bit more expensive, however, we find the dogs are healthy and we tend not to have problems with these foods. A good diet will make a HUGE difference in the foster dog's health in a very short period of time. Lone Star Boxer Rescue HIGHLY recommends that you feed the foster dog in their crate if you have a family dog. Many rescue dogs are food aggressive. By feeding food and treats in the crate, you avoid fights breaking out over food. This also helps to make the crate a more positive experience if this is the place where they get good things like bones, treats, and food. 7.7 Water Just as your dog needs proper nutrition, water is essential. Water keeps the dog's body properly hydrated and promotes normal function of the body's systems. During housebreaking, it is necessary to keep an eye on how much water the dog is drinking. Once he is reliably housetrained, he should Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 5 of 7
  6. 6. have access to clean, fresh water at all time. Make sure that the dog's water bowl is clean and change the water often. 7.8 Exercise Dogs need both physical exercise and mental stimulation. Remember our motto, A TIRED DOG IS A GOOD DOG! Depending on the dog's energy level, he will benefit greatly from daily aerobic activity. This can be walking, running, or jogging. Daily obedience training and food toys provide the dog with mental stimulation. Dog training classes can also help burn off mental and physical energy. They also provide an opportunity to practice skills and basic commands. 7.9 Play Time Physical games like tug-of-war, wrestling, jumping, and teasing should not be encouraged in the early stages with your new dog. Inciting a dog's crazy behavior tends to confuse him. You are just getting to know this dog and you want to make sure you understand the dog's personality. 8 Training As a foster parent, it is very helpful if you can work with your foster on basic commands. A dog that is house trained, sits, and walks well on a leash is much easier to adopt into their forever home. Have them sit for their meals, before they go outside, and for treats. This will start to enforce the sit command. The same is true for teaching the dog to walk nicely on a leash. 9 Collar, Tags, and ID Lone Star Boxer requires that all of our foster dogs have on a collar with tags and ID on them at all times. Remember that your foster is in a new place. If they get out of your house or yard, they are in an unfamiliar place and will be lost. Their identification helps us find them and bring them back hom. 10 Be the Leader of the Pack Every dog needs boundaries and limitations. It is important that you set the tone that you are the leader of the pack as soon as the foster dog arrives in your home. This does not mean that you are mean or aggressive. Rather, it means that you are calm and assertive. These are a few things that we recommend that you use to insure that you are communicating your leader status: • Do not let the dog on the furniture or your bed. Remember, the dominant dog has the highest position in the room. You do not want the dog to think that they are equals to you and your family. Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 6 of 7
  7. 7. • Give firm commands. Do not use baby talk. Give firm commands If you say NO, you need to really mean it. • Work with your dog to sit and give you eye contact prior to putting down their food. • Establish a routine and stick with it. Dogs need a routine and structure in their lives. 11 Introducing the Foster Dog to your Family Dog(s) Do not feel the need to introduce the foster dog to your dogs right away. The foster dog needs time alone in his crate or confinement area. We suggest that you alternate the family dog and the foster dog in their crates. If the family dog and the foster dog appear to get along at first, we recommend that you keep the foster dog on a drag line with a choker collar. This allows you the ability to correct the dog very quickly if there is an issue. If the foster dog and your family dog do not get along, just alternate the dogs in a crate. The foster dog spending time in a crate in your home is better than the alternative of being in a shelter – or worse. 12 Medications and Heartworm Preventative You may get a foster dog that is on medication. Make sure that you work with Sharon or Debbie to understand the regime for the medication. Lone Star Boxer Rescue also requires that all of our foster dogs be on heartworm preventative. If you need heartworm preventative for your foster dog, let Debbie or Sharon know when you get your foster. 13 Emergency If you think your foster needs to see a vet, you must contact Debbie Lon or Sharon Reitman in order for them to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarian partners. If you feel that you just cannot handle the foster dog, you can also contact Debbie or Sharon. We will work as quickly as possible to get the dog placed into another environment. Debbie Lon, 713-410-6170 Email: Sharon Reitman, 832-689-8249 Email: 14 Getting your Foster Dog Adopted As a foster home for Lone Star Boxer Rescue, we will ask that you take digital pictures of your foster and write up a brief description for us to load up on the website. Once your foster is ready to be adopted, Lone Star Boxer Rescue will provide your email or contact information to potential adopters who want to talk with you about the foster dog. In addition, bringing the dog to adoption days on the weekends greatly increases the dog's chances of getting adopted. Lone Star Boxer Rescue requires that our Boxers are adopted out through our process. If you know someone that is interested in adopting your foster, please have them complete an application and go through the home visit process and approval. If you want to adopt your foster dog, you can do so by working with Sharon, Debbie, Bobbie or Jen to go through the adoption process. Lone Star Boxer Rescue © 2008 Page 7 of 7