Thank you for your interest in fostering for Vegas Shepherd Rescue. We supply
the dog and support; you supply the love and a safe environment. To
facilitate a successful match, please see the following requirements and
Foster Parent Requirements
- Applicant must be at least 18 years of age with no one under the age of 13 living in the home.
- Applicant must reside in the Las Vegas valley.
- Applicant must participate in an introduction with the prospective foster dog to ensure a good match.
Fostering is a commitment that will affect your entire household: your family,
your permanent-resident pets, as well as your house and yard. Here are some
tips to ensure that fostering will be a positive experience for you and your
Discuss your plans with other family members and get their input on how to
make it work for everyone. Include in the discussion what kinds of dogs are
best for you. Do you thrive on a spunky dog who is a willing playmate for your
active dog, or do you have an older dog who would resent being pestered?
Are you gone for long periods of time during the day? You’ll need a dog who
fits your lifestyle and works with your schedule even if he/she is only a
temporary resident. Your VSR representative will work with you to ensure we
understand your personal situation and what types of dogs are appropriate
The foster family will be informed of the best-suited food and treats for you to
give your foster dog. VSR will supply food as needed.
Dog crate: We strongly recommend you have a crate for your foster dog.
Crate training is a very helpful way to introduce a dog into a new home. We
will be happy to loan you a crate if you do not have one, and give you some
excellent articles on crate training if you are unfamiliar.
Bed: Cotton blankets or large beach towels are best as they are washable
and less likely to be chewed up by your foster dog.
Toys: Kongs are excellent for stuffing – they will keep your foster dog occupied
especially while you are away from the house. Stuffed toys or balls can also
be great when used with supervision, depending on your dog’s temperament.
Collar and Leash: We will provide a collar and leash for your dog when he/she
goes home with you. A VSR ID tag will be on your dog’s collar as well. This
collar and tag should stay on at all times to ensure the dog is returned to VSR
if the dog ever gets out.
Health and Behavior
We take the health of our dogs very seriously. Vegas Shepherd Rescue
always provides medical supplies and care. Foster dogs are current on
vaccines, including Bordetella and have had a recent fecal test for parasites.
Medical supplies include over-the-counter meds, health assessments and
vet visits. You will be able to contact our Foster Coordinator for all questions
regarding your foster dog’s health. VSR is not responsible for medical bills for
other dogs in the household. Besides ensuring your pet’s vaccines are current,
we recommend a Bordetella vaccination to prevent kennel cough.
Foster homes are required to update the Foster Coordinator on their foster
dog’s behavior. Dogs normally become more comfortable over time. If this is
not the case and issues arise, support and guidance will be provided.
Length of Foster
Most of the time, the length of their stay is undetermined unless you have
specified a time limit. We encourage you to bring your foster dog to rescue events to help maximize their exposure to potential adopters. Don’t worry,
though, if you fall in love with your foster dog, congratulations! You’ll have first
right of refusal to adopt.
If your friends or family want to adopt, VSR will give them priority service as
they go through the adoption application process.
Whatever your time commitment, we understand that life happens. However,
VSR has very limited shelter space, so we ask that you provide as much notice
as possible if we need to make other arrangements for your foster dog. Do not
leave your dog with anyone else without prior approval from VSR.
Please take the time to carefully complete the following application. These
questions are designed to assist with pairing our dogs with their foster family.
For more information, please visit our foster page
Foster Parent Requirements
Applicant must be at least 18 years of age with no one under the age of 13 living in the home.
Applicant must reside in the Las Vegas Valley.
Applicant must have an introduction with the prospective foster dog to ensure a good match.
Introducing New Dogs to Your Home
Always remember, everyone needs their space.
If possible, it is best to keep the new dog and resident dog(s) separate from each other for the first two days. This is a stressful time for both. The new dog may have been on the streets, in the shelter, or in another transitional or foster home before arriving to your home. It’s a lot of change for an animal who likes to have a “pack” and some stability in his/her life!
There are also some common illnesses that may not show up for 1-2 weeks, such as worms, that dogs may get exposed to at the shelter, so separation can ensure that your dog stays healthy. If it is not possible to keep them separated, please be aware that your dogs may run that risk. However, many of the diseases that shelter dogs do get (kennel cough, diarrhea, etc.) are stress related. Many have had poor nutrition and a hard life before coming to your home.
If it is not possible to physically separate the dogs, try to ensure that everyone has their own “personal space” meaning a bed, a crate, or a special area. This will help keep the stress levels lower for your own dogs and the new dog. Please keep in mind that the backyard is not an acceptable place to leave the new dog alone and unsupervised. They may be destructive (digging, trampling plants), escape artists, bark incessantly, or they could get snatched. A crate or a room that is enclosed are the best choices.
Dog Introductions Introduce your resident dog(s) to a new dog on neutral territory, such as a park or down the street from your house. Introductions should always be on leash with two adults holding each leash. Allow a quick “hello” sniff or walk-by and separate them, even if things seem fine. This gives them a chance to think about things, and they will often then seek each other out to get a lengthier greeting. Always give lots of positive reinforcement so that both dogs feel safe and view each other as a friend and not a foe. If one dog becomes aggressive, quickly separate them, ensure the instigating dog returns to a relaxed state, and then slow down the pace of the introductions.
Don’t worry if they don’t become immediate best friends. Sometimes it takes a few days for dogs to accept each other. Never force a relationship. Like people, sometimes dogs just don’t like each other. By giving them individual attention and creating a safe environment with a bed, toys, and food, you can help minimize tension.
Getting Along While dogs are pack animals there is usually one who dominates. Correction of one dog by another, whether it is your resident dog or a new dog, is normal. If the dogs are responding positively to each other and seem to recognize the “pecking order”, this is fine. If they are constantly battling for the “alpha” position, then they will have to be separated, and may not be a good fit for each other.
Never leave the dogs unsupervised together. They are still getting to know one another and will need correction on appropriate behavior. If you are leaving the house, then crate the dogs or otherwise physically separate them.
Always feed the dogs separately. This reduces stress for everyone. Resource aggression between dogs is common but if addressed early, can be eliminated.
First; make sure that your cat has his/her own sanctuary – preferably a room where the new dog will not be allowed to go. If you can keep the cat’s food and litter box in this room and keep the door closed, then the dog and cat can sniff each other under the door for a few days before meeting face to face. This will make things go a lot smoother as they will most likely feel they have already “met”. Supervise the dog’s behavior even at the door, reinforce playful, curious behavior and correct any aggression or obsession.
When introducing a dog and cat for the first time, put the dog on a leash and just allow the cat to walk by if he/she wants to. Here, you’re looking to evaluate both the dog and cat. Is the cat fearful or curious? Is the dog happy and playful or chomping at the bit?
After introductions have occurred, keep in mind the following tips:
• Never leave a cat and new dog unsupervised, even if it looks like they get along great. A playful dog can still unintentionally harm a cat.
• Make sure your cat has places to jump up or hide in each room where the dog can’t get him/her.
• Playful chasing is normal, but always remind the new dog to play nice and slow down/not run.
• Don’t allow the dog to stare down the cat. The dog should know that he/she is not allowed to obsess over the cat.
• The cat may swipe at the dog or hiss to correct. This is usually a great help in ensuring the dog knows his/her place. Do keep an eye on their interactions, though, to ensure the cat doesn’t injure the dog, as well.
With all resident pets, allow the animals to accept one another on their own time. Never push them toward each other or force interaction. Many animals become companions and playmates, while others simply tolerate each other. For more information on introducing cats and dogs, click here.
Working with your Foster Dog
While your foster dog is living with you, provide basic training along with lots of tender loving care. No formal training regime is needed for most foster dogs, but if you can work on the following, it will make your foster dog much more “adoptable”.
Socializing is the first priority. This means ensuring that your foster dog is acclimated to meeting new people, dogs, cats, and children (as wide a group as possible). If you have a shy dog, this is a big and important task, but it should be approached slowly. With a more outgoing dog, it’s more about curbing enthusiasm so that people aren’t overwhelmed when meeting the dog (or knocked over with love)!
Food aggression with other dogs is common, however, any resource aggression towards people is not acceptable. If your foster dog is growling when you are near his food, this behavior needs to be immediately corrected. According to Cesar Milan and many other dog training specialists, a great way to do this is to hand-feed the dog, so it’s clear the food is yours, and you are the giver of food. To read more on this issue and how to resolve, click here.
House training (potting training) is definitely desirable for both you and the future adopter. The best way to house train is to use a crate and to be vigilant about taking the dog outside regularly, including after naps and meals. If a dog is particularly stubborn about house training, keep them on a leash in the house; this will prevent them from wandering off to hide to go potty. For more information on potty-training, click here.
Crate training is a great way not only to potty-train, but also to establish general house manners since the dog will not be roaming free in the house unless he/she is being supervised. So, no chewing on couch cushions, counter-surfing, or garbage can diving if the dog is not left alone. We have more materials on crate training available to you.
Sitting is relatively easy to teach and pays big dividends. A dog who sits for his/her leash and food knows they are subservient to the person instructing them to sit. They also quickly learn that “something good is getting ready to happen” and will deliver the desired behavior to get that reward. It also helps to get an overly excited dog under control.
Jumping up is a common problem with our foster dogs – they are so happy to have someone to love! But it’s best if they are taught not to do this, especially since it can knock people over. For more information on addressing this issue, click here.
Leash walking is challenging to teach. Many of our dogs have never been on a leash and have no idea how to behave. If you’re ambitious, you can work on “heel”, but even “easy” is fine. “Easy” is when the dog isn’t necessarily healing at you side, but they are also not dragging you down the street. This takes time to learn and patience on your part. A nervous dog may not be pulling but reluctant to walk or trying to get away from you and the leash. The goal then is to get the dog to relax and walk confidently with you. Please see our recommended list of trainers on the FAQ page for help with this issue.
Dogs and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly; they are great playmates, guardians, and confidants. But children must learn proper handling and discipline, and dogs must learn self-control so that they do not play too rough. Children must be supervised and taught that dogs are beings, not dolls or toys to dress-up and handled constantly. Teach children not to tease or rile up the dog unnecessarily. This includes chasing around the house, which can scare a dog, who may snap if cornered or frightened. Make sure your children know that it is not the dog’s fault if the dog chews up toys that are left out. Keeping doors shut and toys in toy boxes can help minimize damage. Make sure the dog has his/her own toys and keep them in the same place all the time (like in a basket or in the dog’s crate). Children like the idea of caring for a dog, but the daily work of feeding, bathing, brushing, and cleaning up after the dog is not really suited for them. Recognize that the initial enthusiasm will wane quickly, and the true responsibility of caring for the dog will fall to the adults in the household. Young children should not walk foster dogs, as even if the dog is easy to walk, the child cannot really handle any encounters with other dogs or cats that are bound to happen. Children should not play unsupervised with foster dogs. For puppies, teach proper handling (pick up by body, not the limbs), and limit interaction. For more information on children and dogs, click here.