When a person chooses to foster a dog, he or she accepts the responsibility of socializing a dog to an urban environment. Your foster dog looks up to you for guidance and reassurance that he or she is safe and that you will protect him or her. Protection of the pack is the responsibility of the people, not the dog.

 Leo & Aries

In order to prove your status as the leader, you must be able to show leadership in your dog’s eyes. What that means is the leader controls the food, sets and enforces the boundaries inside and outside of the home using dog handling skills, travels ahead of the pack, and can verbally interrupt any misbehaviors.


If the dog claims the leadership role, the people becomes his or her subordinates and because of that dynamic the dog may: vocalize to protect objects or people, climb on subordinates (family members or house guests) without permission, mark his or her territory, and chase away unwanted people or dogs.

While a human leader isn’t likely to mark territory or climb on a subordinate, it’s useful to know the behaviors so when the foster displays them, you (the leader) can begin training immediately. Being the leader is a lot of work and can cause some dogs a lot of stress. Being the leader of the pack is an important role because it is up to the leader to enforce good behavior in the urban environment.


Once you have established the correct relationship with your foster dog, it’s time to start showing him or her the world! Your foster dog may not understand that there are more dogs than one in the world, and may react towards other dogs. It is the person’s responsibility to assure your foster dog that, “I’m handling it and other dogs exist,” through proper dog handling skills. A great place to start is your community park as your neighbors may be understanding of the training process.


When you have guests visit your home, it is the leader’s job to claim the door and keep the foster dog at a respectful distance. Teach him or her how to greet your guest without the dog disrespecting his or her body or running away.  The use of cell phones can help coordinate a regular routine for when guests arrive. Once your foster dog’s initial excitement has passed, you may escort your guest into your home. Remember that it is the responsibility of the leader to teach your foster dog a proper greeting so he or she can impress his or her forever home.


Through consistency, frequency, and a lot of patience, your foster dog will learn how to be friendly towards society and not fear or dominate the fast-paced urban world.


Then the day will come when your foster dog will meet his or her adoptive parents.

Two women with their dogs.

Adoption day will be emotional, spiritual, and bittersweet. This is the life cycle of fostering. Love your foster dog, teach him or her how to behave in the world, and release your foster dog to a family that the rescue organization your foster for thoroughly screened, and approved, to adopt the dog. Your foster dog will be gone, and what he or she taught you will enhance your outlook on life.

Contact: Fernando@CanineEducationSD.com, for inquiries.


Visit our friends at The Rescued Dog to fill out a foster application!