You may ask yourself, “why would I attend training with my foster dog, I am not going to have him for that long…hopefully?” Well, I have several answers to that question! The first, and probably the most obvious, answer is that training your foster dog will likely help your foster dog get adopted quicker. Basic obedience, such as sit, down, and stay will probably impress a potential adopter! Most fosters are able to train these basic obedience skills at home.
Training your foster dog can also increase their confidence. When a dog learns new things, and gets praised for the learning, their confidence increases. Tackling obstacles and overcoming fears can build confidence and promote further learning. A more confident dog will also be able to create a stronger bond with their humans.
However, there is other training you and your foster dog should work on such as socialization, greetings, and interactions; with both people and other dogs. This is a little more complicated and takes a little more training. Some fosters may not posses the skills to work on these training techniques. However, this training is possibly more important than basic obedience training.
Socialization is one of the most important forms of training. Even if you have other dogs in the house, it is important to socialize your dog. Socialization doesn’t just mean introducing your dog to other dogs, it also means exposing the dog to new environments and new stimuli. This exposure to new things, and positive reinforcement, will help lessen fear and promote and healthier dog.
Greetings can be difficult for several reasons; the dog could be overly excited, the dog could be fearful, or the dog could be aggressive, to name a few. New adopters may not understand the difference between these and assume the dog is aggressive. They may not have the training or the tools to help their new dog with greetings. Interactions with people and dogs can be stressful, especially for fosters and newly adopted dogs. Even if the dog is a happy dog, interactions can still be difficult.
You still may be wondering why you should attend training as a foster. Well, not only should you attend training with your foster dog, but I would also encourage fosters to attend training even if they don’t have a foster dog at the time! If fosters know what challenges they may face, and the tools needed to address those challenges, they can decide, before they foster, if they are up to the challenge. Although we may want to save all the dogs ourselves, sometimes we are not the right fit for the dog.
However, if the fosters know the tools needed, and feel they are up to the challenge, they can help the foster dog reach his full potential and be an amazing family dog!
Michelle Turner is a certified dog trainer and behaviorist.