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All dogs coming from La Paz will be current on vaccines, including rabies. The only exception are puppies going to Canada that are too young for certain shots. They will also be tested for heartworm and other diseases and issued a health certificate by a licensed veterinarian. In addition, almost all dogs are sterilized (spayed or neutered) prior to arrival from La Paz, so there is very little that will need to be done as a foster family except provide love, exercise, basic training, socialization, space, food, etc.

  • Baja Dogs La Paz - Foster Care Team
    The foster program could not exist without the support and dedication of the volunteer Foster Care Team including YOU – our valued fosterers! Foster Team members referred to in this manual are listed below:
    • BDLP or Baja Dogs: “Baja Dog La Paz, Inc.” This is the organization that has sent you the dog to foster and is responsible for all decisions (medical, adoption, fostering, etc.) made concerning the dog, with input from other members of the team.
    • Foster Care Coordinator: An individual assigned to you and your foster dog to support you throughout the entire foster care process. In many cases, the Foster Care Coordinator and Adoption Coordinator are the same person.
    • Adoption Coordinator: An individual assigned to help with your foster dog’s adoption process. In many cases, the Foster Care Coordinator and Adoption Coordinator are the same person.
    • Rescatista: The individual who originally rescued and fostered the dog in La Paz. The word “rescatista” means rescuer in Spanish. This person was responsible for rehabilitating the dog including vaccinations, sterilizations (spay/neuter), socialization, training, etc. This person is a valuable resource concerning the rescue history of the dog and is available to answer questions and provide ongoing support and suggestions concerning any continued training and rehabilitation of the dog that might be helpful in increasing its adoptability. These rescatistas often cared for these dogs for months and, in some cases, even years before being transported to the US or Canada and have a vested interest in the dog’s continued care. They are often consulted concerning potential adopters to help in finalizing adoptions.
    • Promotion team: This consists of those individuals who help promote the dog via Facebook and the website. Sending photos, videos, and information that can be used to promote the dog will greatly reduce the amount of time necessary to adopt the dog.
    • Fosterer: This is YOU! The person who fosters the dog and helps us get the dog adopted by following the steps in this manual and caring for the dog.
  • Basic FAQs
    • How long are dogs in foster homes?
      It completely depends on the dog and the situation. In most cases, we will have begun marketing the dog for adoption prior to its arrival from La Paz and should have lined up potential adopters – making the foster stay as short as possible. Sometimes we need a foster home for just a few days and sometimes we may need a foster home for a few months. But we will work with you to identify your requirements and match the appropriate dog to your situation.
    • How can I help adopt my foster dogs out?
      We love getting your assistance and involvement in finding a permanent home for your fostered dog. Our adoption team is here to help guide you through the process of getting the dog adopted and we make this process as quick and easy as possible. You can direct potential adopters to our website which explains the adoption process. All they need to do start is complete an adoption application. We will rely on your experience and suggestions concerning the best home for the dog and work closely with you. We might ask you to do a home visit if don’t already know the family and can possibly manage this.
    • How are foster dogs promoted?
      Photos and stories of all adoptable dogs in foster homes are posted on our website and can be found via our Adoption Portfolio. They are further promoted on our Baja Dogs Go North Facebook page. Foster parents can also help promote their foster dog to their family, friends, colleagues and the general public through a variety of means including flyers, emails, and social media, like Facebook and blogs. You can even walk your foster dog in local neighborhoods while s/he wears a “Adopt” bandana, t-shirt, collar, or leash. We will provide you with one or more of these supplies as we have them available.
    • What is the process for adopting a foster dog?
      The process is very simple and can be very quick:

      1. Interested adopters submit an adoption application.
      2. Suitable candidates will be contacted by an Adoption Coordinator for additional screening (home visit, etc.). This can include a meet and greet with the foster dog or this meet and greet may be separate depending on schedules and individual circumstances.
      3. After the meet and greet (if the applicants are still interested in the dog), foster parents and the Adoption Coordinator will consult to discuss the options. The foster dog stays with the foster parent until the adoption is finalized by the Adoption Coordinator.
      4. The adoption is approved or rejected by the Adoption Coordinator
      5. Once approved, the adopter pays the adoption fee by going to the dog’s web page and clicking on the Sponsor Me button.
      6. Foster parents should stay in contact with Adoption Coordinator throughout the adoption process.

      You can refer potential adopters to the Adoption Process page in our website.

    • If I have my own animals, can I foster dogs?
      Yes, as long as the other animals in your home are current on all vaccines and are dog sociable.
    • What supplies are needed to foster?
      Foster parents provide space, food, basic training, exercise, socialization, and love for the dog. We will provide you with all the other supplies and equipment needed throughout your foster experience.
    • Do I have to crate-train my foster dog?
      In almost all cases, your foster dog will already have been crate trained. This is because the dog is transported to you in a crate from La Paz. So the fosterers in La Paz initiate crate training prior to the dog’s arrival in the US or Canada. If you have a crate that the foster dog can use while in your care, this would be ideal as our crates are limited and must be used for transporting dogs. But if you do not have a crate, we will leave you with the crate used to transport the dog. Putting the dog in a crate while you are gone will give you peace of mind knowing that they are in a safe place, away from harm, and not doing any damage to your belongings or themselves. For many dogs, a crate can also represent a safe and comfortable place to call their own and provides them with a sense of security. Dogs actually like having a “den” to cuddle up in. Crating should never be used as punishment.
    • Do I need to have prior medical knowledge or expertise?
      No, but you may be asked to dispense medicine to your foster dog in some cases if the dog is being treated for any infections or illnesses.
    • What if my foster dog becomes sick?
      Please contact your Foster or Adoption Coordinator assigned to you right away. S/he can authorize a vet visit or advise you otherwise. Once a veterinary visit has been authorized, you can make an appointment with your vet. You will be reimbursed for any inquired costs.
    • How much time each day is needed to foster?
      Commitment and responsibilities depend on the individual dog and situation. Many of the dogs may need some additional training such as leash training, riding in a car, or even housebreaking depending on their age and the circumstances. This means at least a 30-35 minutes brisk walk/run in the morning and again in the afternoon, with plenty of playtime in between. Older dogs will need less.
    • Can I take my foster dog to off-leash dog parks for exercise and socialization?
      No. You are not allowed to take any of our foster dogs to an off-leash dog park. While these parks can be fun, while in your care, a fostered dog is the responsibility of Baja Dogs and the liability is too great.
    • How can I help my foster dog become more adoptable?
      There are two ways to make a foster dog more adoptable.
      1. Marketing. We will already have begun a marketing campaign for your foster dog and may even have potential adopters by the time your dog arrives. To help in this effort, please sent us cute photos of the dog in your care so we can add them to our Facebook page and website. You can also give a foster dog additional exposure by telling friends and family about it. This will create a “network effect” and speed the process of finding a forever home. Simple steps like taking a foster dog on walks in local parks, outdoor shopping areas and other high-traffic areas will help find potential adopters. As available, we will provide and “Adopt” t-shirt, leash, collar, or bandana to help advertise the dog.
      2. Our rescued dogs benefit greatly from the exercise (with the exception of those with medical conditions), basic training, special love, and attention you give them. While marketing provides you with applicants, it is always the dog that “closes the deal.” Providing a foster dog with basic training and manners will increase their adoptability. Shy dogs will benefit from your patience, routine, and slowly exposing them to new people to build their confidence. Rambunctious adolescents who learn good manners will help show off their trainability and long term potential. And while puppies are adorable, they need a lot of love, attention and hand holding from humans to develop properly and feel secure.
    • Am I responsible for finding my foster dog its forever home?
      No, but we do appreciate your help. Once a qualified applicant is identified, you will be asked to schedule a meet and greet with your foster dog and the potential adopter. Your quick response and then final input on the potential adopter is critical to finding a great match. Many times a foster parent will find a perfect match through their own network of friends, family and colleagues. We greatly welcome these referrals! If you think you have found a perfect forever home for your foster dog, remember they still must go through the application process and be approved by the Adoption Coordinator. We want your fostered dog in its permanent home as quickly as possible so we will work hard to make that happen very soon.
    • Can I return my foster dog if I am unable to foster any longer?
      We prefer that foster parents continue to foster until we find a permanent home for their foster dog. It is extremely stressful for a dog to be returned and since we do not operate a shelter, finding another home for the dog could be extremely difficult. However, we understand that situations change and it may become necessary to transfer a foster dog. We request that a foster parent provide as much notice as possible so that we can find an alternative foster home to transfer the dog to.
  • Requirements for all foster parents
    In order to become a foster parent, you will need to complete the following:

    • Foster Application
    • Agree to the conditions of this Foster Manual
    • Home visit
  • Important rules and reminders regarding your foster dog
    In addition to the requirements and responsibilities outlined in the Foster Dog Parent Agreement, and throughout this manual, foster parents MUST abide by the following rules:

    • No off-leash park visits.
    • Foster dogs must be on leash at all times and supervised when outdoors unless in your own secured fenced yard.
    • No Flexi-leashes/extendable leashed.
    • No aversive training techniques or tools may be used on foster dogs.
      • Aversives include prong collars, pinch/choke chain collars, electronic collars, spray bottles, physical reprimands including alpha rolls, etc.
      • If you need more information on positive reinforcement techniques and how to best train your foster dog, please contact your Foster Care Coordinator and they will assist you.
    • Foster dogs may not be left unattended at any time outside, even in a secured yard. This includes leaving your dog loose in the house with an accessible doggie door when you are not present.
    • Any aggressive behavior must be immediately communicated to the Foster Care Coordinator
    • All vet visits must be pre-approved by calling your Foster Care Coordinator
    • Foster parents must respond within 24 hours to communications from your Foster Care or Adoption Coordinator, volunteers, or potential adopters.
    • Foster parents must have internet access and check their email daily, as this is the primary form of communication.
  • Getting ready to foster a dog
    After being approved by the organization as a qualified foster home, but before you bring a foster dog home, we suggest you prepare yourself, your family and your home for a new canine companion:

    • Be physically and mentally prepared
      Fostering is a family affair, so please make sure that everyone in your household is ready, willing and able to provide a loving home for a rescued dog. Many adults and children have a difficult time adjusting to a new schedule or routine, and also have a difficult time “giving up” an animal to his forever home. Make sure everyone is ready for this new, albeit temporary, addition to your family.
    • Where to keep your foster dog
      Planning where you will keep your dog before you bring your dog home will make the entire process easier for everyone. When you first bring a foster dog home, you’ll want to confine them to a single room, such as a kitchen or family room. This room should not be an isolated room, but a room where you spend a large part of your day or evening, as dogs are pack animals and want to be with you. This room is especially important when you’re at work or away from the house, as it will be a new environment in which they need time to become familiar and comfortable. Use a baby gate to block off the entrances to other rooms. By keeping the dog in one room, you’re helping prevent “accidents” that may occur because of stress or adjusting to your routine. (Even a house-trained dog might have an accident or two during this adjustment period.) For dogs that are not housetrained, keeping them confined to one room will help start this important training as you must be able to monitor their activities. We also recommend you also use a crate in this room for times when you are away from the house.
    • The do’s:
      • Do keep your foster dog indoors in a location with a crate available.
      • Do keep your foster dog in a warm/cool (depending on the season) and dry location
      • Do keep your foster dog on a leash at all times when outdoors unless in your secured fenced yard. When in a secured yard, you must supervise him at all times. Since your foster dog has been transported from La Paz, Mexico to a completely different geographic area, it may be very confused and try to escape to “go home.” So always supervise your foster dog whenever it is outside.
      • Do keep your puppy indoors in a kitchen, bathroom, mudroom or laundry room (you may want to use baby gates to limit access to other parts of your home) while you are not there. Puppies should be around humans for socialization purposes and should not be isolated
    • The don’ts:
      • Do not place your foster dog around other strange dogs unless you have first socialized them. Always supervise the foster dog when it is with your other dogs.
      • Do not allow your foster dogs outdoors unless supervised by an adult.
      • Never take your foster dog to an off-leash park. This is a liability to Baja Dogs La Paz.
      • Do not leave your foster dog in a hot car. Dogs don’t sweat like humans do to cool themselves off so they are at a higher chance of heat stroke and this can be fatal
    • How to dog-proof a room
      Walk into the room in which you plan to confine your foster dog, and ask yourself:
      • Is there room for the crate (dog’s safe place)?
      • Is there quick access to the outside for bathroom breaks?
      • Is there anything that can be chewed, such as drapes, a couch or rugs?
      • Are there exposed electrical wires?
      • Is there anywhere the dog can hide?
      • Will you be able to get the dog out if hidden?
      • Are there coffee tables with objects that can be knocked off by a wagging tail?
      • Are there plants in the room? If so, check the list of toxic plants in this manual.
      • Where will I set up the crate once all hazards are removed?
      • Is the crate in a quiet, low-traffic area of the room?
      • Is there a blanket in the crate to train your foster dog that this is his bed?
    • Items you may need:
      Please be sure to ask your Foster Care Coordinator for any of the supplies listed below. They may have some to lend out:
      • Food and bowls.
      • Crate.
      • Bedding – a clean, old blanket or towel or a dog bed that is washable.
      • Odor neutralizer (like Nature’s Miracle); it’s the only thing to clean housetraining mistakes. If you clean mistakes with soap and water, your dog will still smell the urine and go to the bathroom in that spot repeatedly.
      • Toys such as: hard rubber balls, Kongs, fleece toys, rope toys or Nylabones.
      • Do not give your foster dog hooves, rawhide, pigs’ ears or vinyl toys that can cause diarrhea or choke the dog.
      • Collar with an ID tag which must stay on the dog at all times. You will be provided with this.
      • Leash.
      • Training treats such as string cheese, squeeze cheese, lunch meat or small dog biscuits. Bitter Apple (to spray on leashes, woodwork, drapery — anything you don’t want chewed).
      • Vest or bandana that says, “I’m Available for Adoption!” These will be provided to you.
    • Transporting your foster dog

      The safest way to transport your dog, is in a secure crate in the back of a SUV or station wagon. The crate should be secured so that it doesn’t tip over or move around. Another option is to use a grill between the back of the vehicle and the back seat. If you have a sedan, then you may be able to secure a crate on the back seat. It is always a good idea to put a blanket down under your crate or in the back section of your vehicle, so that if your dog becomes car sick, or has an accident, the blanket will protect your seats and carpet.

      If you can’t fit a crate into your vehicle, your dog is safest in the back seat. Use either a special harness for your dog that hooks on to a seat belt, or a leash that attaches to the seat belt. Avoid letting your dog ride in the passenger seat next to you. Not only can your view be obstructed, but also if you brake suddenly your dog could get injured by hitting the windshield or by the air bag. You might need a few treats to encourage a dog to jump into a car. If you can get a dog to put his front paws up, then you can lift his back end by supporting his hindquarters (as if he were sitting on your crossed arms). If you need to completely lift your dog, the best way is by putting one arm behind his hind legs and one arm in front of his front legs – essentially a scoop. Another way is to have one arm just behind his front legs, and one hand behind his hind legs. This way the dog’s weight is being supported in the same general area of its legs. Keep in mind, most dogs don’t really like to be lifted. Remember to always keep a handle on his leash.

  • Introducing your foster dog to your dogs
    • Once you are home with your foster dog:
      • Be alert and make the re-introductions gradually and calmly. Your dog may be extremely territorial in the home.
      • If possible, go for a walk around your neighborhood with both dogs and two handlers. Walk the dogs side by side on leashes and allow them to sniff one another and become familiar with each other.
      • Give your own dog LOTS of love and praise.
      • Leave leashes on the dogs when you are in the home, so that you can get immediate control if needed. You may only need to do this for a short time.
      • Talk normally. Letting the dogs know that you are fine; they are fine; everything is fine!
      • Be patient and go slowly with your foster dog as they may have been through a stressful surgery, abusive situation or a lot of recent changes.
      • Don’t leave your foster dog unattended with your resident dog. Even if they seem to get along well in your presence, you should separate the dogs when you leave your house. If you believe there is a valid reason to leave your dogs together (e.g. your dog suffers from separation anxiety), then talk with your Foster Care Coordinator first. If you do leave your dogs alone together, be sure to always remove all toys, food and chews, and start slowly.
    • Some common mistakes:
      • Holding the leash too tensely as dogs may react with defensiveness.
      • Leaving toys and chews around the house. This can cause resource guarding which can escalate very quickly.
      • Remove all toys and chews before you arrive home with your foster dog.
      • Feeding your foster dog with your resident dog. It’s best to separate them initially, and to supervise always.
      • Over-stimulating your foster dog with introductions to many people or your neighbors’ dogs.
  • Introducing your foster dog to your cat

    Before you introduce your foster dog to your cat, you may wish to wait a few days until you have confirmed or instilled basic obedience in your foster dog. You will need to have your foster dog under control and know which behaviors are appropriate when interacting with a cat. Allow your foster dog to settle down and get to know your surroundings first before you start introductions to unfamiliar animals.

    Introducing a cat to a dog is similar to introducing dogs to one another. Take your time and create a stress-free environment. Begin by keeping your cat in a different room. Allow the dog to become comfortable in his own room. Once the dog is comfortable, let him explore the rest of the house for short periods each day while the cat is in another room. This will allow them to pick up each other’s scent.

    After a few days, allow the two to meet but keep the dog on a leash. Observe their interactions – a dog that is showing overt aggression, such as snarling, growling, baring teeth, etc., will probably never accept a cat. The cat and dog should be separated by baby gates or kept in separate rooms. If all is reasonably calm so far, walk the dog around the room on leash, but don’t let go of the leash in case the dog decides to chase the cat. On leash interactions give the cat the opportunity to approach the dog if they choose, or to find a route of escape.

    During the first few meetings, the cat and dog will probably not interact face to face. A dog is a predatory animal. It’s a natural instinct for a dog to want to chase a cat. Assume the dog will chase the cat so you are prepared. Never allow the dog to intimidate the cat by barking or chasing. Each time the dog acts inappropriately (barking), let him know these behaviors are unacceptable; try using a verbal interrupter, like “Oops” to get their attention and redirect their energy. On the other hand, if the cat bops the dog on the nose as a warning, that’s a good sign and should not be discouraged.

    When they set up boundaries between themselves, they are beginning to establish a working relationship. Let them interact with the dog on leash for about 30 minutes, then return the cat back to its safe haven and bring the dog to its dog crate or bed. Give the dog a treat and lots of praise. Increase the amount of time they are together a little each visit. It’s important to be patient and encouraging in their interactions. If you’re relaxed, they will be more at ease.

    Always praise friendly behavior profusely. Don’t rush the introduction or force them to interact more than either is willing. Pressing them to accept each other will only slow down the adjustment process. When the cat and dog seem to be getting used to each other, let the dog go, but keep his leash attached to his collar. Let him drag it around the house as he wanders, that way you can control him at any time. The cat will probably hide at first. You should use your best judgment as to when they can begin supervised sessions with the dog off-leash.

  • Fostering - the first week
    Now that you’re home with your foster dog, you should start a regular routine so your dog can begin to adjust to your household. During this adjustment period, please keep stimulation to a minimum. Some recommendations include:

    • Some common mistakes:
      • Find a quiet route to walk or run your foster dog (depending on energy level) to familiarize him with his new environment. This also helps start the bonding between you and your foster dog.
      • Don’t introduce your foster dog to people you meet on your walk. For the first 7-14 days (could be more or less) your foster dog should lay low while he tries to figure out just what this new situation is. You may not see any unwelcome behavior initially. Eventually all will be revealed.
      • Do not introduce your foster dog to other dogs (other than your own resident dog). This includes neighborhood dogs, and dogs belonging to your family or friends. Why? There is no way to tell how your foster dog will behave when introducing him to other dogs. If your foster dog bites a person or dog you are required to report it to the your Foster Care Coordinator immediately.
      • Don’t throw a party, or have a lot of people over to your home. During the first week you should try to spend quality one-on-one time with your new foster dog.
      • The most important thing to do during this initial transition time is to clearly but NON-confrontationally establish the household rules. As well, take care not to “indulge” your foster dog’s timid, tentative or fearful behavior; we understand how tempting this may be as many of our rescues have come from less than ideal situations, but in the long run it does not benefit the dog.
    • Additional information for the first week

      If your dog is available for adoption, take photos and send them and any comments that might help with his bio to your Foster Care Coordinator. One of the many benefits of adopting a dog from foster care is that the foster parent can provide detailed, personal and anecdotal information about their foster dog. Your dog will be adopted more quickly if you update this information as soon as possible.

      Please check in with your Foster Care Coordinator to ensure that all is going well. S/he is your local support and contact for the organization.

  • General information about feeding your foster dog
    • What to feed your dog
      Your foster dog may have come with a small supply of food so it is important to slowly introduce new food to your foster dog by mixing a small amount of the old food with the new food. Because food can be confiscated by customs officials at either border, this may not be possible – but we will tell you the brand and type of food the dog has been eating. If a veterinarian prescribes a particular diet for medical reasons, Baja Dogs will pay for this.
    • Diet change
      Some dogs get diarrhea from a change in diet. If this happens, feed them cooked rice mixed with cottage cheese (2 to 1 ratio) for a day or two. Or you may try adding canned pumpkin puree to their meals: 2 teaspoons (for a small dog) or 2 tablespoons (for a large dog). Then reintroduce the dry kibble.
    • Feeding schedule and quantity

      Create a consistent schedule for feeding your foster dog. Feed at the same times every day. Create a separate space for your foster dog to eat so they will feel comfortable. If you have other dogs at home, feed your foster in a separate room and close the door – this will help prevent any arguments over food. Do not feed any “people” food. You do not know what the adoptive family will want to do, so don’t start a habit they will have to break; and by feeding only dog food, you are also discouraging begging.

      Feeding will depend on the age and size of your foster dog.

      • Adult dogs: dry adult dog food twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
      • Adolescent dogs (4 months to 1 year): dry puppy food, twice a day.
      • Weaned puppies (6-8 weeks to 4 months): dry puppy food three to four times a day. Can be moistened with water or puppy formula.

      The quantity of food you provide your foster dog will vary depending on weight, age and activity level. Please refer to the suggested amounts on the dog food package you are feeding your foster dog as the amounts may change depending on the brand. Remember to reduce this amount to compensate for any treats, including chews. Obesity is an epidemic for pets and can lead to health problems, exacerbate existing health issues and reduces overall quality of life. Please do not overfeed your foster dog.

    • Food allergies
      If your foster dog is experiencing hot spots (red patches of hairless skin), it may be due to food allergies. Contact your Foster Care Coordinator about this for a recommendation. Always remember to provide plenty of fresh water!
  • Exercise, training, and attention
    • Exercise
      Foster dogs should be exercised every day, rain or shine. The old adage, “A tired dog is a happy dog,” holds true for foster dogs. Most foster dogs will need at least two 30+ minute walks a day to release excess energy. If your foster dog is an adolescent, you may need to step up the activity level to include regular runs/hikes/or brisk walks. A dog that is exercised regularly will tend to sleep when you are not at home – and a sleeping dog cannot do undesirable things, such as bark, chew, etc. Even a 10-week-old puppy that plays inside or in a yard needs numerous daily walks as part of the socialization process. The exception to this is if your foster dog is recovering from an illness or injury, then they may need rest.
    • Leash walking and the six-foot rule

      The Baja Dogs Foster Program requires that all foster dogs are walked maintaining a safe distance from other dogs or people as necessary. When walking your foster dog, leave an appropriate and safe distance between your dog and any other dog you meet. This keeps handlers and dogs safe from possible conflicts and also reduces the transmission of diseases. Foster parents will need to be extra diligent because many dog owners seem to encourage their dogs to “greet” every dog they encounter out on a walk. This nose-to-nose greeting is particularly stressful for many dogs.

      One simple way to avoid an oncoming dog walker is to just cross the street, or start to walk in a wide semi-circle around them. Most people recognize that this is a sign that you don’t want your dogs to meet. If this isn’t possible, just announce to the oncoming walker that you are walking a foster dog, and you would prefer that the dogs don’t greet each other. If you do have an on-leash reactive dog, there are some easy ways to maintain and/or add distance between you and another dog.

      Sometimes you must broadcast this loudly if their dog is off-leash or on a retractable leash. Keeping your dog to your side (rather than at the end of the leash) and creating a “body block” with your own body is also helpful. Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid another dog, so just stay calm, walk between your foster dog and the oncoming dog and move past quickly. Also try talking to your dog, “Fido, keep with me” and giving them treats as you pass an oncoming dog will help keep their attention on you, not on the other dog. Please do not use retractable leashes when walking or running your foster dog. It’s impossible to have control with a retractable leash, and they can easily tangle or break.

    • Training

      Most potential adopters are looking for dogs with basic manners. You might feel it’s appropriate to let your own dog jump on people, get mouthy during play, or beg for food, but please don’t let your foster dog have these same indulgences. Set boundaries for your foster dog, and be consistent. Additional training resources can be provided to you.

      • Training Tip: Building a positive relationship with your foster dog. Andrea Kilkenny, for Pit Bull Rescue Central.
        • Establish leadership
          A leader in a dog pack is not the biggest dog, not the meanest dog and not necessarily the oldest dog. It is the one who controls the resources! Within a pack of dogs, strong canine leaders rarely use physical means to control other dogs; this is true in both wild and domesticated dogs. Humans can apply this concept of hierarchy by controlling all the resources in the home and doling them out contingent upon desirable behavior.
        • Positive training
          We require positive, rewards based training for dogs. Increasing your foster dog’s obedience skills has many benefits. Not only will the future adopter appreciate these skills, but your foster dog will “show” better when visiting with potential adopters and you will have a much happier fostering experience. Some basic obedience cues that your foster dog should learn are: sit, down, come, crate/bed, stay, heel, and an attention cue such as “watch me.” In many cases, the dog will know some of these commands in Spanish and these are included on the Baja Dogs Intake document. Learning basic commands are very helpful in managing any dog. If you have a dog that does not like other dogs, these cues will be helpful on walks as well. For example, a dog that can heal nicely and that has been taught to “watch” you has less likelihood of making eye contact with another dog and getting aroused.
        • Why positive training?

          Many times, owners ask why one should use positive based methods. Please understand that force-based methods including “alpha rolls,” “flooding” techniques (i.e., forced exposure at an uncomfortable distance to the object or being that the dog has an issue with), the use of choke chains, prong collars, electric shock devices, and “correction” can all be problematic for a number of reasons. First, if a dog has aggression issues, using force can further exacerbate an already potentially dangerous situation. Second, using “correction” only or force does not teach the dog what you WANT him to do; only what you don’t want him to do. Third, a foster parent can damage his relationship with the dog if they are always correcting the dog or using aversive methods.

          Recently, the public has become enamored with the supposed results of certain high profile trainers, however, we must keep in mind that what we see on TV is also presented via the magic of editing! In addition, force based methods can often temporarily suppress undesirable behaviors, but under certain stressors, when a dog feels threatened and has no other options, he may resort to aggression to remove the unpleasant stimulus or to escape the situation.

          Positive training methods, on the other hand, are very unlikely to yield such undesirable and unsafe results. Using positive training methods can in fact, increase the likelihood of your dog wanting to respond correctly, increase your dog’s motivation to work, and they are fun for you and the dog! If you would like to find out more about positive training methods, how they work, and why they work, visit http://www.pbrc.net/training_nfl.html for an explanation of this type of non-confrontational leadership program.

      • Additional training tips
        • Short 5 minute training sessions 4-6 times a day is more effective than one long session.
        • Dogs need and respond to positive rewards when learning new behaviors. Remember, most behaviors that we want are boring to a dog, so it’s important to make it more interesting to them. A positive reward is a tasty treat, or a game of fetch, or anything that your foster dog enjoys.
        • You provide the guidance and information he needs to succeed and build his confidence. Always praise your foster dog when he is doing something good.
        • Be consistent with your terminology and routine. Your foster dog will become confused if you let them steal your socks sometimes, but not others.
        • Start small and easy and slowly build from there. Most people jump too quickly into advanced environments (outside on a walk, etc.), so make sure you start inside in a safe and quiet location.
        • Use “Oops” or “Ah-Ah” instead of the word “no.” Use sparingly; if it is overused then your foster dog will no longer respond. It is better if you ask your dog to do a behavior that you do like.
        • Be patient and calm. Dogs respond to your tone of voice and facial expressions as well as your emotions. Dogs can read your body language quickly. Don’t try to fake your emotions, as your foster dog will know.
        • Never lose your temper with a foster dog or strike him—EVER. We want to create and support a harmonious canine/human relationship.
    • House-training

      Be patient with your foster dog. Even house trained adult dogs will make mistakes. If there are smells in your house from another dog or cat, some foster dogs may “mark” out their territory. This action should be re-directed immediately with a calm “Oops” and escort him outside where he can finish. You will then want to use some odor neutralizer (like Nature’s Miracle) on the areas where the foster dog “marked” to insure he will not smell and mark that area again. You can begin to housetrain a puppy at 8 weeks of age. Even if you bring home an adult dog that is housebroken, you will want to follow these guidelines until your foster dog adjusts to his new situation and to your schedule.

      • Determine where you want your foster dog to eliminate – it could be the backyard, side yard or an indoor substrate such as a Pup Head, litter system or one you have designed.
      • When you have determined where he should do his business, take him to the same place every time, and tell him to “do his business.” Take him out when he wakes up, after he eats or drinks, after a play session, or at least every 2 hours. Puppies should go out every 45 minutes until you learn their pattern. Stand with him for 5 minutes. If he eliminates, reward him (with treats, praise, a favorite game and your own special happy dance). If he doesn’t go in 5 minutes, take him back inside and try every 15 minutes until he goes. Every time he goes, make sure you reward him!
      • Supervise the puppy closely while you’re inside. If he starts to sniff the floor, or even squats to go, interrupt with a calm “Oops”, scoop him up quickly and take him to the approved spot and praise when he finishes.
      • If he goes in the house while you’re not paying attention, don’t correct him – it’s not his fault. Clean it up and go back to your schedule. Use an odor neutralizer (like Nature’s Miracle) to get rid of the smell. Never put the dog’s face in his mess, or yell at him, he won’t understand you, and you will only be teaching him to fear you.
    • Crate training

      In many cases, your foster dog will already be crate trained. But should you need to do crate training, following is an excellent guide:

      • Crates provide safe havens and dens for dogs. They calm them and can help prevent destructive chewing, barking and housetraining mistakes. Puppies should not be crated for more hours than they are months old, plus one. For example, a 4-month-old should not be crated longer than 5 hours. How long an adult dog can be crated will depend on many factors. For example, if your foster dog was left outside, it has never been required to hold it for any period of time. It will take time for this dog to learn to hold it and you will need to start slowly. Older dogs and dogs with some medical conditions may only be able to successfully hold it for short periods of time.
      • Rigorous exercise should be given before and after any long periods in the crate, and good chew toys should be in the crate at all times. You may want to crate your new foster dog for the first few nights in your bedroom—most of them feel more secure in their crate and it protects your house from accidents.
      • Crates should never be used as a means of punishment for your foster dog. If used for punishing, the dog will learn to avoid going in the crate. Crates are not to be used for keeping puppies under 6 months out of mischief all day either. Crates should be thought of as dog playrooms – just like child playrooms, with games and toys. It should be a place dogs like to be and feel safe and secure when they are there.
      • Introducing the crate
        • Place the crate (with a blanket inside) in a central part of your home. Introduce your foster dog to the crate after a good walk, when he’s tired and sleepy. Keep all chew toys in the crate so that he can go in and out as he pleases, selecting toys to play with. Feed your dog in the crate with the door open. If the dog hesitates going in, place the bowl inside the door so their head is in and their body is outside.
        • If your foster still refuses to go near the crate, put the smelliest, tastiest wet food (or a steak!) in the crate and shut the door. Let the dog hang outside the crate for a while, smelling the food inside. Soon he should beg you to let him in!
        • Now that the dog is familiar and willing to go near the crate, throw some of his favorite treats in the crate. Let him go in and get them and come right out again. Do this exercise three or four times. Then, throw more treats in and let him go in and get them. When he is in, shut the door and give him another treat through the door. Then let him out and ignore him for 3 minutes. Then, put some more treats in the crate, let him go in, shut the door and feed him 5 bits of treats through the door, and then let him out and ignore him for 5 minutes.
        • Next time, place treats, peanut butter, freeze-dried liver or frozen food and honey in a Kong , so it is time-consuming to get the food out of the ball, and put the Kong in the crate. After your foster has gone in, shut the door and talk to him in a calm voice. If your dog starts to whine or cry, don’t talk to him or you will reward the whining/crying/ barking behavior. The foster dog must be quiet for a few minutes before you let him out.
        • Gradually increase the time in the crate until the dog can spend 3-4 hours there. We recommend leaving a radio (soothing music or talk radio) or TV (mellow stations: educational, art, food) on while the dog is in the crate and alone in the house. Rotate the dog’s toys from day to day so he doesn’t become bored of them. Don’t put papers in the crate – the dog will instinctively not go to the bathroom where he sleeps/lives. Instead, put a blanket in his crate to endorse the fact that this is his cozy home.
        • To help your foster get accustomed to the crate, place his favorite bed inside it and place it in your bedroom. If you’re fostering a puppy, you can try placing a warm hot water bottle wrapped in a towel next to him. Warmth makes puppies sleepy. Make sure the sides of bedding are tucked in firmly so the puppies don’t get lost or suffocated in a fold of the bedding. Be wary of dog crates during hot weather – a dog may want to lie on the cool floor of instead of the crate. Make sure the crate is not in direct sun.
    • Attention and playtime

      Gentle and calming human contact is important for recovering, sick, injured or neglected dogs. Human handling is especially important for the healthy development of puppies. Attention and playtime is a reward for your foster dog. Be sure to give your foster dog several minutes of playtime periodically through the day.

      As a general rule, children under 16 years old should NOT be left alone and unsupervised with any dog, but specifically a foster dog. Do not allow children to behave with the foster dog in a manner you would not want the child to behave with a younger sibling. Teach children to leave a dog alone when he is eating, chewing and sleeping. Never allow a child to remove a toy or any other “prized” possession from a dog. A child will not differentiate between a foster dog and a dog they have grown up with, so you must make sure to keep everyone safe.

      Do not play tug of war or wrestle with your foster dog. If you have a shy or fearful dog, do not throw the toy toward the dog, because he may think you are throwing things at him and become more fearful. This is especially true of a La Paz rescued dog because on the streets people often threw rocks at them. They can be very sensitive to this. After you have finished playing with a toy, put it away. You are controlling the toy and the playtime. When giving the dog a toy or treat, have him sit before giving it to him. That way he has to work to get the toy or treat – making the toy a reward. After your foster dog has settled in and has acclimated to his new home, it’s time to get him out into the world. The more you can do this, the better socialized he will be. Get him used to different people and different environments.

      Start slowly and don’t over-stimulate as many foster dogs may not have had exposure to what seems like a “normal” environment. When you are out and about, you should remain calm, as this will help your foster dog key off of your behavior. But always be aware of your surroundings. Always keep a good handle on your leash and be extremely careful around busy streets, or in parks where there are squirrels or birds or other distractions. If your dog reacts to someone/ something on your walk, interrupt the behavior by crossing the street or walk in a different direction. If you’re a runner/jogger, start off slow and keep an eye on your foster dog and see how they react. Many dogs pull when they are in front of you, and running can intensify this behavior. Keeping them at your side, rather than in front can help eliminate this pulling behavior. You may need to start and stop many times, but be patient. Remember, these runs should be about the dog, not about your own exercise. Puppies under 6 months old should not run with you and only occasionally, for short distances after 6 months. Also, remember your foster probably is not used to running regularly, and like a person, will have to improve his conditioning and stamina over a period of time to avoid injury.

      If you’re fostering puppies, make sure they have lots of new experiences, so they are well socialized and will be adaptable as an adult. Since it’s best not to take puppies out in public until they are fully vaccinated, bring new experiences to them. Find out from your BDLP Foster Care Coordinator if there are other puppies in foster care and schedule a puppy play date. Expose them to men and children as much as possible. Have friends over and invite children over to play. Always supervise playtime with children and dogs closely! Take your foster puppy in car rides (crate them for safety) to get used to the car. Keep in mind that puppies need to go to the bathroom frequently so be sure they eliminate before you go on a car ride, and keep the ride brief, since they will have to go again soon.

      NO Off-Leash Parks—No Exceptions: All foster dogs are required to be on leash at all times if outside of your secured yard. You are not allowed to bring your foster dog to an off-leash park even if you keep them on a leash as this can create leash aggression. There are no exceptions to this rule.

  • Behavioral Issues

    Some foster dogs will have specific needs regarding behavior, training or socializing. The Foster Care Coordinator will advise you if your foster dog has a behavior problem that may require your help, such as an abused or fearful dog who needs socializing or confidence building with other dogs or people. A dominant puppy may benefit from an adult dog in your home to “show them the ropes” and appropriate behavior. A dog with an unknown/questionable history may just need to be observed in someone’s home before being adopted. Many times it is the foster parent that is the first to learn about a foster dog’s specific behavior so constant communication with your Foster Care Coordinator is important. There are many resources that we can provide to help you manage most behavioral issues.

    Many of the behaviors that we find problematic, such as barking, whining, digging, chewing, scavenging and hunting other animals are really just normal dog behaviors and can be explained as “dogs truly being dogs.” But we should keep in mind that these behavioral “problems” are not necessarily abnormal or unusual. The easiest way to coexist with our canine companions is to provide more appropriate (aka human accepted) outlets for these behaviors.

    Some of the most common behavioral issues include:

    • Barking
    • Humping
    • Digging
    • Begging
    • Attention seeking
    • Garbage hunting
    • Leash pulling
    • Greeting manners
    • Destructive chewing
    • Puppy nipping and rough play
    • Submissive and/or excitement urination
    • Urine marking behavior
    • Fearfulness
    • Separation anxiety
    • Resource guarding
    • Prey drive

    If your foster dog is exhibiting any behavioral issues, ask yourself the questions below:

    • Is my foster dog getting enough exercise?
    • Is he being left alone for long periods of time?
    • Does he have interesting toys to keep his mind engaged and stimulated?
    • Is he getting enough attention and playtime?
    • Am I reinforcing bad behavior? Some examples include verbally scolding a dog when they are seeking attention or engaging the dog when he uses bad manners to get you to play.
    • Does my foster dog have a safe place that is dog-proofed with appropriate chew toys, or am I leaving my own belongings within reach?
    • Am I providing specific outlets based on his natural instincts and drives?

    You should also talk with your Foster Care Coordinator about any behavior issues. We don’t expect foster parents to be miracle workers. If your foster dog requires more attention, exercise or training than you can provide, the best solution for you and your foster dog might be transferring the dog to a different foster home.

    Regardless of the issue, we don’t condone punishment, as this is rarely effective in resolving behavior problems. Punishment will not address the cause of the behavior, and in fact it may worsen any behavior that’s motivated by fear or anxiety. Punishment may also cause anxiety in dogs that aren’t currently fearful. Never discipline your dog after the fact. People often believe their dog makes this connection because he runs and hides or “looks guilty.” But dogs display submissive postures like cowering, running away, or hiding when they feel threatened by an angry tone of voice, body posture, or facial expression. Your dog doesn’t know what he’s done wrong; he only knows that you’re upset. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but may provoke other undesirable behaviors, too.

  • Veterinary and medical care

    All veterinary care must be pre-authorized by calling your Foster Care Coordinator. Once a visit has been authorized, call to make an appointment at the approved vet office (approved by your Foster Care Coordinator). You must bring your foster dog’s current records with you to the appointment. Please arrange to have your foster dog seen during regular business hours as Emergency Veterinary Offices can be quite expensive. Once treatment has begun, you must continue with the same veterinary clinic.

    Please note: BDLP has a policy that it may not reimburse individuals for vet bills for foster animals if you do not receive pre-approval or go to an approved vet office. Emergency/night-time clinics are incredibly expensive and should only be used in cases of dire emergencies and/or after pre-approval. This being said, our first priority is the safety and well being of our dogs so if it is a dire situation and you cannot get ahold of your Foster Care Coordinator, please seek medical attention at your discretion.

    • Illness
      Your foster dog may not display any signs of illness until quite ill. Therefore, it’s up to you to observe your dog closely each day. Call your Foster Care Coordinator if you see abnormal behavior; unusual discharges from the eyes, nose or other body openings, abnormal lumps, limping, difficulty getting up or down, loss of appetite or abnormal waste elimination.
    • Diarrhea
      Diarrhea can be caused by several factors, including stress, change of diet, poor diet, eating garbage, parasites and viruses. If your foster dog has diarrhea and has no other symptoms, rule out change of diet by feeding your dog 2 cups of cooked rice mixed with one cup of cottage cheese for a day or two, and then reintroduce dry kibble. Provide plenty of fresh water since diarrhea can cause dehydration. To check for dehydration, pull the skin up over the shoulder blades. If it snaps back quickly, the dog is not dehydrated. If the skin goes down slowly, then the dog is dehydrated and needs fluids. Dehydration can kill a puppy so call your BDLP Foster Care Coordinator if you suspect your foster is dehydrated. In an emergency, take your foster dog directly to your vet.
    • Distemper
      Distemper is an extremely contagious and often fatal viral disease. Over 50% of dogs and 80% of puppies that contract the virus die from it. It is an airborne infection that can be transmitted with or without direct contact with an infected dog through mucous, urine and feces. Some of the symptoms include squinting, congestion of the eyes, puss from the eyes, weight loss, coughing, vomiting, nasal discharge and diarrhea. This disease is another reason why foster puppies shouldn’t go to off-leash parks. Contact your Foster Care Coordinator immediately if you suspect distemper.
    • Fleas

      Most foster dogs have been treated when they were rescued. But additional flea treatments are available if needed. Puppies younger than 4 months should NOT be treated with toxic chemicals. Puppies over 8 weeks of age and adult dogs can be treated with topical flea treatment.

      Flea treatments contain insecticides that can cause nerve and liver damage, impair the immune system and even cause cancer. Regular flea combing is the best way to control and monitor the fleas. Vacuum all areas of your house that your foster uses at least every 2-3 to three days. Fleas usually are found on dogs that are ill and so, as with any illness, you’ll want to strengthen the overall health of the dog. As a rule, healthy dogs are less likely to get fleas than sick ones. Good food, minimal stress, proper hygiene and TLC will most likely keep the dog from getting fleas or an illness.

      To check for fleas, inspect your dog daily—inspecting the rear groin, belly, and tail, under the chin and head, and neck (common places for fleas). Look also for black specks of flea dirt, which is actually digested blood. Before you begin combing, get a bowl of tap water and put a few drops of dish soap in it. You can put any fleas you find in the water and they will drown. If you don’t use soap, the fleas may swim to a fluff of fur and jump out of the water. If fleas are present, treat as soon as possible. Change bedding and vacuum the floors daily. The washing machine will remove fleas, eggs and dirt.

      If your foster dog had fleas, watch his stools for short pieces of white rice that are tapeworms, which come from ingesting fleas. Tapeworms can cause diarrhea. If you see tapeworms, call your BDLP Foster Care Coordinator who can advise you on the next steps.

    • Vaccinations and deworming
      Your foster dog’s vaccines will be current and the dog will have been dewormed. Rabies vaccines are given to dogs at 3 months of age. If you have to administer any deworming or other medication, you will be provided with instructions and Baja Dogs will assume the cost for these.
    • A dog's temperature
      A normal temperature for dogs and puppies is 101 to 102.5 degrees fahrenheit . Any temperature below 100 degrees or above 103 is a problem. Call your Foster Care Coordinator immediately. If a puppy has a temperature below 100 degrees, place him on a heating pad turned to low and cover him with a towel immediately. If the dog’s temperature is 103 degrees or higher, and the puppy has been on a heating pad, remove him from the pad immediately.
    • Poisonous foods and household items
      Many household products can be toxic to dogs. Remove any rat or mouse poisonings, antifreeze and windshield wiper fluid from your home before fostering! And store cleaning products and other items listed below out of reach of pets. The following common food items are poisonous for dogs:
      • Chocolate
      • Grapes/Raisins
      • Macadamia Nuts
      • Onion, Garlic, and Mushrooms
      • Caffeine

      The ten most common poisonous plants are:

      • Azalea/Rhododendron
      • Kalanchoe
      • Lilies
      • Marijuana
      • Cyclamen
      • Oleander
      • Sago Palm
      • Yew
      • Tulip/Narcissus bulbs

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