August 2019

Audience: Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

Before bringing a dog home, prepare carefully to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for everyone. There's much to consider, including what rules to set for your new dog, what equipment you'll need and what questions to ask the shelter/rescue group, foster coordinator or your veterinarian.


  • Where is the crate and bed going to be for your new dog?
  • Where is your new dog going to eat and drink?
  • What will the emergency protocol be for veterinary services, behavior issues, and other?
  • How will you instruct children (including any child visitors to your home) on dog care and safety rules? More information on dogs and children
  • What will the schedule be for feedings, walks, playtime, bathroom breaks?
  • What will the training schedule be for your new dog?
  • How will you introduce your new dog to your resident pets? More information on introductions to dogs, cats and other pets
  • Are all escape routes from the house blocked? If you have a fenced yard, make sure that the fence doesn't have any holes. Set up gates at outside doors as a second line of defense.
  • Is your house dog-proofed? Be sure that there are no loose wires, shoes, books, or clutter on the floors.
  • Where is your new dog's outdoor potty area going to be?
  • Where will your new dog's "safe zones" be? (Note: A safe zone is a quiet, stress-free area in the home where your new dog can rest without being bothered by people, other pets or loud noises. It can be a crate, or an area blocked by a door or a gate.)
  • How will you introduce your new dog to visitors? Is your new dog going to be secured in their safe zone, allowed to greet visitors at the door, or kept on a leash when visitors arrive?

Equipment Needed:

  • Collar, 2-3 leashes (6 ft. long)
  • Water and food bowls, food
  • Dog bed
  • Poop bags (you can use grocery bags)
  • Flea and tick preventive medication
  • Toys

Additional Equipment to Consider:

  • Harness and/or head halter
  • Crate

Questions to Ask the Shelter/Rescue Group:

  • What is the age and adult size of your new dog?
  • What is the energy level of your new dog?
  • What do they know about your new dog's behavioral and medical history?
  • Is your new dog on any medication? If so, how to administer the medication and how often.