You have finally decided to open up your heart and home to a puppy and/or puppies in need, but are probably wondering what it is that you need to be ready for when you pick them up and bring them home. First, do not panic! Fostering a puppy or puppies does not have to be as overwhelming or messy as your imagination makes it seem. Having fostered many puppies in the past, I discovered a great set-up that I recommended to several first time fosters and even puppy-adopters.
I promise that the following set-up is affordable, pretty much mess free and actually helps potty-train your puppy. However, before getting into more descriptive details, you will need to buy or obtain from the organization the following materials: baby gate (Walmart or Target), potty-pad, bowls for water and food, a little comfy bed or soft blanket, and two toys.
After you obtain the stuff mentioned above, you are ready to set-up the space for your little puppy or puppies. And contrary to your rational thought, fostering two puppies at once is easier than a single puppy. Yes, I am not kidding. Why? Well two puppies can play together when you are gone and they also keep each other company at night so they might not cry as much as a single puppy.
Ok, so now you have your materials and puppies, and are probably wondering where this magical puppy space is in your house? Well, it is actually your bathroom or your guest bathroom. I recommend using your guest bathroom because it is usually smaller and the space for pee and poo cleaning is reduced. Even if there are accidents, which there will be, cleaning is easier with the tiles that are usually placed in bathroom floors.
The following is a description of the perfect puppy foster set-up:
And voila! You are done. Not bad right? After bathing your puppies with Dawn (the blue original dish soap) to make sure all possible fleas are dead and after properly drying them, you can introduce them to this space. This space will be used for feeding, for leaving them there when you are not home, and for sleeping at night.
Two extra tips for the better use of this space: 1) If you live in a home with a yard, when you go see them in the morning DO NOT open the gate and let them free in your house. Pick them up and take them to your yard. After you have seen them pee and poop outside, then they can have some free time inside your home. Keep puppy pads in the free roaming space inside your home just in case. After a week or so, you will wake-up to a clean bathroom space! As your puppies grow they will hold it and learn that you will be coming to get them and will do their business outside in the yard. 2) Ignore them when they cry at night. As hard as this is, once you put them inside the bathroom at night and turn off the light, do not go back to peek at them or play with them. After a few nights, I promise the crying will stop and they will learn to be quiet.
A foster puppy space set-up like this one is easy, affordable and helps crate train a puppy without actually having a crate. If your puppies are small breeds you can use this space for longer, however, if they are larger breed puppies it might get a bit restrictive sooner. Nonetheless, this set-up will make your puppy fostering experience more pleasant and stress free. It has worked for me multiple times and has helped my fosters be better trained puppies for their future owners. Good luck and thank you for saving lives!