Will My Foster Dog Think I Abandoned Him? [Address the Fear]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Have you fostered a dog (or considering doing so) but are worried about whether or not they’ll feel abandoned when it’s time for them to leave?

It’s a common dilemma that many people have before bringing a furry friend into their home.

The thought of leaving a dog who has become attached to you can be heartbreaking, but the good news is that there are things you can do to ease the transition and help your foster dog feel loved and supported during their time with you.

So, don’t worry – I’m here to share some tips and tricks to help you make your foster dog’s stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

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Can Foster Dogs Feel Abandoned by Their Temporary Caretakers?

Can Foster Dogs Feel Abandoned by Their Temporary Caretakers?

Your foster dog will not think you abandoned him.

He will simply understand that you are no longer part of his life.

What it knows is that a change has taken place and that he won’t be with you anymore.

Very soon, he’ll be adjusting to his new place, but he won’t resent you for such a transition either.

The Foster Dog Experience – What is It Like?

The role of the foster parent

Being a foster parent is a tedious yet rewarding experience that will fill you with joy.

A foster parent has the role of taking in dogs for temporary shelter. Most of the time, dogs you’re supposed to foster come from abusive homes or streets.

Being a foster parent means that you’re supposed to provide a safe and caring environment for dogs who need nurturing.

Basic dog training to improve dog behavior is also done by some foster parents to tame and socialize some doggies who weren’t initially exposed to humans.

As a foster parent, it’s your role too to find potential families who’ll be suitable to adopt your foster dog.

You’re gonna have to observe your foster dog about their personality, habit, and way of socializing so you can find the best family for him.

In most cases, you gotta work with foster organizations to get that doggy adopted to his fur-ever home.

Fostering is a temporary situation, but the impact that foster parents have on dogs will be for a lifetime.

How long does it take for a foster dog to feel at home?

A foster dog generally takes at least three months to feel at home.

Have you heard of the 3-3-3 rule before? Foster parents use it as their guide in dealing with their newly fostered doggies.

This rule suggests that in the first three days that you get your foster dog, he’ll be too anxious from the overwhelming feeling of being in a new home.

You’ll observe that he has no appetite, and will just be curling up in one corner away from everyone else.

But by three weeks, it’ll start showing curiosity.

Your dog will start settling in and sniffing the new place here and there. It’ll be more understanding of the routine you’ve set like feeding, walking, and pooping.

When three months hit the calendar, your foster dog will become fully comfortable and open to the environment you’ve set it.

He now knows his routine, and he’ll be more socializing than ever before. He’ll feel safer and secure with the kindness he’s been receiving.

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Do Dogs Remember Their Previous Owners?

Dogs remember their previous owners, especially those who have shown them so much kindness or cruelty.

But dogs won’t be able to remember each moment that they’ve shared with their previous owners.

They’ll only be able to remember their scents, sounds of voice, and some definitive physical features attached to the memories they’ve had before.

For example, Blackie got adopted by a new family. 

A few months later, he saw his previous owner who treated him badly in the past. The said owner has a thick mustache.

Blackie will instantly recognize the mustache, and he’ll remember his previous owner who hurt him.

Preparing for the End of the Foster Period – Tips

Prepare the dog for transition

The end of the foster period means the doggy will be transferring to a new home away from you as his foster parent.

Hence, you have gotta prepare him for the transition with you not included in that new environment.

Leave him for a couple of hours every day a week before the foster period ends. This will help him adjust faster to your absence.

Be hands-on with the transition

Is the foster dog going back to a rescue org? Or is he being adopted by his fur-ever family?

Whichever of the two, you have to be hands-on with the transition by providing them with the info about the doggy. 

The dog’s likes, dislikes, personality, and how they behave should all be compiled in one file so whoever gets to take care of him will know every detail about him.

Bid your farewell

Saying goodbye is the hardest part of fostering doggies. It’s hard especially when you’ve grown attached.

However, keep in mind that you’ve done your part in that dog’s journey. And he’ll be going to someplace better suited for him.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do dogs get attached to fosters?

Dogs get attached to fosters, especially when foster parents show great kindness towards them. They are animals of habit, and spending time with their foster parents is a form of habit that can get them attached.

Do dogs get sad when they leave their foster home?

Foster dogs get sad when they leave their foster home. But it’s more likely because of the new environment they’re being introduced into. Dogs don’t take changes well, so leaving foster homes where they’ve established routines makes them sad.

Will my foster dog miss me?

Your foster dog will not miss you, but he’ll remember your scent and voice. He will be spending his time getting used to the new place he has been transferred into, so he won’t have the time to dwell on your absence.

Will my foster dog remember me after it finds its forever home?

Your foster dog will remember you after it finds its forever home. The feeling of kindness you’ve shown him and the affection he’d gotten used to will always remain in his mind. However, he won’t exactly remember the things you did together; just the feeling of happiness and fun.

How can I advocate for my foster dog to help him find him forever home?

Get to know your foster dog so you’ll be able to tell his story from where he was rescued, and what he likes the most. It’s also best to take pictures and record videos of him you can post on social media where dog lovers can see him.

How long is too long to keep a foster dog?

There is no set time limit for how long you can foster a dog, but if you keep one for too long, it will become more difficult to find it a permanent home. Generally speaking, dogs adjust to their foster homes in three months. While you need to treat it as family, too much time together will make it harder to bid goodbye.

In Conclusion: Will My Foster Dog Think I Abandoned Him?

All in all, fostering a dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, both for you and your furry friend.

Dogs don’t have as powerful a cognitive function as we humans do, and would not have feelings of abandonment when you leave them.

I would rather focus all my energy on making sure that they get the best experience and all our love when it’s in our home. Don’t you agree?

Check out other dog behavior articles such as what to do about neighbor’s dog destroying my fence, why is my dog biting other dog’s legs, why does my dog hump my arm, and many more on our blog!

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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