Foster a Service Dog in Trainingprovide a home for a dog that will change a life
FOSTER INFORMATION MEETING
Information sessions are scheduled by appointment only. If you are interested in relief fostering or fostering full-time, but would like more information prior to attending an orientation, please email us AND complete the foster application available here. Private info sessions will be held periodically upon request.
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Service dogs in training are fostered by local volunteers and students while they are in training prior to being placed with their new owners. Dogs in foster homes must be given special treatment in order to prepare them for their futures and Diggity Dogs works closely with fosters in order to provide the kind of care necessary.
Fostering is a wonderful and enriching way to help others that also fills your live with the joy that a dog brings. Fostering also provides individuals valuable skills and techniques for training and understanding the dogs in their lives now or in the future.
- UMASS & 5-College students are eligible to receive three credits per semester for fostering, if they enroll in our course, Animal Science 398d. (https://www.vasci.umass.edu/course-catalog/animl-sci-398d-service-dog-training) This is open to all majors.
- Interns are eligible for credit as a practicum for one, two or three credits per semester.
- Service dogs have public access rights. Denying someone with a service dog is similar to denying someone in a wheelchair.
- In Massachusetts and many other states service dogs in training are given the same public access privileges as fully trained service dogs. From the day our dogs go home with their fosters, our dogs are living the life of a service dog and accompany the fosters most places they go.
- Our fosters come to three-hour classes once a week at our training center. During these classes, the fosters learn two new behaviors to work on with their dogs.
- Fosters spend twenty minutes every day on focused training with their dog. During this time (which is broken up into several short training sessions) the fosters are working on teaching the 2 new behaviors learned in class, as well as reinforcing behaviors learned in the past.
- Fosters also learn how to care for their dogs hygienic needs, such as brushing teeth, clipping nails and cleaning ears, as well as grooming their dogs in our grooming room.
- Continuity is important when training a dog, so we love to find fosters willing to commit to the training for an entire year, however sometimes we have dogs that only need to be fostered for six months or so. Idealy, fosters are still able to attend classes during summer and school breaks, though we do often use video assignments instead of in class so that fosters do not have to commute every week during breaks. While many students carpool during the academic year, having reliable transportation available during breaks is a factor we consider when selecting fosters.
- The only cost that fosters are responsible for is the dog’s food, we pay for everything else. Because we believe that good food is the best preventative medicine, we require our dogs be fed 4.5 or 5 star food using dogfoodadvisor.com as a guide. We estimate that the cost of food is about $50 a month.
- We do not select fosters on a first come first serve basis. We make every effort to match dogs with a foster that we believe will make for the most successful pairing and select fosters that we believe have the commitment and skills to help our dogs succeed.
- For those unable to foster full-time, there are other ways to get involved. We have a large network of relief fosters and interns that are incredibly valuable to our organization. Relief fosters are individuals or families that have been trained to work with our dogs but, for whatever reason, are unable to foster full-time. Relief fosters care for our dogs at times when their primary full-time foster can’t. Sometimes it is only for a few hours, for a day or even a week.
- In order to be eligible to work with our dogs in any capacity, interested individuals must first attend an a three-hour orientation, which is held on a Sunday from 2-5pm. One orientation is held the first Sunday after students return at the beginning of every semester. Another is held in the last few weeks of each semester. Ideally fosters will attend the orientation at the end of the semester PRIOR to the one they would like to begin fostering in, however, we do also accept newly oriented fosters each semester too! For more information regarding fostering or orientations, please reach out to Jazz Peck at firstname.lastname@example.org.