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Dog Tip: Bonding and Transitioning into the New Home

By Robin Tierney

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Some prospective adopters worry that a foster dog might be too attached to a caregiver. But most dogs are fairly resilient and if the new home is as loving as the foster home, they will make the transition and bond within weeks or even days.

"The longer we foster a dog, the more bonded and attached he or she gets to the foster person," explains PAW volunteer and veteran foster caregiver Lawrie Rich. "This makes their adjustment into a new permanent home take a little longer." Sometimes, the dog will go into a depression for a while as he re-experiences feelings of abandonment. As a result, it may take the new owner awhile to gain the trust and acceptance of the dog.

However, a knowledgeable, patient person will win the dog over before too long. "Some dogs may love you right off, but get angry here and there when you're not around, or not watching, and destroy a thing or two in the house for a while," says Lawrie. "This behavior is not really directed at you, but at his or her previous abandonment." Fortunately, most dogs learn to trust again much faster than a human does.

As for the caregiver who misses the bond shared with the former foster dog, one solution is always available: channel that devotion to another lonely, homeless dog.