Adult Dog Fostering Program

This program is similar to the Puppy Partners Program, but it is usually a short term foster arrangement lasting 1- 3 months. As our service dogs are nearing their placement dates, we are looking for homes that will foster them and prepare them for the day-to-day routine of living with a family. During this time our service dog is going to work or to school with you each day, and you are providing numerous public access opportunities to prepare them for the reality of their new placement. During this time, Adult Dog foster families are required to keep up the day to day obedience training and practice specialized training scenarios.

These are dogs are fully trained and crossed-trained, have passed Canine Good Citizenship as well as completing at least 6 months of specialized training in the following areas:

• Mobility Assistance
• Seizure Response
• Diabetic Alert
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you are interested in becoming an Adult Dog Fosterer, please read our frequently asked questions below and complete the Adult Dog Foster Application. If you need further information prior to submitting an application, please contact: Pamela Standing at 701-685-2242.

Adult Dog Foster Application

How do I become a Volunteer Fosterer?

Once we receive your completed application, we will schedule an interview in your home. This interview gives you a chance to ask further questions about our foster care and training program and gives us the opportunity to meet you personally. You must be able to pass the Volunteer Handler and Public Access test before a dog can go into your care.

What type of training do you provide?

SDA offers a “Volunteer Handler and Public Access” training. You will learn about how a service dog behaves in public, and the expectations of a handler in public. You will learn and practice the Basic 5, Motivation, Corrective and Manner commands with a service dog during the class. You will be taught about the Americans with Disabilities Act and the North Dakota and Minnesota statutes on service dogs. You will participate in a specialized public access test with a service dog, and the training closes with a luncheon outing. Once you have passed the training, you will receive an ID that you will carry with you when you have the dog in public.

How old are dogs when they are placed in volunteer foster homes?

Dogs are placed in foster homes between 14 – 20 months of age. We believe strongly that for successful placements to occur, our dogs need to be comfortable with home life, where their specialized training commands are reinforced and practiced and they are provided plenty of public access experience and exposure.

How long do I have the dog?

Depending on the dog’s transition, abilities and public access exposure, they are usually with a fosterer for 1-3 months. We also offer weekend fostering as well. And then along comes another new service dogs so you can be a part of this wonderful process again.

What breeds are used for potential service dogs?

SDA primarily uses Labrador Retrievers in our program due to their size, natural retrieving instinct and their strong desire to work for and please people.

Is the entire family involved?

Yes. Considering the investment of emotion, time, and energy in raising a service dog, the entire family needs to be in favor of taking on this commitment. Family members may participate in the training process; however, one family member should be designated as the primary handler.

Can we have other animals?

We are in favor of volunteer foster homes having other pets. This allows our service dogs’ exposure to other animals. However, your animals must accept a service dog in your home. If you have an older dog or an animal that is dog-aggressive, we will not be able to place a dog with you. This prevents harm to the dog, your other dog(s), or yourself. If your dog(s) is not experienced around other dogs or you aren’t sure how your other animals will react, we would be happy to set up an appointment with you for temperament testing.

Are the dogs allowed in public places like other service dogs?

Each dog in our program receives a “Service Dog in Training” vest which enables volunteer fosterers to expose this future service dog to a variety of public environments and situations. You will always carry your Handler ID with you when you have the dog in public.

Who takes care of the dog if I go out of town?

Usually another volunteer or SDA will take care of your foster dog while you are on vacation.

Will I get to meet the individual who receives the dog I train?

Yes, as a Volunteer Fosterer you will have the opportunity to meet the individual who receives the dog you trained. Applicants for service dogs complete three weeks of team training with their potential service dog followed by a graduation ceremony (held throughout the year). You will be invited to participate in the graduation, hand off the dog to its new partner, and celebrate reaching the goal of your foster dog graduating as a service dog.

What equipment, supplies or services does Service Dogs for America provide? What equipment, supplies or service does the Volunteer Foster home provide?
  • A training vest w/badge
  • Veterinary care, and heart worm medication
  • Volunteer Foster training manual covering reference, grooming, medical and training topics
  • Public Access outings
  • SDA Volunteer Fosterer starter kit
  • SDA dog food at cost
  • Monthly conference call with the SDA manager and training staff
  • Access to SDA manager and training staff for support
  • Lots of love and snuggling
  • Lots of daily exercise – long walks, runs and panting puppies
  • Car rides all the time
  • Bus rides
  • Walks in populated places
  • Walks in parks and forests
  • Go inside to new and interesting places at least 1-2 times a week
  • Take the dog to meetings so it learns to wait quietly
  • Discourage barking, except during playtime
  • Absolutely NO feeding from the table – use the dog dish ONLY
  • A fenced yard is preferred
  • Dog food
  • Dog toys and treats
  • Provide transportation to outings, vet visits and training classes
  • Be responsible for bathing, grooming, trimming nails and brushing teeth.
  • Be responsible for submitting monthly progress reports provided by SDA.
  • Ability to commit to participating in at least 1-2 of SDA’s organized community events each year while you are fostering.

*These expenses may be tax deductible.

Service Dogs for America (SDA)

920 Short Street
Jud, ND 58454
Phone: 701-685-2242

Download the Application:

Adult Dog Foster Application

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