Quick Reference Guide
The First Day
The First Two-Weeks
Your First Vetting Appointment
Who Might Contact You

Crate Training
Behavior Issues
Aggression & Bites

Quick Contact Reference Guide

(Seizures, death, not breathing, trauma, lost dog)

–> Call or text: 320-237-8167 – this is the emergency phone

Criteria for Emergencies: What constitutes a medical emergency in a dog? A good rule of thumb is any situation in which you would call 911 for a person. Here are some specific symptoms that could indicate an emergency:

  • Not breathing or labored breathing

  • Symptoms of parvovirus: bloody diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, high fever (above 103.5 degrees)

  • Signs of extreme dehydration: dry mucous membranes, weakness, vomiting, tenting of the skin (when the skin is pulled up, it stays there)

  • Abnormal lethargy or unable to stand

  • Unconsciousness or unable to wake up

  • Cold to the touch

  • Broken bones

  • Any trauma: hit by a car, dropped, stepped on

  • A large wound or profuse bleeding that doesn’t stop when pressure is applied

  • Loss of appetite for more than 24 hours

    If your foster dog displays any of these symptoms, contact the emergency phone or our vetting manager (or backup managers) ASAP.  If the animal is vomiting or has diarrhea, but is still active, eating and drinking, you can probably wait until the next day to get help.


Email our vetting team at

  • For medication refills, please give 7-10 days’ notice

  • For special food requests, please give 10-14 days’ notice

QUESTIONS & CONCERNS RELATED TO FOSTERING (Includes supply needs, behavioral concerns, referrals, suggestions, adoption application status or anything else!) Email the Foster Team at


Who Might Contact You

Grey Face is volunteer based, so please bear with us as we balance our efforts around full-time jobs, family, our own pets and other commitments. Because of the busy nature of rescue work, we rely on our team structure to get the job done! Here is a look at who may reach out to you regarding your foster dog.

  • Intake team – You will be contacted by a member of the intake team when details are know about when and where a dog will be coming into rescue. They will work out a time to make the transfer to your home. In general, we will conduct intakes at our St. Cloud facility. Email:

  • Foster support team – Checks in to see how it is going after a few days with a new foster and then for regular updates after that. Will also remind you to complete the Bio after 2 weeks to help promote your foster. Email:

  • Vet care team – Sends you vet appointment information and further details on any medical needs your foster dog may have. Email:

  • Adoption team – Asks specific questions from applicants regarding your foster dog. Schedules meet and greets when they have an approved applicant for your foster pet. Email:

COME SEE US! Our office is at 7316 Ridgewood Road in St. Cloud. Since our team is made of all volunteers, we are generally there by appointment. 

Grey Face also operates an indoor dog park out of this space. The dog park adds another layer of activity to our office and so we ask that fosters set an appointment if needing to come to grab supplies or meet with someone -- this will ensure that a team member is available to help you with any needs. 

Foster dogs are allowed to use the indoor play space for FREE and you may grab a spot by signing up on our website! Feel free to bring along your resident dogs as well, though they will be charged a $5 per dog fee.


Be patient with your foster dog. Even house-trained adult dogs will make mistakes, especially if they’ve been at the shelter for a long time and have been eliminating in their kennel, some may have been “outside dogs” or maybe are just really nervous about their new environment. 

If there are smells in your house from another dog or cat, some foster dogs may “mark” out their territory. This action should be redirected immediately with a calm “Oops” and immediately escort them outside where they can finish. You’ll then want to use some odor neutralizer on the areas where the foster dog “marked” to ensure they won’t smell and mark that area again. 

  • Determine where you want your foster dog to eliminate — Take them to the same place when you go outside. When you have determined where the designated spot is, take them to the same place every time, and give a verbal cue, such as” do your business, or go potty” Take them out when they wake up, after feeding, after a play session, or about every 2 hours. 

  • Stand with them for 5 minutes. If they eliminate, reward them (with treats, praise, a favorite game and your own special happy dance). If they don’t go in 5 minutes, take them back inside and try every 15-30 minutes until they go. Every time they go, make sure to reward! 

  • If they start to sniff the floor, or even squat to go, interrupt with a calm “Oops,” scoop them up quickly and take them to the approved spot and praise when they finish. If they go in the house while you’re not paying attention, don’t correct them – it’s not their fault, and they won’t remember. Clean it up and go back to your schedule. Use an odor neutralizer to get rid of the smell. 

Never put the dog’s face in the mess, or yell. They won’t understand you, and you will only be teaching them to fear you.

Crate Training 

Crates provide safe havens and dens for dogs. They calm them and can help prevent destructive chewing, barking and housetraining mistakes. It can take time for dogs to learn to hold it so start slowly. Older dogs and dogs with some medical conditions may only be able to successfully hold it for short periods of time. 

Exercise should be given before and after any long periods in the crate, and good chew toys should be in the crate at all times. You may want to crate your new foster dog for the first few nights or even all the time when you are away – most of them feel more secure in their crate and it protects your house from accidents. 

Crates should never be used as a means of punishment. If used for punishing, the dog will learn to avoid going in the crate. Crates should be thought of as dog playrooms – just like child playrooms, with games and toys. It should be a place dogs like to be and feel safe and secure when they are there. 

Introducing the Crate 

  • Place the crate (with a blanket inside) in a central part of your home. Introduce your foster dog to the crate after a good walk, when their tired and sleepy. Keep chew toys in the crate so that he can go in and out as they please selecting toys to play with. If the dog hesitates going in, place treats inside the door so their head is in and their body is outside. 

  • If your foster still refuses to go near the crate, put the smelliest, tastiest wet food (or a steak, sans bones!) in the crate and shut the door. Let the dog hang outside the crate for a while, smelling the food inside. Soon, they’ll beg you to let them in! 

  • Now that the dog is familiar and willing to go near the crate, throw some of their favorite treats in the crate. Let them go in and come right out again. Do this exercise three or four times. Then, throw more treats in and let them go in and get the treats. 

  • When they are in, shut the door and give another treat through the door. Then let them out and ignore for a few minutes. After a few minutes put some more treats in the crate, let them go in, shut the door and feed a few bits of treats through the door. Then let them out and ignore him for a few minutes. 

  • Next time, place treats, peanut butter, freeze-dried liver or frozen food and honey in a Kong, so it’s a time-consuming treat. If your dog starts to whine or cry, don’t talk to him or you will reward the behavior – let them whine/cry/bark for a few minutes, they will eventually calm down. Once they are quiet for a few minutes let them out. 

  • Gradually increase the time in the crate until the dog can spend a minimum of 3-4 hours there. We recommend leaving a radio (soothing music or talk radio) or TV (mellow stations: educational, art, food) on while the dog is in the crate and alone in the house. Rotate the dog’s toys from day to day so they don’t become bored of them. Don’t put papers in the crate - the dog will instinctively not go to the bathroom where they sleep/live. Instead, put a blanket in the crate to endorse the fact that this is their cozy home. 

  • Be wary of dog crates during hot weather - a dog may want to lie on the cool floor, instead of the crate. Just make sure the crate isn’t in a spot where there is direct sun.

Behavioral Issues

Your Foster team will check in with you regularly and will advise you if your foster dog has a behavior problem that may require more help, such as an abused or fearful dog that needs socializing or one that needs confidence building with other dogs or people. Many times, the foster parent is the first to learn about a foster dog’s specific behavior, so good communication with our team is important. We have many resources – including veterinarians, vet techs and training experts – who can help you to manage most behavioral issues. 

Some of the most common behavioral issues we can help with include:

  • Destructive chewing 

  • Nipping and rough play 

  • Submissive and/or excitement urination 

  • Urine marking behavior 

  • Fearfulness 

  • Separation anxiety 

  • Resource guarding 

  • Prey drive 

  • Barking 

  • Humping 

  • Digging 

  • Begging 

  • Attention seeking 

  • Counter surfing/ Garbage hunting 

  • Leash pulling 

  • Greeting manners 

If your foster dog exhibits any behavioral issues, ask yourself the following: 

  • Is my foster dog getting enough exercise? 

  • Are they being left alone for long periods of time? 

  • Do they have interesting toys to keep their mind engaged and stimulated? 

  • Are they getting enough attention and playtime from the humans in the house? 

  • Am I reinforcing bad behavior? Some examples include telling a dog that “It’s OK,” verbally scolding a dog when they are seeking attention, babying, etc.

  • Does my foster dog have a safe place that is dog-proofed with appropriate chew toys, or am I leaving my own belongings within reach?

  • Am I providing specific outlets based on the dog’s breed, drive, instinct and energy level?

Talk with our Foster team about any behavior issues before you become frustrated with the dog. We don’t expect foster parents to be miracle workers, and we’ll do our best to provide the tools and support to build a better bond between you and the dog with a goal toward making the situation work. If ultimately your foster dog requires more attention, exercise or training than you can provide, the best solution might be transferring the dog to a different foster home.

Regardless of the issue, we don’t condone punishment, as this is rarely effective in resolving behavior problems. Punishment will not address the cause of the behavior, and in fact it may worsen any behavior that’s motivated by fear or anxiety. Punishment may also cause anxiety in dogs that aren’t currently fearful. 

Never discipline your dog after the fact. People often believe their dog makes this connection because they run, hides or “looks guilty.” But dogs display submissive postures like cowering, running away, or hiding when they feel threatened by an angry tone of voice, body posture, or facial expression. Your dog doesn’t know what they’ve done wrong; they only know that you’re upset. Punishment after the fact will not only fail to eliminate the undesirable behavior, but may provoke other undesirable behaviors, too.

Any dogs showing aggression issues should be communicated to our Foster team, who will then discuss the situation with our training/vetting staff. 

Aggression and Bites

Grey Face takes reports of aggression or biting very seriously and we have implemented an aggression reporting system to keep our fosters and senior dogs safe. 

Definitions of “Aggressive”

To say that a dog is “aggressive” can mean a host of things. We want to use the term “attack” sparingly, as aggression encompasses a range of behaviors that usually begin with warnings and can culminate in an attack. Many dogs are labeled as “aggressive” when they’re actually acting out of fear or were provoked (even if we didn’t know it) in some way. Many behaviors can be managed. A dog that shows aggression to people usually exhibits some part of the following sequence of increasingly intense behaviors:

  • Becoming very still and rigid

  • Guttural bark that sounds threatening

  • Lunging forward or charging at the person with no contact

  • Mouthing, as though to move or control the person, without applying significant pressure

  • “Muzzle punch” (the dog literally punches the person or the dog with her nose)

  • Growling

  • Showing teeth

  • Snarling (a combination of growling and showing teeth)

  • Snapping

  • Quick nipping that leaves no mark

  • Quick biting that tears the skin

  • Biting with enough pressure to cause a bruise

  • Biting that causes puncture wounds

  • Repeated biting in rapid succession

  • Biting and shaking

  • Raised hair on their neck or back

Dogs don’t always follow this sequence, and they often do several of the behaviors above simultaneously. Many times, pet parents don’t recognize the warning signs before a bite, so they perceive their dogs as suddenly flying off the handle. That’s rarely the case, however. It can be just milliseconds between a warning and a bite, but dogs rarely bite without giving some type of warning beforehand. 

We ask that you report any instances of the following behavior:

Aggression Toward Humans

  • Any bites to a person (if a dog only shows aggression to males or females in the home, it still needs to be reported)

  • Any nips, snapping, or attempted bites 

  • Growling when accompanied by snapping, nipping or biting

  • Lunging at people

  • Showing teeth to people (this behavior may precede an actual bite)

Food Aggression

Food aggression is when a dog is aggressively protecting food or treats. Food aggressive dogs can bite humans or other dogs. If your foster dog shows this, please feed them separately in different rooms or in their kennel

Dog Aggression

  • If you see your foster dog going after one of your dogs consistently. 

  • If a dog is ever hurt or injured by another.

  • If a dog shows aggression to other dogs while getting treats.

  • If the dog growls at another dog consistently or while out walking. 

If your foster dog displays any of these things, please report the incident ASAP to and  We will help determine if underlying factors or something in the dog’s environment may have caused the dog to lash out.

If the foster dog bites another animal or a human please report the incident immediately. 

In your email, please include a detailed description of the incident, including:

  • Where and when the incident happened (inside the house, in the yard, etc.).

  • Who was present (including any other animals).

  • Were the animals involved on leash or off?

  • Was anyone bitten, scratched or was the incident characterized more as loud and noisy. Was any animal or human hurt in the incident?

  • What happened and what you think may have provoked the incident.

  • If another animal was involved, include the breed, sex, age and size.

  • If a human was involved, please include the sex, age and what the person was wearing.

  • What was the dog’s initial reaction before the incident – Did they growl? Bark? Were their ears up? Was the dog tense?

  • Was the dog showing signs of being annoyed, irritated or bothered before the incident?

  • How did you defuse the situation?

  • Was this the first time for this behavior, or had the dog done this before? 

The detailed descriptions will help us pinpoint the dog’s triggers, and then we can work to correct the behavior.