One of the greatest gifts you can give to UnChained is to foster a program dog 


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Why Foster? 

UnChained's volunteer dog fosters help make the transformative work we do possible. UnChianed program dogs come from local rescue organizations and are looking for permanent, loving homes. Dog fosters keep our program dogs happy and loved while in a caring environment where they can practice the skills they learn at school. 

UnChained partners with rescue organizations throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. Rescue organizations provide adoptable dogs and foster volunteers who help deliver transformative experiences for youth trainers. The opportunity to train and bond with a rescue dog is life changing for many of our community’s most vulnerable youth. During our 8-week training program, both the dogs and Youth Trainers learn valuable life lessons while increasing the dog’s chances of being adopted and staying in that home. 


How It Works 

Fostering for UnChained comes with its own unique rewards. Dogs entering the program are carefully screened and selected to participate in our 8-week course with other dogs and youth. Those dogs go on to learn valuable life skills from their Youth Trainers and practice those skills at home with members of their foster family. Fosters are invited to attend graduation at the end of the program where they will get to meet their dog's youth trainers and new adoptive family.  

Veterinary care and any supplies you may need will be provided and UnChained or rescue staff are always available for support. Email us at to learn how to become a foster parent and inspire youth to treat animals and other humans humanely. 

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What are the requirements to become a foster? 

Foster volunteers for UnChained are actually under the umbrella of a rescue organization we partner with. Each rescue organization has its own standards for volunteering as a foster. Most rescues will require a home visit to verify that the home is safe. 


Where do the dogs come from? 

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Dogs accepted into the UnChained program come from local rescue organizations and are available for adoption. Volunteers who foster UnChained program dogs are registered as a foster for the rescue organization that the dog comes from. Many dogs will be placed in their foster home directly from the shelter or from a boarding kennel.  

All dogs have been selected for friendliness, tolerance of handling, food motivation, and compatibility with other dogs. Generally, we will NOT know if a dog gets along with cats, barks while alone, or is potty trained. Rest assured that UnChained staff will help you address behavioral or training challenges along the way.  


What does UnChained provide? 

UnChained provides training and behavior support for all fosters in the program including guidance on potty training, reinforcing skills from class, or other challenges that arise.  


What does the rescue organization provide? 

Rescue organizations that partner with UnChained provide the dogs that take our classes. The rescue also covers the cost of veterinary care, gear, crates, and usually food.  


What does the foster volunteer provide? 

UnChained foster volunteers are asked to provide: 

  1. Care for a foster dog in their home for approximately 12 weeks 

  2. About 30 minutes of training practice five days a week 

  3. Whatever food and supplies the foster volunteer can afford to donate 

  4. Transportation to and from classes, if possible 

  5. Lots of love! 


What kind of dogs are in the program? 

Many different kinds of dogs participate in UnChained classes. UnChained graduates include Poodles, Bull Terriers and Terrier mixes, Chihuahuas, Shepherds and English Bulldogs. Foster volunteers set the parameters for what kind of dog they want such as big or small, energetic or mellow.  


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Can I adopt my foster dog? 

Yes. If a foster falls in love with his or her foster dog, they can apply to adopt the dog from the rescue organization. Ultimately, the rescue organization will decide where the dog will go, but foster volunteers are often given preference for adoption. 


How long do dogs typically stay in their foster home? 

Foster dogs can be placed in their foster home up to three weeks before class starts. Most classes run for eight weeks and most dogs will be adopted within 30 days of graduation. Most foster dogs will stay in their foster home for 12-14 weeks, although some will be adopted earlier or stay longer.  


How does the adoption process work? 

Each rescue organization has its own process and requirements for adoption. Generally, a potential adopter will fill out an application and be screened before meeting the dogs. Foster volunteers often facilitate meet-and-greet sessions for their foster dog and the applicant family. A few rescues have adoption centers and most have adoption events in the community where people can meet available dogs.  


What happens if I can no longer foster a dog? 

We ask that people commit to a minimum of 12 weeks of fostering and training a dog. However, sometimes a dog isn’t a good fit for your home, or an unexpected changes arise. In those cases, UnChained and the rescue will work to address any challenges and if necessary, move the dog to another home. Often, we can work together to find solutions to keep the dog in their foster home. Moving is a stressful event for dogs and can disrupt their learning in class, so we remedy problems as quickly as possible before resorting to a move.  


How do I apply to become a dog foster? 

Sign up to volunteer by filling out our online volunteer application or contact us directly at (831) 222-0252 or by emailing  

Want more details?

Check out our fosters tip sheet.

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