A Smart Pup

Becoming a puppy foster

Smart pups are always looking for willing volunteers who wish to share their home with a trainee pup. You can become involved in one of two ways.

Part time foster

This important role involves caring for our pups in training for short periods, varying from a weekend to a month stay. This allows our full time puppy fosters to take a break, or provides a temporary home for a pup waiting for a full time foster. Our peak demand for part time fosters is always the weekends and school holidays, so this role is an excellent choice if you have work commitments. Part time fosters get to be involved in the life of a variety of dogs and share in the pride when they graduate.

Full time foster

Our full time fosters are the back bone of our organisation, without them we simply could not train these amazing dogs. Full time fosters provide a home for a pup from eight to ten weeks of age until the final stages of training at around twelve to fourteen months. Initially the pup spends most of its day with the foster so you will need to be able to meet this commitment, without leaving the pup unattended for more than three hours at any one time. As the pup’s training advances the number of sessions with our trainers increases from one or two days a week to four full days and occasional overnight kennel stays.

Who can be a foster?

We are really happy to receive enquiries from any adult over the age of 18, whether they are single, a group of friends, a young family or a retired couple. A family might even be a group of workmates in the same office who would like to share the responsibility of fostering. For safety reasons we do require the youngest child in the family to be aged five or older.

Our basic criteria are as follows:

You live between North Brisbane and Gympie, including all areas of the Sunshine Coast and Hinterland.

You have a fenced secure yard, (big or small) or live in a unit with easy access to outside areas

You have permission from your landlord or body corporate to keep a dog

You are physically able to manage a young, energetic dog

Your youngest child is over the age of five

Black labrador puppy
Foster family

The role of a foster

Being a foster is about more than just providing a home for a pup. With regular guidance and support from our trainers, fosters learn to correctly socialise our trainee pups by gradually exposing them to a variety of situations that they may encounter when they become assistance dogs.

Fosters work with our trainers to establish good home manners in our pups and reinforce leadership and obedience by using consistent commands.

Foster family


Fostering is one of the most rewarding volunteer roles you can imagine. Not only will you welcome a pup into your home but you will also become a valued member of the Smart Pups volunteer family. You will be able to read inspiring stories about our dogs in our newsletter and can choose to connect with other fosters via our Fosters Facebook page or by attending optional and fun filled puppy classes.

Raising a puppy can be challenging but with the challenges come lots of fun times and rewards, the greatest of which is your part in changing the life of a family with a special needs child.

Foster family

What next?

Please take time to consider the merits of this role and discuss it with your entire family. Trainee assistance dogs are not pets. Their success does depend upon every member of the household being prepared to use appropriate commands and support the primary handler.

To help you make an informed decision please click here to read our frequently asked questions.

Interested in fostering a Smart Pup?

Click the button below to apply now.
Would you like to help in another way?