When to Rehome Your Dog: How a dog Reacts and How To Cope

How To Know If Rehoming is The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Dog

One of the most difficult things anyone that adopts a dog experiences - even more than the agony of cleaning up a messy poop accident, is the dreaded decision to regime your adopted dog. I’ve actually experienced this a couple times - and I’ll go into that later on but just know, you are not alone and there’s ways to determine if this is the best course or not for you and your dog. 

There are some telltale signs rehoming might be best for your dog and you. If you experience any of the following signs, rehoming might be the the right course 

  • Dog is a danger to someone in the household or the community
  • Two or more dogs in the family are fighting and no amount of training helps 
  • The dog has suffered a mental or major physical disability that is beyond your ability to manage care 

When to Really Know Rehoming is The Best Next Step for Your Dog

I mentioned it has happened to me a couple of times. One time I was barely 24 and just way too immature to properly handle a new puppy. I was working full time in the Navy, and barely home to properly care for the dog. In retrospect, I should have realized all that prior to taking on the new puppy, but stupidity and immaturity got the better of me. 

There was a more recent time I seriously considered rehoming. We adopted a two year old Weimaraner, who had been in foster care, and was abandoned by his original family because they did not properly adjust to welcoming a new baby into the home, while having this new puppy. 

Our Weim was pretty stressed, and filled with fear and anxiety. Once we adopted him, I was working from home. I would walk him regularly through the neighborhood and into town. I noticed he seemed to have this fearful energy about him. Other dogs sensed this and felt the need to beat up on him. This caused a few street fights I had to break up. I took him to obedience school and nearly got run down by him trying to pull me anytime another dog would get any where near us. After a few months, I went to work in an office and was not able to work from home any longer. This caused any separation anxiety he had to come out in spades. 

After a few more weeks of being in his crate while I was out at work, he’d figure out how to pull the area rug in our family room into his crate and chew the end of it off. We moved him into the laundry room, and while he was in there, he tore a hole in the wall. 

Now we’re at our wit’s end - what more can we possibly do? I called the rescue and asked what the policy was for rehoming the dog. I honestly did not want to make that call, but he was destroying our home and had major social anxiety issues with lots of other dogs. I allowed the rescue to talk me into persisting and trying to hold onto him. 

Then I Googled “dog behaviorist training near me” fortunately, there was a great couple who owned a bunch of acres in Pennsylvania that had a 100% guarantee he would be properly trained. It cost about $1000 I recall, but after much discussion we decided if we didn’t do this, and we rehomed him, what were the odds he’d have to go back into foster care for the rest of his life because someone did not have the patience to work with him. 

You might feel guilty, you may come to the realization that this dog is not for you. Puppy depression is fairly common - you don’t anticipate to the enormity or responsibility that owning a dog actually is. 

How To KEEP You Dog and Avoid Rehoming

#1 reason a dog is rehomed is because the owners move.  That is actually one of the questions listed on most dog adoption applications. If you move, you should be prepared to move ALL your family members, that includes your dog too. The only possible reason you might find that your move is impossible for your dog might be you move to some very far off country, that might have a 15 hour plane flight, with a period of months where the dog has to be quarantined. Then maybe you find him a new home without going through that stress. 

#2 They are not properly trained. You can’t afford training, but you know you need training. There are loads of trainers and resources that are either very low cost or affordable options found through humane society or your local rescue. Heck, you could really try to go to YouTube and find a trainer there who can at least provide you with some basic training 

#3 The lack of funds in getting vaccinations - Hopefully, this doesn’t happen to you, but you might find yourself out of a job, and finding funds to pay for rent or food are very tight. There are shelters for people that can also help you out. Local churches or organizations that can assist you while you try to get back on your feet instead of finding your dog a new home. As tempting as it is, try to avoid buying any expensive toys your dog doesn’t need. A simple tennis ball can be a really great toy! 

#4 Lifestyle Changes - You get divorced, or married and move into your new spouses house with 4 other dogs and 3 kids. Hopefully, you can talk to a friend or a relative who can assume ownership while you get your situation under control. In fact, this too happened to me! I had a black lab who I loved! We moved from California to Hawaii, there was a really long quarantine period (they no longer have this in place as of 2019 BTW), My sister’s girlfriend was willing to take care of my dog while I was living in Hawaii for a year. Then I got divorced, went back to live near my sister and her girlfriend and got the dog back. Having the dog during that very stressful time was a life saver! You would be surprised who has the time and who would love to be asked to watch your dog for you during your really tough time. 

How Do I Find a Good Home For My Dog? 

You made the decision to rehome the dog. Be patient with this process. It will take some time to find the right home for your dog. Start by contacting all the local shelters and rescues in your area. If you have a specific breed dog, check the local breed rescue groups. find a dog adoption site like Petfinder, or loads of others around the internet. Also use Facebook. Post a few photos or a video of your dog - let them know he’s ready to be adopted by a loving family. You’d be surprised at the responses you’ll get from all other. Make sure you vet that family as you were when you adopted the dog. It’s important he find a forever home, not a temporary home. 

Related Resources:

The Guilt Behind Rehoming a Dog

Some will tell you it will take a few months to adjust, maybe you’ve tried a few months, but he and you are both declining in ability to continue the relationship. You might hear from others about how inhumane it is to give your dog away. Instead, think about what is honestly best for that dog. You can be his hero by helping him regime into a more suitable family environment. 

You are being kind by considering another family might be best for that animal. 

How Does a Dog React to Being Rehomed? 

Just like people, the dog will go through a period of sadness or adjustment. Because it’s been scientifically proven that the “reward” or “pleasure” center of the dog’s brain will “light up” when he smells his owner. This is because the canine species has been conditioned over thousands of years of domestication to form tight bonds with humans. Realize that emotions aren’t the only changes a rehomed dog will experience. There are physical changes that will take place as well. When a canine is stressed they may experience the following: vomitting, diarrhea, weight loss, and some may shake or shiver uncontrollably while producing an excessive amount of drool. This isn’t to deter you from consider a rehoming, but rather to help you understand what they experience. 

Before you consider adopting a new dog, always know that you expect to have that dog for the rest of his natural life. But also know that rehoming them if that becomes absolutely necessary is not the end of the world for you both. 

Janet

I'm Janet, avid rescue dog fan, and parent of two rescues - training them to run, hike, and enjoy their new forever home

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