Help-I can’t keep my dog…Here is what you should do before contacting a shelter!

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Do you need to surrender your Dog?

Few things are more traumatic for a dog than losing his/her family. Regardless the reason, you should follow a few guidelines to ensure your dog is placed in a safe home. And it’s a reality that if the dog does go into a shelter, there’s a good chance that he/she may never come out. Consider this decision carefully.

If you are considering surrendering your dog because of problem behavior:

1. Is the dog spayed or neutered? This simple procedure can have a dramatic impact on some behaviors, and there are low-cost spay/neuter operations available.

2. Consult with an animal behaviorist, dog trainer or obedience school. Many of these classes and consultations are very inexpensive and yet have amazing results. Read this and try to correct your difficult dog behavior and how to place a dog if you have no other options.

3. Discuss the problem with your vet. Your vet may be able to suggest a training method or even a medication to eliminate the problem.

Keep in mind that if you don’t want to deal with the problem, a stranger won’t want to deal with it either — and might even become abusive to the dog. You might also be liable for undesirable and/or undisclosed behavior. In the end, if you don’t solve the problem, the dog might be considered unacceptable and ultimately euthanized.

If you are considering surrendering your dog for any other reason:

1. Place an ad in the paper. Be responsible enough to have any dog spayed/neutered before he/she leaves your care. Even puppies at 8 wks can be spayed/neutered .

a. Don’t give a dog away for free. People collect free dogs and sell to research, dog fighting groups etc… Charging an adoption fee is like giving your dog an insurance policy. Free To Good Home Article Generic, Adoption Agreement, Screening Phone Calls
b. Do a home visit, vet reference check to anyone who is considering adopting your family member.

2. Post a flier with the dog’s picture, height, weight, breed, personality traits, at your vet office / groomer, pet stores, grocery stores, coffee shops, work place etc.

  1. Utilize the internet such as Facebook and Twitter
  2. Network with family, co-workers and friends
  3. Check for purebred rescue groups and low cost spay and neuter.

3 Contact a dog rescue group for assistance and advise. There are breed specific rescues. Be aware that rescue groups get many calls every day of people wanting to surrender their dog who is like their “child” and must deal with good and bad reasons for surrendering of dogs…You must help yourself to help this dog. Rescues can only do so much. We are regular working people just like you, who do rescue because we love dogs. Rescue is a volunteer activity and rescue people commit countless hours and money helping homeless dogs.

4 Contact local shelters/humane societies about their owner surrender policies. Be aware that dogs over the age of 4 are generally euthanized automatically. Also know that the American Bulldog is generally considered a “pit type” breed and will not be put up for adoption.

Remember, if you must place your dog in another home, you are in a better position to do this than most rescue groups. Knowing the dog’s temperament, you can screen potential families and identify the best match for your dog. And you can ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible, without any time spent in strange and traumatic circumstances.

Screening Potential Families for your Dog

You are in the best position to find your dog a new home that is right for him (and be sure his new family feels the same way). By being honest about your dog and asking a few questions, you’ll be sure that your dog and his new family are a good long-term match.

The United States has many individuals who abuse and neglect animals. There is an active network in America that funnels hundreds of pets from “free to good home” fliers and ads into laboratory research and dog fighting rings, where they suffer slow agonies and a painful death. YOU OWE IT TO YOUR DOG to get him/her spayed/neutered before they leave your care. Don’t add to the problem of overpopulation that rescues are fighting so hard everyday. And by spaying/neutering your dog, you decrease their health risks.

1. Visit at their house, making it clear that this is just a visit. Do not plan to leave the dog!

2. Ask questions! Keep in mind that this not only gives you some additional information, but it also makes sure that they have made a thoughtful decision. Ask:

a. Have they ever had a dog before. If so, what happened to the dog(s)?
b. Do they have a fenced yard. If not, how will the dog be controlled when outside?
c. Where will the dog sleep? Where will the dog be when alone in home?
d. Have they considered the costs involved (food, medical bills etc.)?

3. Give potential families a realistic picture of the dog’s temperament and history, and be sure that you are comfortable with their ability to work with it. Consider:

a. Activity level (and any unusual habits like bolting or jumping)
b. Level of training
c. Health history (and be sure to provide a vaccination record)
d. Good with children? Other pets?
e. Other habits (chewer, likes to sleep in bed, etc.)

4. Verify their contact information. Try to get a home and a work phone.

5. Ask potential families what veterinarian they have used in the past, and call him/her. Ask if the family has consistently provided required health care (vaccinations, heartworm preventative, spay/neuter, etc).

6. If the family rents, contact their landlord to verify that dogs are allowed.

7. Charge a fee (if you’d prefer, donate it to a rescue/shelter). This helps ensure that the potential adopter isn’t a buncher (a person who collects free dogs and sells to research) and the person/family is willing to pay for necessary medical expenses, food etc.

Please note animal rescues do not take usually take in owner surrenders or drop offs unless they were adopted through the rescue. This is because many rescue organizations will pull animals they can adopt out from city shelters. This allows them to assess the animals for temperament, behavioral problems, and health. Don’t expect a rescue organization to take in your dog because you no longer want to care for it.