How to find a good home for your dog
How to find a new good home for your dog
At Northern California Bulldog Rescue we do our best to try to educate the public about the wonderful qualities of dog ownership in general. We are only a small organization and it is unlikely that we have the resources to take on the responsibility of caring for your dog and finding it a new home. If you are looking at this page we are assuming you are thinking of rehoming your dog. Not that long ago you were thrilled to have a puppy/dog of your very own. You never dreamed you’d have to give him up someday. Even if you can’t keep him any more, your dog still depends on you to do what’s best for him. Now, more than ever, he needs you to make the right choices for his future. Your dog is your responsibility. He has no one else but you to look out for his interests. It’ll take effort, patience and persistence on your part to find the right home. He deserves your best efforts. Finding a new home for a dog involves several steps. Before you start, please take a minute to read all the information contained below: Do you really have to give up your dog? There’s a big difference between being forced to give up your dog and wanting to “get rid of him”. If you are honest with yourself the problem will be either people or dog related.
People related issues
A very common reason for giving up a dog. Affordable rental homes that allow pets are out there if you work to find them. Most people give up too quickly in their search for rental property that accepts pets. Widening your search might mean a slightly longer drive to work, but you’d be able to keep your pet!
Not Enough Time for the Dog:
“We don’t have enough time for the dog”…as a puppy, your dog took far more of your time than he does now.
Look at what the dog really needs – food, potty-time, exercise time (often very little for an older dog) and most importantly just being near you.
If it is a puppy with which you are having time constraints – can other members of the family help out, friends; can you hire a dog walker – possibly a student at nominal cost? The high energy stage does pass, but during this period you do need to provide proper outlets for their energy level.
Having a Baby:
If introduced correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems with your dog and the new baby. Experts suggest that preparing for the baby’s arrival well in advance and taking a few simple precautions can avoid friction and jealousy between your human baby and your furry one. Remember, your four-footed children are accustomed to your undivided attention and pampering.
* Some jealousy will naturally surface when your new infant suddenly consumes all of your time. Plan to set aside a few minutes each day for quality time with your pet. Some extra attention and a few treats can go a long way toward avoiding behavioral problems and jealousy.
* Dogs are largely creatures of habit. Though your own routine will be completely disrupted by the new baby, try to keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible. If you anticipate changes in that routine, such as restricting their access to the baby’s room or feeding in a new location, begin implementing the changes as soon as possible before the infant comes home.
* Animals, like humans, find comfort in routine. An established pattern on which to fall back on will help combat the insecurity your pet will naturally feel during the first few weeks after baby’s arrival. Along the same lines, allow your pet to get used to some of the new baby smells before you bring your infant home. Apply baby lotion or powder to your hands, for example, and allow your pet to sniff baby’s clothes and blankets. If possible, allow him to investigate an article of clothing or blanket worn by the new baby prior to the infant’s arrival from the hospital. Animals rely heavily on their sense of smell, so familiarity with the baby’s smell will help your pet recognise him as part of the family when he comes home.
* When you finally arrive home with your new baby, greet your pet happily and tell him how much you missed him. Gently introduce him to the baby so he can get a good look at the new family member. From that point forward, include him in as many baby activities as possible. Even saying his name while you’re changing diapers or feeding your infant will make your pet feel like an important part of this new life. Most behavior problems pets exhibited after a new baby’s arrival stem from jealousy and neglect.
By paying special attention to your pet, preparing him in advance and including him as much as possible after baby comes home, you can avoid such problems and ensure a harmonious household.
There are things you can do and some wonderful products on the market which can aid in keeping you and your pet happy, healthy, and allergy free. Ask your local vet to show you what they keep in stock.
Giving your pet up for adoption could be a last option, not a physician’s first. Intense emotional issues surface when people are told to give up their pets, being especially traumatic when several children are involved and only one is allergic. Indicative of this is the extremely large number of persons who keep their pets in spite of being told to give them up. Estimates by allergists range from 75% to 90%. In selecting an allergist, especially if you already have cat or dog as a pet, look for a physician who will be sensitive to your feelings and do everything possible, within reason, to help you keep it.
Dog related issues
If you got your dog as puppy and he now has a behavior problem you can’t live with, you must accept the fact that you are at least partly responsible for the way your dog is now.
You have 4 options:
- You can continue to live with your dog the way he is.
- You can get help to correct the problem.
- You can try to give your problem to someone else.
- You can have the dog euthanized.
The first option is probably out or you wouldn’t be reading this section.
The third option is basically what you are looking to do – since you are thinking of re-homing your dog.
Here’s the reality of this option — If you were looking for a dog and could select from all kinds of dogs and puppies, would you deliberately choose one with a behavior problem? No, certainly not – and neither would anyone else. To make your dog desirable to other people, you’re going to have to take some action to fix his problems or be deceptive to the new owner – who will soon enough discover the issue. Without any real bond probably opt for solution number 4.
And if your dog is aggressive or possessive over something or someone to the point of biting – you are putting others at great risk and yourself in the way of possible legal problems.
The good news is most annoying behavior problems are readily correctable. Do some research and reading and see if you can find a suitable intervention that will help to solve behavioral issues.
If it is a more serious behavior problem – a trainer or option #4 would be the right decision.
No matter how much you love your dog, if he has ever bitten anyone, you only have two responsible choices – take him to a professional trainer or behaviorist for evaluation to see if the dog can be rehabilitated. This could be costly and time consuming but could be very rewarding. If this is not an option for you, take him to your veterinarian and have him humanely euthanized. Don’t leave him at a shelter where he might be frightened and confused and put other people at risk. Don’t try to place him as a “guard dog” where he might be neglected, abused or used for dog fighting.
As hard as it is to face, putting a potentially dangerous biting dog to sleep is often the only safe and responsible thing to do.
The reality of rehoming your dog
The reality of shelters:
By law, stray pets must be kept a certain number of days for their owners to reclaim them. They may not be destroyed until that period is up. These laws don’t protect dogs that have been given up by their owners. They may be destroyed at any time. Shelters don’t want to euthanize all these animals but they don’t have a choice. There just isn’t enough room for all of them. Shelters today are so overcrowded that your dog could be euthanized the same day it arrives.
Do your research regarding the different shelters in your area and find out what their policies and procedures are for surrendered animals. Have a look at their website and see what kind of dogs they re-home. This will give you an indication as to what the chances of having your dog re-homed will be.
True “no-kill” shelters are few and far between and are often very selective about the dogs they bring in.
Rescues – breed-specific / all-breed groups are usually small groups of volunteers using their homes to foster dogs until they can find new homes. Like Nor Cal Bulldog Rescue, they often just do not have the resources to re-home your dog for you. Usually they are at capacity or they have other dogs already on waiting lists.
If you are able to pursue the option of keeping the dog until you find a home, please read the next section on reviewing potential homes.
Screening potential homes:
First call the breeder, rescue, or person you originally got your dog from. Responsible breeders will either assist you in finding a new home or take the dog back to re-home themselves. Many rescues have in their contracts that the dog is to be returned no matter how much time has passed.
If the dog can not be returned – evaluate your dog’s adoption potential.
You need to be realistic – older dogs (older than 6 yrs), dogs with health issues or leery of strangers usually take a long time to find a new home (possibly many months) – do you have the time to find the dog a proper home ?
Make a list of what you feel is most important for your dog. Then get real. No home will be perfect of course, so you’ll have to make compromises. What kind of people are you looking for? What will you be willing to compromise on? Once you have a firm idea of what you’re looking for, it will be easier to plan your search and get the results you want.
Get your dog ready!
Your dog will be much more appealing if he’s clean and healthy. First, take him to the vet for a full check up – if he hasn’t had one in the last 6 months/ his shots haven’t been kept up to date.
If your dog isn’t spayed or neutered, do it now! The only kind of “breeder” who’ll be interested in your dog will be a puppy miller, back yard breeder or broker. Brokers seek out unaltered purebreds for resale to puppy mills or research laboratories. That’s not the kind of future you want for your dog.
Having the dog spayed/neutered is the best way to insure that a family who wants a best friend and family member will adopt your dog. If you can’t afford the cost of surgery, check with your vet or local shelter. Or, if the people are wanting to adopt your dog, they can pick him/her up at the vet’s office after the spay/neuter is complete.
Groom your dog – a bathed dog with trimmed nails and clean ears is much more desirable to potential adopters than an unkempt dog.
Set an adoption fee. You can’t expect the new owner to pay the same price for your dog as they would for a brand new puppy – but it helps ensure that they are really ready for the cost of dog ownership. A reasonable range might be between $100 – $200, which helps offset your advertising and veterinary costs. If they aren’t willing to pay an adoption fee or complain that it is too high – will they spend the necessary dollars if the dog has a minor injury / illness?
Word of mouth doesn’t go very far. Don’t be afraid to use classified ads to advertise your dog, flyers in local stores or Craig’s list.
Petfinder now offers a classified section! CLICK HERE to post your own dog! Be sure to take good pictures and write a bio for your dog.
Never include the phrase “free to good home” in your ad even if you’re not planning to charge a fee. This usually generates the wrong type of people interested in a dog – and often they can say all the right things.
You are under no obligation to give your dog to the first person who says he wants him or her. You have every right to ask questions and choose the person you think will make the best new owner. Don’t let anyone rush you or intimidate you.
First of all, get your applicant’s name, address and phone number. Deceitful people may call you from a phone booth or give you a non-existent address. Ask for information that you can verify.
Make sure all people in the home are in agreement with a new pup / dog coming into their home. If the potential adopter is renting be sure the landlord/apartment complex allows pets (confirm with the landlord/manager) – especially of a certain size/breed.
Get the phone number of their vet (if they’ve had pets before) and two other personal references. Call those references! Explain that John Doe is interested in adopting your dog and you want to verify care, annual vaccinations and heartworm preventative.
Once you’ve chosen a family (or families) that you feel are good candidates, make an appointment for them to see the dog, and one for you to see their home.
There are some things you need to explain to the new family before they take your dog home: The dog will go through an adjustment period as he gets to know his new people, learns new rules and mourns the loss of his old family. Most dogs adjust within a few days, but others may take longer. During this time, the new family should avoid forcing the dog to do anything stressful – taking a bath, obedience training classes, meeting too many strangers at once, etc. – until he’s had a chance to settle in. Tell them to take things easy at first and give the dog time to bond to them. The dog might not eat for the first day or two. Not to worry – he’ll eat when he’s ready. Some dogs temporarily forget their training. A well-housebroken dog may accidents during the first few days in his new home. This isn’t unusual. It is important that the new family understand that they are responsible for showing their new pet where it is appropriate to toilet. This may take time for the dog to learn the expectations and routine in his new environment. .
Have the new owner sign an adoption contract one with a waiver of liability. Keep a copy for your records. A contract will help to protect the dog and the waiver of liability helps to protect you. You don’t have a crystal ball to predict what your dog might do in the future. Remember – a waiver of liability will not protect you if you have lied or misrepresented the dog to his new owners.
Tell the family they should call you if the adoption doesn’t work out. Let them know you want to keep in touch and will call them in a few days to see how things are going. Tell them to call you if they have questions or problems. Be willing to take the dog back home if things don’t work out the way you both expected.
Good luck in your search for a new home for your dog/puppy. The effort that you put forth now will be worth it when you find a great home for him/her.