Rehoming a Dog: When It's Time & How to Responsibly Rehome (2022)

When you bring your dog home, you plan to keep him forever.

But life situations can change dramatically and without warning. Sometimes – sadly – this leads to a situation where you are unable to keep your pet anymore and need to consider rehoming your dog.

Today we’re going to explore when it may be time to rehome a dog, and what your options are if you decide you can no longer keep your dog.

Perfect World vs Reality

But I Promised I’d Keep Him Forever (aka Rehoming Dog Guilt)

Common Reasons for Rehoming a Dog

How to Decide What’s Best for the Dog (and You)

Can You Re-Home an Aggressive Dog?

I Can’t Keep My Dog. What Are My Options?

In Conclusion: Tough Options For a Tough Situation

Perfect World vs Reality

In an ideal world, all dogs would land in the perfect homes the first time around.

They would spend their whole lives, from 8-week old puppies to 15-year-old grey muzzles, with their beloved family.

I sincerely hope that continued improvements in behavior support, pre-adoption counseling, education, and support from various nonprofits will bring us closer to that reality.

That said, there are situations where it’s actually best for both the dog and the family to rehome the dog.

  • How do you decide if you’re in that situation?
  • How do you figure out what the next best step is for your dog?

I don’t have all the answers for you, and ultimately this is often an intensely personal decision. But after years of working as an animal behavior consultant in rescues and shelters, I have a good understanding of when rehoming a dog should be a consideration.

Rehoming a Dog: When It's Time & How to Responsibly Rehome (1)

But I Promised I’d Keep Him Forever (aka Rehoming Dog Guilt)

If you’re reading this article because you’re seriously considering giving up your dog, please accept my sympathy.

This is an incredibly difficult situation to be, and I’m really sorry.

I hope that your friends and family can support you through this and will understand that this isn’t a decision you’re taking lightly.

While I absolutely applaud the push to keep all dogs in their homes, my time as a dog behavior consultant has convinced me that there are times where giving up your dog is not the worst option.

Just as some marriages endin divorce, not all dog-human relationships will survive the test of time.

This is not always a failure on your part.

Many folks end up facing guilt about rehoming their dog, but in some cases it will be best for all parties involved.

(Video) Rehoming my dog Ara | Ep 6 | RRAYYME

Facing the fact that either your life circumstances and/or your dog’s behavior mean you might need to give him up is an incredibly brave conversation to have with yourself.

Sometimes, keeping your dog in your home is flat-out dangerous for your family. In these cases, it’s important to get your dog out of your home as soon as possible.

Common Reasons for Rehoming a Dog

A 2010 study of 12 shelters around the US found that behavioral issues are the main reason dogs are given up to shelters.

Common stated reasons for giving up a dog include:

  • The dog is aggressive towards other dogs, strangers, or family members.
  • The dog has separation anxiety and the family can’t reasonably treat it.
  • The dog has a different behavior concern, such as fearfulness, housetraining issues, or escape issues.
  • The family is moving or experiencing serious financial difficulties. In my personal experience, this is often paired with dogs that are behaviorally challenging. It’s much harder to find a friend or family member to take your dog when you’re in crisis if your dog is “a bit difficult.”
  • The dog’s energy level is a mismatch for the home, often leading to destruction issues.
  • The dog is too much work for the family given an energy mismatch, unrealistic expectations, or a shift in family schedules.
  • The dog has health issues that the family cannot afford to treat or manage.

The bottom line is that behavior issues are one of the biggest reasons that dogs end up in shelters, even if it’s the secondary factor.

How to Decide What’s Best for the Dog (and You)

There are some ethical considerations to take into account for different behavior problems.

For example, rehoming a dog with separation anxiety might make the anxiety much worse. At the same time, dogs with an energy mismatch for their home often find great homes and do very well there.

My dog Barley was given up due to his owners moving plus an energy mismatch.

He was running his owners ragged with boundless energy. I was looking for a dog that could go backpacking and trail running and compete in various dogsports.

One owner’s mismatch can be another owner’s dream fit!

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So remember, keeping your dog in your home isn’t always what’s best for your dog.

In Barley’s case, he’s much better cared-for and relaxed now that he gets adequate exercise for a young border collie. Keeping him in his last home wasn’t doing him any favors.

It’s not an easy thing to realize that your dog might be better off in another home.

Any time that you feel that keeping your dog is unsafe (for you, your pets, your family, or your neighbors), it’s time to really look at your further options.

It could be that you’ve got a big bulldog that loves to jump, making your two-year-old cry.

More seriously, you might have a truly aggressive and dangerous dog in your home.

Rehoming a dog with a history of significant aggression is a liability and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s hazardous for rescue and shelter workers, volunteers, and fosters – let alone the potential next owner.

The best course of action for seriously aggressive dogs might be humane euthanasia. Speak to a professional behavior consultant about your options, as there are sometimes qualified rescues and trainers that can help.

Either way, it’s time to get help from an IAABC-certified dog behavior consultant – not your local obedience trainer.

I put together a short list of questions that I use at the shelter to help owners decide for themselves what’s best for their dogs.

The Five Questions to Ask Yourself About You and Your Dog

When I’m helping a family at the shelter or in my private practice decide if it’s time to rehome their dog, we start with answering a few simple questions.

If you’re struggling with what to do with your dog, join me here:

  1. What would your ideal dog look like?
  2. What does your dog’s ideal home look like?
  3. Where’s the mismatch? Where are you falling short, and where is your dog not measuring up?
  4. What would it take to surmount these issues?
  5. Are you willing and able (emotionally, physically, financially) to work through these issues?

This might be easier to visualize through the lens of a case study.

Let’s look at the case of Barry, a two-year-old husky that I worked with while shadowing Ursa, a veteran dog behavior expert, at Canis Major Dog Training in Denver.

Ursa was called because Barry’s new family, an elderly couple, were having issues with his energy level and escape behaviors.

Let’s go through those five questions for Barry.

The family’s wants:Barry’s family stated that their ideal dog would cuddle with them and stay in their unfenced yard while they barbequed. Their dream dog was relatively low energy and easy to train. The family had owned border collies when they were much younger, and were used to dogs that were very attached to them and easily trained.

They didn’t realize that Barry was a typical husky – a bit aloof, high energy, and not always interested in training. Now well into their seventies, the couple were really struggling to control Barry on walks. They wanted a dog that would do well with minimal exercise.

Barry’s wants: Barry was a high energy and excitable husky. His ideal home probably would involve ayounger family that went for lots of runs or gave him lots of other forms of exercise.

The mismatch: Barry was simply too high energy for this family, especially given their age.

They were frustrated with his desire to roam and run away, a trait very common for huskies. The family was also frustrated at Barry’s relatively slow learning of new commands, particularly regarding house training and not jumping up.

At the same time, the family wasn’t providing Barry with enough exercise or clear direction. This caused Barry to get even more excitable and frustrated, which led to quite the downward spiral!

Steps to success: Barry really needed more exercise, and his family needed a bit of a reality check on the type of dog that they’d brought home.

Barry was not a border collie, bred for off-leash obedience and sensitivity to cues. He was a husky, bred for running and independent thinking. The family would need to work with a trainer (Ursa and me) and potentially get help exercising Barry.

(Video) Rehoming My Dog || I never thought this would happen

The bottom line: Ultimately, the family decided that Barry wasn’t the right fit for them. This decision came after Barry pulled the wife down twice on a walk.

While Barry did respond well in training, his progress wasn’t fast enough and his family clearly had very little left in their “emotional bank accounts.”

Barry is a great example of a positive rehoming situation because Barry is not a bad dog, nor were his owners bad people. There was a simple, but large, mismatch between the family and the dog.

While one could say that it was ill-advised for a pair of seventy-year-olds to bring home a young husky, we all make mistakes (however, problems like these can be avoided if you do your due diligence before bringing home a new dog).

The fact is, the couple owned Barry, and there were only two options from there:

  1. Keep him and work with him
  2. Return him to the shelter.

Last I heard, Barry was adopted by a young woman who competes in amateur dog sledding. I am quite sure that everyone is happier this way.

If you’re still unsure about whether or not to rehome your dog, I find it helpful to write out a pros/cons list and practice arguing each side.

If I really struggle to make a good case for one option, that’s my answer.

If you’re really stuck, you can also speak to friends, family, or dog behavior professionals for some advice.

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Can You Re-Home an Aggressive Dog?

If your dog is aggressive, the rehoming discussion gets a lot more complicated.

In some cases, keeping your dog in your home might feel impossible. At the same time, it’s hard to find a new home for a dog with a history of aggression. It’s a catch-22.

Many shelters won’t even take dogs with a history of aggression, and trying to rehome dogs with this kind of background is dangerous and could potentially make you liable for any future bite incidents, so be sure to talk with a lawyer when trying to rehome a dog with a bite history.

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When I’m talking to a client whose dog is aggressive, there are additional questions we go through, in addition to the ones listed earlier.

If your dog is aggressive, ask yourself:

Who is my dog aggressive towards?

How can we find a home that keeps him away from that category of people, dogs, or cats?

Dogs that are truly aggressive towards strangers will be very difficult to find new homes for, since any potential adopter is a stranger.

Has my dog caused physical damage to anyone?

Dogs with a bite history are far more challenging to rehome than any other sort of dog. There’s also a question to whether or not it’s responsible to rehome a dog who’s bitten in the past.

How often has my dog displayed aggression?

If the aggression was a one-off encounter, your dog has a better prognosis than a dog who’s displayed aggression multiple times.

Is the aggression predictable, controllable, or understandable?

For example, a dog that exclusively bites if you try to pull her out from the crate during a thunderstorm is far less dangerous than a dog that seems to bite someone “randomly” or “out of nowhere.”

Has the aggression been getting worse?

Obviously, aggression that is worsening is bad news.

Does my dog give warnings before he gets aggressive?

Dogs that don’t give fair warning before biting are far more dangerous than dogs that back away, growl, tuck their tails, or otherwise try to diffuse the situation before biting.

What have I tried so far to help my dog with his aggression?

If you’ve truly exhausted lots of options for your dog, his prognosis is worse than a dog who’s never gotten any training help.

Many times, when I’m helping someone make decisions about their aggressive dog, they’ll say something like “If only Fido could live on a farm in the country with a marathon runner who never has any guests and doesn’t have any dogs and never leaves town and…”

You get the picture.

The reality is, there simply aren’t many farms out there that don’t have other animals, guests, or children.

In cases where your dog’s aggression is significant, it’s time to speak to a veterinary behaviorist or certified behavior consultant.

The most humane option for high-risk aggressive dogs might be euthanasia. I do not say this lightly, but sometimes it’s the only responsible option with dangerous dogs.

Please get personalized help from a professional before going this route, but let’s discuss your options in more detail below.

I Can’t Keep My Dog. What Are My Options?

Bringing your dog to the shelter is not your only option. Let’s look at the most common options for a dog who can’t remain in his home.

I’m going to list your options in the order of preference in general. This ranking is not hard-and-fast. For example, euthanasia might be the only viable option available to seriously aggressive dogs if you are unable to keep the dog in your home.

Option 1: Return Your Dog to the Original Breeder, Shelter, or Rescue

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The vast majority of reputable breeders, shelters, and rescues (adopting entity) have a clause in your contract that states you must return the animal to them in the event you can’t keep your pet.

The original adopting entity of your dog may also have extra information on your dog’s past, helping pair your dog with the right family next time around.

(Video) Rehoming Pets the Responsible Way

This option is best for: dogs that came from a reputable breeder, shelter, or rescue with an adoption contract.

This option isn’t best for: dogs that don’t have a contract to fall back on.

Option 2: Friends and Family

If you adopted or purchased your dog from somewhere without a contract, your next best option is often to find friends or family who can keep your pet.

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You can carefully vet your dog’s next home and might be able to stay in contact.

When I was no longer able to keep my parrot, this is the option I went with. I still get video updates on him almost every week!

Keep in mind that pleading with your friends until they agree to keep your pet isn’t the way to go – if they don’t truly want your dog, your pet is more likely to be bounced around various homes, and that’s no fun for anyone.

Also, consider making use of your community resources!

Often, local trainers and rescues can help you search for the perfect next home for your pet. This option may be a bit slower, but can have amazing outcomes for your pooch.

This option does not include just posting your dog willy-nilly on Craigslist and Facebook groups. Rehoming a dog through Craiglist really is not a good idea or a responsible choice.

You’re far less likely to be able to ensure you’re getting a good home for your pet if you go this route.

There are some real horror stories of pets ending up in cruelty cases after being purchased online – don’t let this happen to your dog.

This option is best for: dogs who are likely to do well in a different home without much effort – either they don’t have behavior issues, or those issues are mild. This option requires finding a good home on your own, which can be a lot of work!

This option isn’t best for: dogs with significant behavioral or physical concerns.

Option 3:Surrender At Shelter and Rescue

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Shelters and rescues get quite a bad rap in some circles, but I can say from personal experience that I’ve never met anyone who cares for animals as much as animal shelter workers.

Before bringing your dog in, do your research on their average length-of-stay, resources available to dogs and adopters, and their live release rate.

During my time working for a shelter, I helped remove animals from overcrowded shelters on both ends of the spectrum.

From extreme no-kill shelters that essentially looked like a hoarding case to dramatically overworked shelters that euthanized nearly 80% of the animals that came through their doors, there are definitely shelters and rescues to avoid.

Despite the mix of shelter types, you should definitely be able to find at least a few reputable shelters or rescues near you to take your dog.

Look for breed-specific rescues, short average stays, high live release rates, and good resources. Be willing to drive to a better shelter, if you’re able.

Personally, I’d rather bring my dog to a shelter that euthanizes animals in extreme cases rather than keeping all animals alive in kennels. That’s why asking about average length-of-stay is so important!

At the same time, I would avoid bringing a dog to a shelter that euthanizes healthy animals due to time or space.

If you’re giving up your pet for physical or behavioral issues, ensure that the rescue or shelter has the resources to help.

Also, make sure that you never let cost stop you from surrendering a pet safely and responsibly. Many shelters don’t charge a fee at all for surrendering pets, and even ones that do will waive any charge if you express that you’re in financial distress.

What Kind of Shelter to Look For

We have an entire guide on how to recognize a reputable animal shelter – you should definitely check it out if you’re considering the shelter rehoming option.

So what does a good shelter look like?

Well, the shelter I worked for in Denver does not euthanize animals for time and space. They adopt or transfer out roughly 90% of all animals that come through their doors. They’ve got a full team of veterinary staff and trainers to help with all sorts of animals.

This option is best for: dogs that don’t have other options. This is also a great option for most dogs if you have a good network of rescues and shelters.

This option isn’t best for: dogs with significant behavior concerns – although some shelters and rescues are able to help with these. Also not great if you don’t have many reputable shelter or rescues nearby.

Editor’s Note

If you can’t find a good shelter or rescue, you may want to consider Rehome — a non-profit rescue organization that allows you to make a profile for your pet and get to know potential adopters. You can learn more about the program in our article about no-cost shelters.

Option 4: Euthanasia

In some cases, especially those of extreme physical or behavioral concerns, euthanasia is the most humane option available to your dog.

While I can’t make this decision for you from a blog post, I can tell you times where this is more common:

(Video) I adopted a rescue dog and it's been tough | Regret? Rehoming him?

Aggression

It’s very rare for me to discuss euthanasia with clients. When I do, it’s almost always in regards to aggression.

I always recommend my clients speak to a veterinary behaviorist first, just in case I’ve missed something.

Generally, these dogs have bitten multiple people – hard.

They probably have multiple “triggers,” are large, and are difficult to predict or control.

The bottom line is that dogs with significant bite histories or serious histories of aggression are incredibly difficult to re-home.

You may be liable for damage if you fail to disclose the history, and most rescues and shelters won’t adopt out a dog with a significant history of aggression.

Some no-kill rescues may take your dog, but they might be unable to adopt your dog out. This might mean your dog spends years living in a kennel.

That’s a pretty miserable life for a dog. All open-admission shelters will take your dog, but they are likely to euthanize your dog due to its history.

If you do decide to bring your dog into a shelter, ask about his prognosis.

At the Dumb Friends League, we honestly tell people that their dog’s history of aggression was too significant for the dog to be likely to be adopted.

We offer owners the chance to decide to euthanize their animals humanely, rather than having us do it for them after the assessments were complete.

It’s not unusual to feel a lot of guilt associated with euthanizing your dog (even when you know the dog is dangerous), but in some cases, humane euthanasia might be your dog’s only option.

Severe Health Issues

I don’t have any medical training when it comes to pets, but it’s not uncommon for people to come to a shelter hoping that the shelter can fix their dog’s health issues.

They can’t afford get veterinary help for their dog, and that is a tragedy.

However, not all health issues can be fixed, even with all the money in the world. Euthanizing an animal that is suffering is not a bad decision.

Serious Anxiety

Some dogs just can’t seem to cope with the world.

They’re constantly whining, pacing, barking, digging, or whatever else. Many of these dogs can do well with behavioral medications or anxiety treatments, but not all.

If a dog is constantly under extreme emotional duress, euthanasia might be a relief.

Personally, these dogs are the hardest on me emotionally. It’s far easier for me to get behind humane euthanasia when there is a safety risk to others or the dog is in serious physical pain.

However, I’ve met several dogs in my career that did not respond to myriad interventions and the decision was made that euthanasia was the best option.

This option is best for: dogs that are unlikely to do well in another home due to serious, ongoing, or potentially dangerous behavioral or health concerns.

This option isn’t best for: dogs that are behaviorally and physically sound who are likely to find another home.

In Conclusion: Tough Options For a Tough Situation

It’s never easy to decide if it’s time to rehome your dog, but sometimes it’s the best option.

Remember that giving your dog up might actually be what’s best for you and your dog. There are options available to your dog in most cases. If you’re ever really unsure what to do next, speak to a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant for help.

Dog Rehoming FAQ

Is dog rehoming bad?

Rehoming is a difficult decision. If your dog’s behavior is putting you or your family at risk, then rehoming is the responsible choice. You and your dog may have a lifestyle mismatch or you may be no longer able to physically give your dog the care he needs. In these situations, sometimes rehoming is the best option for everyone.

What is the fastest way to rehome a dog?

Discussing your dog’s need for a new home with friends and family members is often the fastest way to rehome a dog. Also consider posting in local community groups or neighborhood Facebook groups. Dogs can spend days, weeks, or months in animal shelters, so these often aren’t the fastest places for rehoming a dog.

Should I visit my dog after rehoming?

It’s generally not recommended to visit a dog after it is rehomed, as interaction with you may confuse the dog. However, you can ask for photos and updates, and after a year or so once the dog is settled into his new home, visits may be an option.

Should I feel guilty for rehoming my dog?

You do not need to feel guilty about rehoming your dog is you have already exhausted all your other options. If you’ve worked with a trainer, discussed issues with your vet, and have sought advice from certified behavior consultants then you’ve really done everything you possible could have.

How do you tackle tough decisions like this? While we can’t help you with your decision in the comments section, we’d love for you to share your thoughts.

(Video) Adopting and rehoming a rescue dog | Puppy Coach Podcast Episode 3

FAQs

How do I stop feeling guilty for rehoming my dog? ›

How To Handle Dog Rehoming Guilt
  1. Accept the Situation. ...
  2. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself. ...
  3. Remind Yourself That You Did What's Best for the Dog. ...
  4. Give Yourself Time. ...
  5. Find a Distraction. ...
  6. Find a Relevant Community. ...
  7. Pour Out Your Feelings in Words. ...
  8. Hold a Send Forth Ceremony.

Are dogs happy when rehomed? ›

How does a dog feel when rehomed? Dogs are naturally inclined to be man's best friend, so their attachment is very strong. Research has even shown that dogs dream about their owners. Being abandoned is hugely traumatic, but dogs learn to love and trust again surprisingly quickly.

How do you say goodbye to a dog when rehoming? ›

4 Tips for Coping With Rehoming Your Dog
  1. Write a letter to the dog you gave away. Take time to say goodbye to your dog. ...
  2. Read the letter my adopted dog Tiffy wrote to her previous owner. ...
  3. Know that your decision has brought happiness to another family. ...
  4. Be gentle with yourself.
4 Aug 2022

Do dogs feel sad when you give them away? ›

When you give away your dog, it can be emotional for them because of their strong relationship with you. Even if it has only known the new owner for a short time before being given away, there will still be some level of sadness.

Do dogs forget previous owners? ›

Most dogs do not simply forget about their previous owners when adopted by new ones, at least not immediately. The longer a dog lives with someone, the more attached they tend to become. Some dogs may seem a bit depressed at first when suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings.

Do dogs miss their previous owners? ›

It's perfectly natural for her to miss her previous owner. Sometimes, a dog who lost a previous owner might show signs of depression. These dogs need extra love and patience, just as anyone does after suffering a tough loss.

What if I don't want my dog anymore? ›

Your local animal shelters or rescue groups may offer low-cost veterinary care or training services or be able to refer you to other organizations that offer these services. Find your local shelters and rescues by visiting The Shelter Pet Project and entering your zip code.

What is the 3 3 dog rule? ›

Before you adopt shelter dogs, they say you should know the 3-3-3 rule. The 3-3-3 rule represents the phases of a rescue dog or common milestones your new dog or puppy will go through 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months after being adopted from a shelter.

How long does it take for a rehomed dog to adjust? ›

It can take a shelter dog six to eight weeks or even more to fully adjust to a new home. Don't worry if their behavior doesn't fall into place right away. With love and patience, it will happen.

How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new owner? ›

There are some things we can do to help them settle and feel safe in those first few days. Keep in mind though, that it generally takes about three weeks for a dog or puppy to start to feel 'at home' and to show their true nature. This is an activity you should do before you get your dog or puppy home.

How do I say goodbye to my dog? ›

A good end consists of three things: gratitude, the sharing of the favorite things, and goodbyes. Tell your dog how much he means to you, and what you've enjoyed about sharing a life with him. Thank him for being with you. Tell him what you love about him.

How do you let go of a pet you love? ›

Take pictures and embrace the time you have left. In many cases, veterinarians let owners choose where their pet passes. You may want them to be in their bed at home or outside in the yard. Some people prefer it happen in a vet's office because the place you say goodbye can become infused with difficult memories.

How do rehomed dogs feel at home? ›

So keep things as quiet and consistent as possible for the first week or more. Feed and walk your dog, and come and go from work around the same times each day. When you do leave home, consider leaving your dog with an enrichment item, such as a stuffed treat toy or puzzle food bowl.

Do dogs think you're never coming back? ›

Whether you're going out for a day or just popping off to the toilet, it's more likely than not that your dog will look at you like you're leaving forever. Their eyes will widen, they will begin to whimper, and they appear to be thinking that that's it – they're alone forever.

Do dogs know how long you are gone? ›

Animal memory is thought to be much more simplistic than human memory, and dogs have episodic memories, which means they are only able to remember certain events in their life. While your dog will remember you leaving the house, they most likely won't understand how long you were away.

Did my dog know he was being put to sleep? ›

Dogs do not know they are being put to sleep, but they can react to underlying pain when being handled by the vet, sense nervous energy, react to the injection, involuntarily vocalize, or have muscle spasms.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them! Excessive licking can sometimes be a sign that your dog is anxious, uncomfortable or in pain.

Do dogs always have a favorite person? ›

The Kind of People Dogs Love

Like humans, dogs are especially impressionable as their brains develop, so puppies up to 6 months old are in their key socialization period. Like their human counterparts, dogs develop favorite people over time based on positive experiences and positive associations with that person.

Do dogs have memories? ›

Dogs—like great apes and humans—may possess "episodic memory" Dogs, like humans, may be able to consciously recall personal experiences and events.

Why do people rehome dogs? ›

Some people have life changes that take them to another home not allowing pets, while others have trouble meeting the medical needs of the dog. Anxiety issues, aggression issues, and housebreaking issues are other common reasons people start looking for a new home for their dog.

What gets rid of the smell of dog urine? ›

In a clean spray bottle, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar with one cup of water and 2 teaspoons of baking soda. Shake it up to mix the ingredients, and then spray on the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot with towels until clean.

How do u get rid of dog smell? ›

To counteract dog smell, Bonk swears by baking soda. “Sprinkle baking soda onto fabrics that can't be washed, then let it set overnight,” she says. The following morning, wipe away excess baking soda with a wet cloth or paper towel. You can also vacuum it up depending on where it's sprinkled, like on carpet.

How do I transition my dog to a new owner? ›

To ease the transition here's 10 tips to help your new dog adjust to your home.
  1. Give Your Dog Time to Decompress By Starting Slowly. ...
  2. Give Your Dog His Own Space. ...
  3. Be Prepared For Stomach Issues When Changing Diets. ...
  4. Dogs May Lose Their Appetite in New Surroundings. ...
  5. Make It Easier In The Long Run By Keeping Your Routine.

Do rescue dogs remember their past? ›

Thanks to semantic memory, dogs can easily remember things they learned years ago. If your rescue dog was trained before you met them, they won't suddenly forget those lessons once you adopt them. That training will stick with them even as the rest of their life changes.

How long does it take for a dog to bond with another dog? ›

It can take up to one month for an old dog and new dog to really settle in and accept each other's position in the pack. If you want a second dog, you need to be ready to commit to this process and not panic.

What is the 3 Day 3 Week 3 month rule for rescue dogs? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

Is it normal to have second thoughts after adopting a dog? ›

It is very normal to have second thoughts about getting a dog. It takes patience and time for both you and the dog to learn to trust and love each other.

What is dog decompression? ›

Decompression is a calming period a dog (and cat) needs when first arriving in your home. The dog must have this time to adjust to its new environment, people, and other animals. The average decompression time is about two weeks, but it differs for every animal.

Can a dog bond with two owners? ›

Absolutely a dog can bond with two owners. Just like a child bonds with their mom and dad. They'll love them for different reasons, but share a special bond with each parent. Bonding happens through experiences and the more experiences a dog can have with their multiple owners the stronger the bond will be.

Will my dog remember me after a year? ›

Will your dog remember you after months apart? Luckily, the answer is yes! In fact, studies have shown that the longer a dog is separated from their owner, the happier the dog will be when they return! So, it's actually true, even for your pups, that time really does make the heart grow fonder!

How long is a dog's memory? ›

Memory Span

"Dogs forget an event within two minutes," reported National Geographic, citing a 2014 study performed on various animals from rats to bees. Other animals have long-term memories, such as dolphins, but dogs don't seem to have a long-term memory that lasts much beyond those two minutes.

Should I feel guilty for rehoming my dog? ›

You do not need to feel guilty about rehoming your dog is you have already exhausted all your other options. If you've worked with a trainer, discussed issues with your vet, and have sought advice from certified behavior consultants then you've really done everything you possible could have.

How long does it take for a dog to forget its owner? ›

Experts say it takes a trivial 70 seconds for your dog to forget what just happened. But while their short-term memory could maybe use some improving, their long-term memory is impressive, to say the least. Dogs most certainly recognize and remember their owners, even after long absences.

How long does it take for a dog to adjust to a new owner? ›

There are some things we can do to help them settle and feel safe in those first few days. Keep in mind though, that it generally takes about three weeks for a dog or puppy to start to feel 'at home' and to show their true nature. This is an activity you should do before you get your dog or puppy home.

Is it normal to regret adopting a dog? ›

It's normal — especially for first-timers — to feel a bit overwhelmed. If you're questioning your decision or wondering how to cope with feelings of anxiety, regret, or guilt, please understand that these feelings are quite common and they almost always pass with a bit of time.

Do dogs forget their previous owners? ›

Most dogs do not simply forget about their previous owners when adopted by new ones, at least not immediately. The longer a dog lives with someone, the more attached they tend to become. Some dogs may seem a bit depressed at first when suddenly uprooted from their familiar surroundings.

How do rehomed dogs feel at home? ›

So keep things as quiet and consistent as possible for the first week or more. Feed and walk your dog, and come and go from work around the same times each day. When you do leave home, consider leaving your dog with an enrichment item, such as a stuffed treat toy or puzzle food bowl.

Why do people rehome dogs? ›

Some people have life changes that take them to another home not allowing pets, while others have trouble meeting the medical needs of the dog. Anxiety issues, aggression issues, and housebreaking issues are other common reasons people start looking for a new home for their dog.

Can dogs tell how long you've been gone? ›

The Rhen/Keeling Study

What did they find? That dog's can tell when we've been gone for a while! The study noted marked differences in the way dogs behaved (i.e. increased tail wagging, more face licking) when an owner had been gone for two hours relative to when they'd only been gone for 30 minutes.

Why do dogs lick you? ›

Your dog may lick you to say they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves if they're stressed, to show empathy or because you taste good to them! Excessive licking can sometimes be a sign that your dog is anxious, uncomfortable or in pain.

Do dogs always have a favorite person? ›

The Kind of People Dogs Love

Like humans, dogs are especially impressionable as their brains develop, so puppies up to 6 months old are in their key socialization period. Like their human counterparts, dogs develop favorite people over time based on positive experiences and positive associations with that person.

What is the 3 3 3 rule for adopted dogs? ›

Whether you rescue an older dog or a puppy, a lot of dogs tend to follow the 3-3-3 rule when getting acclimated: 3 days of feeling overwhelmed and nervous. 3 weeks of settling in. 3 months of building trust and bonding with you.

What is the 3 day 3 Week 3 month rule for rescue dogs? ›

The 'Rule of Three' means that you can gauge the time it might take for your dog to fully acclimate to his home in threes: three days, three weeks, and three months. Think of your new dog's first 3 days as their time to decompress as they transition from a shelter or foster home into your home.

How long does it take for a rehomed dog to settle? ›

It can take a shelter dog six to eight weeks or even more to fully adjust to a new home. Don't worry if their behavior doesn't fall into place right away. With love and patience, it will happen. Have you ever helped a shelter dog adjust to their new home?

What is a 2 week shutdown dog? ›

The Two Week Shut Down is a time familiar to a dog's mind -- it mimics the whelping box when first born-when the puppy's eyes are not open and it relies totally on the mother's ability to take care of it. By smelling, sensing, and listening, the puppy starts his journey into the new scary world.

What is second dog syndrome? ›

In dogdom, there's a turn of phrase called, "Second Dog Syndrome". This describes the process of adding another dog to the home quite well, but not necessarily in a positive light. As humans, we are bound to forget all of the time and effort it takes to raise a puppy right.

What percentage of people regret getting a dog? ›

A new Forbes Advisor survey of 2,000 dog owners found that 54% have regrets about getting a dog, and of those 27% have strong misgivings about dog ownership.

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