While many articles will help you in choosing a dog to adopt, few take you to the next step of what happens if the dog isn’t working out. If you’re thinking of getting rid of your dog, there are a few things that you should consider.
1. Surrendering your dog to a shelter
If you decide to take your dog to a local shelter in the hopes that he’ll find a new home, you should be aware of his odds before making this choice. The Humane Society estimates that 25% of the dogs that end up in shelters are adopted into new homes.
Those aren’t very good odds. If your dog has only a 25% chance of being adopted, that means he has a 75% chance of being euthanized. Would you give your dog up if you knew that he’d probably be put to sleep?
There is not a standardized method for euthanizing a dog. Some shelters use gas anesthesia or carbon monoxide, others use injections, sometimes with the same needle over and over again until it’s dull, and some shelters have even been known to use guns. Afterwards the body may be buried, cremated, sent to a rendering plant and turned into livestock feed, or thrown into a dumpster.
Every shelter has different rules for how long they hold a dog hoping to find him a new home and some dogs don’t even make it past the first day. Some breeds will be euthanized immediately. If the shelter believes that your dog is not adoptable because of health, age, temperament or breed, he will likely be euthanized immediately. If the shelter gets full, they will have to euthanize dogs to make room for other dogs.
2. Other ways to get rid of your dog
Dropping him off by the side of the road will end up with two likely outcomes: He will either get hit by a car, or he will get picked up by the dog catcher and taken to the dog pound where he will probably be euthanized. If he manages to sidestep those outcomes, his new source of food will be roadkill or food found in trash cans and he will likely end up hungry most of the time or become ill.
You can try giving him away through an ad in the paper or online. Be aware that the person who adopts him may not be looking for a family pet. They might have something else in mind for him and you wouldn’t like it.
If your dog is a purebred, even if he doesn’t have papers you can try contacting rescue groups for his breed. If you have a Collie and you live in Kentucky, do a Google search for “Collie dog rescue Kentucky” to find rescue groups near you. Sometimes they will even accept mixes. These groups work very hard to rehome your dog and they do their best to find good homes.
Another option is to look for a no-kill shelter in your area. Searching for “no-kill dog shelters in Kentucky” will bring up a list of your local no-kill shelters. Be aware that even no-kill shelters may end up euthanizing your dog if they do not consider him to be adoptable. The difference between a no-kill shelter and a regular shelter is that no-kill shelters try harder and keep your dog much longer looking for a new home, but even they have limits.
Keep in mind that shelters are not the first place most people go to adopt a new dog so your dog could be in a cage for a very long time waiting for a new home.
3. Dog behavior problems
People often talk themselves into believing that their dog will find a good home once they give him up, but the sad truth is that he probably won’t. Even if someone else does adopt him, if you gave him up for a behavioral reason they will probably end up doing the same.
If you adopted the dog as a puppy, that means you’ve had him for his prime training period. If you’re now having problems it simply means that your dog needs to be trained.
His chances of finding a home that will fix him once he’s past his puppy stage diminish with each passing month. A dog who was abandoned by his owners will be more difficult for the next person to train because they will be adopting a dog with abandonment fears and separation anxiety. That manifests into a host of problem behaviors which add to the reasons you wanted to give him up.
4. The decision to keep your dog
Most dog behavior problems can be fixed. You simply need to learn how to be an effective leader so that your dog will follow. Your dog already has a bond with you and he most likely just needs some dog training.
Go to a dog obedience class together. Invest in some dog training books. Read dog training articles on the internet. Watch dog training shows and problem dog shows on TV such as Victoria Stilwell’s “It’s Me or the Dog.” She tackles the issues that you are most likely dealing with such as chewing, pottying in the house, pulling on a leash, getting into the garbage, barking, and so forth. If you don’t get that TV channel consider getting the show on DVD.
Try a Google search on the problem such as “dog chewing” or “dog housebreaking problems” and you will find training tips for dealing with those issues.
Most dog behavior problems can be solved, and most dogs respond well to training. With just a little bit of effort on your part, you’ll see how eager your dog is to work with you. Give him a chance. Don’t send him to a shelter where he may never see the light of day again.