Re-Homing Your Dog

by Kelly Alver

At Our Companions, people often contact us asking for help in finding a new home for their dog. We take these inquiries very seriously, since re-homing a dog is always a difficult decision to make. Our first course of action is to determine if we can help correct any issues (behavioral or medical) that are making the living situation difficult or seemingly impossible. In many cases, we can offer solutions that enable the dog to remain with his or her original family.

Re-homing a canine companion is very stressful. However, if there are no means to preserve the dog’s original home, and re-homing is the only remaining option, then we ask our clients to plan in advance as much as possible for finding the dog a new home. Canine Operations Director Marie Joyner emphasizes the importance of preparing a dog for adoption, making them the best they can possibly be, and thereby increasing the chances that the pet can be successfully adopted into a new family.

“Re-homing can be traumatic for some dogs,” says Marie “Think of how you have felt every time you’ve moved. Imagine going to a foreign land where they don’t speak the same language, and have a completely different routine. This is what being re-homed is like to a dog.”

Marie suggests that in order to prepare your dog for possible re-homing in the future, it is important that you expose your dog to different living situations during its lifetime – going to new places and experiencing life with new and different people. Doggie daycare, staying with friends or family members, or being kenneled for short periods gives the dog an opportunity to be cared for by other people, and to learn that their people come back.

Many dogs who end up at a shelter have no idea how to cope with the noise and confusion, let alone the feelings of abandonment and unfamiliarity associated with not being in their own home. Canine socialization gives a dog an instant leg up in finding a new home. Even if a prospective adopter never plans on having their dog around other dogs, they want to adopt a pet who is good with other dogs. Dog parks are problematic for some dogs, so attending a doggie daycare where they form doggy friends is often a better choice, as is getting together with friends at one another’s homes. This allows your dog to get comfortable sharing their toys and turf with others. These experiences will help your dog to more easily adjust to living in a new home, if ever that should be necessary.

In addition to raising your dog to be confident in new situations, and well socialized, there is a lot you can do when you have decided to re-home your dog, to make them desirable to adopters. “Much like you stage your home prior to sale, and fix anything broken, you need to do the same for the dog you want to place,” continues Marie. This entails taking the dog to the vet for blood work and getting any health issues under control. It could also mean taking an obedience class with Our Companions, so the dog will be more focused and able to greet adopters calmly and confidently.

“Our Companions is here to help along the way. Our animal placement professionals will work with you to get to know your dog and help in improving his or her behaviors. We also inform potential adopters of each aspect of the dog’s behavior that we are aware of – both the positives and negatives – so that they can be properly prepared for how the dog will fit into their home.

Once the dog is adopted, we offer a reduced price to attend our training classes to ensure that the new family can understand and reinforce what the dog already knows. This helps maintain a sense of familiarity in the new home and sets the dog up for success with a new family.