I want to start out by saying, I will never judge anyone for having to rehome a dog. If you are here because you are wondering if you should rehome your dog, please feel comfortable knowing you are in the right place.

Sh** happens. Life changes, people get new jobs, get sick, pass away, dogs develop health or behavior issues. When adopting a rescue dog there are never guarantees. Heck, life is never a guarantee!

Rehoming a scared rescue dog

This site has loads of helpful information that could help you through some health and behavior issues. If there is anything I can do to help you through this hard time, please feel free to contact me. 

Rehoming a Dog Guilt

If you are unsure if rehoming your dog is the right choice, you may be feeling guilty that you cannot take care of her anymore. Or that you made a bad decision on adopting him in the first place. I can’t take away that guilt, but you can help yourself and the dog by doing some research before giving your dog away.

As hard as it may be to understand from the perspective of an outsider, sometimes a situation arises when you need to rehome your dog. As a volunteer for a local rescue, I see owner surrendered dogs all of the time.

Foster Dog Silla Senior Black Lab
Our Foster Dog Silla was a Owner Surrender Story

In fact, our very first foster dog was a 10-year-old black lab, Silla, that was surrendered by her family. I admit I was confused as to why anyone would let such a sweet lab go. I didn’t know the family, but I do know they didn’t make the choice to rehome their dog lightly.

From what I do know, they lived on a farm and adopted two new herding breed dogs. The two new dogs did not get along with Silla and fights broke out. They felt that giving Silla a quiet home to retire in was in her best interest. Again, I am not here to judge. Did they feel guilty? I’m not sure, but I can only imagine how difficult that decision was for them.

Rehoming a Dog Tips

So, let’s start by ensuring you are making the right decision to rehome your dog. Why have you decided you need to give your dog away? 

Rehoming a Dog Because of Life Circumstances:

  1. I have become too sick to take care of my dog.
    If your situation is temporary, can you find a friend or family member to help by taking your dog in for a few months until you get back on your feet?
  2. I can no longer afford my dog because of job loss.
    Same as above, see if someone will help you and your dog out until you find a new job.
  3. I am moving to an apartment that does not allow dogs.
    Find an apartment that does allow dogs. I’m sorry but this is one that you do have control over. I know sometimes it can be hard, but there are plenty of landlords that do allow dogs.
  4. We just realized my child is allergic to dogs.
    Are you certain it is the dog your kids are allergic too? Have you tried bathing your dog? Brushing him more often? Keeping the dog out of the areas your child sleeps and plays?
  5. We just had a new baby and no longer have time for a dog.
    A baby may keep you busy, but it has been proven that kids who grow up with a dog are healthier. Children that grow up with a dog learn responsibility and compassion for animals. You will make time for both baby and dog. Many activities you can do with your dog and child… go for walks or play ball in the backyard together.
  6. I cannot afford my dogs health care, because of an illness or injury.
    Talk to your vet about payment options or look into Care Credit. I understand the thought of spending hundreds or thousands on your dog is daunting… trust me I do, I’ve been there. And sometimes we have to make tough decisions, but there are options out there, you just need to find them.
  7. I got a new job and no longer have time for a dog.
    Consider doggy-daycare or a dog walker. You did make a commitment to your dog when you first adopted him. Do your best to make it work.

Rehoming a Dog Because of Behavior Issues:

  1. My dog has bitten a child.
    I understand it is really scary if your rescue dog has bitten your child. This should never be taken lightly. But please look at the situation with a clear mind. Read Why Do Family Dogs Bite and make your decision from there.
  2. My dog has bitten another dog.
    If you adopted a new dog and he isn’t getting along with your other dog, then take a few steps back and start over. Read The Best Way to Introduce a Second Dog and see if you can fix the relationship.
  3. My dog has severe separation anxiety and has destroyed our house.
    What have you tried to help your dog with his anxiety? Please read Solutions for Separation Anxiety to see if there are steps you can take before giving up on him.
  4. I just adopted this dog and he isn’t what I expected.
    How long have you had the dog? Have you given her enough time to adjust? Did you know that it could take up to 3 months for a rescue dog to feel completely comfortable in her new home? If you are certain you adopted the wrong dog, talk the rescue or shelter you got the dog from. Many times, they will take the dog back if it just isn’t a good fit.

An important note about rehoming a dog that has bitten a child or dog. Please disclose this information before giving your dog away. No matter how desperate you are, do not allow another child to be bitten. Do you really want another family to go through what you have?

rehoming dog pitbull dog

Where Can I Give My Dog Away

If you are certain rehoming your dog is the right decision, where and how should you give your dog away?

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to be honest about all your dog’s issues and health concerns. Finding someone that is prepared to take care of all of your dog’s quirks, big or small, is important… or else he will just end up being returned to you or worse, euthanized.

Option 1: Contact the Rescue You Originally Adopted Your Dog From

If you adopted your dog from a shelter or rescue, start by asking them about taking the dog back. The rescue I volunteer for actually requires their adopters to surrender the dog back to them if needed at any time.

Some rescues will even post your dog on their website and let you keep him until you find a good home.

Option 2: Turn to Friends and Family for Help

I recommend you start by asking friends and family, even co-workers if they would be willing to take in your dog. This way you know the dog will be well taken care of.

Option 3: Post on Social Media

Posting a photo and your dog’s story on Facebook could be a great way to get the word out he needs a new home. I understand you may be afraid of being judged by your peers, but you’d be surprised how fast you could rehome a dog using social media.

Option 4: Ask Your Veterinarian

Your vet may have adoption resources you could turn to, or maybe even know someone looking to adopt a new dog. 

Option 5: Rehoming a Dog on Adopt-a-Pet Website

Adopt-a-Pet is a well-known online adoption website, and they have a rehoming listing service too! Adopt a pet makes it easy to list by simply filling out the form online and uploading pictures. Rehome at Adopt-a-Pet also has a ton of resources for you to try and keep your dog

Dog Chuck it Ball
We adopted Bear from a Craigslist Ad

Option 6: Rehoming a Dog on Craigslist

I love Craigslist, I use it to buy and sell everything from toys to furniture. But when it comes to dogs, it can be sketchy. Some very bad people lurk on the social selling site.

Let’s face it, we’ve all heard the horror stories of people getting scammed out of their houses, kidnapped or shot over a computer. And dogs being bought for reasons I’d rather not think of… bad reasons… for fighting and bait dogs.

There are also stories of puppy mills posting on Craigslist, so again, please do your research before buying or selling on this platform.

Now that I scared you, I have to admit something… we adopted our yellow lab Bear from Craigslist. Yup, that’s right we adopted an 18-month-old pure breed English Yellow Lab on Craigslist! We got lucky, the family rehoming him got lucky.

Bear grew much larger than the family thought he would… at a whopping 97 lbs, he was too big to live in a small trailer home with no yard. Plus, Bears’ previous owner was aging, had bad knees and couldn’t walk him. He was bursting at the seams with built up energy and was not a happy dog.

She realized this and came to the difficult conclusion that they needed to rehome Bear. She cried as we packed Bear’s belongings into our car, so I knew she cared very much for him and I am sure she felt guilty for letting him go.

A happy ending can happen, but you need to do your homework. Ask a lot of questions and meet the family before agreeing they can adopt your dog. Ask for a rehoming fee to ensure the new family is serious. 

Option 7: Contact Your Local Humane Society or Shelter

I’d say this should be your last resort. Dogs become very stressed when dropped off at a shelter. A shelter can be a scary place for any animal. And you have no idea how long he could end up staying there.

Call ahead and find out the shelters process of surrendering a dog. DO NOT just drop a dog off at the back door! Please no matter how desperate you are, this is not the right way to handle rehoming a dog.

The more information the shelter has about your dog before rehoming, the less stress for the dog, and the better chance he has for being readopted.

Please make sure you find a no-kill shelter. Unless your dog is truly aggressive, and you’ve tried everything… does he really deserve to be euthanized?

Over to you… please share your story in the comments below. I created the Rescue Dogs 101 community so we can support each other in times of need. It could help someone else in the same situation. You may be feeling alone right now, having to rehome your dog is not an easy decision, but please take comfort in knowing you are not alone! I am here for you.

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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. Hello, I have a 6 month old lab that I’m strongly considering rehoming. I have another dog of another breed and I’ve realized that the lab breed is simply not for me. His energy levels are too much for me. My partner didn’t want another dog the same as what I have (that’s what I wanted to get instead of the lab) so I settled with him. That sounds terrible. But I have no bond with this dog and all I see is a dog that’s holding me back from a dog I actually wanted. What can I do? Is it bad to rehome him then get the dog I wanted in the first place?

  2. Hi I am really struggling with the decision of rehoming my dog

    I am a mum of two, daughter is 14, son is 3

    my 4 year old zuchon (bichon/shih-tzu cross) is the sweetest boy but he has fear based aggression around us children.

    he has always been fine with my son but I believe at the moment that is because he still gets all his leftovers

    he has badly bitten my daughter recently, as far aas we can tell it was unprovoked or at least we can't say that anything particular happened to cause him to react.

    since then he has gone for her 3-4 more times including barking at her and chasing her up the stairs.

    I have had him regularly checked by a vet and there are no physical health issues.

    he has bitten 3 other children all in circumstances where the children were unpredictable and the dog was frightened.

    the frequency of his behavior has increased.

    I have crate trained him, tried behavioral support and even anxiety medication but it seems to have gotten worse since the medication.

    I have had him since he was 10 weeks old and as far as we know nothing has happened to him as in maltreatment etc.

    I have the option to rehome him somewhere that rehabilitates dogs and takes finding them a new home seriously. if she can't rehome home she has said she will keep him

    my heart is literally breaking as I love him so much, he is the sweetest boy and our bond is really strong. but I can't take the risk with my children or others.

    I'm worried that rehoming him will cause him so much stress and he won't cope. the vet offered to euthanize him but I feel with the opportunity he's got for a second chance it would be unfair.

    am I doing the right thing?
    will the dog be ok?

    the grief is real and painful

    1. You are 100% doing the right thing. It sounds like you found the perfect person to help rehabilitate him. Your priority needs to be to keep your children safe. So sorry you are experiencing such heartbreak. But take comfort in knowing that you are doing what is best for the dog and your family.

  3. Hi,

    I could really use some words of encouragement or just know I am doing the right thing as I am having to make the very difficult decision of possibly needing to rehome our 6 month old lab. He is the sweetest dog and only real issue is typical puppy behavior from time to time. The problem is me. I suffer from pretty severe OCD and anxiety and since we brought him home I have not been the same. I cry nearly everyday. I just cannot cope with the hair, the mess, the attention he needs. I feel so irritable and overwhelmed. I thought it would get better, I tried everything. Doggy day camp, training, even did a two week board and train in a trainers home to get a break. But as soon as he is back, the panic and now even feelings of depression, immediately set back in. I just want what is best for the dog. He deserves a calm home and we have found the perfect one for him with other pups and land to run free and be as dirty as he pleases. The toughest part of this is explaining to our kids that this is what is best. My heart is tearing in two though and I haven’t been able to even eat. I wish I could go back in time and not have caused everyone in my home this heartache. I should also mention my allergies have been terrible. I had dogs in the past and seemed to manage ok but something has changed because I can barely pet him without my eyes and skin itching like crazy. So I avoid him a lot when he comes close to me which makes me sad for him. Thanks for any replies/comments.

    1. Your health is priority #1. Your anxiety will not only be detrimental to you but also to your family and the dog. I personally agree you are doing the right thing by rehoming him to give him the best life possible. Good luck.

  4. I had to give up our two rat terriers that we've had for 12 years today because we have become homeless.


    Went thru this almost 5 years ago when i lost my daughter and now I'm having to give up my beloved best friend Bandit. It's already more than I can handle to give him to a rescue… but it's the best thing for him. They will find him a good home and I won't have to worry if he is ok or if he's being put down. Just knowing this rescue organization will keep him and let him live out the rest of his days happy and healthy, hopefully with an older couple who have time to be with him, makes it easier to do. However, it's still the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I've prayed and ask for guidance and this is what I heard. Since I don't have stable housing right now, it's the right thing for him… but God, it makes me so sad and I've cried so much. please pray for me to get thru this…I thought he would be with me forever, and life is just not going to be the same without him…

    WILL HE BE OK? will he get very depressed because I've given him up? well he be able to move on? is he going to think I abandoned him?

    1. I am so sorry you are going through this troubled chapter Keli. I will pray for you and Bandit. I believe dogs are very resilient and he will be okay. You did what you had to do to keep him safe and I’m sure he knows that. God Bless.

  5. Hi! Thank you for this article. I believe it did help me a little.

    Right now, I am in a really tough situation. About a month ago I received a Rottweiler and German Shepherd mix puppy as a gift from one of my coworkers that I work with. Her name is Sage. I fell in love with her as soon as she was given to me, but ever since then, I have felt horrible because, at this point in time, I have no place for her to live due to me living in a rental with my family where they do not allow pets of any kind. Not only that but I am not really financially stable to take care of a puppy. And my family members don’t want to have a pet at their house and if they could they are in the same situation as I am with the living situation. fortunately, one of my friends has let Sage live with her and her brother for the time being until I can afford to find a place for both of us to live. The good thing in this situation is that they have two dogs of their own, so she has playmates!

    But I just found out today that my friend’s brother who is letting Sage live with them since it’s his house is getting another dog and having Sage there will be difficult since she is going to get pretty big when she grows up and they don’t know how she is going to behave around the new dog as well as other issues that they have.

    I am really struggling right now because I am a 20-year-old female who is in college, working a seasonal job, and dealing with mental health at the same time. And adding a 12-week-old puppy is adding more to the situation that I am in. Throughout all of this, I have been trying to make sure that I have time for her and training her as best as I can. But with me being a first-time dog owner my current situation is becoming really difficult. I really love Sage with all my heart. she is starting to play with me more, giving me snuggles and helping with keeping a smile on my face. I am trying to find another place where I can let her live for the time being, but it feels like I am running out of options. I am still going to ask my coworker who gave me Sage if she can live with them for the time being, but I don’t know if that will work.

    I know some people will say that I shouldn’t have accepted my coworker gifting me Sage, but I was put in a really tough spot where if I didn’t accept her the breeder who is my boss who gave the idea to the coworker to gift Sage to me said that if she didn’t find a home soon, he would euthanize her. Not only that but I didn’t want to have any bad blood with my coworker and boss. But the sucky part is that both of them knew of my current situation, but they still went with it. I am not blaming Sage for this because it is not her fault by any means. Both I and Sage were and are put in a very difficult position.

    Where I live, we do have a no-kill animal shelter where they do rehome the dogs and if all else fails, I’ll have to do that because at this point that is the only choice that I have. It feels like my heart is being ripped out and I feel like a complete failure. I don’t want to give her up and I really want to make this work. I know physically no one in the comments could help me at this time. I guess I just needed to let it out and see if someone who is in a similar situation could just be there for me. Again, I am trying really hard to keep her and make her happy, but I feel like I am failing at everything that I am doing in order to make this work.

    1. It sounds like the your “friend” and boss manipulated you in taking this dog so they didn’t have to deal with it. They put you in a terrible situation. Puppies and dogs need a stable home, I would wholeheartedly support your decision to give her up.

  6. My dog is four year old. My son moved and she was gifted to me. She has had a great life with me. Well fed and cared for. Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Loved.

    I hesitated to take her, but here I am. She has destroyed windows because of fireworks or gun shots(New Year's). I can't get away because I need to find someone to watch her. Well, I can get away, but I would like to just get in my car and leave for a few days, but I can't. Her behavior during fireworks and gunshots are very stressful to me. No one know what it's like.

    I am beginning to think that someone else could provide a better home that could meet more of her needs.. She is mostly lab with a drop of pit. My son found her and brought her home. He moved far away and so did my ex. Them: "Can you take care of Arya?" Me: "No." I have her.

    She is the sweetest dog ever. Rehome?

  7. I am really struggling. My dog that I had for almost 12 years died a little over a week ago. I thought that getting another puppy would help this process. I got one yesterday and she is sweet and well behaved. I am having panic attacks and have been almost nonstop crying since getting her. I don’t know what to do. She is a great pup but I think I may have made a mistake not giving myself time to heal first. I miss my boy and do not want to neglect her due to my feelings. She is starting to get attached and I want to be fair to her.

  8. I've had shepherds, collies, mixes of both. I adopted my neighbor's golden retriever. Apparently he's got self regulation issues, gets so excited that he jumps. From what I heard, they kept him crated. I never crated dogs. He may have been hit, or yelled at.

    He's bonded to me, in a really clingy way. If I'm sitting on my bed, I can't get up because he's right next to the bed and no floorspace to put my feet. My apartment has a door to the yard. He won't go out except during the night for a quick pee. There's a staircase going up into another apartment. Family live there, along with 2 dogs. He gets along with the dogs, but even if I'm up there, he goes downstairs even before I do. I feel suffocated. His need for affection is endless.

    I also worry that I can't give him the exercise he needs. I have back issues. A 2 mile walk, even with a back support is tough.

    And he has a drool when he's had any type of exercise. Friends have a mastiff who drools, and it grosses me out. I never had a dog that drooled, even slightly before.

    On the positive side, he can be left alone and doesn't destroy anything. He has a sweet disposition. I read where golden retrievers are Velcro dogs. I prefer dogs with a bit more independence. But I'm not sure how much of this is the breed, and how much is from his prior home. I sat on the bed, far in (the only place he can't reach me), took off my shoes. I had to throw them across the room because he was lying next to the bed, so no room to put them on the floor. He took off into the other room, even though I didn't throw them near him. Knowing what I now know, if I could do over adopting him, I wouldn't.

  9. I’ve owned dogs for many years now big ones as well just lost my staff cross to cancer at 15yrs age my sons brought me this tiny yellow Labrador cross as my heart was so broken this little dog was so energetic couldn’t even train him due to this had him when he was 0ver 4weeks old as time went on his size increased dramatically his behaviour isn’t great I managed somehow to teach him sit wait which he does so well I love him to pieces as when my previous dog died of cancer he went up to her and smothered her with licks like he knew she was dying so there is that connection but he has all her behaviour ways as my previous dog gypsy never listened and because she was a rescue dog became agresive.my new dog has no agresesin at all just not listening and pulling like a wild lion on lead his also destroyed so many household things can’t even go hospital appointment s I know his got separation anxiety but I’m left to deal with all this and I’m 62not good health if a decent home was found maybe I’d consider re homing him but I know il be a complete mess seing him go I’m stil crying like crazy over the lost of my other dog EE did everything together if my new dog at least calmed down and listened then rehousing him wouldn’t even be a option

  10. i know this is going to sound crazy but i had to give a unch of my dogs away to the animal intake. i tried to give them away as puppies but nobody ever seemed like the right person so weeks turned to months turned to years, then one day out of the blue a friend came by i was stressed about my home because naturally the dogs were taking over and she offerd to take them to the shelter and i laid on my bed and said just do it i didnt say bye to them or anything i didnt think i could . i watched them quickly getadopted on the web site, they went quickly, but i cant get over what i ve done or do i know if i ever will.

  11. I think I might be facing having to rehome our dog, and I'm really upset about it. We live out in the country and I thought our lifestyle would be great for a dog. Frequent car rides to the park, acreage to run on, a bunch of happy and gentle kids to play with… and I thought the kids and I would feel safer with a dog out in the middle of nowhere.

    I found a dog on social media that was about to be surrendered. He was 14 weeks old and had already been bounced around 3 times. I thought he deserved a good home and that since he was already used to kids he'd be a good fit for us, and he seemed young enough to train.

    He's so anxious even now, approaching a year later. He never settled in. We can't go into another room without him whining outside the door. We can't put him on a run… I tried that so we could get space from him and he chewed and destroyed our lawn furniture. He is terrified of crates and dog houses. I considered taking him to a trainer, but it's expensive to do and I have to drive him out almost an hour away. He gets car sick, so I can't take him anywhere without fasting him from dinnertime until we bring him home. Not being fed in the morning makes him panic and drool and then he sometimes throws up on an empty in the house.

    I feel terrible because it's not his fault he's anxious, but and he listens to commands, but he literally cannot enjoy anything we do or give us any space, and he gets overwhelmed by too much petting, too, so we have to live around all this and it's stressing me out so much. I have five kids and my husband has a job he travels for. I can't do this anymore.

    The shelters around here are just so packed, though. I'm afraid they'll struggle to find a new home for him because he is so high needs. How do I assess families online to make sure their intentions are good taking him in? Do you think I've given him enough time and it's reasonable to rehome him?

    1. A few thoughts, if you are set on rehoming him, then assessing the interested family that wants to take him will be key. Be upfront with everyone about his history. As a lot of questions, ask for referrals, and create a contract. You may even consider visiting their home if possible.

      With that said, it sounds like this dog needs a lot of structure. There are a lot of resources here on this website that can help. I also recommend joining our private Facebook community. It’s a great place to get advice from others that have been in the same situation.

  12. Hi
    i have à very unwell mother im looking afrer and have been through alot of trauma recently.
    im the owner of 3 english springer spaniels who i adore whole heartly.
    with everything i have gone through the last 18 months life has affected me and the way i once lived with my 3 pups.
    i know in my heart with mums needs increasing that i cant give them what they once had and deserve.
    Just wanting some advice and support

    1. We have a private Facebook group community that would be a great place to get support online. But I also highly recommend reaching out to a local friend or family member to talk with. Your mental health takes priority. Maybe you have someone close that can help take care of the dogs while you go through this difficult time in your life.

  13. I adopted a 6 year old collie/pit mix about three weeks ago. I adopted him because he was and is still very sweet. I should mention I am a first time dog owner. I have felt a bit overwhelmed with leaving him for hours on end-he does not do well in a crate but he is fine roaming my apartment with few accidents. He did destroy my window blinds when I was gone but that’s the extent of it. I also do not have a fenced in yard where he can exercise his spurts of energy.
    The most concerning aspect-he has displayed aggression towards strangers, especially runners and cyclists. He jumps at them and I have to brace myself to pull him down. He tore a runner’s shirt and tore through a girl’s sweatshirt and it
    could have been worse if the sweatshirt wasn’t so
    thick. We’ve had training sessions and the trainer said the previous owners most likely trained that behavior. When we’re at Petco for training he growls and barks at everyone who walks in.
    My dog also want to give and receive a lot of attention and that makes me think he would be better suited in a household with multiple people and a yard. I feel guilty thinking I think it’s best to re home him but he may be happier in a busier household where he can be better socialized.

  14. I became friends with an elderly man in my apartments. I helped him with his dog a lot. His last trip to the hospital he passed away. His family never contacted me about his dog. I have the dog but I’m feeling very guilty .I have two cats I have trouble affording. Shes the sweetest dog and she loves me to death .Its just so expensive and I raise my grandson on my own and I feel so guilty for even thinking about getting rid of her . She loves me so so much. She is a York shire terrier she’s fully potty trained in door . She loves walks and will go outside also. she’s just so sweet she loves going bye bye. . I work full-time my grandson is in extracurricular activities we were gone more than we’re home and I feel guilty about that. I feel she will be better off somewhere and they have a big fenced in yard for her to run and play and somebody that can be with her all the time. I’m just feeling guilty I can’t give her the time she really needs. She knew her daddy for four years and she’s known me over a year and she has lived with me full-time for almost 2 months. I don’t know what to do I feel so torn.😞😞😞

    1. Reach out to the family of the man, they may want the dog. You are in a very unique situation, you should not feel guilty. If the family doesn’t want the dog, then reach out to friends to see if they know anyone looking to adopt a dog. You need to put you and your grandson priority.

      1. The family does not want the dog. Where I got her haircut the lady does knows a woman who owns a big house who wants a small dog who has a big fenced in yard and another dog she stays home all the time . I’m crying writing this just thinking of getting rid of her but I know she would be happy with somebody home all the time and a big yard to play in. I do have to put us first . Thank you so much fir your time to answer me. Good Bless you.

    2. I am currently struggling with this decision and would love an opinion of people have dealt with this and think this situation could improve. I adopted a bearding mixed breed dog about 6 months ago now. I had a cat before adopting the dog, he’s almost 2 years old. Before bringing the puppy home I made sure to put up a gate to my room so my cat would have a safe space with food, water and litter. After we did the introductions I thought things would slowly get better and they got more comfortable and got used to each other. I even put my puppy through training classes to help with this situation. Now 6 months my cat hides in the room with the gate for 90% of the day. When he does come out he sits are the top of the stairs and the dog has gotten better about leaving him alone if he’s sitting there but will still randomly chase after the cat. There was also a night when the cat decided he did want to be downstairs and my dog was freaking out. She was nipping at him and trying to stand over him and put her paws on top of the cat. Anytime the cat moved the dog would immediately go after him. Since that situation the cat won’t leave the top of the stairs and as soon as the dog starts to go upstairs he runs directly to the room to hide. The dog has also learned to jump over the baby gate and keeps getting in there to eat the cats food and try to get into the litter. When the dog jumps the gate the cat hides under the bed for hours. Things have improved slightly since the initial month of having a dog in the house but my cat doesn’t come downstairs anymore and spends the majority of his time in my bedroom. Before bringing the puppy home he was always downstairs playing and laying on his cat tree. I guess in a way they are coexisting but not well. I feel guilty that my cat spends most of his life trapped in a room. Is there any way for this to get better at this point? Or is this how it will be forever? Is this even a suitable way for a cat to live? I feel guilty for considering the option of rehoming my dog but I don’t know what else to do at this point. Any advice would be helpful.

  15. I was chosen & gifted 2 beautiful dogs via
    social media free rehoming site. The lady had 2 weeks to be sure. I spent a lot of money on beds, food, toys, seat covers, etc & I drove 2.5hrs to pick them up, she gave me all their papers, microchip numbers, vet papers, all their food & belongings. I even registered them with council. Now 2 days later she demands them back. I love my new fur babies. Seems so unfair. Can she do this?

  16. Hello,
    We are at the stage of making a final decision about rehoming our 4 month old mix puppy. I know this seems young to already consider rehoming, but he has displayed some concerning behaviour. We have hired a trainer and behaviourist to asses him and both have suggested that he is not the right fit for our family and that we should consider rehoming him. Our trainer said he has extreme high stress and the behaviourist said he has anxiety and fear aggression. I was absolutely devastated to hear this news. I truly did not expect it. We have never had dogs, so we did not know what behaviour was/wasn’t normal for a puppy. I am a home mom and have been the main caregiver for our pup. The reason we would even consider this is that we’re concerned for the safety of our 5 year old daughter. He has come close to hurting her had I not been there to intervene. He will be a medium-large dog, he’s already taller than my daughter when he jumps up. And he’s so strong I can barely hold him back when he goes for something. He doesn’t just nip – he growls and lunges at times, and the resource guarding is really bad. He is anxious of people and other dogs, loud noises, being left alone, new places. I’ve been at my wits end with how much management I have to do for his behaviour. I can’t leave him alone with my kid, and he sometimes seems like he wants to hurt us. I don’t understand it because he seems so normal a lot of the time. But then all of a sudden he’ll go for mostly my husband or daughter with what seems like the intent to injure. We have him on a leash at all times because I have to be able to hold him back from my kid or anyone else. We’ve also had him looked at by the vet and she said he is physically fine, but noticed the issues right away and suggested a behaviourist. Honestly it’s been a real challenge for us as a family. But I thought in time he might chill out. I really do love him and I breaks my heart to pieces to even consider giving him away. If it was just me and my husband I’d not even consider it, but the professionals say that it might just be a matter of time before there’s an incident with our kid. They said it’s most likely a genetic thing and that it could take a long time to change. The truth is I’m so exhausted from the current situation that I can’t imagine having to add anything more than what I’m already doing with him. And my poor kid. I’ve been focusing so much on managing puppy that she’s been neglected. There’s so much stress in the house too from all of this, for sure it’s affecting our wellbeing.
    It’s so hard because like I said we have some really good moments with him. He seems like a normal pup! And I’ve bonded with him and so has my daughter. She’s even helped with training him to sit and lay down and she really cares for him. But those times when he’s gone for her have been scary. And I’m so worried about the big ‘what if’. The risk just seems too high. But I can’t shake the feeling like what if they’re wrong, what if he’s normal and will grow out of it. Maybe I’m just in denial and just can’t come to terms with the truth. Every time I think of giving him away I just break down and cry because I just feel so heartbroken about it. But then I think of how big he’s going to get in a short amount of time and I won’t be able to hold him back.
    I suggested to my husband that we get him assessed again by another behaviourist. But he thinks what we’ve heard is enough. I’m having a really hard time accepting it. Especially since he’s so young.
    When puppy is ‘normal’ which is honestly most of the day I think how can anything be wrong with him? He’s a normal puppy. But then yesterday out of the blue he snarled at me and lunged. It was scary. Had my husband not been holding the leash I fear he would have attacked. We have gotten scrapes from his teeth but have managed not to get an actual bite down.
    I’m just so sad and worried I’m about making the wrong choice. The anxiety I’ve been feeling about this is heavy. We absolutely do not want to bring him to a shelter. I think it would only make his anxiety worse.
    I’m just so torn. But also I guess I know what we must do. It’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep for thinking of it, so I’m mostly writing this in case someone else is going through a similar thing.
    Know you are not alone.
    This is hard.

    1. Aggressive behavior is very unusual for a young puppy. If the trainer/behaviorists has assessed the puppy and has come to the conclusion it could be inherited, then I’d say he is not the right puppy for you. You need an easy dog for a first time owner. As hard as it feels now, you all be better off making the decision now. He is young enough that an experienced dog trainer can rehabilitate the dog. There is no reason for you to put your family at risk. Rehoming sounds like the right choice. This doesn’t mean you can’t adopt another dog, a dog that is a better fit.

  17. Hi I paid for my dog, rehoming him at 10mths old. After arriving home with him I realised he had never been up/down stairs. He soon learned as I live upstairs flat. No problem. Biggest problem he had never been socialised, spent every day in a garden chasing a ball. I was lucky if he covered 700yds a day, he was frightened, jumping up at people and barking. I put him in kennels as a trial run after 3 week's, he was ok, but not when he came out. Four days later I had him taken away to a charity that looks after animals till rehoming. I miss him terribly every day, keep in touch with the charity. He is still there with them sorting put his issues. I really want him back before rehoming, can I do that. I miss him so.much. The previous owner's did him a disservice by not allowing him to explore the world outside. I have made matters worse by giving him up 2 week's ago. Please advise.

  18. Like everyone else I fear judgment. I’m a single mom of a special needs boy, and under high amounts of stress and have been advised by doctors to lower it as much as possible for my own health needs. Anyways, my son is about to have another major surgery and I told him I’d get him a dog for his birthday/surgery because this was his third time going under and I felt that needed something big. I also felt a dog would be good for us both. I’ve had to regime a dog once before and never wanted to do that again so I did a lot of research on breeds and decided I wanted a lab, 2 years old or older etc. Because I grew up with them and they are supposed to be great for families.

    I took a chance and applied on a lab that was said to be good with children, 1 years old, from an agency I’d never heard of, and when I got there unfortunately there were some red flags (turns out she was only 4 months old, and they didn’t actually know if she was good with kids). She seemed really calm and sweet and I honestly felt pressured by them to get her at the time, so I went for it…. I wish I had thought about it more.

    Three months later, she’s destroyed my back yard, my furniture, drawn blood from my child multiple times, won’t stop biting me as well. I’ve talked to the vet multiple times, her trainer, other pet friends, I’ve followed all the advice I possibly can and I think I’m ready to waive the white flag. I take her on walks twice a day, do enrichment activities, training with treats, give her toys/Yelp/use spray when she bites and nothing works. She did stop peeing on furniture and mostly stopped digging holes, but the stress from how high energy she is along with my inability to get her to quit biting is beyond me. I’ve had two labs as well as other breeds and I’ve never had this issue. I think I’m finally at the point where I realize she needs someone who will run her every day, train her more than me, has other dogs, or maybe a farm. I still feel horrible because I got really attached and so did my kiddo… but I know I did everything possible, even tried three different supplements with her (vet approved), and I just think I’m the wrong match for her.

  19. Hi! I’ve had my German shepherd mix dog for about 5 months now (since she was 3 months old) and unfortunately I’m getting to the point of considering rehoming her. She is extremely anxious and has fear aggression. She’s afraid of all strangers and barks/lunges at them when the walk by. I’ve tried many different techniques to reroute this behavior and it’s mostly worked but she still does not like strangers. She is able to go to the dog park but whenever she plays with another dog her fur is standing up the whole time. She is also territorial so I can’t have people over. She freaks out when someone new enters the home and she’s nipped at friends. I’ve seen multiple trainers and have tried so many different things to help her. She is currently on Prozac and also has CBD chews I give her. We recently moved to a new state a month ago so I understand she is going through an adjustment period, but her anxiety has snowballed and I am at the end of my rope. I am so stressed out with her idk how much more I can help her. She gets three walks a day and so many toys/chewies/and attention. I also take her to daycare twice a week since I’m in grad school. Before we moved I used to take her to a different daycare 4 times a week and she did great! She would play with all the dogs and she loved the workers. However at this new daycare she has gotten so anxious when I drop her off. The other day when I dropped her off she was so overwhelming anxious she went into a frenzy jumping on me and she bit me multiple times. She ripped holes in my pants and bruised me as well as created a large blood blister on my arm. She even wouldn’t let go of my hand and one of the daycare workers had to come pull her off me. I was so shocked and hurt by this behavior. Her anxiety being in this new place has been making me depressed and I don’t know how to calm her down. After her attacking me at daycare I’ve lost trust in her and feel like our relationship isn’t the same. I’m so upset with how things turned out and I honestly never ever thought I’d be someone who would rehome their dog. I love her so much and she’s such a sweetie with me but I can’t have her around strangers and I’m afraid of having friends over. If she’s able to bite me I don’t doubt she’d bite a stranger out of fear. I just feel so alone in all this and I don’t think I could ever get over having to rehome her if that’s what it came to. I’ve spent so much money on trainers and different collars/leashes and toys to distract her but I don’t know how much more I can invest into this. I am a grad student and I need to also focus on my life but I feel like I spend so much of my time worrying about her or thinking about how I need to get home ASAP everyday to take care of her. She has become more of a burden than a companion at this point and I am running out of energy and options.

  20. We adopted a mixed breed from our rescue shelter. He's only 1 year old and we've only had him for two months. But I think he wasn't a good fit for our family but I can't tell if I'm quitting on him or if he really just needs a different family with a different life style. I also can't tell if we're not dog people or if he wasn't a good match. He's very energetic and has anxiety issues. He's knocked my dad over from jumping on him, and accidentally cut my mom's nose from jumping up to her as well. I'm the main person that has to take care of him, but I'm still in school and it's my senior year. I'm involved in a lot of extra curriculars, have my own business, and of course need to study. School has only been in for a month, but I'm already coming home really late and my parents aren't in any real position to exercise him for me. On top of that, I'm supposed to move out with him and I don't think his anxiety can handle that because I'll be in college and I'll probably have to move a lot or have a lot of schedule changes.

    I originally wanted a service dog and that's what brought us here, but we were told he wouldn't be able to become a service dog due to his reactivity and anxiety issues. I'm concerned about my own mental health as well because I have depression and PTSD and they have gotten much worse since getting him. I think he's also becoming more and more depressed and I expect to become much busier so I don't think he'll be receiving the care he truly needs. I can't tell if I'm just being a quitter or if my concerns are warranted.

    I just feel so bad about rehoming him because he's bonded so closely with my family and I and I feel awful about taking him back.

    1. You are not being a quitter… you are being an adult, making the tough decision. From what you have told me here, I agree he would be better off in a home that can spend time training him and working through his issues. You need to think about your mental health too, if he was suppose to be a service dog for you, and you got the opposite, it’s time to move on. I know it’s difficult, but it will be best for both of you. You are so young and have a life time ahead of you, when your life settles down a little bit, then you can look for another dog. Focus on yourself right now.

  21. I have 2 poodles, 1 miniature and 1 toy. I adopted the miniature from a shelter when she was 3 years old. I quickly learned she had some anxiety issues as she is a nervous wreck when she goes on walks. She is constantly watching her surroundings and the moment she sees another dog, she goes absolutely berserk, barking relentlessly until the dog is completely out of sight.
    I have now had her for 6 years, so she is over 9 years old. She has gotten worse with time and even once bit my 1 year old son on the nose after he grabbed her leg. Since she's a small dog and doesn't actually have all of her teeth anymore, it just left a small mark on his nose, but since then I've felt myself resenting her. Everytime she barks, I can feel my blood pressure spike. I'm frustrated that every time I want to take my son and dogs on a walk to relax, it ends up being a stressful, anxiety inducing experience because of her relentless barking.
    Apart from her barking at other dogs, she is a sweetheart. She loves adults, loves to cuddle, but at the end of the day she causes more stress than the happiness I feel from her presence and I feel terrible admitting that!!
    We are very outdoorsy people who enjoy hiking, camping, etc but feel as though we can't do all of the things we want to because she is unhappy when she's outside.

    Even with all of the stress she causes, the thought of rehoming her still induces so much guilt. I wonder if she would feel betrayed, or if our other dog would miss her or vice versa.

    Very conflicted on what I should do with her. Not sure if I should suck it up and hope I won't be as bothered by it the older she gets, or prioritize my mental well being by making life easier for me in this moment. 🙁

  22. Hi Debi,

    After reading your article I would much appreciate some advice if you have the time. We have a dog we adopted 6 years ago, she is great with all of our animals (cats, rabbits, chickens). She was also great with any other dog or human we've ever introduced her too. She loves playing with other dogs.
    So two years ago we adopted another dog from the pound to be her buddy. All was good for the first 18 months. In January a neighbor dog came on our property and started trouble. There was a tussle with all three dogs and by the time we got everyone broke up my husband had bites and had to go to the hospital. There were two kids there the neighbors son and my 18mo old neither were hurt. This incident seemed to trigger something as we've had quite a few incidents since both between our two dogs and with our cat. We have several cats but he just goes after the one cat. She's at the vet now under surgery after an incident last night. We are looking into training and behavioral therapy. He does have anxiety. That said I don't know if my cat will ever feel safe in the house with him. Also after a handful of incidents between the dogs and my one cat I don't feel like the house is safe anymore. I also have a 2 yr old I need to keep safe. One of the incidents with the dogs was when my dominant dog gave my daughter her toy, my daughter gave the toy to our newer dog and that started a bad fight with her right there. We are going to do the training regardless but are at the point we are thinking we have to rehome our dog and I'm just a mess thinking about it. I also don't know how I will find a home for him with no other animals. He's a great dog, loving, eager to please, loves to play fetch and go for walks but I just don't know if we can make this a safe home again for everyone.

  23. Please no judgment this is already so hard.

    We’ve had our German shepherd for 2 years now, we’ve had her since she was 8 weeks old. My partner and I love her to bits and she’s a great dog but our living situation has changed in a way we didn’t expect before getting her. We’ve just moved into a new house we’ve built (4months now) & have both started new jobs that require us to work full days so we can’t always be around to supervise her. We’ve trialed her in the new house but some of her bad habits still remain, she is still destructive. We don’t have much furniture right now bc we’ve just moved in but so far shes chewed up things like door mats our laundry etc. We’ll be getting a new expensive couch very soon and I know 100% she will ruin in. She will, there’s no way around it, she’s a dog that’s what they do they chew things. She’s an inside/outside dog but our outside is still currently under landscape construction and regardless we can’t keep her out there all day everyday especially bc this house is small. I’m nervous about buying furniture/nice/expensive things for our new house bc I know they won’t last, we’ve payed A LOT for our house & the landscaping in our backyard and I know she will find a way to ruin something.. We don’t have the funds to just keep replacing couches or rugs or redoing the backyard. She gets walked 3 times a day, rotates/new toys, training and still has this habit, we’ve taken her to professional training but it hasn’t helped. I feel horrible even writing this and idk how I’m coming across but we’ve just spent so much money on this house and I don’t want to sound heartless but the house out-ways her. My sanity and bank account come first.. We didn’t plan on building a house but our lifestyle changed and we had to make decisions that are beneficial for us long term.. on the other hand though, am I selfish for wanting to keep her when I know she would be just as happy with someone else? I don’t know. Everyone’s situation is different and this isn’t a topic I can talk about to anyone I know.. I feel so heartless and horrible for saying I need to rehome my dog because she will destroy my couch and my home. My partner will literally loose his mind if she destroys something again especially the new couch!! He’s been adamant about rehoming her for a while now even before we moved in because he knew she would continue this behaviour but I wanted to at least see if it could work but now it’s clear that it won’t… I feel so guilty and pathetic.

    1. No judgement here. German Shepherds are a working breed dog, they need more than the average dog. More physical and even more important, mental exercise. They need a job. If you decide to keep her, I recommend researching more specific breed information and how you can help her. If you rehome her make sure to research whomever adopts her, or find a GSD rescue in your area that can help rehome her for you.

  24. I always go back and reread this post to help me ease the guilt and pain I have with making the decision of rehoming our heeler/border collie mix Mabel that we adopted from our local humane society in Aug of 2019. Similar to Ellie’s post, they represented her as child and dog friendly however this was not the case. We went through training with the humane society within a month of adopting her to build connection with her and confidence which did help some but did not stop her from going after may parents beagle mix when my fiancé and I would visit them. However during the pandemic we worked on some more training and believed things were getting better so we got a goldendoodle puppy from a family member. Things were fine for a while until we moved out of our apartment to a bigger house and yard where reactivity started occurring with Mabel going after Sasha (the golden). We started back Mabel’s CBD dosage again after not needing them for a while for her anxiety however while on a trip Mabel went after my parents beagle mix again and drew blood for the first time ever. We went to a behavioral modification trainer and worked with her for 5 sessions to work on basic obedience and understanding Mabel’s very small signals she gives before reaction and this helped manage her attacks by alot and again things were going great until she nipped my 18 month old nephew in the face but luckily didn’t draw blood and only made a small scratch this was even when i was watching the situation like a hawk but still missed her quick signal. Since that time a few months ago a began to worry how I was going to handle continuing to behavioral manage Mabel and watch a baby/toddler when my fiancé and i start trying after we get married in 8 months. She does great with my 6yr old niece due to me explaining that Mabel sometimes needs her space and showing her some signals that a 6yr old could understand however anything age less than that causes Mabel stress and anxiety due to the chaos. We have had to make the unbearable decision to find a home where she is the only dog and has school age kids that understands her space.

  25. Hi there, thanks for your post. I have had my rescue for almost eight months. We have only been able to keep him this long thanks to home office, because otherwise we would've had to give him up right away. He was advertised as a dog that loves other dogs and loves being outside/going to the office. While he does love being outside, he has extreme anxiety. We had to teach him how to walk (all he knew was extreme pulling) and we had to slowly get him used to his surroundings. However, he is still high anxiety whenever we change the walk path up and he cries when we stop walking. He also goes off like the tazmanian devil whenever he sees a dog, and this is a very dog friendly city.

    I love him so much and I never thought I would be the one to give my fur baby away, but I've developed depression and anxiety symptoms from being cooped up in the house and basically putting my needs to the side. I dreamed of having a dog I could take anywhere, but hikes with him are often more stresful than not, and forget about city adventures or anywhere where there might be dogs, My boyfriend and I are in our 20s but are living like inactive retirees. In 8 months we have been out together once, when we were able to find a sitter and train our dog with her. If we had chosen this, it would be a different story, But we were completely lied to by the woman that had him before. It makes me so angry because he's a total sweetheart and I love him, but I fear we can't give him the stability he needs to be able to manage his anxiety and be a happy dog. We want to move to another, more active part of the city and we worry that the move we so desperately need (we live in a pretty sad, desolate part of town currently) will make his life even more stressful and by extension, ours.

    I dream of a life for him in a house with a yard with a family that's stable and not going anywhere (we have dreams of possibly living abroad). But it pains my heart to have to accept that someone else might be able to care for him better. In these past 8 months we've gone through three trainers, dozens of online guides, and chemotherapy for a tumor we worryingly found on him. Unfortunately it is a choice between keeping him, and keeping any semblance of a healthy life for myself and my partner. Since I cannot continue breaking down in anxiety ever week (and I don't want the dog feeling resented), I am slowly coming to the painful decision to rehome him. I'm crying everyday and trying to deal with the pain, anger, and guilt.

    1. I’m so sorry for your pain Ellie. You have to make your own health first priority. Maybe this dog isn’t the right fit for your lifestyle right now, maybe finding a home outside of the city life would be less stressful for him too? I know it’s hard. But if you look at it from his perspective, is keeping him in your home making him happy? Decide what will make the best life for him and yourself.

    2. Ellie, I understand your struggle with your pup being advertised as a family dog with kids and other dogs. If you look at my post above it is a highly similar situation. My fiance and I agreed if we would have know previously of her behaviors and anxiety we would have looked elsewhere, however we did not know and ended up falling in love with a dog that had a lot of anxiety that needed rehabilitation more than what my fiance and I could afford (between a wedding, me being a teacher, and him already working his butt off to support us). We did what we could with behavior modified trainings but came to the painful conclusion that she is just not fit for the future we want and that is unfair to her.

  26. Hi,
    I have 2 English staff's. They are both very loving dogs to us and have never showed any aggression towards humans.

    The younger one has never been good with other dogs and is almost impossible to take for walks because of his aggression towards other dogs. Due to this issue we found help and had a dog trainer help us 2,5 years ago and it made a huge difference. Although he still can't handle other dogs they improved a lot.
    We moved to our new house 2 years ago and my two dogs started getting into really bad fights since then. Still not sure if it has anything to do with moving or not but their fights only got worse after that. We have tried everything and tried to avoid all possible triggers but sometimes the fights still occurred, just not often so I kind of brushed it off and moved on after.

    I'm now 8 months pregnant and my younger dog has shown a weird behaviour where he avoids me and doesn't really want to be patted. he stays curled up really tense and a few times has even growled when I go to pat him. I'm unsure if this is because of me trying to pat him or because of our other dog lying next to him.

    We think we need to rehome him as I can't imagine coping with taking care of them both together with a newborn and always worry about them getting into really bad fights. I have like I said brushed it off for the last 2 years as separating them have felt too hard but now when having a baby I feel I have to put baby first and do something about it. Also he is very obsessed with food and that would be a big trigger having a baby/toddler with food and I just don't think it would be safe having the dogs together around her.

    Although they have never directly shown agression towards people she would definitely be in danger since they would most likely start a fight near her for different reasons.

    He is like my first baby and I just feel so guilty but from what we have been told, my dogs fights are too much and they need to be seperated and it would be so much stress for me and put our baby in danger.

    He is just so loving and wonderful with us and my female dog is the one often starting the fights so I feel so broken having to choose one. She is the older one and has never shown aggression towards other dogs when walking but she does start most fights between them and get really tense randomly and follows my younger dog around and when a fights happens she will afterwards lick him everywhere for ages while he sits with his head down.

    I'm just sharing my story as it feels better to write it out but also hoping to hear weather our choice to seperate them is the right one and perhaps help my guilt a little.

    1. 100% need to put your family first. I can’t tell you which to choose or what the best route to take. Maybe having a trainer come to your home and assess both dogs. Sometimes it’s the quiet ones that are starting the trouble. Don’t feel guilty, again family first.

  27. I’m struggling with the idea of rejoining my dog. He comes from a neglect case and the only dogs he had contact with in the beginning of his life bullied him. This caused him to have fear aggression. I have put him through extensive training, and he is on anxiety meds. We take him for multiple walks a day as well as an hour or two of play in the backyard a day. I get him toys to use his brain and a wobble bowl for feeding. He is about 10 months, so still young. He loves people. I have two cats that he will not leave alone. He has lunged multiple times and even pinned them against the wall. As far as fear aggression with dogs, I think he has reverted. He did so well after his week long board and train program and I did everything the trainer asked of me. Any time he sees another dog, he freaks out to the point of sometimes screaming. I think it’s more excitement tan aggression, but I can’t be sure. I cannot pick up my cats without him freaking out as well. I am in college and my parents both work full time. They are helping me out a lot and look after him for me when I can’t be there due to a current housing situation. My mom is under stress from outside sources as well as my dog. My dog cannot be in the same room at times with the cat and when he is, we cannot find his trigger, he will leap into action. As much as I hate to say it, I think it may be best for all of us to re-home him. I’ve spent so much money on training and if I keep going down this path, I will be even more broke than I am currently. I want what is best for everyone. I can’t help but feel guilty and heartbroken thinking about giving him up.

  28. I feel this is a no judgement forum so I will put this out there for any advice. I am 65 and have had dogs all my life. One year ago I was asked if I would take in a mini Aussie Shepard that was living in an apt and the owner needed to rehome. I was looking for a new dog for my adult son so I said I would meet him. They came with all of his belongings and left him. Within a day my son was bitten. I had a trainer for anxiety aggression for six months. He attacks me (not a nip nor a quick bite and let go) an average of once a month. Not sure of the trigger but I think it has to do with his collar and leash. My son steers clear of him. We don’t walk him in our neighborhood. Luckily I have an acre in the back he can run and play in. He sleeps with me and can’t wait until I wake up to cuddle and get pet. He follows me like a shadow and never leaves my side. But how many times should I get attacked before I say no more. I’m currently on antibiotics due to a few bites to my hand a couple days ago and now it just happened again and I have my arm wrapped from wrist to elbow and wearing an ice pack. I have one more trainer coming Friday but as much as I love this dog I am now afraid of him.

    1. Most people would have said enough after the first bite. To be honest, I don’t think I would have kept the dog this long. But you obviously have more patients than I do 🙂 I would start by not allowing the dog to sleep in your bed, this is a privilege he needs to earn. Learn the dogs body language, most dogs will give “calming signals” or warning signs. He may be past this point, but it is good info to know. Read How to speak to dogs. Hopefully the new trainer can assess the situation and help you both.

  29. Hi that was very interesting and informative. Thank you.
    So, my Mother and I both got our Border Terrier pups 9 years ago! Brothers, living in two separate households. When they were two my Mothers future husband moved in with her and he became ill due to allergies so Sonny the dog had to go! My mother was devastated. Sonny stayed in the family but abroad, with my brother.
    My brothers situation has now changed and Sonny is alone all day. He has kids now and Sonny is bottom of the pile as my brother puts it. Sonny still has a great connection with his brother (my dog) and his human family in England. My question is, would it be a bad idea to move Sonny back to England, given that he has already been through the trauma of leaving his first home when he was two? Sonny would be very happy here with me, in theory. He would have a garden, countryside, his brother and my mum who adores him. Just a better quality of life but he would miss his family !! So difficult. Any advice kindly received.
    Kind regards

    1. Dogs are very resilient. And especially since he has a connection with you already the transition should be, for the most part, smooth. Obviously he will miss his family, but he will adjust to his new family with you. I think it’s great that you can all help each other out in the time of need. Sonny is lucky he has so many people to love him.

  30. Approx. 3 months ago, we got our 1,5 year old rescue GST-mix. We were aware that he does not get along with other dogs (barking, lunging), so we train hard on our walks to improve this behavior and we could see a bit of a progress.

    However, he developed strong aggresivity (barking, lunging) towards our neighbors or anybody coming in our flat. We first thought we can control it and train to reduce this behavior (introducing people outside of the flat, which worked first but not anymore), but recently he has bitten one of our visitor. The trainer we are in contact with told us that it is everything fine, it is just all new for him and he is in puberty. But from week to week it is getting worse.

    Last weekend we had friends visiting, so we introduced him in the street as we done before and it always worked very well, but he totally snapped at my female friend. At the end we were able to calm him down and he accepted them staying at our place but were super-alert the whole time and could not relax for even a second.

    When we were adopting to question when would we consider to re-home the dog (sounds absolutely horrible and I am in tears just writing it) we answered – aggressivity towards people. That was the one thing as the first time owners we were pretty sure we cannot cope with. We are completely scared to get out of our flat, we cannot have anybody to come to us and our anxiety level is completely out of the rooftop.
    At this point we are considering if we are appropriate owners to him since our current stress level must make it worse also for him. Additionally, our landlord has already contacted us because our neighbors are scared to get out of their flats (and I totally understand them) and if we do not find quick fix we will loose our flat.

    Thank you for any piece of advice!

    1. I’m shocked the trainer said everything is fine. NO! It’s not fine that any dog acts in this manner. Yes all dogs need to decompress and learn after adoption. But aggression, even fear agression must be handled immediately and appropriately. So if you do decide to keep the dog I recommend finding a different trainer. With that said, as first time dog owners, it may be too much for you and of course you don’t want to use your home. I would go back to the shelter you adopted him from and ask if they have any resources to help you. Or if they would be willing to take the dog back and find a more suitable home for him. For first time dog owners, I highly suggest adopting an “easy” dog, of course all dogs will have issues, but fear aggression is a tough one.

    2. Hi Denisa,

      My husband and I are in a very similar situation to you. We're at a loss at what to do and have lost trust in our beloved dog. We have so much fear of him biting anyone else, especially one of our little nieces who do love him to bits. He is good with our nieces and not aggressive, but he has proven to be unpredictable with his bites. It is near impossible for us to have our friends in the house despite our best efforts. We hope to have children in the next few years and are trying to come to terms with the reality that the combination may not be possible… We all live in a constant state of management and even though we try our best every day, he is very reactive to people coming too close to the house and things like the sound of delivery trucks going to our neighbours houses. Even leaving the back door open for him to filter inside and outside leaves us in a state of stressful anticipation sometimes… While he has improved and we have routines in place, trying to calm him has possible dangers or us and makes the calming and redirecting process harder.

      He is a very sweet, loving, and hilarious dog who brings us so much joy. He also brings us stress, anxiety and fear an is still dangerous at times… we will not be able to live with ourselves if anything happens to someone. We have had him for 1 year and are exhausted from juggling work, uni and his behaviour. His behaviour was undisclosed when we adopted him but we couldn't bear re-homing him then and wanted to fight for him to have a better life. His life is so much better but we still realistically cannot give him all he needs…

      Our family think it's a terrible idea to rehome him because they love him dearly and don't want a hole to be left in our hearts. My sister blames herself because she was the last person he was aggressive to.

      You don't have to share, but I am wondering how you are going with making your decision and if you have any advice for us. If not, that's okay! Finding this forum has been a real comfort to me in this process.

  31. When we bought our Aussie-Husky dog she was the only “child.” The center of our attention. Pampered beyond measure! We had to move to my in laws house, and they had 3 unfriendly dogs and the time, plus I had a baby – so unfortunately we re-homed her to my parents, who took great care of her. She had a big backyard to roam in! She was so happy.

    We have had her back for 3/4 years and ever since, she has been miserable in our apartments – plus I’ve had another child. We don’t live near good paths or dog parks, she’s just become really hard to take care of on top of 2 toddlers in this tiny apartment we live in.

    Now that I’m pregnant with baby 3 I’m so torn. We’ve done everything to keep her – we have gone from being really good at it to sucking at it, back and forth. She’s going to be 7 years old this year, and we got her as a puppy. She’s our family.

    I just feel like another family with an actual house and backyard would be so much better for her. Of course I hope that will be the case for us someday – but with baby 3 on the way I just don’t know.

    We have thought about asking a friend to home her for a while like my parents did. My parents are completely unwilling to do it again. My sister also lives in an apartment and just got a kitten or she would offer.

    1. Congrats on baby number 3! I find writing down the pros/cons helps clarify a decision when I am torn. There is never a right or wrong decision. Just do what you feel is best for the dog. What will make her happy?

  32. Hi Debbie,
    I’m at a crossroad with my dog. I need to decide to rehome my dog is the best thing. And I’m struggling. The article stated I could get in touch with you to talk to you directly.

  33. I own a three year old lab mix. I have her since she was three months old. I have been training her the best I could since then and we were actually improving. The thing that I wasn't doing properly was walking her. I would take her somewhere she could run and play with other dogs, but in the meantime she would pull her leash. I was trying with trainers only to discover that I was the one making her nervous. The moment I gave the trainer the leash she would walk calmly.
    The thing is a few months ago the situation at my home became stressfull for me on top of me dealing with anxiety (for which I have been taking therapy for a while now). So I've been considering the idea of giving my dog to a family that can give her the discipline and guidance she needs. I love her so much and she is so sweet, but I don't think I can keep fullfiling her needs anymore.
    Sometimes I feel like I can do it but others it makes me anxious even the idea of going out alone.
    Still I keep feeling guilty and not so sure about seriously searching for someone to adopt her but in the back of my mind… that would be better for her

    1. Dani you need to do what is best for your health and it sounds like taking proper care for your dog is causing even more anxiety for you. I don’t know what the right answer is for you, but keep in mind of what is best for you both. Maybe you can find a home that would allow you to still visit her?

  34. I wanted to get some opinions and thoughts. My family and I have a 6 year old female Golden Retriever. We have had her since she was 7 weeks old. She is a loving and sweet dog but she is very skittish and anxious a lot of the time. In the past she has attacked my sisters cats. She has obvious food aggression but she is also very unpredictable in her behavior. We feed her away from everyone, we don’t give her bones unless we are watching her closely and we never leave food out for her to be territorial over. So when the cats were attacked it would always be very random. Most of the time she is fine with them, she will let them lay around her or she will sniff them and lick them, then just walk away. I feel like if her behavior was linked to one main thing like the food, it would be more easily controlled.

    A couple weeks ago we got a Great Dane puppy. Before we got her, it was made known by many family members that we don’t think our Golden Retriever should share a home with another dog because of her unpredictability. Despite our concerns one of our family members brought the puppy home. We made sure to introduce them in an unfamiliar place (so there was no territorial aggression), and we slowly went on a couple walks with the both of them. Our Golden didn’t seem to care much about her, she would just kinda ignore her and leave her alone. They did really good for a couple weeks. Our Golden would give the puppy proper corrections and the puppy was receptive to them. Small growls, teeth showing and such were what we allowed because we associated that with a natural dog correction. They played really well together outside and would run around constantly. We never fed them anywhere near each other either.

    Fast forward to Thursday morning. I woke up early to and let them both out and they did perfectly fine together outside. I brought them both back inside, the walked into the living room with each other and our Golden just attacked the puppy. A full brawl and scuffle. The puppy was ok but very traumatized and scared. There was no food or toys around to provoke this and they had been doing great on being in common spaces close to each other. I told my whole family about the incident and told them to keep a close eye on them.

    The next evening (Friday evening), my sister was eating something at the counter and both dogs were near her feet. She didn’t drop an actual piece of food but more like a tiny crumb. The puppy went to lick it and our Golden attacked her. I was in the shower on the other side of the house and I could hear it all. There was blood everywhere and come to find out, our Golden had bit/ripped the puppies tongue right dont the middle. Almost like a snakes tongue is. We quickly took her to the emergency vet (as this was 11pm). They quickly did surgery because she was losing so much blood and sewed her tongue back together. After this happened we have all been stressed, anxious and nervous. We can’t relax in our home because we are so worried our Golden might do something again. We have been keeping her separated from the puppy completely. Leaving her in someone’s room or outside. It makes me sad for her to have to be so isolated and that’s not what I want for her at all.

    A friend of ours that we’ve known for a long time found out about what happened and mentioned that he would be interested in keeping her. He lives in a house with a roommate and there are no other pets in the house at all. He is a very active person and has wanted a golden retriever forever but has only just recently been able to start looking into getting one. Considering this is a friend, we would be able to see her and be around her sometimes. I think this would be the best thing for her and for my family considering how isolated she is and how distrusting we are of her around other animals. I’m hoping someone can reassure me and also help me figure out what to say to the one family member that does not want to rehome her.

    1. The way I see it you have three choices. 1. Keep both dogs and forever keep them separate. 2. Return the puppy to the breeder. And keep your golden, or 3. give the golden to your friend. Which one you choose it up to you, none are right or wrong. But it’s obvious they both can not live together peacefully. We have three dogs right now. One that is resource aggressive (Ginger), we chose to keep her separated from our third dog. I will admit, it’s not the best situation and it is difficult to watch Ginger be excluded in certain family actives. But then again, she prefers to be by herself most of the time. Anyway, if your friend is willing to take your Golden in and understands her situation, then it could be a win-win for everyone involved.

  35. I had a Pomeranian poodle mix, that I loved but with having to work two 12 hour shifts during the weekend and the dog and my kids have to go to my parents becuase I’m single and i recently got news that I got back into my nursing program to finish and get my rn I decided maybe the puppy needed a better home. My parents have been giving me a hard time about watching the dog for over a month now because one night at their house he barked all night. He was crated every weekend and I just logically thought that it isn’t fair to him and what’s to come when school starts back up. I’ve been rather picky on who I rehome him to and he went to a really good home, a retired couple that have an amazing fenced in backyard. Now that I’ve rehomed him I feel like absolute crap thinking that I made the wrong choice and I acted on being upset with how my parents have been treating me and him not physically but verbally. My son has been so upset over the fact I got rid of our dog. But regarding the circumstances I felt it was in the best interest of the dog, and now I am second guessing the fact that I rehomed him. Especially after my step dad mentioned that, his dogs kept up my mom the other day and to now realize that my puppy wasn’t the issue but their dogs were and that they were just taking their frustration out on me and my dog. I want my dog back, but what even is the etiquette for asking for your pet back when you’ve realized you’ve gave him away because your upset about the situation. My heart wants to go get him back but my brain is telling me the puppy is better off with his new home. Any advice I’d appreciated. Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry you are going through this Becky. I don’t think it would be ethical to ask for your puppy back, think about how it would upset the new family. Honestly, I think you made the right choice. It was your dog, not your parents. Let you kids know that once life settles down and the time is right, you will adopt another dog.

  36. Our new dog was inherited, and has been with us six months. He and our dog got on very well, and all was going great. But as time has passed, we have experienced aggression from the new guy to our boy, and this has led to New Guy initiating fights, and basically terrorizing Our Dog. New Guy growls a lot, both at Our Dog and at us. Today was the worst. New Guy snapped, initiated huge fight, and when separated from Our Dog, bit both Hubby and me. He stayed angry and agitated for the better part of an hour when he was outside alone. He is not a breed known for aggression, but the opposite. We need him out of our home.

    1. It sounds like fear based aggression, which really isn’t aggression at all. I understand your frustration. If you don’t have the time or resources for training, then a new home that he could be the only dog may be best. You need to do what is right for the dog and your family.

  37. I have a 1yr old Pomeranian cross and it breaks my heart that I am even thinking about rehoming him. He is a very difficult dog to look after with the worst separation anxiety. He cant be left home alone ever without constantly barking so we have to have someone home with him at all times and even when we are home with him he still barks at anybody that walks in front of our house or any noises from outside. He has to be walked either really early in the morning or really late at night because he goes crazy and aggressive when he sees any other dogs or if other people walk to closely to us. We cant have any visitors to the home because he will bark endlessly at them and try to bite their pants when they walk into the home. We have tried training him but we haven't succeeded so we took him to a dog behavioral specialist vet who has put him on medication for his anxiety, we have noticed some change in him but it hasn't helped a whole lot because we have had to remove all of his triggers like being home a lone and having people come into our home, it is so hard having to put a halt on our lives completely for the comfort of my dog and I just don't know if he will get better and ever be able to be by himself. I live with my sister and the stress this has put on us is driving us to fight all the time, I need to be able to go to work and to go and see my boyfriend but then she is left with my dog and it is too much pressure and stress for her and anytime I'm not at home with my dog I feel so guilty because I know my sister has to put up with the stress of looking after him and she is very sick at the moment and has been for months which makes it more difficult for her. The stress of the situation has lead me to fights with my boyfriend as well because I'm forced to stay home and cant spend time with him. I am going to be starting studying next month and I am getting more hours at work now which I need but that means I have to leave my dog at home and my sister is forced to stay home with him which is unfair for her. Our lease ends here in October and I will be moving in with my boyfriend but we will both be working everyday and my dog with be left alone all day and my sister wont be living with me anymore and wont be able to look after him for me everyday. We cant be leaving him at home alone everyday because he will just bark the whole time and it is so unfair on the poor thing because of how bad his anxiety is. All of the dogs I've known in my life (family and friends dogs) have always been fine to be left alone and when I bought my baby I never could have prepared myself for how difficult this has become and how much this has affected my life and my mental health and the lives and mental health of the people around me. And it is so unfair for my poor dog that he has to live with this anxiety everyday and I feel so bad for him and its gotten to the point where I resent him and regret getting him because he affects my life so negatively and I hate myself for it. There is just so much guilt and stress constantly and I don't know what to do. I'm scared that if I rehome him he will just be too difficult for anyone who looks after him and go from home to home before he gets put down and it makes me feel like a complete failure that I cant give him the proper care that he needs. I don't know how I would cope if I do make the decision to give him away, it would break my heart because I love him so so much and he loves me so much and depends on me so much and I just wish that I was able to take care of him how he needs. I think that my sister would be disappointed in me if I decide to rehome him because she absolutely adores and loves him so much and she thinks that I should just stay home with him and do the things that he needs but I cant do that without jeopardising my relationships and my job and my study and I cant keep leaving him with her because its just too stressful for her as well. Sorry for this very long comment but I am just not coping at the moment and don't know what the right decision is for me or my pup.

    1. Look, you need to put your mental health priority number 1. And it sounds like keeping this dog is not good for your health or the people around you. Obviously giving up a dog is the last resort, but sounds like you’ve reached the point that you need to make this difficult decision. It’s not easy but again, you need to take care of yourself.

  38. Aw where to start , tears are tripping me at the moment as I have had to put our Bulgarian rescue back up for adoption.She has extreme separation anxiety, extreme guarding general anxiety.I have recently lost my job as our dog can’t be left /won’t stay with anyone but me .we are in the process of being taken to court for Narlas barking despite medication from the vet , seeing numerous trainers & behaviourists .I know I have to give her up but I love this dog like a child & im struggling to give her up .

  39. I just picked up my Golden Retriever last week at 8 weeks old. I knew a puppy would be a lot of work, but I didn’t necessarily imagine it like this. I’ve been experiencing quite a bit of anxiety and depression the last few years and its spiked since getting the puppy as I haven’t been able to leave the house and I feel so isolated between work and school. I feel as though I don’t have time for the dog even though I’m already so attached to her and I love her deeply, but for my mental health and I feel for a better future I must give her up. But I feel so guilty doing it so quickly and posting all over Facebook and Instagram I’ll feel like a bigger failure as I’ve already made puppy play dates in the future. There was no contract with the breeder and so there is no obligation to take her back and I wouldn’t be able to get my money back for that. I don’t want to drop her off at a shelter and I’m not sure how to proceed.

  40. Oh how this speaks to me. We got a new puppy for our daughter. If I’m honest, my husband and I wouldn’t have thought of getting a dog if it hadn’t been for her desire to have a pup. After only 3 days I was an absolute train wreck. I can’t eat, can’t sleep, cry all the time and just know I made a huge mistake. I hate this so much for my daughter who was so excited to have a new puppy but my anxiety just couldn’t handle it. I’m not myself and can’t be a good mom or wife if I’m not healthy – both mentally and physically. Our neighbor actually trains service dogs and when I stopped over to ask her advice on rehoming, she offered to take the dog and train it to be a service dog for children who have to testify in court. My daughter seemed really happy that she new where the dog was going and that it would be close by but I worry that seeing it all the time might be like running into an ex boyfriend or something. I know we made the right decision to rehome now I just hope we made the right choice on the location and it all works out for my family. I’m feeling like a pretty rotten mom 🙁

    1. Hi! I know you made this post awhile ago and am unsure how things are going for you now. I just wanted to let you know I am currently in the exact same situation as you! Day 3 of my goldendoodle and my anxiety can’t handle it. My in-laws offered to take him, but I have your same fear of seeing him all the time and being reminded of my failure. Thanks for making me feel less alone!

  41. I needed this today. After having my pure breed Pembroke Welsh corgi for a year we have had to make the unbearable decision to return him to the breeder to live on the farm. This was our first dog together as a married couple and we’ve always wanted a corgi. We know people who have gotten corgis through this breeder and last March we decided to pursue it. We gave Elton the best life we could but there is something more serious going on. We’ve spoken to our vet and had so many medical tests done that come back completely normal, we’ve seen at least 10 different trainers who have all said Elton’s behavior is genetically related and he needs to be put down, and we’ve reached out across the country to veterinary behaviorists for help. Our dog has bitten us both and we fear we would bite children. 97% of the time he is great but the other 3% he is scary and it flips so drastically you have no idea (e.g petting him on his belly and he flips and bites you or putting a leash on his collar). This was by far the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make because I love Elton SO much. But today we bring him back to the breeder to hopefully live a full life. At one years old I cannot fathom ending his life and I believe having the option to live on a farm and dig,sniff,herd, and run is best.

    If there are resources for how to move past this guilt please share or if others have advice.

    1. Hey there!

      My wife and I are currently in the same situation, except we have had our Greyhound for 6 years. As we got older and had a child, we knew that our dog was not the right fit for a family. He would be very territorial over food and when snagging food off the counter he would become very violent. The worst case would be if he grabbed something without us knowing and our son would grab it and get bit. He also attacked our smaller dog recently and had blood dripping throughout the house, so we made the choice to re home him with the breeders help.

      98% of the time he was relaxed and super easy going, but that 2% of the time, we had no say over what he chose to do. That 2% of the time would be all it took for the neighbors kids to come over and get bit.

      After giving him away we feel sooooo guilty, like we gave up on him. We know it’s for the best and might have prevented something huge from happening, but we already miss him. Hopefully that guilt goes away, let me know how you handled.

  42. My family just rescued an 11-month-old border collie. He is a wonderful dog, great with other people and other dogs. He knows some basic commands and house training is going well. We are a high energy family with two kids ages 11 and 14 and I thought a High energy dog with a great personality would be a perfect fit. I have noticed though that my son is becoming more anxious because of the high energy needs of the dog. He’s developing dark rings under his eyes due to exhaustion and I think also his allergies are becoming worse by the day. I’ve noticed my own allergies becoming more inflamed since we’ve had him and I now feel sick every day. we’ve had the dog for four days so I know it’s too soon to consider rehoming but my son‘s health is deteriorating by the day not to mention my own. my son is already on two allergy medications. My own exhaustion has left me in tears today. I don’t know how I’m going to manage working and caring for this very high energy dog with everyone in our family including me becoming worn down by day four. His personality is amazing and besides his needs for constant attention, he jumps on us and nips. This bothers both my kids a lot. I have already spent a fortune on him and I know that he and we would benefit from some training. Any advice or direction would be helpful.

    1. Ironically we have a 11 month old border collie, we’ve had him since he was a baby. They are very high-energy dogs and high-demanding on training needs. These dogs need a job to do, for us that is agility. First, let’s clarify your allergies… if you both are allergic to him, that’s not going away, so unless you are willing to take allergy meds for the next 12 years, then I’d say you need to reconsider keeping him. Have you given him a bath? It’s possible keeping him well groomed could help. Feeding him a good skin and coat supplement to keep his dander down to a minimum.

      1. Yes we gave him a bath straight away! We already take allergy meds year round so not much to change there. He’s so sweet and getting sweeter and fitting in more with our family every day. I am so sad that I am even thinking about this as a possibility! How long do I wait before contacting the rescue about rehoming? I will feel like such a failure!

        1. Don’t feel like a failure! Your family’s health is priority one. I would contact the rescue and see if they have any resources to help you. Search for a good trainer in your area, preferably one that specializes in behavior, not just basic training. I’d give it a few weeks if you can, see if things improve. Have you read our 3-3-3 rule article?

          1. Yes it was very helpful! He has blossomed after only 3 days and the jumping and nipping has decreased dramatically with some basic redirection and training. I am so proud of him and marvel at what an awesome dog he is. My heart breaks at feeling more sick every day, today being the worst for me and my son. Thank you for your advice. I’m taking it one day at a time but I think I need to reach out to the rescue to see what options are before things get worse. I am heart broken

  43. Have you considered whether you need to rehome your pet straight away? Sometimes looking at short-term options like boarding kennels or friends and family can give you the time you need to get you back on your feet.

  44. I have a 8 and a half year old pit bull. She’s a sweet girl but wasn’t always this way and has struggled with dominance issues and aggressive towards other animals when provoked. She’s a rescue and we’ve had her since 10 months old.
    My husband and I just had a baby and we are considering rehoming our dog, which breaks my heart. I haven’t had the time to exercise her and give her the attention she deserves. My husband and I are worried with her and the baby that she could accidentally hurt him. She’s a big rough girl and isn’t aware of her strength. We are worried that once he starts crawling and walking that she could run by him and bump into him and send him flying. I am hoping for really any advice that might help me to keep her. She is part of our family and I can’t imagine life without her.

  45. I’m sorry, but I disagree with number 3. My rent is being increased exponentially after a refit and I can no longer afford to live where I am. I have been searching for weeks to try to find someone who will let me rent with my dog, and no one will even consider it. For council housing it is a general policy that pets aren’t allowed. The private landlords I have contacted won’t even let me pay an extra deposit for pets. In my experience, people have this sort of “sucks to be you, not my problem” attitude. for every person with a dog, there is going to be at least one more without and in my experience, landlords just don’t want to take the risk. I don’t want to rehome my dog, but homelessness will not suit him well either and if I can save one of us from that situation, I’ll do it.

    1. I’m sorry you are having trouble finding an apartment that will accept you and your dog. It sounds like you do not live in the States, and things are different where you live. I know here in the U.S. it can be hard to find a place that accepts dogs but they are out there. I do agree if faced with being homeless with your dog, then rehoming is the best option. I wish you all the best.

  46. Have you considered whether you need to rehome your pet straight away? Sometimes looking at short-term options like boarding kennels or friends and family can give you the time you need to get you back on your feet.

  47. I have a sweet natured 13 month old lab/staffy cross retriever for the past 3 months.I got her 3 months after my 16 year old lab died. She has come from a family that never harmed her but did neglect her in terms of socialising her in the world, taking her for walks, going in the car etc. She did live with another dog and a cat however. I was unaware at the time how limited her life had been until we had her home for a while. She and I have attached well.
    I have needed to have a 1-1 trainer to teach her to walk calmly on a lead…..I put in many hours a day and week …..there is some gradual improvement. I have always had a dog and never had to do training so it has been very new for me and i have embraced it but am now exhausted by it all . She needs to always be on lead as she is still a puppy and very big and very excitable – jumping on people and lunging at dogs….she won’t hurt the dogs at all and once she reaches them she doesn’t jump on them until they show a willingness to play, however it scares other dogs and their owners. I feel that this behaviour is part of her nature/character and don’t feel that hopeful of it changing…which means always having her on a lead when out?
    We have a holiday house in the bush that we go to regularly. There are no fences and it is on a main road. We have been unable to take our dog as she has such a strong sense of smell and will just race off after the scent. I have never experienced a dog like that. I don’t want her to be on a lead all the time or in an enclosure at our holiday place, yet putting her in a kennel or getting others to look after her regularly feels wrong and I don’t think it will help with all the training I am doing with her. I haven’t gone away much since having her at all, but this doesn’t feel sustainable to me. We are thinking re-homing her now and although it feels right I still have some confusion and sadness.
    I feel I should give her more time but then I feel like I just can’t do it anymore.

    1. Hi Nicole, I don’t have the right answer for you, but I urge you to go with your gut feeling on this. I think you need to answer two questions for yourself: Do you think she will have a better life with another family? Do you feel your well-being will suffer from keeping her. I know it may not be black and white, so maybe write down all the pros and cons before you decide.

  48. I adore my rescue pup (lab/shepherd/boxer and more mix). We adopted her from a shelter at 12 weeks and she’s almost one now. She had a ton of issues, including fear and aggression toward men, children, and dogs. Now she’s fine with everything but men, and though she’s great with most dogs, she’s attacked our elderly smaller dog multiple times. We have done training and behavior modification and the professionals and the vet agreed she needed medication, so we’re trying that now. She will go after our other dog and one of our two cats with no warning, no context we can spot. The other cat she is fine with. We’re confused. Her bouts of aggression are unpredictable and since she has injured our older dog, we have to keep them completely separate (not easy in a small house). We do have a lot of property she gets to romp around and we take lots of trips to the dog park. She loves to go boating and swimming with us, even rides the ATV trails with us. She would be our ideal dog if we could trust her or predict her behavior. We can’t. We sometimes think we can and tragically prove ourselves wrong. She’s only been on the meds 2 weeks but seems to be getting worse (3 unprovoked aggressions in one week, usually it’s two, maybe three a month). I love her. I want to keep her but wonder if I’m doing a disservice to her. She might be better in a home with another larger dog or no other animals. She’s energetic and goofy and I think our situation might be setting her up to fail (she’s also gone after our chickens and now cannot be unsupervised outside with them). We plan on getting turkey and goats next spring and I have worked so hard to control and redirect her prey drive with some improvement but no real success. It breaks my heart to think of our home without her, of feeling like I’m giving up on such a sweet pup with so much potential, but the time I keep giving for improvement keeps ticking away and I keep resetting the clock, often to the detriment of my other pets and now I fear, maybe to my rescue dog’s detriment as well. I’m going to give the medicine 8 weeks before I decide for sure, but if she continues to get worse or stays the same, is this a situation where rehoming might be best? Right now I feel like I’ve failed her, failed all my animals and I’m reaching out for advice from an outside perspective.

    1. I feel your pain, really I do! It’s a tough call and one that you will need to weigh all the pros and cons of rehoming her to decide what is best for her and your family. We recently added a new puppy to our family this summer and are having to keep our one dog, Ginger, separated from the puppy. It’s not easy, but also it’s necessary.

  49. I am seriously considering returning my 7-month-old frenchton puppy to his breeder. He is a sweet, good boy, but he has had health problems since the day I brought him home. During his first month with me he had unrelenting diarrhea from coccidia and giardia. In order to stop the diarrhea he has to be on expensive special food, and I suspect will need it for the rest of his life. As soon as i got the diarrhea stopped it became evident that he had breathing problems and he has had to have two surgeries to correct that. Unfortunately he still snores very loudly which I know is something that this breed is prone to but I did not realize how much snoring would bother me. I have terrible insomnia and the snoring has made it much worse. Just recently he came up lame after a vigorous play session and I found out today that he has mildly luxating patellas. He probably won’t need surgery, but it could cause chronic problems for the rest of his life. Then tonight I saw that he had redness between his paw pads, I suspect yeast and I anticipating another chronic problem. These things would be stressful for anyone, but I just spent three years taking care of my mom while she was treated for pancreatic cancer, during that time I also had cancer, and my dog Sydney got cancer for the third time and died after surgery. My mom died in August of 2019. I really hoped to not have to take care of any sick loved ones for a while and these constant problems with my puppy are triggering depression and anxiety. I feel like all this interaction with a medical system is really bad for me and my mental health. But it also breaks my heart to think of giving him up, he and my other dog get along great, he is wonderfully behaved and sweet and adorable. And I love having a second dog, but I feel like if I can’t make it work with him and have to re-home him then I shouldn’t risk getting another dog. In the past I have bad luck with my dogs and their health but I have always stuck it out and provided them with all the care they needed, but at this time in my life, when I am trying to recover from so much medical trauma, I just don’t know if I can do it again and I wonder what else will go wrong. I have had so much recent loss and it breaks my heart to think of losing my pup, but the constant worry is making me miserable.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear this Kathy. The fact that you got this dog from a breeder is even worse. This breeder should not be breeding dogs if he is as sick as you describe. So sad! I wish you the best whatever you decide.

  50. We have a cocker spaniel we have had since he was 12 weeks old. We are a busy household with 4 children and thought an energetic breed would be great in a house with lots going on.
    The dog however really struggles with his behaviour when everyone is in the house, he just wants to play however he is still play mouthing and the barking is just constant. We have attended puppy classes and follow the guidance and research out there however it just doesn’t make a difference.
    When there is only myself or my husband in the house he’s brilliant.
    The moment we are outside the house no matter how much we work with him he is a nightmare. Barking and lunging for dogs to play with him, a lot of dogs don’t like him in their face to play and have gone for him a couple of times. But he doesn’t learn, gets straight back up and doesn’t it again. I worry he’ll get hurt. His recall is non existent and for that reason can’t go off the lead, he has bolted out of the house a few times and it takes us ages to get him back! He is getting more confident when he gets out as well and running further afield! I worry he’ll get knocked over on busy road!
    I’m answering my own doubts here! Although I’m devastated and feel like I’ve let him down I feel he needs a quieter house for him to get all the attention. We have to re home but I am devastated.

    1. I’m so sorry Helen. Whatever you decide I am sure it will be the best for you and the dog. Not to change your mind one way or the other, but 12 weeks is still very young. We have an almost 6 month old puppy right now and I can tell you there are times I am ready to scream. They are learning and testing the boundaries so much at this age. But it sounds like your puppy may thrive in a quieter environment.

  51. I recently rescued a 7 month old puppy and have been experiencing some issues particularly due to isolation anxiety and fear aggression. She hurt herself the first time I left her alone for an hour so now I am afraid to do that. She also has snapped at children and will growl and bark when they’re around. I also live in a condo in the city and she just can’t seem to get comfortable inside or outside. Even as I’m typing this late at night she was barking as one of my neighbors walked by and they started saying quiet which just riled her up even more. The only time I’ve seen her truly at ease is in the suburbs. I had two behavior specialists come in and they both said this is not the right place for her and she will never be as social as I’d like and she belongs in a rural setting. The rescue said they’d take her back but I’m feeling guilty about it. Do you think this is the right decision?

    1. It sounds like you’ve answered your own question. I know you feel guilty, but you need to do what’s best for the puppy. Is it fair for her to live a live where she isn’t happy or always stressed?

  52. I just took a job that will require me to travel 80% of the time. I know it’s not feasible to give my dog the attention he deserves when I may only be home on the weekend but I am really struggling with letting him go.

  53. Just had to re-home my Akita. He was a great dog just not right for our household.
    It broke my heart and I’m still trying to be ok with the situation but it was choice I had to make.

  54. A few years ago I rescued 2 part border collie puppies abandoned in our neighborhood. I only wanted to foster but my husband decided we would keep them. We are an older couple and they are just too much for me. I want to rehome them through a BC rescue. I can’t help but feel terribly guilty even though I never wanted to keep them permanently to begin with.

  55. My husband recently passed away and I’m having to surrender 4 dogs to the dumb friends league. They are the only no kill shelter I could find. I hate having to part with them, but my husband was the only income and these are very large breeds. I feel like I’m dishonoring him by letting them go, but without him properly caring for them is impossible for me. I want to do what’s best for them, but I’m having trouble letting go. How do i get over this guilt? Will they truly be ok, or will I regret this forever?

    1. I am so sorry for your loss Brittany. I am sure you didn’t make the decision lightly and did what is best for the dogs and yourself. I am sure the shelter will find great homes for them. Maybe they can give you updates so you can have peace of mind knowing they are happy.

  56. I just would like to say that we just added a puppy to our family. Is is now 4 1/2 months old. Had him since hes been 7 weeks. He is as sweet as he can be. So playful. Well behaved and he listens. Our only issue is that our brand new home smells like dog now. We bath him twice a week. One full bath and than use dry shampoo for him. I’m changing his beeding every two days. We sweep and mop the floors every night. He is house trained so no messes in the house at all. I am trying to hold on but I dont like inviting people over only to walk in the front door and notice I have a pet without even seeing him first. What can I do to mask the smell without burning candles all day. What good shampoos can I buy. Should I bath him more often. Is it wrong to let him sleep in the garage with the lights and fan on or is it ok to leave him outside to sleep in a dog house. Is he to young for that right now. Please help..

  57. I’m sorry – but you lost me, and I’m quite certain many others, by even suggesting to see both sides of the coin when a dog bites a child. Are you serious? If a dog bites a child, that dog absolutely must leave the home. If it happened once, it WILL happen again, and potentially worse the next time. Dogs are not children, they are not humans – they are animals. When an animal’s behavior threatens a human being (especially a child), that animal forfeits its place in the household.

    You really need to rethink that clause, because you sound more like a dog sympathizer than a realistic human.

  58. I am currently breaking my heart over having to rehome my border collie. She is 14 months and has suddenly become snappy towards my two year old grandson. I believe it might be jealousy but as she is a big dog and I am older, I find her very hard to control. I can see no other option but to find her a new home otherwise I can see a worse scenario in the future. Right now she is lying at my feet oblivious and I love her so much I feel like a monster and so worried about her future

    1. I am so sorry Carolynne, I am sure you are struggling with what the right thing is to do. But only you can decide what that is. Your puppy is still very young at 14 months so if you were able to hire a behaviorist trainer, maybe there is hope that you can keep her. Good luck and whatever you decide will be the best for both of you.

  59. I had to drop my great pyr/bloodhound mix off to the shelter this week. We got her at 2.5 months and worked with her for over a year. Both myself and spouse work full time, but we would try to spend as much time with her as possible. She killed the chickens 1 by 1 as a puppy and we couldn’t correct it, so kept new chickens in. Went on to killing lambs/goats at my parents 2 miles away.
    When it started, we chained her up and only let her off when we were outside. We tried to give her a little extra time off, but she would go exploring and couldn’t find her. Then we would leave and she would go off to my parent’s again.
    I tried everything I knew to socialize and have her understand that the prey animals were to be protected, but I couldn’t get it through her.
    The dog was a incentive for my oldest to potty train and we looked extensively into different breeds to fit our home. My son is sad and confused as to what he did wrong. I failed the dog and my son both, along with my parents who lost livestock.
    The guilt has weighed immensely on me. I know I did the best option, but I’m still reeling in shame.

  60. I recently rehomed my two year old miniature schnauzer. I won’t elaborate on the situation, but she is an amazing little dog. I am a widow, and I wanted her placed with a whole family. She is now living with a lovely young family, with ten-year old twins. When people found out that I did this, I received many cruel comments on my Facebook, and even a private message from someone, telling me that I should never be a dog owner again. It hurt my feelings, so much so, that I took down my Facebook account. Rehoming Chloe was so hard for me. And having people be mean to me over it… Made it so much more terrible.

  61. I recently had to rehome one of my dogs and feel like a failure and feel so guilty HOWEVER, I know it is the right decision and I was extremely lucky that a friend stopped by my office and happened to be looking for the exact breed I was needing to rehome. She is an Australian shepherd who was horribly abused as a puppy. Over the years, she has repeatedly attacked my other dogs, all dachshunds and dachshund mixes. The attacks resulted in injuries ranging from small tears and punctures to extreme damage requiring hours of emergency surgery. It got to the point where I thought she may have to be euthanized. I feel guilty and worry that she feels abandoned, but in just one week, there is so much less stress and one of the dogs she had injured is like a completely new dog. I realize he was always afraid. She is now in a home where she is the only dog. My friend is single and lives alone and is a better dog mom than I am. She takes her on several walks each day, takes her to her aunt and uncles during the day when she is at work so she isn’t alone for long periods of time and she takes her with her everywhere she goes. One of those situations where your heart is broken but you’re happy because you know it is a better situation for everyone.

    1. My heart is broken and I am suffering. I know at age 66 I had to give my 1year old boerbull to lovely kind people on a farm.
      I got her as a pup and although I have raised her and taken her to rivers she suddenly turned on my 7 year old Staffie who was her closest companion.
      The damage was severe and cost a lot at the vet.
      It took my 3 stressful day’s of keeping them separate. My husband and I made a decision because she was so big and strong to handle and that we are moving to the sea. She was going with us but the attack scared us both.
      All this feels like we did the right thing and that she will settle with this family.
      But now what about me. I am crying all the time. Looking at photos. Feeling depressed.
      I feel totally heartbroken.
      I have even turned my thoughts to getting a really small dog just to help me get over my loss.

      1. I am so sorry for your loss Melody. I can only imagine the heartbreak you are feeling. Hopefully time will heal. I would not suggest getting another dog right now. Let yourself heal and the situation settle first. Just remember that it was the best decision for everyone involved.

  62. My husband and I have two 4-year-old mixed breed dogs that we adopted from the Humane Society when they were 4 months old. They are litter mates. At the time, we lived in rural Hawaii where it is quite common for dogs to live outside with a large kennel for night time and during the day they roam freely on our large property. I had hoped that eventually they could also spend some time inside with us.

    From the get go, they showed massive aggression toward any animal other than each other. They are sweet with people, albeit very energetic and prone to jumping up on people, but it seemed to be their mission in life to kill any and every other animal they saw. We have a cat who lives indoors, so the thought of bringing them inside became a dream.

    As they grew up we found that they are also excellent jumpers and that our fence was insufficient to keep them contained. During the period of time when we were struggling with figuring out how to control them, they killed a neighborhood cat and mauled a neighbor’s dog. (He survived, but it was bad, and very, very scary).

    A year and a half ago we moved to Texas due to unforeseen circumstances. The weather is still mild enough that they *can* live outside, but it’s not ideal. Despite our best efforts at keeping them away from other dogs, they managed to bite our neigh it’s dog through a fence, and they bark nonstop at the dogs on either side of our house. We still cannot bring them inside because I am 100% sure they will kill my cat.

    My husband is stressed to the max at the constant barking and aggression, and I am deeply worried at having them outside in hotter and colder weather than we had in Hawaii, as well as the fear that they might get put at some point and hurt or kill a neighbor’s animal.

    And then I look into their sweet little faces and the thought of rehiring them breaks my heart, and I worry that whomever takes them will end up giving them up too due to the aggression issues. We’ve discussed getting training but the level they’d need is phenomenally expensive and they were bred to be hunting dogs so I don’t have much confidence that the prey drive could really be “fixed.”

    I am so torn about what to do. Living outside doesn’t seem like the best life for them, and being stressed all the time is not good for us either. I would love any advice you have.

    1. First I suggest reading The Truth About Adopting Two Dogs at Once. The dogs should have been trained separately from when they were puppies… obviously we can’t go back in time. But in my opinion they would have a better chance at successful behavior training if they were separated. But I’m not a professional trainer. And you are right, the level of training they require at this point will be expensive and time consuming. And unfortunately, it would be very difficult to find a home that would be willing to take an aggressive dog. I’m not sure I have the right answer for you. But maybe you can reach out to a local rescue that would be willing to take them in, give them the resources they need and find more suitable, separate homes.

  63. We have been fostering a quarantine furkid since March and it has been such a roller coaster. During the first few weeks, we did some slow intros to our three older dogs and things seemed to be going well. So we adopted the new guy. Flash forward a week and the new pup gets into fights with every single one of our older dogs. He put a pretty big hole in our smaller dog’s jaw, and on top of all of that he started to get pretty predatory towards our cat. SoI talked to the behaviorist at the shelter and she recommended putting him back up for adoption so we could find a home with no other pets. That was back in April. Now three months later, I’ve been working on reintroducing him to the other pets. He’s still predatory towards the cat but we keep in her in a bedroom. He does get along with one of our dogs but it’s still dicey with the other two. I contacted a few trainer and they think they can work on the issues with all of the pets. I was on board with this and so I agreed to adopt him again. Ugh…now I’ve found out that my older boxer has an aggressive form of cancer and will need surgery and chemo. It’s going to be stressful providing care for him but I cannot give him up when there is a chance of treatment. I just don’t think I can handle all of the training needed for the new dog and caring for my older dog. I’m still working with trainers but am I terrible for wanting to re-home the new dog? I’m just so overwhelmed and I have no one to help with either of them, not to mention I’m constantly worried about the cat. I just feel like a jerk because I’ve tried and tried and keep failing with this dog. I do have contacts on social media that I think could help me find him a more suitable home, so maybe I should try this? Really appreciate any insight. This is always such a tough situation.

    1. You have to do what is best for you and your other dogs. Your mental health is important and the stress that keeping the new dog is putting on you and your other dogs is a lot to ask for. Don’t beat yourself up for trying. It does sound like he’d be best as the only dog in the house. And remember this is a life long commitment to keep him, I’m sure the trainers can help, but it will always be something you will need to be aware of and work on consistency for the life of the dog.

  64. We’ve always been a dog family and have had one or more for 40+ years. Last year in June we were a 4 dog family. An old female Lab rescue, two terrier mix rescue boys, and my little princess yorkiepoo female. We had to have our lab put down in June due to an inoperable tumor in her jaw that had broke through and bleeding uncontrollably. We were extremely sad to lose her but we knew it was time, she was 13 and in a lot of pain. So then we were happily a 3 small dog family for a week! That’s when my husband found a little bitty white fur ball on a back road that had obviously been dumped. Instead of taking him to the humane shelter he brought him home where inevitably we fell in love and decided to keep him. That 5 lb puppy is now a strapping 83.5 lb Staffy mix. I took him to obedience training and he’s got his basics but he’s just too big for me, has knocked me down a few times, he’s always contrite afterwards, there’s not a malicious bone in his body. However he is also very play aggressive with one of our male terrier mixes and our little female, he’s accidentally hurt the female once and I’m afraid a bigger accident is in the making. However the most significant issue is my 11 year old grandson who lives with us and is autistic. Joel doesn’t understand that his “excited” behavior exacerbates Rocky’s own excitablility then results in Rocky jumping on Joel and nipping at his hands. What happens is Rocky is either spending too much time in his kennel or Joel isn’t allowed to move about our home freely. Neither of which is ideal. The decision to try to rehome Rocky has been eating at me for months but I’m 60 years old and I just can’t handle this big dog and a autistic grandchild at the same time. Since Rocky didn’t come from a shelter or a breeder I’m not sure how to go about finding him a good forever home. I’m afraid to advertise on social media because I don’t want someone disreputable taking him. I couldn’t bear for him to be hurt or mistreated. He needs a home with older children who understand how to be calm and also a place to run and get rid of some of that pent up energy. He isn’t food aggressive and has never so much as growled or bitten out of “anger” Only plays entirely too rough with the little dogs and with the Grandson. Please offer some advice, I’m heartbroken.

    1. Your best option is to reach out to friends and family to see if anyone wants to take him. The other option is to find a reputable foster-based rescue that could take him in and find him a good home. I totally understand how you feel. Hang in there, you will find the right solution.

  65. We have a senior beagle, somewhere around 12 years old, that we adopted from a shelter when he was 2. He has been a great dog. Since adopting him, we have had 2 children and he has been patient and sweet with them. We are very vigilant about making sure our 4 year old does not pester him and we are within arms reach when our 8 month old is close to the dog to make sure she doesn’t pinch him or pull an ear. So far, so good. But over the past month, the dog has started peeing in the house frequently. Something he has never done since we’ve had him. Even when we got stuck in some massive traffic from a day trip and he was home alone for about 14 hours, he didn’t go in the house. We have taken him to the vet, and he was treated for a UTI. But he is still peeing in the house at least once a day. Our living room rug smells like pee even though I’ve had it cleaned. And having a wet spot on the floor where our 8 month old plays is incredibly frustrating. We constantly have to redirect her away from the wet spot where we have sprayed cleaner. I also feel like our dog is getting frustrated by the kids. He looks uneasy when they get close to him, even though they are gentle. He has also started barking so much more than he used to. He would always bark at animals in the yard, and we understood that was going to happen with a beagle. But now it just seems like he barks at nothing. This constantly wakes up our baby.

    My sister has offered to take him. She does not have children and her 16 year old dog recently passed. She spoils her dogs and has no problem spending money on them at the vet and cleaning up after them. I feel like our dog would be happier in a more chill environment and I know that he would be well taken care of, and we could visit.

    What is your opinion on this? Are we terrible pet owners?

    1. I think it is great that your sister can take him! You know he will have the best home to live out his senior years. It’s not uncommon for older dogs to start to loose patience with young children. And in your situation I think it’s a perfect option. I don’t think you are terrible at all. Now if you were to tell me you were planning on dropping him off to a cold shelter, then I’d feel different. But your sister sounds perfect. Plus you’ll still be able to visit!

  66. I rescued a very bad abuse case dog a year ago, we have made huge strides in helping him but last month my neighbor came over unexpectedly. The dog was out on a run line (I live in a very rural area) and the dog became very territorial and attacked my neighbor. He did not break skin but bruised her badly. My neighbor is no longer comfortable with the dog being in the neighborhood, which I understand.
    I’m struggling with trying to find him a fitting home or a shelter that would euthinize him.

    1. You are certainly in a tough situation. Most shelters do not have the resources to rehabilitate a dog after a biting incident. You best luck would be to find a dog behaviorist that could help you either with training, or help you find a suitable home.

  67. Hello my wife and I adopted our two dogs from a shelter in South Carolina while working for a not for profit childrens home. They had 95 acres our fur babies could run and get exercise. We transferred to another Child care organization in Mississippi. Within the first 2 months one of our dogs had been shot and the other attacked and injured by 3 neighbor dogs. Our dogs are not aggressive and love to run but are housebroken and always come backafter their play. We have now been told that they must be kept in a fenced area approximately 40 x 60 feet and the neighbor continues to fire weapons at all hours terrifying our dogs. We did not come to this decision lightly but we are now trying to find a forever home for them either in a rural location or with a large fenced yard where they can have room to run as their current circumstance doesn’t offer a good quality of life for them. Any assistance in helping us find them a better home would be greatly appreciated.

    1. This scenario sounds terrifying! I am so sorry you and your dogs are going through this. What a terrible neighbor! I have to agree that it be best they find a rural home again… for their safety. Not that it justifies your neighbor shooting at your dogs, but I do understand the need to keep dogs on your own property. We live in a semi-rural area and our next door neighbors allow their 3 dogs to roam free around everyone else’s property. I have two issues with this: one, I end up cleaning up after their dogs because they poop on our lawn. Second is that we have trained our dogs to stay inside our property, and with one of them being reactive to some dogs it’s an attack waiting to happen. Plus, it’s not fair to my dogs. But I would never shoot or hurt any dog because of it.

  68. My older, limited mobility, dad decided to buy an AKC 8 week old German Shepherd puppy last March. He spoke frequently over that summer about how the dog was vicious and biting and giving her away. In October he visited us with the dog (first time we met her) and she was as friendly and not-aggressive as could be. She was definitely a puppy with LOTS of energy, and a herding dog that would herd and nip while doing so. My dad did not train her at all and she had MANY bad habits. My dad kept her crated ~20 hours a day. Took her out to potty, feed her, but as soon as she got ‘hyper and vicious’ (as he called it), right back in the crate she went.

    We DID NOT need another dog, we already had 2 older dogs at the time and 2 young children (4 & 7). However, we could see this dog was as friendly as could be, needed training and exercise she wasn’t getting and we had trained 2 dogs beautifully before (lab mix rescues). So he left her in our care. She has come such a long way – she knows all her basic commands without distractions, and does OK with distractions. The 2 areas we struggle with are (1) she is very excitable and difficult to control when passing other dogs -friendly and excited, not aggressive & (2) she is a car chaser -seriously working on this one for her safety.

    At this point, we’ve had her for 4 months and it has become very clear to us that we substantially underestimated the amount of time, exercise and mental stimulation a German Shepherd requires. Again, she has come a very long way. She is walked 2 miles in the morning, runs (fetch + commands) for 20+10 minutes in the morning. Crated ~10 hrs while we are at work. Then runs (fetch + commands) 20 minutes in the evening, 10 mins of training, 20 more mins of running before bed. Sleeps out of crate in our bedroom without being destructive (usually). It is very clear that even with what we are doing that she is bored and has loads more energy to burn. In addition to that, we have 2 young children (4 & 7). She is good with them (and our other 2 dogs), but she is big and energetic and it’s not uncommon for the kids to get caught in the crazy. I (as a mom) am losing out on substantial time with the kids b/c of the substantial time I’m spending trying to burn energy off the dog so she isn’t a maniac.

    I’m at this place where not only is the dog not getting the stimulation she needs, but the kids aren’t getting the attention they deserve from me either. And I feel utterly devastated. I love this dog, and dogs are family. And although we wouldn’t have made the decision to go out and get her, we did make the decision to take her from my father (who made the poor decision to start with). It was the right decision as she would have most likely hurt him unintentionally and she has had a much better life with us over the last 4 months. I’m so torn. My brain says what’s best for her and my kids is a new home. My heart breaks though. And I feel immensely guilty for even considering it.

    As an un-biased party, I would love your opinion.

    1. Consider looking at a different perspective. Think of yourself as a temporary foster home for this dog. You took her in, started rehabilitating her to make her more adoptable. She deserves a home that can give her the time and dedication she needs. It sounds like you have done a wonderful job helping her through this stage of her life, now it’s time for her to move on to a forever home. I would suggest trying to reach out to friends, family or coworkers to see if anyone is interested in adopting her. This will give you the opportunity to continue to work with her while finding her perfect home. As harsh and difficult this may sound, do what’s right for the dog, not your heart.

  69. We’ve had our rescue dog now for 2 months. We’ve spent $2,000 on vetting, health and training to date and there is no end in sight. The rescue org misled us and although our dog is cute , very smart and lovable to us, her separation anxiety and fear aggression are over the top. She’s now on 400mg trazadone for her low threshold problem and it’s barely taking the edge off. We are now spending another couple hundred bucks to get a certified dog behaviourist to assess her . This is after we’ve already had two trainers that can take our dog no further in learning. We were told she was good with people, kids and cats. None of the above is true. We were told by the rescue she was healthy. She arrived from Texas sick and with a 2” open incision from a quick spay done before the adoption. We have run out of money and refuse to contact the rescue org because they didn’t support us well when these medical issues immediately surfaced. Also, the misleading info – they are not capable of rehoming well I’m sure of this. Help? We are at our wits end as we love her but my health is suffering from the stress.

    1. I am so sorry you are going through this with your dog. It’s so unfortunate that shelters are not being upfront and honest about some dogs… and you unknowingly got caught in the unexpected. It’s also sad that there are so many trainers out there that aren’t equipped to train a dog past basic obedience. I do believe if you found a qualified behaviorist, there is hope. But at what cost, right? You and only you can make the decision on what to do. I don’t recommend rehoming the dog, as it just passes the problem to someone else.

  70. We got an 8 week old puppy. We’ve had her for almost 5 weeks. She wouldn’t be an issue alone. We have 3 rescues. All are pretty mellow and more nervous dogs. The worst is her and our 11 yr old rescue. He was diagnosed with arthritis in July but we had been managing his pain really well and he was still happy. He was stressed with the puppy but not in pain. About 2 weeks ago, my husband slipped on the stairs while holding our old guy. He’s been in so much pain sense and still can’t handle the puppy.

    We wouldn’t have gotten another dog if the fall all ready happened. But we were doing so well handling his pain. I’m taking him to the vet tomorrow to see if there’s anything else and if they feel our home is too toxic for him. We’d have to re-home the puppy. We knew the breeder and got her free. They said we could return her to them for any reason. But they are no longer a reputable breeder. It’s not an option. Rehoming is terrifying.

  71. We rescued a Shnauzer Mix from the shelter about 3 years ago. They had very little info on him, Other than he was a year old, but we spent a good hour with him in a meeting room, and he was very calm and polite and extremely gentle and tolerant with our infant. Well…. after about a week home with us, everything changed. He pees all over the house, chews on everything, plays so rough with our other dog that things get broken all the time. He knocks our toddle over while running at full speed. He finds ways to get out of the yard and takes off towards the very busy main road. He gets into the garbage cans no matter what we try. He does not understand personal boundaries and will climb all over us and our company no matter how many times you make him get down. We have tried training, and have been super consistent with the things the trainer gave us to do. We have tried daily long walks to get energy out, calming chews, essential oils….. pretty much everything. Sometimes I feel like I not spending enough time with my human child with all the things we do to try and help and accommodate this dog. He is not improving. I am at my wits end. I have always promised to never “get rid of” a dog, but we have another child on the way, and we are running out of time, energy and the resources to keep him. I am just so afraid he would end up with people who would be unkind or worse…. I just don’t know what’s best. Help!

    1. It sounds like you haven’t found the right trainer and the dog needs more boundaries. With two young children, I feel your pain. I recommend going back to the shelter you got him from to see if they can help find a new home for him. Or reach out to friends and family to see if anyone is looking to adopt.

  72. We just took our 8 month old labradoodle back to the breeder because we felt re-homing him was best for the family & him….however I’ve been really struggling with the grief and heartbreak and I’m worried I made the wrong decision. This is the third time I’d talked about re-homing him with my breeder and this time she said ‘it’s been a long time coming – can you bring him back tomorrow’….oh my gosh, so sudden but I did it because she said it was best to ‘rip the band aid off’. I am constantly crying about him & sway between regret and logic. Reason for re-homing? He is a super hyperactive puppy & my husband just isn’t on board at all and I feel very alone with managing him… I have four children aged 14, 11, 9 and 3. My husband thinks we made a mistake getting a puppy and the house is just chaos. I’ve worked hard with trainers and they think this isn’t the best environment for a puppy like Teddy & that he needs more management than we can give him. We all don’t care what they say….we miss him and want to go get him back even though he absolutely does make everything so chaotic. He has a rough play style that other dogs don’t like and he bites the children when he gets excited in play (but surely he will outgrow this???) So he has a massive amount of energy which could be a product of this environment. Everybody I respect who know me and knows him thinks we have done the right thing but I don’t care and still want to go back and get him. Struggling with this so bad.

    1. You are grieving, understandably. But it sounds like you did the right thing, as hard as it was. Time will heal, your family will be happier and the puppy will find a home that is more suitable for him. Labradoodles aren’t as easy as everyone makes them out to be. Maybe down the road, when you are ready, you could find an older dog to adopt, maybe even a senior dog!

  73. I’m feeling very conflicted. My husband and I decided to get a beagle puppy. She’s currently 6 months old. We also have a two year old and a baby on the way. Ever since we got her, it’s been high stress levels in the house. Turns out my husband has never had a puppy before and didn’t realize all of the training involved. So I have taken over a lot of it. The potty training has been very rough for us. We’re at the stage that she tells us occasionally if she needs to go, and other times she does it without warning right in front of us. She also loves to steal food out of my sons hands. Other than that, she’s a great dog. My husband however gets very mad when these things occurs and loses his temper. He usually crates her and yells at me about the situation. I can tell our dog knows it’s about her because she is clinging to me and doesn’t want much to do with my husband. I have suggested rehoming to him and he always says he doesn’t want to do that to her. But I fear it may be better because she is scared of him and it’s not helping my husbands well being. Well tonight has me wide awake. The dog always sleeps in bed with me and normally my husband gets hot and moves to the couch every night. Tonight he stayed in bed and the dog slept between us. She was dreaming away and kicking her legs and was kicking my husband in the back. He would wake up, yell at her to get off and shove her into me waking me up and startling the dog. After three times, I told my husband to go to the couch. My dog has been sleeping on my lap ever since. I absolutely love this dog and I feel we haven’t spent enough time training her yet, but I’m really fearing that she may be better in a home that treats her better. I’m realizing that I don’t think my husband is fit to have a dog. What can I do before I have to take that step and give her up?

    1. Karen, I am so sorry you are struggling with this! It’s really a tough decision that I can’t make for you… but it sounds like your home is a very stressful one for your pup and you! Your dog can absolutely sense the tension and will never trust your husband at this rate. Maybe your husband needs anger management counseling to help him control his outbursts.

  74. Thank you for this article. I recently had to give up my 8 year old dachshund and my family and I feel terrible. We have two Dachshunds (14) and the (8 yr. Old). The 8 year old is a female and she’s extremely aggressive. For years we have dealt with her barking and territorial ways. My oldest dog has had a few injuries with his back and his legs to the point where he can barely walk. We don’t know why but the 8 year old is so mean to him. She has attacked him so many times and he can’t fight back. I worry that one day I will find him dead because of her.
    I have 3 kids (one is a new baby) and my 8 year old Dachshund has attacked my other dog many times in front of the kids. I have done all I can until one day she bit onto my arm. I know you can6get in the middle of a dog fight but I tried everything I could to get her off my other dog.
    It’s strange because it’s like she sees RED! I can’t stop her and i worry that she could get one of the kids if she got into a fight with the other dog nearby. When I feed the dogs and give them water, she attacks the other dog if he tries to get the first bite or drink. I’ve tried separating them but that didn’t seem to work out too well.
    Anyway, my kids, my husband and I were all in agreement but my son was crying (he’s 5) and the rest of us felt so sad as the rescue came to get her from our home. I sent her with her favorite blanket, treats, food and toy. We feel like we gave up a family member but at the same time we feel this was necessary for our dog that most likely doesn’t have a ton of life left and has health issues. Unfortunately we don’t live in the same state as our family. This really is just such a bummer and we pray that there’s a home for her but we just hope we made the right decision. I’m sorry this was long…thank you for listening!

  75. I didn’t see anything regarding multi dog homes that have an issue with inter pack aggression.
    I have 8 dogs. Pitbull, pit mixes, G step, mix, chip’s & chi mixes.
    They all have gotten along quite well until recently.
    I had 9 dogs. Sadly. The most horrible, heartbreaking thing happened. I was home but have a huge yard and didn’t hear what was a horrible attack.on my dane/step mix. She was older than I knew, she always seemed young. I don’t know for sure but I think fence fighting with neighbor dogs started it. I had been out an hour before I found her & all were fine.
    I’ve seen alot of bad attacks in my years of rescue and assisting people in outlying low income areas with dog injuries. This was by far the most brutal. I was devastated.
    I took her to vet knowing she would not come home. The vet informed me she was much older and had only a few teeth in her mouth. I’m my God! She had been unable to even defend herself! I’m crying now at the thought of her desperation. It’s been 2 months. They broke her legs among other injuries.
    I don’t blame dogs for being dogs. Dogs have “arguments” as do people. Dog arguments can be devastating tho when we aren’t there to intervene.
    The 2 I suspect started the attack have been good, as have they all. Until yesterday. The 2 attacked my other dog 9 years old and mellow. One at the head. One at the rear. Thank goodness I was close and heard it. And thank goodness they both stopped soon after I began calling them off. Alone I doubt I’d have been able to stop both in a full on frenzied attack.
    So do u have suggestions? I need answers fast since I don’t feel safe leaving them together now, and my situation doesn’t allow me to separate the yard. I won’t get into that. It makes for even longer story.
    I’m broken over this. My options now are so final. I love my dogs.
    Most were meant to be adopted to families and remain with me due to health or behavior issues.

    1. I am so sorry to hear about the attack! With 8 dogs you need to have a lot of structure! If you can’t separate them in the yard, then I wouldn’t leave them unattended out there. Keeping them separate while you are away is going to be key. Using crates will make this easier. The tension is obviously high and you may need to consider consulting a behaviorist dog trainer, one that is experienced with large packs. You will need to assess each dog and see where the problem lays. So sorry you are going through this, and I hope you can find the help you need.

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