Adoption Fails: What Happens If You Have To Return A Dog

Sometimes, you aren't the best fit for your new dog. Here's how you can both benefit from this experience.

Adoption is never easy, and, more often than you would imagine, dogs are returned to their previous foster care, rescue, or shelter. Like human relationships, many dogs and people aren’t a good fit. Though this realization is sad, there is nothing wrong with admitting that your new dog isn’t the right one for you. Wether he is unhappy, or you are unhappy, living in this situation isn’t helping anyone out.

We’re here to help you come to terms with your adoption failure, and to offer advice on what steps to take next.

Remember, this is best for both of you in the long run. 

When Will I Know If We Aren’t Working Out?

It’s hard to say when the “cut off” is, as every dog will adjust at different speeds. If you are dealing with a dog, who has suffered neglect or abuse, your adjustment period may be lengthened due to rehabilitation needs.

If you have recently adopted a dog within the past month, there is a possibility that you two haven’t gotten to know each other well enough yet. Take some time to analyze your dog’s behavior and body language. You may be overlooking crucial warning signs.

To know for sure whether you and your new dog will ever be a good fit is tough to predict, but you should be able to make this decision after the first couple of months. If you still aren’t clicking, or more issues are arising, it may be time to consider changing your relationship status.

If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe around your dog, consult professional help immediately, and notify the shelter or rescue you adopted your dog from. 

Not all dogs and people will be a perfect match


Where Should I Return My Dog?

Where you surrender your dog to is of the utmost importance. Selecting a shelter at random, or rehoming your dog quickly may cause more harm than good. Your first option should be to return your dog to his original owner, rescue, or shelter.

Choosing A Rescue: Selecting an appropriate rescue is incredibly beneficial for your dog. If you have a dog of a certain determinable breed, look for breed specific rescues. These people will have a better understanding of your dog’s personality and needs, as well as contacts, fosters, and potential adopters who are looking for a dog just like yours! Make a list of five potential rescues, and call each one. Explain your situation, and arrange a meet and greet with your dog.

Choosing A Shelter: Do some research on shelters in your area. Find a “no-kill” or “low-kill shelter” to prevent your dog from being euthanized. You want to find him a home, not a grave. Call the shelter ahead of time and explain your situation. They may have helpful resources, or direct you to a shelter better suited for your dog.

Choosing A Private Adopter: Unless you are able to rehome your dog within your family or friends, securing a new home for your dog can be extremely difficult, and risky for your dog’s safety. Despite the thousands of dogs that are rehomed via social media and online classifieds, this is not the best method, as it is difficult to ensure your dog is going to a proper home. Meet and greets can be deceiving, and you can’t always be sure that your dog is going to the home the adopters have shown you. The best course of action is to work with a rescue to choose adoption candidates for your dog, and perform all the necessary background checks. You can never be too careful!

You can help your dog find his forever home with someone else


What If I Want To Make It Work?

If you are having a tough time getting along with your new dog, but you want to make it work, you can always seek professional help. There are many personal trainers that would be willing to aid you in your situation, and work on building a bond between you and your dog.

There are many doggy bootcamps and boarding training camps in which your dog can learn fundamental behaviors and skills within weeks. Once your dog returns from camp, or has completed a training course, you can work together at home on maintaining this positive behavior.

No matter what decision you make, understand that both of your happiness is equally important. Don’t look at returning your dog as a failure. View this as a valuable learning experience, and the opportunity for both of you to find your forever companions, whether it’s with each other or not.


Feature Photo

1. Pixabay 2. Pixabay

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