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Not that long ago you were thrilled to have a puppy or dog of your very own. You never dreamed you’d have to give him up someday. Even if you can’t keep him anymore, your dog still depends on you to do what’s best for him. Now, more than ever, he needs you to make the right choices for his future. Your dog is your responsibility and he has no one else but you to look out for his interests. It’ll take effort, patience, and persistence to find him the right home.

Finding a new home for a dog involves several steps. Before you start, please take a minute to read the following information:


There’s a big difference between being forced to give up your dog and wanting to “get rid of him.” The issue is generally people or dog related:

Life Changes:

  • Moving: Affordable rental homes that allow pets do exist, though it may take time to find the right home for you and your pet. Consider widening your search, even if it means a slightly longer drive to work. After all, your pet is a member of your family!

  • Not Enough Time for the Dog: As a puppy, your dog took far more of your time than he does now. Look at what the dog really needs – food, potty-time, exercise time (often very little for an older dog) and most importantly just being near you. If it is a puppy with which you are having time constraints, try to find someone who can help out. Family members, friends, or even dog walkers may be able to help you through the active puppy stage.

  • Having a Baby: If introduced correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems with your dog and the baby. Review the Family Paws Website or contact them for one-on-one or group classes regarding kids and dogs.

  • Allergies: If you have allergies, begin by speaking with your veterinarian to see if they recommend any products that can aid in keeping you and your pet healthy and allergy free. You may also work with a physician who is sensitive to your needs and will do everything possible (within reason) to help you keep your pet.

Behavioral Issues:

  • Behavior: When your dog has a behavioral issue, you have 4 general options. You can continue to live with your dog the way he is, you can get help to correct the problem, you can give your problem to someone else, or you can have the dog euthanized. Most behavior problems are readily correctable – please review the resources section of our website for tips and information on how to correct behavioral issues. If your dog has a more serious behavior issue (such as severe aggression and/or biting), a trainer can help you assess whether or not the behavior can be corrected. If your dog has ever bitten someone, please seek help from a professional trainer or behaviorist. Do not leave the dog at a shelter where he may be frightened and confused and put others at risk. If you cannot hire a trainer, humanely euthanizing a dog who has bitten someone is the safest and best option for the situation.


Shelters: Dogs that have been given up by their owners may be euthanized at any time when placed in shelters. Shelters don’t want to euthanize all these animals but they often don’t have a choice due to space issues. Shelters today are so overcrowded that your dog could be euthanized the same day it arrives. If your dog is older, large in size, has health problems, or behavioral issues, its chances of adoption are slim to none. True “no-kill” shelters are few and far between and are often very selective about the dogs they bring in.

Rescues: Breed-specific or all-breed groups are usually small groups of volunteers using their homes to foster dogs until they can find new homes. Generally, rescue organizations are at capacity or they have other dogs already on waiting lists. They also select pets for higher adoptability – for every dog that stays in long-term foster care, there are many other more adoptable dogs that aren’t being helped. Underdog Ranch, as well as many other rescue groups, offers the use of their website to post a picture and information about your dog to aid in finding a new home. The dog still remains in your care and it is your responsibility to find a suitable home for the dog.

If you are able to pursue the option of keeping your dog until a home is found, please read the next section for helpful information on placing your dog. Before you move forward with finding a home for your dog, always call the breeder, rescue, or person you originally received your dog from. Responsible breeders and organizations will either take the dog back to re-home or assist you in finding a new home.


  1. Screening potential homes: It may take months to find your dog a proper new home, especially if they are older, have health issues, etc. Make a list of what you feel is most important for your dog and gain a better understanding of what type of home your dog needs.

  2. Craig’s list: NEVER list your dog on Craig’s List. You never know who will get your dog, and often they will say all of the right things.

  3. Get your dog ready: Your dog will be much more appealing if he’s clean and healthy. Bring your dog to your vet for a full check up if he hasn’t had one in the last 6 months. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations and is spayed/neutered. Having your dog altered is the best way to ensure that he will find a family who wants the best for your dog. There are several low-cost spay/neuter clinics available, so check with your veterinarian or visit here ( for more information. Make sure your dog is bathed, has trimmed nails, and clean ears! A clean dog is much more appealing to potential adopters. Underdog Ranch recommends that you set an adoption fee for your dog. A reasonable fee ($75-150) helps ensure that the new owners are ready for the cost of dog ownership.

  4. Advertise: Utilize the courtesy listings page of rescue websites and don’t be afraid to use classified ads, flyers in local stores, and web sites with various rescue groups to advertise your pet. Never use the phrase “free to good home,” even if you’re not planning to charge a fee. This phrase generates the wrong type of people interested in a dog and may lead to the wrong home for your pet.

  5. Screening callers: You don’t have to give your dog away to the first person who calls and you have every right to ask questions and choose the person that you believe will make the best new owner for your pet. Make sure to get your applicant’s name, address, and phone number and verify the information. Make sure that all people in the potential adopter’s home are in agreement with a new dog coming into their family. If the potential adopter is renting, make sure the landlord and/or apartment complex allows pets (especially of a certain size or breed).

  6. Ask for references: Always ask for the phone number of any potential adopter’s veterinarian (if they’ve had pets before) as well as three other personal references. Call the references, explain that the applicant is interested in adopting your dog, and verify that their past pets have been taken care of and that the references believe they would provide a healthy and loving home for your pet.

  7. Interview: Once you’ve chosen a family (or families) that you feel are good candidates, make an appointment for them to see the dog and one for you to see their home. You need to explain to potential adopters that the dog will go through an adjustment period as he gets to know his new family, which may take a few days or weeks. During this adjustment period, new owners should not place the dog in any stressful situations (training, grooming, meeting several strangers, etc.) until the dog has settled into his new life. It’s not unusual for dogs in new surroundings to not eat for a few days, to temporarily “forget” their manners (including house training), etc. Once they have adjusted, the dog will settle into his new life and adjust to his new surroundings.

  8. Paperwork: Always have a new owner sign an adoption contract with a waiver of liability and keep a copy for your records. A contract will help to protect the dog and the waiver of liability helps to protect you. Let the family know that you would like to touch base in a few days to make sure everything is going well and that they should call you if the adoption doesn’t work out.

Good luck in your search for a new home for your dog/puppy. The effort that you put forth now will be worth it when you find a great new home for your dog.

Re-Homing: About
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