Is it wrong to return a rescue dog back to their shelter?
August 30, 2019
Reactive Dog Walking

There is no black and white answer to this. I love to say Yes its wrong, you must keep your new dog and learn to co-exist by giving them the best life ever. But until you’re faced with a situation that has you questioning if adopting this particular dog was the right thing to do then you can’t answer the question. The reality is, that if you are faced with Should I keep this dog or not? then your answer MUST always be about the happiness and quality of life for the dog in question. If you are honest and decide that you can’t do right by the dog then yes do the brave thing and return them.

Edinburgh Dog Trainer

I faced this decision with my second dog Flash and my Forth dog Erick. Flash as it turned out had a number of behaviour issues and Erick was just a big handful of dog. But after weighing the pros and cons of each dog and what I could provide them, I kept both lunatics and both became my best friend.
Before you adopt a dog you should always do as much research as you can about the rescue center, the breed of the dog (if possible), get a much info about your potential dog too. You should look at your life in minute detail to see if a dog is suitable, this means looking at finances, lifestyle are you out alot, do friends and family always pop by, what happens when you go on holiday?
Even armed with as much knowledge as possible about the dog you are welcoming in your home and family, you might find there are problems that arise you weren’t prepared for.
There are many reasons dogs are returned and I am going to show you the most common reasons. As well as go over some solutions too.

Yes dogs are expensive even if you aren’t paying more than a donation to adopt you new dog. Food, Health, Vet bills, groomer, dog walker if needed and insureance costs are all part and parcel of dog ownership so ensure you have a plan in place for cost of sharing your life with a dog.
Vets aren’t cheap either get insurance or put money aside to cover any potential vet visits. Even when you provide the best home possible a serious illness could still happen meaning on going medicine for the rest of the dogs life.
A change in jobs or home might mean that you need to employ a dog walker or take your dog to doggy day care. What happens when you go on holiday? where will your dog go into Kennels, with a pet sitter.
In short make sure you have planned as much as you can when it comes to the cost of your potential dog.

Who expects their dog to arrived fully trained? The most I have ever asked for in a dog is that they are house trained but asking for anything more is probably asking for too much. If you discover your new adoption can sit, lie down, wait, walk nice and come when called then thats the icing on your adoption cake!
Dogs who have unknown backgrounds or have been rescued abroad are likely to have some training problems. A lot of dogs are either handed back to Kennels or simply given up because they aren’t trained.
Can I just say now what a load of bollocks this reason is. If you find yourself with an untrained dog then go to dog training classes, seek out some 1 to 1 dog training there are plenty of ways to remedy this problem. Always ensure your selected trainer is uses Positive Reward Based training.
By training with your dog even if they do already know some of the exercises you are bonding with your dog but also showing them what good behaviour you want. Good behaviour should always be acknowledged and rewarded. Dogs will repeat what earns them a treat, praise and affection.
I have classes specially designed for rescue/aspoted dogs where we look at building their confidence and strengthen the bond between dog and owner. I also run beginners classes suitable for dog over 6 months with no or little previous training, there is no upper limit and in fact one recent graduate was a 10 year old greyhound.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs can bark non stop when suffering from separation anxiety, they may chew your home to pieces, be unable to rest or sleep leading them to be hyper. If this problem arises you should seek out a behaviourist or dog trainer to help you find away for your dog to settle.
Separation anxiety shouldn’t come as surprise when adopting a dog they have could come from Kennels with the noise and smells of other dogs or they could have come from a busy home where they weren’t left alone or just the stress of the change causes them to be anxious when left on their own.
There is plenty you can do to help your new dog settle in, take them on a long walk before you go out so you are tiring them out. Provide lots of mental stimulation in the form of food games and sniffing. Practice going out for a min or 2, then return so you build up the amount of time your dog is alone.
Again if needed seek the help of a professional dog trainer or Behaviourist. You can learn more about my Practically Perfect Private Training here.

Its a shame that dogs are returned for being hyper, but then again if you’re a little older or have health issues to deal with then finding out your new companion is hyper isn’t going to work out. But if you’re finding your dogs excess energy over whelming then there is plenty you can try to help your dog to chill out.
Get your dog into a routine ASAP, with walks, food, bedtime etc all on a schedule. Walks must include more then physical exercise too. Mental stimulation will tire a dog out faster then physical exercise alone, on your walks let them sniff and search. Also ensure walks are a partnership between you and your dog, you can do this by playing, talking and training them too.
Feed your dog their meals using puzzle toys such as Kong Toys to help them burn off their energy. The food toy gives your dog a challenge to get their brain working, a tired brain and a full stomach equals one sleepy dog.

Imagine the heartache of adopting your new pal only to discover that a flat mate is allergic or your other half is. What a massive upset that would be for you and your dog. Ensure that everyone is likely to be around your dog alot, share the same space or someone who is in your life all meet your potential adoption. This way you will ensure that any potential problems are dealt with swiftly.
Is your lease dog friendly? there are cases where dogs are returned because the owners landlord has not given permission or pets are strictly fobibben in your property. Do you due diligence if you don’t own your home or have share communal areas.

You’ve opened your home to a rescue dog or adopted from a local shelter which is great but ensure you’re eyes are wide open. Do your research and have a mental plan in place.
Whatever arises make sure the happiness and health of the dog is taken care of whether that means you give up the dog or you seek out help to solve any problems that have come up.
Life changes in a flash sometimes so don’t feel guilty if you do need to give up your dog. Whever you do don’t just abandon him on the side of the road, don’t just assume no one will help and don’t think a problem will solve itself.
Take CareSuzanne

Further Reading

How to Change Your Reactive Dogs Behaviour

How to Change Your Reactive Dogs Behaviour

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How To Help Your Reactive Dog

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Reactive Dog Training Edinburgh Tips To Help Your Dog Living and working in Leith, Edinburgh is hard work when you have a reactive and anxious dog, I should know I live with my own barking lunctic Ally in the heart of Leith. Ally is a 3 year old, Old English Sheepdog...

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Dynamic Dog Case Study: Brodie

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The problem isn't always straight forward, check out Brodie's Red Herrings. Brodie is a very handsome and playful Old English Sheepdog, his owners reached out to me over problems they were having, with Brodie growling and barking towards his family in the home, at...

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Dynamic Dog Case Study: Puka

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The Vet Doesn't Always Know It All...... Puka(1) I first met Puka when I had be called in to help with his brother Albi's reactivity and after inital work put in place, we discovered that Puka and Albi were having fights. The fights were in part down to one or the...

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