Re-homing your dog

Re-homing your dog

Evaluate your dog’s adoption potential.

To successfully find a new home, you need to be realistic about your dog’s adoption potential. Let’s be honest, most people don’t want a dog with health or behavior problems. Your dog will have the best chance if he’s less than 4 years old, is healthy, friendly to strangers, obeys commands and adapts quickly to new situations. Look at your dog as if you were meeting him for the first time. What kind of impression would he make? Would you want to adopt him?

If you want information about surrendering your dog to CFP:

Get your dog ready

  • Make sure they are clean, give them a bath, trim their nails
  • Get them healthy- update their vaccines, spay/neuter them, make sure they are microchipped and up to date on heartworm and flea/tick prevention
  • Set an adoption fee, don’t give your dog away for free, this is dangerous for your dog. Ask for a rehoming fee, something from $50-150 is acceptable.


  • Take good, clear pictures
  • Get a video of them playing or interacting with you and/or another dog and upload it to YouTube
  • Write a small bio on your pup
  • Advertise on Nextdoor and re-homing pages on social media
  • List them on Adopt-A-Pet:

Screen applicants

“First come, first serve” does not apply here. You are under no obligation to give your dog to the first person who says they want him or her. You have every right to ask questions and choose the person you think will make the best new owner. Don’t let anyone rush you or intimidate you.

  1. Get the person’s name, address and phone number. Deceitful people may call you from a disguised number or give you a fake address. Ask for information you can verify.
  2. Does the person’s family know about and approve of their plans to get a dog? If not, suggest they talk it over with their family and call you back. The same applies to people living with a companion or roommate. When one person adopts a dog without the full approval of the rest of the family, the adoption often fails.
  3. Do they own or rent their home?If renting, does their landlord approve? You’d be surprised how many people haven’t checked with their landlord before contacting you or checked possible breed restrictions. If you have doubts, ask for the landlord’s name and number, then call them yourself. If they are in an apartment, most websites list pet policies, if they don’t- call the complex and ask. Be cautious about renters – they’re quicker to move than people who own their homes and can leave their pets behind. Remember, you’re looking for a permanent home for your dog.
  4. Do they have children?How many? How old are they? If your dog isn’t good with kids, say so up front. How many children can make a difference depending on your dog’s personality. A shy dog may not be able to cope with several children and their friends. Very young children may not be old enough to treat the dog properly. If the person doesn’t have children, ask if they’re thinking of having any in the near future. Many people get rid of their dogs when they start a family.
  5. Have they had dogs before? The breed of dog that your pup is? If yes, how long did they keep them? How they treated the pets they’ve had in the past will tell you how they might treat your dog. The following answers should raise a red flag and make you suspicious:

“We gave him away when we moved.” Unless they had to because of unavoidable problems, moving is a poor excuse for giving up a pet. Almost everyone can find a place that will allow dogs if they try hard enough. If they gave up their last dog that easily, there’s a good chance they’ll give yours up someday too. “We gave him away because he had behavior problems.” Most behavior problems like­ frequent urination in the home, chewing, barking, digging, running away – result from a lack of training and attention. If the person wasn’t willing to solve the problems he had with his last dog, he probably won’t try very hard with your dog either. “Oh, we’ve had lots of dogs!” Watch out for people who’ve had several different dogs in just a few years’ time. They have never kept any of them for very long.

  1. Do they have pets now?What kinds? If your dog isn’t good with cats or other animals and this person has them, the adoption is not going to work out. Be up front. Better to turn people away now than have to take the dog back later.
  2. Do they have a yard? Is it fenced? How high is the fence?Your dog will need daily exercise. Without a yard, how will he get it? Can the person provide the dog with regular walks?  If the yard isn’t fenced, ask how they plan to keep the dog from leaving their property? Did the applicant’s last dog wander off or get hit by a car? If so, how will he keep this from happening to his next dog? Does he understand that our adventurous dog may wander off if left unsupervised? Does he know that keeping any dog tied up can have a bad effect on the dog’s temperament?
  3. Where will the dog spend most of its time?A whole life outdoors probably isn’t what you have in mind for your dog. Dogs always kept outside are sometimes neglected, lonely and may develop behavior problems.
  4. Why is the person interested in your dog?Find out what kind of dog “personality” they’re looking for. If their expectations don’t match your dog’s disposition, the adoption is not going to work. Be honest about your dog’s good and bad points.
  5. Ask for references: Get the phone number of their vet (if they have had pets before) and ask them to let the vet know that you will be calling.  Also ask for 2-3 personal references. Call those references. Explain that the person is interested in adopting your dog and you want to know how they are with animals. For the vet, ask if their animals had annual vaccinations and took heartworm preventative. Ask how long they known this person. If they were placing a pet, would they feel comfortable giving it to this person? If they have owned a pet before, call animal control in their town and inquire whether there have been any complaints about their dogs. If they have had to pay fines for “dog at large”, do not adopt your dog to them.

Time to meet the potential adopter

Set up a time to meet them, their family and any dogs they have. Be sure they bring all that will be involved with the dog.

The goodbye

  • After you have chosen a good family for your dog, make sure they agree as well
  • Set up a time for your dog to go to their new home
  • Make sure the new family understands the dog is going to take time to adjust. They should take it slow with introducing the dog to new people other than who lives in the home
  • Gather the dog’s medical paperwork, including the name of the vet they were last seen at, their rabies tag and microchip ID
  • Have them sign an adoption contract. Here is an example :

Used with permission. Adapted by Cause for Paws of NC, from “When You Can’t Keep Your Chow Chow” written by Karen Privitello, Lisa Hrico & Barbara Malone, Chow Chow Welfare League of NPD, Inc. Reproduction other than for personal home use is prohibited without permission of the Chow Chow Club, Inc.’s Welfare Committee. For additional copies or permission to reprint, contact: The Chow Chow Club Inc.’s Welfare Committee 9828 E. County A Janesville, WI 53546 Chow Chow Welfare Hotline 608-756-2008