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5 Important Things to Know about Successfully Re-Homing One of Your Dogs

A lot of breeders fear calls where they get requests to re-home a puppy. Some feel as if it’s a failure on their part, some resent the family, and others feel it’s an imposition.

To those who have these or other negative feelings about re-homes, I’d like to suggest taking a new look at them.

If you’ve bred more than a handful of litters, re-homes are a reality.

They happen.

They do NOT make you a bad breeder. In fact, they are a hallmark of a responsible and ethical breeder.

Re-homes happen, and they are a good way to show the world you are a responsible breeder and most importantly to do the right thing for the dog.

I've had my share of re-homes over the years. I have a small program and have a re-home request every year or two. Screen and support the new home as well as you can, and it always seems to work out.

About half of mine are related to life-circumstances and half a bad fit for one reason or another.

Every single time—EVERY TIME—it's been a bad-fit situation, the dog has ended up thriving in the new home.

This is text from the original family of a rehome of mine from this past month. It was a bad fit, the original family now has the stress gone and the dog is so very happy in his new home and his new family adores him. Win-win-win.

5 important tips about re-homing a dog

  1. Do NOT blame anyone. Whether it’s the family that has the dog or yourself. That is not productive and it keeps people from reaching out with a problem or a re-home if laying blame becomes attached to your reputation.

  2. Know your priorities. Remember your primary goal is to help the dog. If you keep this in the front of your mind, things will always work out. Your next priority after that is the satisfaction of the families you work with and your reputation.

  3. Do not make a re-home about money. Money is sometimes involved, and that’s ok, but remember the dog’s well-being is primary. If money is involved, make sure you are adhering to the re-homing terms in your contract. There are many ways to handle re-homing finances, but some common ways include having a small re-homing fee (usually $100-200) and then offering the original family any re-homing fee you get from the new family, less hard costs (vet bills, training, etc).

  4. Support the new family. Give them every resource you can. If they need training help, the Baxter & Bella program is a great program to recommend. Even better, ask the original family if you can deduct the cost of the program from any re-homing fees or cover the cost yourself. Follow up daily until things seem to settle well (this can be a couple of days to a week or longer if there are health or behavioral issues), then weekly for a few weeks.

  5. Support the original family. Many will feel guilt and/or worry about the dog in its new situation. Thank them for doing the right thing for the dog, let them know you don't blame them for anything, and share happy news, photos, or videos of the dog in its new home.

Take-home message

Remember, re-homes aren't a bad thing. They are a part of breeding and can have happy endings for all involved if you do the right thing for the dog.

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