If you have any doubts about whether you can take a dog back if a rehoming does not work out, or are not sure you will be able to thoroughly check potential new owners, we would recommend that you work through an established rescue. A good rescue will be experienced in matching potential owners with the right dog, and will vet/homecheck any potential homes to see that they will provide a safe and loving environment for your dog. Rescues should also take on a lifetime responsibility for any dog they rehome, so that should the new home not work out for any reason the dog can be returned to their care.
People may be put off the idea of using a rescue to rehome their dog as they assume the dog will have to be handed into kennels, but this is not necessarily the case. Most rescues will want to assess the dog, but they may be prepared to do this in your home and allow the dog to stay there until a new home is found. If your circumstances mean that the dog can’t stay with you, many rescues also use foster homes, particularly for older dogs, so that the dog can remain in a home environment.
Most rescues will insist a dog is neutered, has up to date vaccinations and any other necessary veterinary treatment before rehoming. If they are rehoming on behalf of a private owner some rescues ask for a small fee, and all would appreciate a donation towards their costs.
The Oldies Club may be able to give information on rescues in your area or specialised breed rescues where appropriate (some of these will also take crossbreeds). Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. We are not, however, able to recommend particular rescues, it is important that you discuss their organisation and rehoming policies with them.
If you decide to rehome the dog yourself, privately
First of all, be completely honest with any potential owners. If your dog has any health problems or behavioural quirks, then say so. It does nobody any good if the dog is rehomed then ‘bounces’ back because of unexpected problems.
If the dog is not neutered or spayed, consider having this done before rehoming the dog. An unneutered dog is more likely to have behavioural problems in a new environment, and may also be at risk of ending up with irresponsible owners or puppy farmers.
After speaking to a potential new owner who sounds a good match for your dog, arrange to do a home visit. Check out the new home and the circumstances of the new owners carefully. Make sure you meet everybody in the family, including any children and other dogs. Be prepared to ask plenty of questions – nobody who loves dogs is going to object, it just shows that you care about your dog and are concerned to find the right home. Some examples of the kind of questions you may want to ask are:
- Who lives in the household? Adults? Number of children and ages? Visiting children (eg grandchildren)? Ages?
- Other dogs – how many, what breed, what sex. Are they spayed/neutered? How do they get on with other dogs?
- Other pets -are there cats or other pets in household? Have they lived with dogs before? Are they registered with a vet? Could a veterinary reference be provided? Are they insured?
- What is the working pattern of the adults in the household? How long/often would a dog be left alone? Would the dog get adequate toilet breaks/exercise/attention during the day?
- How much exercise will the dog be given?
- Is there a garden? Is it secure? What is the height of the lowest part of the garden fence? Are gates kept shut?
- Where will the dog be allowed to go in the house? Where will it sleep?
If you have any reservations at all, trust your instinct as it probably means that the home isn’t right for your dog.