Rehoming a Dog


We’re sorry you’re facing this decision. Animal Shelters & Rescue Groups are in CRISIS right now and most are over capacity. It’s actually easier to help you find ways to keep your dog than it is to find him a new home, so let’s start here. See: Keep’Em Home / Solutions & Support

This page is for people who’ve tried absolutely everything but need help for rehoming.

The good and the bad…

The GOOD news is that rescued Pit Bull type dogs have become super popular with adopters. Top Five

The BAD news: There’s really no such thing as a ‘No-Kill’ shelter where you can take unwanted dogs, and most private limited-intake shelters will turn your dog away. Public shelters do their best, but are so overcrowded that dogs are being put down just to make space, and rescues are bursting. Private adoption can be his/her best bet.

Our Best Tips. Details below vid.


Where to post pix/bios of your dog:

  • Instagram – Make your dog their own page. Update often, use video and share, share, share.
  • NextDoor – Neighbors can be a great resource.
  • Facebook Pages – Run a search for ‘Facebook + Rehoming’ pages to find the volunteers in your area who welcome and promote posts.
  • Craigslist – Learn how to make it work for you.
  • Get Your Pet‘ – DIY posting
  • Home-to-Home‘ – DIY posting
  • AdoptaPet‘ – DIY posting

Meeting a dog in person is key to finding an adopter. So how do you do that?

  • Check to see if your local rescue groups do courtesy posts or have adoption events that you can attend.
  • Get in training class to brush up leash manners and teach a few parlor tricks to impress new friends (“high five” etc)
  • Put an Adopt Meshirt on your dog and bring him on errands where he’ll meet the public.
  • Make Trading cards with the dog’s photo, bio and your contact info
  • Home grown promo: Post eye-catchy flyers (templates here) on bulletins boards on campuses, in vet offices, laundromats, coffee shops, community bulletin boards.

If your shelter is accepting surrenders, does your dog stand a chance? The answer depends on your dog’s personality as well as your shelter’s reputation for placing dogs – ‘pit bulls’ especially.

spanksWho Gets Adopted? Dogs who are well socialized to both people & other dogs face better odds. If your dog is reasonably well trained, friendly to strangers and generally easy going, they’ll do better than dogs who are fearful, have zero manners and/or who have dog intolerance and/or arousal issues. This is especially true if your shelter does not have a behavior/training program in place to work on those issues. 

RightCaptain Spanky was a favorite at Berkeley Animal Care Services, in part, because his former home socialized him so well.

Reputable rescue groups can be a good bet, but most are full and need to use their foster homes for shelter dogs who are at risk.

Can you keep your dog a while longer? Some rescues will allow people to serve as a foster home, and/or show them at adoption events.

HEADS UP: If you decide to surrender a dog to a rescue or sanctuary, it’s critical that you tour their facilities before you walk away – ALL of their facilities. Some orgs may have appealing websites and facades, but what goes on behind the scenes can be a very different story. Too many animals with too few helpers can result in animals suffering from the physical and emotional distress of sad and deplorable conditions. Animal hoarding is a growing concern around the country.

As a rule, spayed/neutered dogs tend to attract better homes. Getting this done before re-homing a dog is the responsible thing to do. Check here for low-cost options.


Rowdy Much? BADRAP dog Diva was a handful when we brought her into our program. To attract a home that enjoyed a high energy dog, we made a video to show people how much fun they’d have with her in their life. It worked. Her fun-loving family credits the happy vibe of the video for inspiring them to want to take a drive and come meet her. Look for the dog who is jumping up at the water hose and making us laugh. Take a look: VIDEO

Helping the Adoption Stick. This is some of our most helpful info for smoothing the transition during the first days with a new dog. Share this hand-out with your dog’s new home!  A New Dog in the Home 

A final note: Communicating with rescues

Understand that rescue groups are currently stressed and overextended. Pleading emails written in ALL CAPS are often overlooked because rescues just get so many. BUT emails that include known personality traits and video give enough info to help them know if they might have an option for your dog. This is especially true when they show a dog playing with other dogs, enjoying a training session or other favorite activities.

We know this is hard. Sending best wishes to you and your dog!

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