Behavior / Aggression Options

Hard Decisions

If you’ve landed on this page, it’s mostly likely because you have a dog that is experiencing extreme fear, anxiety and/or aggression and you’re looking for rehoming options. We’re sorry your family is in this position and understand the journey up to finding this webpage has been challenging. We know this is scary, heartbreaking and incredibly overwhelming. We have been in your shoes… run down, worn out and so very tired.

We must think very carefully about rehoming a dog with any major behavioral obstacles. Rehoming your dog means asking another family, with no current attachment to the dog, to take on this behavioral issue and in turn, be responsible for liability if the dog were to injure another person or animal. You’re looking for someone to put their family at risk instead of yours. Finding a reputable and qualified rescue organization to take in a dog with aggression is difficult to say the least. When you strip everything down, your situation is a big deal and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If your dog is biting and/or attacking humans/animals, you honestly only have three options. Surrender your dog to your local humane society, get qualified & professional help with behavior modification and keep your dog, or consider behavioral euthanasia.

  1. Your local humane society is the best place to start if you need to surrender your dog quickly. This would be the option to choose if you needed your dog out of your home immediately. Your shelter will be able to provide you information on how the surrendering process works and what is needed to move forward. This is our least favorite option because since your dog has so many challenges, yes, it is likely to be euthanized… surrounded by strangers for their last moments of life.
  2. While every situation is unique, there ARE things that can be done to help you and your dog. Before surrendering your dog to your local shelter, you should exhaust every effort to seek qualified help for your dog. With successful management (which means preventing further incidents) and a systematic training plan, your dog may feel better about the triggers that are causing them to be upset. Because the dog behavior and training industry is unregulated, you must be careful when searching for someone to help. Please read this before looking for qualified help and read the position statement from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior on training techniques. You can start your search for a professional here.
  3. Behavioral euthanasia is an option as well. This option is heart wrenching and something no one wants to do – not shelters, not rescues, not foster homes, not vets, not you. When deciding if this should be an option to consider, it’s important to look at the situation objectively and seriously consider the risk your dog poses to other people / animals. Another thing to take into consideration is your dog’s long-term quality of life. Living with intense fear and anxiety can drastically impact your dog’s quality of life. Before ruling in (or out) this option, read this informational article that lays out several considerations for behavioral euthanasia from the Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center so you’re able to make the most informed decision possible.

None of these options are perfect or easy, we know.

To help you think things through and provide more detail, we have created a short podcast that talks about placement for aggressive dogs and dives into each option and why we’re suggesting them. No matter which option you choose, this isn’t an easy position for anyone to be in and our hearts go out to you and your dogs.

Options for Placement of Aggressive Dogs

by Pit Bull Advocates of America - The Podcast