9 Ways to Know if You Should Re-Home a Dog that Bites

Dogs are known to be man’s best friend. But for dogs who bite a lot, where do we draw the line? For some people, the answer to that is easier than for others. Quite often though, circumstances provide various options, and re-homing the dog is one of them. Here are a couple of ways to know that re-homing is the right solution for your circumstances.

Remember that if your dog has ever bitten another person, many home insurance and umbrella insurance companies may deny coverage. They usually ask when buying a policy.

1. Consult with a Veterinarian or a Dog Behavior Specialist

There could be a few reasons why a dog is biting, and you don’t know how to get him to stop. Sometimes, the first step in even considering re-homing the dog is seeing if it would be possible.

The people that will be taking the dog in should be able to take care of it and be qualified to handle the dog and its biting situation. With the help of behavior specialists or your veterinarian, you can determine if the dog’s issues could easily be handled by new owners. This is especially needed if it is indeed possible for you to fix your dog’s biting issues, but your schedule just doesn’t allow for you to have the dog and accommodate its needs.

New potential owners should be able to have the type of schedule and lifestyle to safely accommodate such needs. You would also want the new owners to be aware of the situation, that way there are no liability issues.

Consulting with your veterinarian can help you to become aware of any medical reasons to explain why the dog bites. Sometimes there is treatment available for the issue, making it easier and more possible to keep or re-home the animal.

This can also help the new owners be even more aware of the dog’s needs and how to accommodate them in the dog’s new home. This also helps to give knowledge of the dog’s medical needs that might need a lengthier treatment option.

If there are no medical conditions that the dog is suffering from to explain the biting or other forms of aggression, try talking to a professional dog behavior specialist to see if a new owner could handle the dog and the needs the dog has.

Consulting with the specialist can help determine the severity of the aggression and what can be done by potential new owners to resolve the biting issues. They give tips or training on what management techniques would be best to use as the training goes on as well.

Sometimes, they will be able to figure out some if not all of the triggers the dog has and find or know of new owners whose environment doesn’t contain those triggers.

Some veterinarians and behavior specialists may have ties with a shelter that can help you find the right type of new owner for the dog if the circumstances allow it. However, in some cases, shelters won’t always take a dog with a biting or aggression history.

This is one of the reasons why it’s important to contact the vet and/or the behavior specialist before seeking help to re-home the dog through a shelter. Shelters may also know people who are willing and able to take the dog based on the dog’s needs, and if they have the all-clear from the vet or behavior specialist saying that the issues are mild enough for other owners with the right circumstances to handle and treat, it will be easier to find people to fit these parameters. (Source)

2. Contact the Shelter or Breeder You Adopted From

If there are any specific needs the dog has or that could be a part of their medical history that’s causing the dog’s biting and/or aggression, it’s possible that the shelter or breeder you adopted from could know about it and also about possible new owners who can care for the dog and the dog’s needs.

Whether or not they know something about the dog’s needs is not guaranteed. But in most cases, when it comes to the need to rehome the dog, some shelters and most breeders ask during the adoption process that if the need or possibility of re-homing arises to come back to or contact them to find a resolution to the issue.

The shelter or breeder must understand completely the circumstances of the dog’s biting or aggression, as well as the fullness of the issue. So don’t be afraid to be transparent, especially since it helps the dog shelter or the breeder to know how to best help you and the dog in the moment and in the long run. Looking for the best solution to the issue may take time, but it’s better for both dog and owner in the long run. (Source)

3. Have More than One Pet and Fighting Occurs Often

When there is a pet-filled house, there’s bound to be little squabbles or play-fights between the animals. But sometimes there can be serious fighting or disagreements between them that can lead to possible injury between them or those who try and break the fight up.

This is especially possible when there’s a significant size difference between the animals-mainly dogs- and injuries are more likely to occur, as well as the possibility of the size difference causing a predatory drift in the perspective of the bigger dog.

It might be because they just don’t get along with other animals in the environment and may need to be the only pet in the home. There are a couple of other reasons for pet biting and aggression. Once more, this may be something that is learned from interaction with a professional dog behavior specialist or your vet.

If re-homing one of the pets is the solution, a lot of people recommend re-homing the one that is easier to deal with and keeping the problematic one if your schedule and lifestyle allow for it. In some circumstances, it may be best for the dog who shows aggression to be re-homed.

4. Safety for Someone in the Household

Depending on the dog breed, once a part of a household a dog can grow attached to a specific person and become overprotective or even territorial of that person. This could lead to aggression or biting rather quickly, and training may not be a working solution for the issue and the dog’s needs.

Sometimes, the dog is in a family with kids and gets overwhelmed by them easily and has resorted to biting to make them stay away. Re-homing for this dog is possible if the new environment is kid-free, or at the very least where the kids are older and know how to show the dog respect by giving it space when the dog needs it and still providing the necessary care.

However, if your dog is good with children most of the time, but bit them when they crosses a line, teach your children how to respect boundaries or keep the dog away from your kids until they learn how to be gentle with the dog.

As always, the new owners should be made perfectly aware of all the issues faced that have led to the decision for the dog to be re-homed. (Source)

5. Unable to Provide the Necessary Care the Dog Needs

Sometimes life happens, and circumstances arise where the dog’s needs outweigh what you’re able to provide. Whether that’s their biting behavior or the fact that their biting and aggression come from medical reasons. Resources within your budget or what you can afford to help them with such needs may not be available.

In some cases, play biting for younger dogs, especially pups, has just gotten too much to handle because the biting hasn’t stopped, no matter what efforts have been taken to make it stop. This could be because the pup isn’t able to receive all the attention it needs, for example.

Now, you shouldn’t just get rid of the dog and dump their specific needs on the new owners, that wouldn’t be fair to the dog or to the new owners. They need to be able to provide the necessary care and attention that the dog needs considering its circumstances. This means they need to know about all the play-biting, medical conditions, and/or behavior that have led to the decision to re-home upfront. (Source)

6. The Type of Biting that Occurs

Most times, vets and behavior specialists in trying to learn about reasons why a dog is biting need to know the type of bites that occur. They’ll most likely refer to the “Ian Dunbar Bite Scale” to determine the danger or other possible issues related to the bite. (Source)

Not only can the type of biting on the scale refer to any issues that may be causing the reaction to bite but it can also lead to the knowledge of possible solutions. As well, it helps to know that if the dog were to bite again, the type of bite on the scale it would most likely be.

If biting is not something you signed up for and you wish to re-home the dog, most likely that can still be possible if the dog’s bites are at or less than Level 3 on the bite scale. New owners can take the necessary steps to help the dog rid itself of the habit.

Where the bite is, the dog’s behavior before and after the bite, and any possible triggers will also be taken into consideration when deciding the possibility of re-homing them. (Source)

7. Understanding the Various Types of Aggression

There are various types of aggression or reasons why dogs bite, some of them can be solved by an environmental change through the re-homing process.

Whether by your own research or the help of your veterinarian or a dog behavior specialist, understanding and determining the form or reason for the aggression can help to know the best environment for your dog that can best suit its needs.

A few of the forms of aggression in dogs are known as possessive aggression, fear aggression, and even sex-related aggression (for dogs who haven’t been neutered or spayed). (Source)

8. Possible Triggers

While consulting with a vet or behavior specialist, they may ask about the dog’s behavior before and after the bite, which may be hard to remember. There are a multitude of triggers that can result in a dog biting.

Sometimes they feel provoked or afraid, or the dog just got overexcited, so they started biting. No matter the emotion your dog was feeling, they don’t bite without reason, and knowing your dog and how they behave or react to certain circumstances may be key in recognizing how the end result in that specific circumstance led to a bite

Certain breeds feel a lot of emotions and have various anxieties, leading to differing triggers for biting per breed. Triggers can also be the result of many things, whether it’s from the environment they’re in or even if a dog has PTSD from previous abuse or other medical conditions. (Source)

9. Understand that Re-Homing Might Not Be the Best Option for the Dog

There are many reasons why re-homing may not be the best option for the dog, and quite often it’s due to how bad the behavior and injuries from the behavior are. The hope is that someone else can provide the necessary environment without triggers or be able to help the dog through training.

But some circumstances may be so severe that the best option would be to euthanize it. It provides safety for those in the community and gives the dog peace and an end to feeling reactions from the possible triggers that lead to aggression and biting.

Euthanization is always hard and many people hope it to be a last resort, but it might be the only option to provide relief to both humans and dogs. If at all possible, re-homing, training, and/or treatment can be attempted, but they’re not foolproof or guaranteed to solve the biting issue.

If it would cause more harm to the dog and those around him, the best thing would be to euthanize him. Although it’s sad, it prevents more injuries from happening.

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