The Decision to Re-Home A Puppy

As a dog trainer I have the privilege of guiding new puppy owners through the ups and downs of living with a puppy. I usually come into the home within the first weeks of the pup’s arrival.

It’s an overwhelming time for most people. There is a big disconnect between expectations and reality ☺

Most people have visions of walks around the neighbourhood, cuddling up on the couch, playing fetch and generally having a lovely time.

Reality is far different. The pup flits from side to side, eating everything in sight, jumping on your leg and on every person he meets, chewing the leash and…….fill in the blank. The puppy is biting every moving child and adult in the home as well as baseboards, shoes, remote controls, paper, hanging towels, plants…….fill in the blank. 

Trying to snuggle with the puppy often ends in getting your face bitten or hands chewed or clothing ripped. Or all of it!

Add the lack of sleep and general disruption to the household and you get a very different picture then you had when you began your search for a puppy.

With guidance, some rules (for the humans), some management, patience, clear feedback and time, things settle down and life becomes less chaotic and less out of control. You get some structure to the day and an understanding of why your pup does what he does and what to do when he does it.

Sometimes, when a puppy is brought into a home, it’s just not the right time, the right puppy or the right fit for the family.  This is very different than dealing with new puppy shenanigans.

Sometimes, after a few visits and listening to what’s being said, it’s in the best interests of the puppy and family, to re-home the pup. 

It’s a heartbreaking decision, especially when children are involved but no less heartbreaking for the adults. It’s never an easy decision to make. It should not be made hastily. There is terrible guilt, feelings of failure, doubt and second guessing.

Having said that, sometimes it’s the right decision to make for the puppy as well as the family.

I was going to write, “unfortunately”. I’ve guided a few people as they came to the conclusion to re-home but it wasn’t unfortunate at all.

It was a difficult decision to make but in each case, the puppy ended up in a good place and thrived.

Please don’t take this piece as permission to re-home a puppy because you are tired. Puppyhood is a very brief and yes, exhausting time but it passes

Sometimes, in your heart, you know it’s just not the right time. Sometimes, all you need is permission to let go. 

It’s gut wrenching. It’s very different than simply being tired and dealing with the normal antics of a puppy.