Do You Really Have To?

Do you really have to give up your pit bull? There’s a big difference between being forced to give up your dog and wanting to “get rid of him”. Search your heart for the real reason why your dog can’t live with you anymore. Be honest with yourself. Your answer will probably fall into one of two categories: People Problems or Dog Problems.

The Most Common People Problems:

Moving

“We’re moving – we can’t find a landlord who’ll let us keep our dog.” Many landlords don’t allow children either but you’d never give up one of your kids if you couldn’t find the right apartment. Affordable rental homes that allow pets are out there if you work to find them.

Most people give up too quickly in their search for rental property that accepts pets. Don’t be quick to jump on the first apartment you see. There’ll probably be a better one available soon.

Widen your search. Most people only look as far as the classified ads. Many landlords list their property through real estate agents or rental associations rather than the classifieds. Take advantage of rental services that help tenants find apartments. Ask friends, relatives and coworkers to keep an eye open for you. Many apartments are rented via word of mouth before they’re ever advertised in the papers.

A home that allows pets might be in a different neighborhood than you’d prefer. It might be a few more miles from work. It might not be as luxurious as you’d like. It might cost a few dollars more. Are you willing to compromise if it means being able to keep your dog?

“No Pets” doesn’t always mean “no pets, period.” Many landlords automatically rule out pets because they don’t want the hassle. Many of these landlords are pet owners themselves. Just because the ad says “no pets” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go see the apartment anyway. During the interview, ask the landlord “Are pets absolutely out of the question?” If he answers, “well…”, you have a chance! Hint: You’ll have better luck asking this question in person than over the telephone – it’s harder for people to say no to your face.

Excerpt from Champaign County Humane Society’s “Moving with Pets”:
A pet may live 10 to 20 years, and most people don’t live in one place that long. Moving with pets can present problems, and the best time to consider these problems is before you adopt a pet.

  • Pets are often lost during moves. Doors are left open. The commotion may cause your frightened pet to bolt or hide. The pet may not be immediately missed and it may not be possible for you to stay in the neighborhood to search. Crate or board your pets until you are settled into your new home. Be sure they wear ID tags with a current phone number.
  • Moving is stressful. Routines and environment are disrupted. New pets are under stress anyway and need extra attention and stability for training and to adjust to their new family and home. Postpone adopting until you are settled into your new home and can focus your attention on the special needs of the new pet.
  • Renters need to plan ahead. If you move, it is very difficult to find a new place that allows pets, especially dogs. Most will require an extra pet deposit. Decide before adopting whether you are willing to take a less attractive apartment in order to keep your pet. A pet that is neutered, tagged, and well behaved may convince a landlord to allow your pet, but be sure that your lease specifies your pets are allowed. If not, you may have to choose between keeping your home or your pet should a neighbor complain or the building be sold.

Two of the most common reasons people give for leaving their pets at the shelter are, “We’re moving” and “The landlord won’t allow my pet.” The animals can’t understand why their owner is leaving them. We can’t know what pets feel, but they often show signs of stress and anxiety when their owner leaves them at a new home or a shelter. Before you get a pet, be sure you can move it with you and save yourself the guilt and heartbreak of leaving a part of your family behind.

Additional Information:

Encourage a landlord to let you keep your dog

Bring your well-groomed, well-behaved dog to the rental interview. Show the landlord that your dog is well-cared-for and that you’re a responsible owner. Bring along an obedience class diploma, Canine Good Citizen certificate or other achievement certifications if your dog has them.

Offer an additional security deposit or rental amount to be able to have a dog.

Bring references from your previous landlords and neighbors, as well as from your dog’s trainer. Invite the landlord to see your present home to show him that the dog has not damaged the property nor been a nuisance to the neighbors.

Use a dog crate. Landlords are much more receptive to dogs that will be crated when their owners aren’t home.

In difficult times, people often have to move in with relatives or friends who don’t like dogs. This doesn’t have to be an impossible situation. Use a dog crate when you’re not home or when your family doesn’t want your dog underfoot. A portable kennel run can be set up in the yard for exercise and can be sold later when you have your own place and don’t need it anymore.

Don’t think you’re being unfair to your dog by moving into a smaller place than what he’s used to. Dogs are very adaptable, they can often adjust even faster than people. Where he lives isn’t as important to him as who he lives with. He wants to be with you and he doesn’t care where that is.

Not Enough Time for the Dog

“We don’t have enough time for the dog”…as a puppy, your dog took far more of your time than he does now. A pit bull doesn’t really take that much time – his requirements for grooming for example, are less than of many other breeds. Are you really that busy? Can other members of your family help care for the dog? Will getting rid of your pit bull really make your life less stressful? When they look closely at their lives, people often discover that the dog isn’t cramping their style as much as they think. A local student could also be hired at a nominal fee to walk with your dog in the afternoon, making the time you spend with your dog more enjoyable.

Having a Baby

If introduced correctly, there shouldn’t be any problems with your dog and the baby. Chances are that if you greet the dog in your usual manner when you return from the hospital, he/she will be okay. But, remember that the dog was here first and may react just like a first child would. Give him/her the same amount of love and affection that you did before the baby was born and you will be fine. Yes, there are precautions you’ll need to take when having a baby, but getting rid of the dog isn’t one of them. In fact, it is unfair to deny a child from growing up with a dog. There is no better way to teach a child how to be loving and compassionate.

Additional Information:

Allergies

There are things you can do and some wonderful products out there on the market which can aid in keeping you and your pet happy, healthy, and allergy free. Ask your local vet to show you what they keep in stock. There are Shampoos that reduce dander and clean the coat: Allerpet shampoo is very popular, dog and cat versions. There are sprays you can buy to spray on a towellette and wipe the dog, and wipes to use.

Giving your pet up for adoption could be a last option, not a physician’s first. Intense emotional issues surface when people are told to give up their pets, being especially traumatic when several children are involved and only one is allergic. Indicative of this is the extremely large number of persons who keep their pets in spite of being told to give them up. Estimates by allergists range from 75% to 90%. In selecting an allergist, especially if you already have cat or dog as a pet, look for a physician who will be sensitive to your feelings and do everything possible, within reason, to help you keep it.

Additional Information:

The Most Common Dog Problem:

Behavior Issues

If you got your dog as a puppy and he now has a behavior problem you can’t live with, you must accept the fact that you are at least partly responsible for the way your dog is now.

You have 4 options:

1. You can continue to live with your dog the way he is.

2. You can get help to correct the problem.

3. You can try to give your problem to someone else.

4. You can have the dog destroyed.

Obviously the first option is out or you wouldn’t be reading this page. You’re probably most interested in Option 3 so let’s talk frankly about that for a moment.

If you were looking for a dog and could select from all kinds of dogs and puppies, would you deliberately choose one with a behavior problem? No, certainly not – and neither would anyone else. To make your dog desirable to other people, you’re going to have to take some action to fix his problems.

Most behavior problems aren’t that hard to solve. We may be able to help you with them if you’ll give it a try. Don’t hesitate to write us a note, and one of our volunteers will be happy to give you some tips and/or referrals in order to help you resolve the problems you may have with your dog.

Think hard about Option 2 before deciding it won’t work for you – because the only option you have left is number 4: Having the dog destroyed. That’s the bottom line. If you, who know and love the dog best, won’t give him another chance, why should anyone else?

If Your Dog Has Ever Bitten A Person

If your dog is aggressive with people or has ever bitten anyone, you can’t, in good conscience, give him to anyone else. Could you live with yourself if that dog hurt another person, especially a child? Can you deal with the lawsuit that could result from it? You stand to lose your home and everything else you own. Lawsuits from dog bites are settling for millions of dollars in damages.

Our society today has zero tolerance for a dog with a bite history, no matter how minor. A dog that has bitten – whether or not it was his fault – is considered by law to be a dangerous dog. In some states, it’s illegal to sell or give away a biting dog. No insurance company will cover a family with a biting dog. And to be perfectly honest, no responsible person in his right mind would want to adopt a biting dog.

No matter how much you love your dog, if he has ever bitten anyone, you only have two responsible choices – take him to a professional trainer or behaviorist for evaluation and maybe the dog can be rehabilitated. This could be costly and time consuming but could be very rewarding. If this is not an option for you, take him to your veterinarian and have him humanely euthanized. Don’t leave him at a shelter where he might be frightened and confused and put other people at risk. Don’t try to place him as a “guard dog” where he might be neglected, abused or used for dog fighting.

As hard as it is to face, putting a potentially dangerous biting dog to sleep is often the only safe and responsible thing to do.

If after reading all this you still want to go along with the adoption, there are some important things you need to know:

The Reality of Pit Bull Adoption

Courtesy of Pit Bull Rescue Central: Do You Really Have To?

Adapted from “When You Can’t Keep Your Chow Chow” by Karen Privitello, Lisa Hrico & Barbara Malone