Adoption of an Aggressive Dog: When is it Time to Say Goodbye? (2023)

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Adoption of an Aggressive Dog: When is it Time to Say Goodbye? (1)

Saying goodbye to your dog is hard no matter the circumstances. In my family we had to say goodbye to one of our dogs because he was becoming more and more aggressive. This decision was not made lightly by us, but at the end of the day we knew it was the best thing for all of us.

After all, we didn't want our dog to react to your aggression and end up hurting someone. We thought it would be better to say goodbye to him in the hope that he finds a forever home where he feels more comfortable and less threatened.


  1. Our story with an aggressive dog
  2. What do aggressive dog trainers advise?
  3. How to give an aggressive dog a new home
  4. Where can you leave an aggressive dog?
  5. What to do with an aggressive dog that bites?
  6. Why did we decide to say goodbye?
  7. Just because you know it's okay doesn't make it any easier.
  8. Why was our dog aggressive?
  9. Aggressive Dog Rescue: How is Kopa today?
  10. Be proactive, not reactive
  11. What can you do in a similar situation?

Our story with an aggressive dog

We adopted Kopa, a 1 year old Treeing Walker Coonhound (TWC) in November 2017. It was definitely one of the happiest days of my husband and my life. We were looking for a sibling for Sally, our 4-year-old TWC mix, and we thought Kopa was a perfect fit.

We knew we would all need time to bond as a family, so we made sure to take lots of walks, take plenty of play time, and also take some time to snuggle up on the couch. That's what we did with Sally when we adopted her.refugio, and has proven to be an excellent companion.

Adoption of an Aggressive Dog: When is it Time to Say Goodbye? (2)

Unfortunately, the tie-in with Kopa didn't go as planned. She started growling at my husband Pat for unnecessary reasons. Pat would try to pet Kopa, ask him to sit down, or make room for Sally on the dog bed by gently moving Kopa, but he would grunt back.

(Video) When A Family Adopted This Old Dog, After 7 Months Somehow Knew It Was Time To Say Goodbye

Pat was understandably scared of Kopa. He is a large dog with an extremely dangerous bite. When Kopa growled, you could see the anger in his eyes, and we had the feeling that his growl would be followed shortly by a bite.

Kopa and Sally's relationship

Kopa was never aggressive towards Sally. Sally is a very dominant dog and Kopa was fine being submissive to her. He would let Kopa know when she crossed the line and he would accept it. The two always got along very well.More information on dog aggression.

What do aggressive dog trainers advise?

We talked to our dog trainer about Kopa's behavior and he told us that it is because we are not dominant enough and have shown him that we are the alpha. (Basically, we needed to be more like Sally.) She gave us some tips to correct this unwanted behavior and loaned us a muzzle to help us feel more comfortable during this training period.

Unfortunately, implementing these tips only seemed to make the situation worse. We feel powerless.

How to give an aggressive dog a new home

Adoption of an Aggressive Dog: When is it Time to Say Goodbye? (3)

Working from home means I can spend 24 hours a day with my dogs. They are my co-workers and they bring a lot of laughs on my trips to the "bebedouro". Their snores and spasms always warm my heart and I love the excitement they show when the end of the day comes. (They know the sound when I turn off my wireless keyboard and mouse and immediately jump up and down knowing it's dinner/game time.)

After three months of loving, adoring and caring for Kopa, the assault continued. We decided to help him find a new home. This was definitely one of the most difficult decisions we have ever faced. I was a complete mess. Kopa has earned a place in my heart faster than I thought possible.

Pat was a dog lover long before I was. Although most of the growling was directed at Pat, he was just as distraught as I was. Kopa has many beautiful qualities. Still, it's that small percentage of scary, unwanted behavior that keeps us from completely abandoning our vigilance.

When we adopted Kopa from the shelter, there was a condition that if we had to return him for any reason, we would bring him back to the same shelter. We agreed and decided that it would be better for everyone to deliver Kopa to the shelter.

Some may think that three months is not enough time to give a relationship a fair chance. However, we felt we had done our best and things continued to get worse. We put Kopa's needs above all else. We focused on training him and making sure he was getting enough food, exercise, and sleep. Sadly, none of that seemed to matter in the end.

Where can you leave an aggressive dog?

There are a few different options to consider when deciding what to do with an aggressive dog.

(Video) 7 Months After A Family Adopted This Old Dog, They Somehow Knew It Was Time To Say Goodbye

Contact the shelter or breeder you adopted from

The first stop we recommend is the shelter or kennel from which you adopted your dog. Many of them have provisions in the adoption process that say you should contact them first if a dog needs a new home (as was our adoption with Kopa).

Be completely transparent with the shelter or breeder about your dog's aggression. Some dogs can be trained, but need the attention of someone experienced in eliminating canine aggression. Taking care of other dogs can be dangerous, so you should take some precautions.

immortal havens

Some animal shelters do not accept aggressive dogs. Others may put them down if they threaten the lives of other dogs. Also, they may not have the resources to rehabilitate the dog. If that's the case, try to find an emergency shelter.

However, no-kill shelters are also not guaranteed because if the dog has a history of biting, it may be difficult to get accepted into the shelter.

Ask the pet experts

If all the animal shelters come forward to say they are unwilling to accept your aggressive dog, ask them about volunteers or animal professionals who may have the time, knowledge, and money to have the dog evaluated by a behaviorist. Depending on the trigger for the dog's aggression, it may be placed in a home that does not contain these triggers.

For example, if your dog is suffering from dog-on-dog aggression, a home with no other dogs may eliminate the problem. You should discuss all of this with your vet to determine the safest situation for your dog and any other animals or people they interact with.

What to do with an aggressive dog that bites?

There are a few things you can do about an aggressive dog that bites.

  1. Work with a trainer or behaviorist to eliminate or manage the problem.
  2. Sauté the dog with thissolutions listed above.
  3. Kill the dog when the aggression becomes dangerous for humans and animals.

Why did we decide to say goodbye?

As Kopa's growling became more frequent, we felt it was responsible to bring him back to the shelter where we adopted him. There were a few main reasons why we felt this was the best route for Kopa and for us.

We all need to feel safe at home.

Pat and I believe that it is important not to be afraid of our dogs and to make them feel loved and comfortable with their family. We felt that fearing Kopa would open the door for more growling or biting and ultimately give him undeserved pack leader status, leading to more trouble.

We also felt that we should all feel comfortable and safe at home and obviously we didn't feel that way and neither did Kopa as he was growling. It kept us from relaxing and enjoying the experience of being a family of two with two dogs.

(Video) 10 Critical Signs that Indicates Your Dog is Dying

We were always nervous and preparing for the next growl, and Kopa probably felt it. This was not a life we ​​wanted for our dog or for ourselves. Kopa deserves better.

Small children and aggressive dogs.

Another reason we decided to say goodbye to Kopa is that we were expecting a baby in August 2018. We have many young nieces and nephews and have always felt comfortable having Sally around. However, with Kopa, we stayed close to him when there were children around.

If innocent actions like stroking and moving Kopa slightly to make room for Sally make him growl, what can you say about a small child stepping on his paw, pulling his ear, or scaring him, wouldn't it elicit a more meaningful reaction? ?

We didn't feel like we could risk that. If Kopa hurt someone, we would feel completely responsible and terrible, especially a child.

We know there will be times in the future when our child will be left alone for a few seconds while we find a bottle, wash our hands, or do some other chore. In those cases, we wouldn't feel safe leaving Kopa alone with them.

Hoping to stop the growling before it escalates further.

One of the main reasons we decided to bring Kopa back to the shelter is because we didn't want him to bite anyone. If he bites someone, they are likely to be stripped naked and put to sleep.

In that case, we would be left with a huge debt for not taking action sooner to help Kopa improve. I personally would feel guilty for his death and couldn't live with it.

Also, someone could be seriously hurt or we could be sued.Responsibility. Those risks added up to far more than we were willing to handle in our home.

Just because you know it's okay doesn't make it any easier.

I hope you never have to make that decision. I hope that with every dog ​​you bring into your home, you form the kind of bond that we have with Sally. In my experience, saying goodbye to your perfectly healthy dog ​​is as difficult as dying from a dog.

I spent hours crying the night we made this difficult decision. I was so disappointed that it didn't work. I felt like I failed in Kopa. As if I hadn't worked hard enough to help him. We did everything we could think of to help him. We just weren't what he needed in a family.

(Video) Dog Returned 2 Days After Being Adopted | The Dodo Foster Diaries

We told close friends and family

We decided to update our closest friends and family. We knew that they were going to ask about Kopa and that it would be a complex issue to address. So we decided to update them via SMS because we were still so excited.

I think for the most part everyone was shocked. We do not share with anyone the problems we face in Kopa. At first, we hoped we could correct the behavior and we didn't want our friends and family to get a bad impression or fear of Kopa.

Our friends and family supported our decision and assured us that we are doing the right thing. It meant a lot to have your support since Pat and I felt so guilty.

Why was our dog aggressive?

We didn't know the full story of Kopa. We knew he was originally acquired as a bloodhound, but we didn't get to that fast enough. The owner wanted to kill him, but luckily a neighbor stepped in and took over. This neighbor tied him to a tree outside and brought him to the shelter because he barked a lot (I would bark too if I spent my life tied to a tree).

Kopa seemed to be the most aggressive towards Pat and my brother in law. Almost every time Kopa growled was when being petted. He had problems with men? Was the Kopa abused by a previous owner? All these thoughts went through our heads, but in the end we had no answers or solutions.

Aggressive Dog Rescue: How is Kopa today?

Adoption of an Aggressive Dog: When is it Time to Say Goodbye? (4)

We miss Kopa every day and adopting an aggressive dog we are concerned that he may not be adopted again. Fortunately, he was adopted in November 2018 after receiving training to help with his aggression. My husband and I were delighted to see his adoption go through and he found his forever home. We wish him many happy years with his family.

Be proactive, not reactive

If you are going through something similar, I encourage you to be proactive in dealing with the situation before things get worse. Growling is one thing, biting is another. Both are undesirable behaviors, howeverSnarlit may indicate that bites may occur in the near future. here are someTips to help your aggressive dog.

What can you do in a similar situation?

We were able to bring our dog back to the shelter where we originally adopted him. However, if this is not an option for you, we recommend speaking with a local rescue organization such as the ASPCA, Humane Society, or a local organization to discuss your situation and options.

Tagged with:assumption,Assault


What to do if you adopted an aggressive dog? ›

Stop the aggression from continuing or escalating. Stop what you were doing when the aggression happened. If you were petting your dog when they started growling, stop petting your dog. If your dog is barking at a stranger, move your dog away or tell the stranger to stop approaching your dog.

How do you say goodbye to your dog when rehoming? ›

Say goodbye.

Be happy that your dog will have a good new family. Hug the dog and be confident that you have done the right thing. Let the dog take its treats, toys, dog bed, and any other possessions you bought the dog to its new home so that it will make the transition a bit easier on your pup.

What happens if you surrender an aggressive dog? ›

Some shelters won't take aggressive dogs. Others may euthanize them if they threaten other dogs' lives. Additionally, they may not have the resources to rehab the dog. If this is the case, try to find a no-kill shelter.

Can aggression be trained out of a dog? ›

Is training an aggressive dog possible? Yes. Aggression in dogs, whether it be toward a dog's owner or other dogs, is a serious behavior that should be adjusted with the help of a professional dog trainer.

Can an aggressive dog be rehabilitated? ›

However, there's no guarantee that an aggressive dog can be completely cured. In many cases, the only solution is to manage the problem by limiting a dog's exposure to the situations, people or things that trigger her aggression. There's always risk when dealing with an aggressive dog.

Is it fair to rehome an aggressive dog? ›

Unless a behaviourist or someone like that is willing to take him on, you can't rehome him. For starters he's stressed now, in a familiar home and his family... removing him from that will not be better for him.

How long does it take for a dog to calm down after being adopted? ›

The Verdict. It is normal for it to take some time for rescue dogs to adjust to their new homes. You should expect it to be challenging for the first week or so. However, you'll start to see major progress after three weeks, and they will probably be fully settled in after three months.

How long does it take for an adopted dog to calm down? ›

Every Dog is an Individual

For fearful dogs or those stressed in the shelter environment, it could take a few weeks or months for them to start feeling comfortable. Robust puppies who are appropriately socialized with a reputable breeder might only take a few days.

How traumatic is it for a dog to change owners? ›

Changing owners can be so traumatic for dogs, says the American Kennel Club, that they can stop eating, lose weight, lose interest in physical activity, and exhibit symptoms of canine depression. That's why any decision to re-home dogs must be taken seriously.

Do dogs know they're being rehomed? ›

The answer to the question: Does my dog know I rescued him? is no. Dogs don't understand being rescued. They understand connections with people, though. Dogs remember the impact people have on them – either positive or negative.

Is rehoming a dog traumatic for the dog? ›

It is a heartbreaking situation, as being rehomed can exacerbate separation anxiety for a dog. Sometimes it is the only option. However, as long as a shelter or rescue is aware of the issue, they will do their best to find a foster or adopter who is able to both manage and address the separation anxiety.

How do you let an aggressive dog go? ›

Stay calm, and back away slowly. Instead of screaming, or yelling at the dog, speak to him in a soothing tone as you slowly back away. Don't make direct eye contact. Staring in the eyes of an aggressive dog may prompt him to attack.

What circumstances justify surrendering a dog? ›

Some common reasons why pet owners surrender a pet:
  • Loss of income.
  • Can't have the pet in a rental property.
  • Major residential move.
  • Serious illness.
  • Divorce.
  • Can't afford pet's medical expenses.
  • Behavior problems with the pet, like aggression or fear.
  • Too many pets at home.
Sep 18, 2019

Can you live with an aggressive dog? ›

Living with an aggressive dog requires constant vigilance and management. It is important that owners understand the liability they assume if they choose to work with their dog. Some facts of interest: There were 4.7 million dog bites reported in 2006 and almost 65% of those were children.

What triggers dogs to be aggressive? ›

Aggression in dogs can be due to guarding territory, resources, or a family member; fear; frustration; prey drive; or pain. In all of these situations, a dog may be pushed too far and can transition quickly from reactive, fearful, or guarding behaviors to being aggressive.

Does dog aggression get worse? ›

If your dog is showing any changes in their behaviour, especially if they have started showing aggression suddenly, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. Aggression tends to get worse over time and can lead to serious injuries to you, your dog or other people and pets so getting help is essential.

Is dog aggression genetic or learned? ›

The findings certainly indicate that there's a genetic component to a dog's propensity for aggression — but Professor Lohi emphasizes that environmental factors play a crucial role too, meaning that owners have the power to influence their dog's level of aggression.

How many bites before a dog is put down? ›

How Many Times Can A Dog Bite Before Being Put Down. In order to be euthanized, the dog must have bitten people on two separate occasions or caused substantial physical injury after being trained to fight, attack or kill.

Should aggressive dogs be euthanized or socialized? ›

It is not right to euthanize dogs because it is unfair due to equal rights, it is cruel to kill animals, and there are possibly better ways to treat dogs who bite people. Killing dogs for biting is considered an unfair punishment, and they should have the same rights as humans.… show more content…

Does dog aggression get worse with age? ›

Many older dogs show increased aggression, anxiety, or compulsive behaviors. These behaviors are aggravated by body inflammation, sensory changes, and cognitive decline.

What causes a dog to suddenly become aggressive? ›

Dog aggression can be related to fear, prey drive, socialization issues, and guarding territory, among other things. Most aggressive behavior in dogs stems from fear and anxiety, rather than the desire to hurt others. A certified animal behaviorist can help you safely deal with your dog's aggressive behavior.

What is the one bite rule dogs? ›

Under the one-bite rule, an owner is liable for an injury caused by their pet, and therefore required to pay damages to the victim, only if they knew (or should have known) that the pet was likely to cause that kind of injury.

Is getting bit by a dog traumatizing? ›

Experiencing a dog bite can be traumatic, with lasting impacts beyond just the physical injuries. Often, dog bite victims may experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being bitten, especially children.

Do all dogs that bite get put down? ›

Simply put, the choice is not yours. There is no law that allows a victim to request or demand that a dog be euthanized after an attack. Whether the dog is euthanized is a decision for the dog warden, health department, or police department in your city or county.


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