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When you have kids, the absolute last thing you want is to worry about an aggressive dog harming your child or anyone for that matter.

There is usually one of two situations you could find yourself in if your dog is behaving aggressively.

The first is if you had the dog and then bring home a baby, and the dog’s behavior changes. The second is when you adopt a new dog, and they just don’t seem well-suited to being in a home with children. Of course, you may have had no way of know that would be the case beforehand.

So what should you do? Should you rehome an aggressive dog, as heartbreaking as it might feel?

What are the Reasons Dogs are Rehomed?

While not necessarily right or wrong, some of the most common reasons dogs are given up or rehomed include:

  • Aggression
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Other behavioral concerns
  • The family is having financial issues or is moving
  • The dog isn’t a good fit for a family based on energy levels
  • The dog is too much work
  • There are health issues that a family can’t afford to treat

Of those problems, many have solutions, but aggression is one of the most challenging.

Rehoming Is Not Always the Right Choice

Rehoming is a stressful decision and not always the right one. If your dog is behaving aggressively with your family, it’s likely to do the same in a new home. That could be a risk to the new owners. Shelters often won’t take dogs that are known to be aggressive either.

Before you make the decision, the following are steps you can take.

Talk to a Vet

Talking to a vet can help you perhaps uncover options for dealing with an aggressive dog that you might not have considered.

For example, you may be surprised to find out that many dogs are aggressive because they’re experiencing pain or a health condition.

Consult with a Dog Behaviorist

A dog behaviorist can be a wonderful asset if you’re dealing with an aggressive dog. They can help you explore options such as medication and behavior modification programs.

When you’re choosing a dog behaviorist, you want one who is reputable. Many people might advertise their services as a behaviorist, but you want to check referrals and credentials.

When Might Rehoming Be an Option?

While rehoming isn’t often the best option, there is a scenario where it might be a good solution.

If your dog is only aggressive with your children, you might be able to rehome him with someone who doesn’t have children.

You should talk to a behaviorist or your vet and consider whether your dog might truly be happier in perhaps a less chaotic home where they can get a lot of attention.

Can You Rehabilitate an Aggressive Dog?

If you’re willing to put in the work, and you don’t think your dog is an immediate safety risk, rehabilitation may be possible.

You should try to find someone who specializes in working with aggressive dogs because a general dog trainer probably isn’t going to be able to deal with your dog as well.

As you’re working toward rehabilitation, keep your dog away from people and situations that trigger aggression.

When you decide between rehoming or rehabilitation, you need to look critically at your dog’s behavior history.

You should think about those situations that led your dog to behave aggressively.

The more you can understand your dog’s aggressive behavior, the better outcome you’re likely to get from behavior modification.

If your dog behaves aggressively and you don’t understand why or see patterns, behavior modification can be more challenging.

What Are Your Options If You Do Get Rid of Your Dog?

If you feel ultimately it’s best and safer for your family to get rid of your dog, first talk to friends and family who might want to take them.

This really is the best option because you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your dog is going to a good home.

You can also return a dog to the shelter or breeder where you got them.

There are some breed-specific rescues you might work with that do a good job of placing dogs in happy homes.

You can also take your dog to the shelter, but of course, for obvious reasons that should probably be your last choice. Many dogs who are aggressive and taken to shelters are euthanized.

It’s a tough all-around situation, but before you do anything, talk to a vet or behavioral expert and go from there.

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