Not that long ago, you were thrilled to have a Coonhound of your very own. You never
dreamed you'd have to give him up someday. Even if you can't keep him any more, your dog
still depends on you to do what's best for him, just like he depended on you when you first
got him. Now, more than ever, he needs you to make the right choices for his future.
Throughout this booklet, we're going to be direct and honest with you. Your dog is
your responsibility. He has no one else but you to look out for his interests. It'll
take effort, patience and persistence to find him the right home. He deserves your best
Step 1. Soul Searching
Do you really have to give up your Coonhound? 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
The Most Common People Problems:
"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 easily. See the
end of this article for suggestions that might help you find an apartment and still keep
"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 Coonhound doesn't really take that much time -
his requirements for attention are often less than of many other breeds. Grooming requirements
take less than an hour a week. Are you really that busy? Can other members of your family help
care for the dog? Will getting rid of your Coonhound 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.
The Most Common Dog Problem:
Behavior problems.........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 booklet. 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 chooose 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 can help you with them if you'll
give it a try. 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? Think about that.
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...IF YOUR DOG HAS EVER BITTEN ANYONE...
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 one
responsible choice - take him to your veterinarian and have him humanely put to sleep.
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 dogfighting.
As hard as it is to face, putting a potentially dangerous, biting dog to sleep is
the only safe and responsible thing to do. It's the right thing to do.
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Step 2. Call your dog's breeder.
Before you do anything else, call the person you got your dog from and ask for help.
Even if several years have passed, responsible breeders care about the puppies they sold
and will want to help you find a new home. They may even take the dog back. At the very
least, they deserve to know what you intend to do with the Coonhound and what will happen to
it. If you can't remember the breeder's name, look on your dog's registration papers. In the
event the breeder has moved and you cannot contact them, the
ABTCC may be familiar with the name of the breeder and
be able to help you contact them. If
you got your dog from an animal shelter or rescue service, read the adoption contract you
signed when you adopted him. You may be required by the contract to return the dog to that
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To successfully find a new home, you need to be realistic about your dog's adoption
potential. Let's be honest: most people don't want "used" dogs, especially if
they have health or behavior problems. Your dog will have the best chance if he's less
than 4 years old, is healthy, friendly to strangers, obeys commands and adapts quickly to
new situations. Look at your dog as if you were meeting him for the first time. What kind
of impression would he make? Would you want to adopt him?
You already know that Coonhounds are special dogs for special people. Those special people
can be hard to find. Many people interested in Coonhounds today have never had one before. A
lot of people have a hard time understanding that Coonhounds were bred to work independely of
a handler. This means that it can be a challenge, and requires a good sense of humor to train
a Coonhound. Many people think independence means stupid and untrainable--neither of which is
What kind of home do you want for your Coonhound? A large fenced yard? Another dog to play
with? Children? No children? Make a list of what you feel is most important for your dog.
Then get real. No home will be perfect, of course, so you'll have to make compromises.
What kind of people are you looking for? What will you be willing to compromise on? Once
you have a firm idea of what you're looking for, it will be easier to plan your search and
get the results you want.
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Your dog will be much more appealing if he's clean, well-groomed and healthy.
First, take him to the vet for a check up. He'll need a heartworm test, a DHLP and a
rabies vaccination if he hasn't one within the last 6 months. Be sure to tell the vet
about any behavior problems so he can rule out physical causes.
If your dog isn't spayed or neutered, do it now! Don't waste your time
trying to sell your dog as "breeding stock" even if he's AKC-registered.
Frankly, no reputable Coonhound breeder will want him unless he came from a well known
show dog fancier in the first place. The only kind of "breeder" who'll be
interested in your dog will be a puppyfarmer or a dog broker. Brokers seek out unaltered
purebreds for resale to puppymills or research laboratories. That's not the kind of future
you want for your dog.
Spaying or neutering guarantees that your dog won't end up in a puppymill.
It's the best way to insure that your dog will be adopted by a family who wants him only
as a best friend and member of the family. If you can't afford the cost of surgery, check
with your vet, local shelter or rescue group for information about low-cost spay and
neuter programs that are available in some parts of the country. Having your dog neutered
or spayed is the best going away present you can give him. It may save his life! Give your
dog a brighter future - make the appointment today!!
If your dog has never been tattooed or microchipped, this is a great time to do
it. It's not unusual for newly adopted dogs to get loose and become lost. A
permanent ID will help your dog get back to you or his new owners.
Groom your dog. You want your dog to look beautiful and make a good
impression. He needs to be clean and well-dressed! Give him a bath, trim his nails, and clean
his ears. If you can't do these things yourself,
take him to a groomer. Get rid of his old rusty choke chain and buy a nice, new, strong
collar and lead.
Set a reasonable adoption fee. The key word is "reasonable".
You can't expect the new owner to pay you anywhere near the same price for a
"used" dog as they would for a shiny new puppy. A reasonable range might be
between $100-150, enough to help offset your advertising and veterinary costs.
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Word of mouth doesn't go very far. Don't be afraid to use classified ads to
advertise your dog. Done right, it's the most effective way to reach the largest
number of people. It's easy to write a good ad that will weed out poor adoption prospects
Your ad should give a short description of your dog, his needs, your requirements for a
home and of course, your phone number. The description should include his breed, color,
sex, the fact that he's neutered and an indication of his age. Hints: if your dog is less
than 2 years old, state his age in months so he'll be perceived as the young dog he is. If
he's over three, just say that he's an "adult".
Emphasize your dog's good points: Is he friendly? Housebroken?
Well-mannered? Loves kids? Does he do tricks? Has he had any training? Don't keep it a
secret but don't exaggerate either. Knowing his name doesn't make him
Be leary of people who want the dog to hunt: While TRUE hunters value their dogs
as something more than a tool and usually take care of
their dogs, there are people out there that simply want the dog to hunt THIS season and will leave your
dog on the side of the road if it does not hunt or will discard the dog at the end of hunting season.
A dog who has been a housepet is unlikely to be a satisfactory hunting prospect. Many
of the Black and Tan Coonhounds that are taken into rescue are the discarded dogs at the end of hunting
State any definite requirements you might have for his new home: Fenced yard, no cats,
kids over 10, whatever. Try to say these in a positive way - for example, saying
"Kids over 10" sounds better than "No kids under 10". If your Coonhound
doesn't like other pets, say "should be only pet" rather than "doesn't like
Always state that references are required. This tells people that you're
being selective and that you're not going to give your dog to just anybody. This statement
will do a lot to keep people with bad intentions from dialing your number.
Never include the phrase "free to good home" in your ad even if
you're not planning to charge a fee. If possible, don't put in any reference to a price at
all. The chance at a "free" dog will bring lots of calls, but most of them won't
be the kind of people you're looking for and many of them will be people you'd rather not
talk to at all.
Your ad should look something like this:
"Black and Tan Coonhound: Beautiful, young adult male, neutered. Friendly, housebroken,
well-behaved. Best with children over 10. Fenced yard, references required. Karen 555-1234"
Along with your local newspaper, advertise in all major papers within an hour and a
half's drive. Schedule your ad so that it appears in Sunday's paper - the issue that's the
most well-read and widely circulated. If your budget is very limited, choose to run your
ad only on Sundays rather than throughout the week. Nearly every community also has small,
weekly "budget-shopper" newspapers that offer inexpensive classified ads. Take
advantage of them!
Don't be discouraged if your phone isn't ringing right away. Most people give up
too soon. It can take a month or more to find a new home, so plan on advertising
for several weeks. Put a phone number in the ad where you can be easily reached or use an
answering machine. People can't call you if no one's home to answer the phone.
Newspapers are just one way to advertise. Take a good cute photo of your
dog and have copies made. Duplicating photos can be done for as little as a quarter each
at most photo shops. Make an attractive flyer on colored paper that you can have copied
for a few cents each. Attach the cute photo of your dog. Your flyer doesn't have to be
expensive, professional or computerized, just neat and eyecatching. Since you're not
paying for words, you can write more about your dog than you could in a newspaper ad. Be
Post your flyers at grocery stores, department stores, vets' offices, pet supply
stores, grooming shops, factories, malls, etc. - anywhere you can find a public bulletin
board. If you have friends in a nearby city, mail them a supply of flyers and ask them to
post them for you.
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"First come, first served" does not apply here. You are under no obligation
to give your dog to the first person who says he wants it. You have every right to ask
questions and choose the person you think will make the best new owner. Don't let anyone
rush you or intimidate you.
To help you along, we've included a list of questions that we ask our callers. Make
copies of this list and fill in their answers as you speak to your callers. If you like,
you can also mail the application for your callers to fill out and return to you. Get out
the list you made with your requirements for a new home and compare it to the answers the
First of all, get your caller's name, address and phone number. Deceitful
people may call you from a phone booth or give you a fake address. Ask for information
that you can verify.
Does the caller's family know about and approve of their plans to get a dog?
If not, suggest they talk it over with their spouse and call you back. The same applies to
people living with a companion or roommate. When one person adopts a dog without the full
approval of the rest of the family, the adoption often fails.
Do they own or rent their home? If renting, does their landlord approve?
You'd be surprised how many people haven't checked with their landlord before calling you.
If you have doubts, ask for the landlord's name and number, then call him yourself. Be
cautious about renters - they're quicker to move than people who own their homes and
movers often leave their pets behind. Remember, you're looking for a permanent home
for your dog.
Does the caller have children? How many and how old are they? If your dog
isn't good with kids, say so up front. How many children can make a difference depending
on your dog's personality. A shy dog may not be able to cope with several children and
their friends. Very young children may not be old enough to treat the dog properly. If the
callers don't have children, ask them if they're thinking of having any in the near
future. Many people get rid of their dogs when they start a family.
Have they had dogs, especially Coonhounds, before? If yes, how long did they keep
them? What was the reason they got rid of it?
These are very important questions! How they treated the pets they've had in the past
will tell you how they might treat your dog. The following answers should raise a red flag
and make you suspicious:
"We gave him away when we moved." Unless they had to because of
unavoidable problems, moving is a poor excuse for giving up a pet. Almost everyone can
find a place that will allow dogs if they try hard enough. If they gave up their last dog
that easily, there's a good chance they'll give yours up someday, too.
"We gave him away because he had behavior problems." Most
behavior problems - poor housebreaking, chewing, barking, digging, running away - result
from a lack of training and attention. If the caller wasn't willing to solve the problems
he had with his last dog, he probably won't try very hard with your dog either.
"Oh, we've had lots of dogs!" Watch out for people who've had
several different dogs in just a few years' time. They may never kept any of them for very
Do they have pets now? What kinds? Obviously, if your dog isn't good with
cats or other animals and your caller has them, the adoption's not going to work out. Be
up front. Better to turn people away now than have to take the dog back later. The sex of
their other dogs can be an important consideration. Dog fights can be serious problems.
Do they have a yard? Is it fenced? Your dog will need daily exercise.
Without a yard, how will he get it? Can the caller provide it with regular walks? If the
yard isn't fenced, ask how he plans to keep the dog from leaving his property? Did the
caller's last dog wander off or get hit by a car? If so, how will he keep this from
happening to his next dog? Does he understand that our independent Coonhounds will wander off
if left unsupervised? That they have a mind of their own and don't like to come when
Where will the dog spend most of its time? Although most Coonhounds love to be
outside, a whole life outdoors probably isn't what you have in mind for
your dog. Dogs always kept outside are sometimes neglected, lonely and may develop
Why is the caller interested in a Coonhound? What do they like about them? Find
out what kind of dog "personality" they're looking for. Many people are
attracted to the Coonhound's beauty but don't know anything else about them. They might not
have the slightest idea what a Coonhound is all about and might not like its temperament
and characteristics. If their expectations don't match your dog's disposition, the
adoption's not going to work. Be honest about our breed's good and bad points. Is a Coonhound
really what they're looking for or would they do better with another breed?
References: Get the phone number of their vet (if they've had pets
before) and two other personal references. Call those references! Explain that John Doe is
interested in adopting your dog and you want to make sure he'll give it a good home. Ask
the vet whether former pets were given regular medical care, annual vaccinations and
heartworm preventative. Were they in good condition and well-groomed? How long have they
known this person? If they were placing a pet, would they feel comfortable giving it to
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Once you've chosen a family (or families) that you feel are good candidates, make an
appointment for them to see the dog. You should actually set two appointments: one at your
house and one at theirs. Going to their house lets you see whether their home and yard are
truly what they said they are and whether your dog will do well there. It also gives you
an opportunity to call off the adoption and take the dog back home with you if things
aren't as represented, if you think there'll be problems or if you just get a bad feeling
about the whole thing.
If they already have a dog, make plans to introduce the dogs on "neutral"
territory, like a park. Most dogs resent meeting a strange dog at home. They may be
hostile toward the new dog or even start a fight.
If the family has children, ask them to bring them to the interview. You need to see
how the dog will react to them and how the children treat the dog. Some allowance should
be made for kids' natural enthusiasm but if these children are undisciplined,
disrespectful to your dog and not kept in hand by their parents, your dog could be
mistreated in its new home and someone could get bitten.
Do you like these people? Are you comfortable having them as guests in
your home? Would they make good friends? If not, don't give them your dog. Trust your
instincts. If something about them doesn't seem quite right, even if you can't explain
what it is, don't take a chance on your dog's future. Wait for another family!
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After the interviews are over, give the new family a day or two to decide if they
really want to adopt your dog. Make sure they have a chance to think over the commitment
they're making. While they're deciding, get a package ready to send along with your dog.
This package should include:
- your dog's medical records and the name, address & phone number of your vet.
- your name, address & phone (new address if you're moving)
- your dog's toys and belongings (dog bed, blanket, etc.),
- an old tee shirt that you have slept in for a couple of nights
(your dog will still have something with your scent on it
and may help your dog adjust to his new family without feeliing
- a supply of dog food &
special treats he loves
- an instruction sheet on feeding, special needs, etc.; some reading material about the
- collar and leash; ID and rabies tags
Set aside a special time for you and your dog to take a last walk together and say
goodbye. We know you'll cry. Do it now, in private, so you're clear headed when he has to
leave. He may be confused about being left with strangers and you won't want your emotions
to upset him even more.
There are some things you need to explain to the new family before they take your
dog home: The dog will go through an adjustment period as he gets to know his new
people, learns new rules and mourns the loss of his old family. Most dogs adjust within a
few days, but others may take longer. During this time, they should avoid forcing the dog
to do anything stressful - taking a bath, obedience training classes, meeting too many
strangers at once, etc. - until he's had a chance to settle in. Tell them take things easy
at first and give the dog time to bond to them. The dog might not eat for the first day or
two. Not to worry - he'll eat when he's ready. Some dogs temporarily forget their
training. A well-housebroken dog may have an accident during the first day in his new
home. This isn't unusual and rarely happens more than once.
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Have the new owner sign an adoption contract with a waiver of liability.
We've included a sample contract you can use. Keep a copy for your records. A contract
will help to protect the dog and the waiver of liability helps to protect you. You
don't have a crystal ball to predict what your dog might do in the future. Remember - a
waiver of liability will not protect you if you have lied or misrepresented the dog
to his new owners.
Tell the family they should call you if the adoption doesn't work out.
Let them know you want to keep in touch and will call them in a few days to see how things
are going. Tell them to call you if they have questions or problems. Be willing to take
the dog back home if things don't work out the way you both expected.
Make sure they have the American Black and Tan Coonhound Rescue web address
We're always there to give advice and answer questions.
SAMPLE ADOPTION CONTRACT:
Former Owner's Name: _____________________________
Dog's Name: ________________ Breed: _____________ Age:________ Sex:____ Color:______
Date of last Vet Check-up_________ DHLP_______ Rabies______
Next vaccinations & Heartworm check will be needed:_____________
To the best of my (former owner) knowledge, this dog has no defects that would make it
unsuitable as a family pet. I certify that this dog has never bitten or injured anyone.
I (adopter) understand and agree to the following terms of this contract and understand
that non- compliance with the terms of this agreement gives the adopting agent/former
owner the right to reclaim this dog without refund of adoption fee.
- an adoption fee of $_________ will be collected at the time of adoption.
- This dog shall be kept and cared for as a family pet in a humane manner and given
appropriate shelter and medical care for the duration of its life.
- I agree to abide by all state and local animal control and leash laws. I understand it
is my responsibility to become familiar with these laws.
- I understand that ________( former owner/agent) ______makes no guarantees or warranties
regarding the health or temperament of this dog. I agree to adopt this dog and to be
solely responsible for this animal and any damages that may result from its actions.
___________ (former owner/agent) _____ shall not be held liable for the behavior of this
dog or any damages it may cause. I understand that this a binding contract enforceable by
Date of adoption: _____________________
Former Owner's Signature
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Moving is the most common reason
why people give up their pets.
It doesn't have to be this way.
- 1. Most people give up too quickly in their search for rental property that accepts
pets. Don't be too quick to jump on the first apartment you see. There'll probably be a
better one available soon.
- 2. 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 co-workers to keep an eye open for you. Many apartments are rented
via word of mouth before they're ever advertised in the papers. Check out http://www.apartments.com!
- 3. 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
- 4. "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.
To 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 or Canine Good Citizen certificate if your dog has one.
- ...offer an additional security deposit or rental amount to be able to have a dog.
- ...bring references from your previous landlords and neighbors. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
With a little bit of soul searching, maybe you have decided that, with some work, you do not have
to give up your friend.
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However, if there is absoutely NO way to keep your beloved friend, follow these guidelines and you will
be more likely to find a good, loving, permanent home for your friend.