USDA Today

The Impact of Rehoming

In 2012, when I first went to work with the USDA Animal Care, I would visit breeders throughout the country, and I would ask them what they did to rehome the dogs when they were done breeding. You would be amazed at how little rehoming was being done. I would ask the question why these dogs were not rehomed?

Written by: Patrick Keith 


One reason I heard over and over was that the animal rights groups like PETA, HSUS and ASPCA would bash the breeders, use the rehoming as a fundraising tool. etc. Dog breeding by anyone, commercial breeders, hobby breeders, backyard breeders etc. has evolved over time. Best practices utilized today produce healthy dogs. Breeding dogs are genetically tested more often than not. OFA testing has surpassed the 20 million mark. It is exciting to think how much change has occurred in the last 10 years. 

While the breeders strive everyday to improve and embrace the best practices of breeding, animal rights groups do not want people to change their opinions of breeders. They recycle the photos and continue to push the negative narrative. It seems that everything that could be done to discourage rehoming was done whether by intention or by unintended consequences by the animal rights groups. However, that hasn’t stopped a lot of breeding organizations. The breeder groups now have rehoming committees, agreements with 3rd parties to ensure positive placement for good and forever homes. 

I have a rehomed dog; I’ve had her for a year now. I got her so I could explore what it is like to be on the other side of rehoming and what the recipient of a breeding dog goes through when they take home a breeding dog that is being retired. 

I have documented either through notes, photos, and videos of what my dog and I have been experiencing. I can tell you for me and Chili, it has been a wonderful experience with some bumps and costs along the way. Start with socializing. Chili has a great personality, but she had no skills, she could not be led on leash, and she absolutely does not like loud noises. She is an introverted animal that likes to sneak off when we have guests. What was great was she didn’t have any medical issues. I had the new Vet run all the tests and exams to make sure she was healthy. She was 3.5 years old and had Class 2 teeth. She was comfortable around other dogs and had no aggression with people or other animals.

Chili was used to going outside when it came time to do “her business”, but now that she had a whole house, she thought she could go anywhere. We had to do the entire housebreaking training process from the beginning. This was a challenge and expensive, and it’s still not 100%, but we are getting there.

I had to pay for her spaying, so for me, I was able to use a Lowcost clinic, and it cost me around $50 with no complications. I took her to be boarded one day and watched her on camera, and over the 24-hour period she paced and paced. This meant that I had to socialize her myself. Today, Chili takes her daily walks on a leash/harness, she rides in cars with no issues, takes her share of our bed every night, goes to stores, boating, road trips (10 states so far) and she lives her best life with us and Oliver, the dog we purchased from the reputable professional breeders at Puppy Playland, a wonderful breeder from northern Indiana.

These groups and people you just give your breeding dogs to, just might post online, how they “Rescued this dog from an Amish breeder, or this horrible commercial breeder” They will tell a story of how miserable the dog’s condition was and that the dog was in terrible shape until they came along and saved it. Then as sure as the sun comes up, they post that someone who will care for and wants to save this dog can do so for a small Rehoming fee of $500 or whatever. While this is not always the case, you need to do “due diligence” and make sure they are not behaving this way. 

If you are a responsible dog owner or breeders there should never ever be a reason to even say the word rescue when it comes to your dogs. If you own a dog that needs to be rescued, then really you should not ever own another dog in your life.


beautiful fun blond girl and corgi fluffy  sit on the lawn

Animal rescue is a broad term that refers to any effort to save animals from cruelty and abuse. An animal rescue operation, whether law enforcement or civilian, identifies animal cruelty, recovers animals from substandard conditions, and makes every effort to give those animals better lives. 

Retiring a breeding dog should never be considered rescuing, it should be planned from the first day you decide to breed a litter. Your Attending Vet (AV) should have a plan based on things like health of the mom, her age, number of litters, etc. This plan might change with time, but it should never be changed without the opinion of your AV being considered. 

I am a person that does not want a puppy. I am sure that plenty of people want a companion dog that is well socialized, housebroken and spay/neutered, and are willing to pay for it. I know breeders who have waiting lists for their breeding dogs and the buyers pay a nice fee, which offsets your costs and time. Husbandry is very much like the Golden Rule. It’s a rule, not a suggestion. There are no valid reasons to NOT practice the “Best Practices” of animal husbandry, there is no reason to have your dogs rescued. 

If you turn your breeding females over to a “Rescue” that implies that you raised your dogs in an environment that has animal cruelty and substandard conditions. My point is that words matter. Professional Breeders need to consider this. If you give your dogs to a “Rescue”, what are they rescuing your dog from? Just like “Puppy Mill” is an overused and derogatory term that does not remotely apply the majority of today’s USDA Licensed Professional Breeders. Rehoming is not rescuing; rehoming is a new phase of life for a dog that has served and provided for you and your family for years.

This article was written by Patrick Keith, a former USDA Compliance Specialist. For any questions regarding USDA compliance, you can contact Pat with Innovative Compliance and Coaching at 317-938-7600

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