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The Rescue Won’t Adopt to Me: Reasons for Denying Pet Adoption

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Adopting a pet is wonderful, but sometimes applications get declined. If your dog rescue won’t adopt a dog to you, this post should help.

Rescues carefully review applicants to ensure the best match for pets, and while the process isn’t perfect it is part of the process. Ethical rescues focus on finding the right fit for a lasting and happy relationship. However, there are many times when rescue adoption requirements are excessively stringent, too.

Both of us have fostered or have had Danes from rescue situations; we know well the challenges that rescue and rescue dogs often face.

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Common Reasons That a Rescue Won’t Adopt Out

If you are looking to adopt a Great Dane from a rescue, you may find that it’s not easy! Dog rescues often have strict requirements for adopters. Some of them are fair, some put a wrench in getting the pet adopted out.

While it’s important for rescues to be diligent about what applications they approve, it’s equally important that they don’t deny an animal a good home because they don’t like the training method used or type of fencing.

Here are some common reasons rescues decline adoption applications:

  • The applicant doesn’t have giant breed experience
  • Their fencing doesn’t meet the specifications
  • Young children live in the house
  • The applicant is not willing to crate-train
  • The rescue doesn’t allow electric fences, E-Collars, or Prong Collars
  • There are no verifiable veterinary records, or the records are negative
  • Veterinary records show the applicant has not kept their other pets up to date on vaccines or flea/tick prevention
  • Other pets in the house are not spayed or neutered
  • It’s clear that the applicant has a history of abusing or surrendering animals
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Must-Have a Fenced Yard

This is a common rescue restriction and perhaps the most frustrating. 

Many people looking to adopt a Great Dane have an electric fence or several acres. 

Several acres sound amazing for a dog, and it is, but not if the dog (who may already have a history of running as a stray) decides to run, and run, and run some more. Especially in a new home lacking a relationship and routine with the new owner. 

That’s understandable, however, some rescues will not adopt dogs to families that use an electric boundary fence. Given how many pets need wonderful homes, this is one place we do wish they would be a little more understanding.

An electric fence is a good solution in many cases. For dogs that DO jump physical fences, it’s practically necessary.

Small Children in the Home

Giant breed dogs can be wonderful with children, but they can also be afraid of them, knock them over, or play too rough. 

The last thing a rescue wants is a Dane returned to them because he jumped and knocked over a 4-year-old! 

Unfortunately, many people also do not properly teach their children how to interact with dogs.

The dog may tolerate being sat on, poked, and teased for a short while. However, when they reach the end of their fuse and growl, nip, or bite the dog ends up in rescue again, only this time with a bite history. 

If you have young children, consider first if a giant breed dog is the best choice for your home. If you are committed to it and to adopting, be upfront and honest with the rescue!

Tell them what you know, how you plan to manage the environment, how you plan to train the dog, and how you teach your children to interact with the dog. 

Unwilling to Crate Train

Crate training is not cruel. Great Danes can grow to love their crates because it becomes their quiet, safe place. Not only that, a crate-trained Dane cannot eat something dangerous or destroy the couch (and be returned to the rescue as a result). 

If you are resistant to crate training, why? 

It doesn’t matter how much you think you know about training, or how well-trained your last dog was, attending a training class with your new rescue Dane is a valuable opportunity to bond. 

We recommend everybody take training classes, especially rescue dogs! Classes are fun, can help you become a better dog owner and trainer, and teach your dog to focus on you despite distractions. 

Veterinary References

If you don’t have a history of taking care of your dogs, Great Dane rescues are going to be cautious about placing a dog in your home. 

Their goal is to STOP abuse and neglect. They want to see that you have taken great care of your past dogs. 

If you are new to owning a dog, find a vet and show the rescue that you’ve already spoken with them and begun a relationship. 

Vaccines & Preventatives

Great Dane rescues spend a TON of money treating heartworms in the dogs that come into their care. 

It’s expensive and heartbreaking (literally). They don’t want to place dogs in homes that don’t take those things seriously. 

In areas of the Country where heartworms are particularly bad, many rescues require that your existing and past dogs have been kept up to date on preventatives. A veterinary reference can go a long way here! 

If you are unsure about using veterinary prevention, we wrote on this topic to clear up your concerns.

Existing Pets Must Be Spayed/Neutered

We are big believers in waiting to spay and neuter Great Danes until their growth plates are closed (age 2+), so we understand how frustrating this particular restriction can be. 

However, too many people breed dogs for fun and money, and this is one way they make sure they never send a Great Dane to an irresponsible breeder’s home. 

If you have no intention of breeding and have a solid reference from your veterinarian, it may be worth sharing that. 

No History of Abuse

This one seems obvious, but it needs to be said. If you’ve surrendered a Great Dane before for nearly any reason, you are going to have a very difficult time adopting. 

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Be Patient

If a rescue won’t place a dog with you, that doesn’t mean that you should run out and purchase a dog from the first breeder you find on Craigslist. 

Unethical breeders are the reason why so many Danes end up needing rescue in the first place, so make sure you aren’t contributing to the problem. 

Ethical breeders are also going to be exceptionally picky about buyers but may have fewer restrictions about spaying/neutering, fencing, and children. 

Sometimes it helps to volunteer for the rescue and sign up as a foster! They are more likely to place dogs with owners that they know well. 

If you have giant breed or Dane experience, you KNOW all of this and they know it won’t likely be the reason you return a dog to them. If you want to adopt but have never had a giant breed, try these things:

1. Volunteer with the rescue to help out at adoption events, take photos, write bios, etc.

2. Write a short essay about what you’ve learned about giant breed dogs. Share what you know and prove to them that you have fully researched this! Tell them WHY you are interested in Great Danes, adoption and living with a giant breed dog

Are you ready to adopt a Great Dane? 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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