If you’ve found this blog post, it may be because you are thinking about rehoming your Great Dane.
There are legitimate reasons to need or want to do this; our goal here is not to judge but to help! If you are looking to find a new home for your Great Dane or are considering surrendering your Great Dane to a rescue, read on for ideas and need-to-know information.
CHECK WITH YOUR BREEDER & RESCUE FIRST
Sometimes the most simple solution is the one many tend to forget.
Depending on where your Great Dane originally came from, you need to check with your breeder or your rescue first.
Ethical breeders will always have a lifetime return guarantee. They never want to see a dog of theirs end up in rescue at any age, and will take the dog or help you find an appropriate home.
Most rescues are the same exact way. They would much prefer that you return the dog to them.
If your dog isn’t from a rescue or your breeder did not provide lifetime support and a full return guarantee, read on.
TRAINING & SIZE
One of the most common reasons for surrendering and rehoming Great Danes is because of training issues and their size (which exacerbates training and socialization issues).
If you need to rehome your Great Dane because of issues with training and socialization (including fear, nipping, guarding, lunging, leash or fence aggression and more) be honest with the people who will be taking your dog.
The rescue can provide training resources, the breeder will want to know, and a new home will be much more likely to keep the dog if they know what they are really getting.
It may be easier to find a new home for your Great Dane if you gloss over the fact that he tends to bolt out doors, mark furniture and nip children, but these things are extremely important for the new owners to be aware of.
If training issues are the reason that you need to rehome your Great Dane, that is ok.
Great Danes are not always the right fit for people, and poor breeding practices have led to a number of dogs with serious temperament problems.
It’s ok to acknowledge that you cannot help your dog or may not be the right home. We do however encourage you to consider first working with a highly qualified trainer.
Sometimes it really is just a matter of making tiny changes to your routine and training communications!
Many training issues can be fixed with the proper techniques, though some are dangerous or require a lot more time than many people can give. Be honest with yourself, with your trainer and with the people who may be taking your Dane.
BITES & AGGRESSION
Aggression and especially bites are serious. A bite can be anything from a little nip to a full on attack with puncture wounds or intent to kill.
Most aggression is based in fear and is typically provoked. Some common and preventable examples are a Dane that bites a child who tried to sit on him, or a Dane that bites another dog over a toy or bone (resource guarding).
Some aggression and bites are based in problems with neurology, training or even physical health.
Great Danes are NOT supposed to be aggressive in any way, so this is a serious fault of temperament (poor breeding practices), genetics, health and environment (training & socialization).
Be very honest with the breeder or rescue about this. What led to the bite? How severe was it?
For many dogs, especially in areas with crowded municipal shelters, a bite history can be a death sentence (even if the bite resulted from an unfair event). If your Great Dane has bit or shown aggressive tendencies, find a 501c3 rescue instead of surrendering to the shelter. Some rescues will not take aggressive Great Danes, but others are equipped to do so. Call around.
If your Dane is from a breeder, let them know about the aggression you’ve seen. Quality breeders don’t want to see aggression showing up in their lines and will want to address it.
HEALTH, TIME & SPACE
It’s also possible that you are wanting to rehome your Great Dane because of health issues or because you no longer have the financial means or housing to support such a giant dog.
If your breeder will not take the dog back, a 501c3 rescue is your best bet.
Keep in mind that health issues can strain budgets and resources; do what you can to help promote rescue and generate donations to them, especially if your Dane may require a lot of care, expense, and medical foster placement.
Trust the rescue to do the right thing for your dog.
PEER TO PEER REHOMING
After you’ve checked with your breeder and/or rescue, you may be looking to rehome your dog in a direct peer-to-peer situation.
Finding the right home for your Great Dane can help you feel better about the process of rehoming, but watch out!
Some people won’t have your Dane’s best interest at heart.
Think the same way a rescue does and be choosy and thorough.
We’ve included some guidelines and best practices below to consider when rehoming your Dane to another person.
If you are rehoming a dog that doesn’t have FULL lifetime breeder support, there is a big chance that your Dane (even with AKC papers) is not necessarily a good candidate for breeding.
Backyard breeders will look for rehoming posts of intact dogs (not spayed or neutered) so they can buy them for cheap or free and use them in their breeding program.
All this does is perpetuate the poor temperaments and health issues that put so many dogs into rescue in the first place.
Even if you are having to move and need to rehome a well-behaved, healthy and wonderful family dog your dog should NOT be bred.
Do NOT rehome your dog to somebody that would breed him or her.
We know of a very ‘popular’ backyard breeder in Missouri who runs a same-named rescue on the side. His ‘rescue’ uses rehomed dogs for breeding. This is an unacceptable practice and extremely shady to boot.
If you are rehoming peer-to-peer, spay or neuter your dog in advance OR require that they sign a spay/neuter contract where they agree to complete the procedure within a certain time frame.
CHARGE A REHOMING FEE
This isn’t about making money on your dog.
It’s about making sure you rehome your dog to somebody who is serious.
When a purebred dog is listed for ‘free’, lots of window shoppers (and backyard breeders) come along. Those are not often good homes for your dog.
If you are uncomfortable collecting this fee, ask the new owners to make a donation to your local Great Dane Rescue. Verify the donation with the rescue before placing your dog.
This fee is NOT about recouping costs you personally incurred while caring for the dog (training, surgery, transportation, breeder fees, registration fees, etc.). All of those are a loss.
At minimum, we recommend charging a $500 fee when rehoming your Great Dane.
Be choosy about the new owners, even if that means turning people down.
Be thoughtful about the type of home that would be a good fit for your dog.
Is your dog good with children?
Does your dog need somebody who is home a lot?
Does your dog need somebody with training experience and a really tall fence?
ASK QUESTIONS! The right home will be willing to answer and prove themselves.
REQUIRE A CONTRACT
We recommend at minimum a simple contract that protects both parties.In the contract, cover at least the following;
- Names & addresses.
- Description of the dog, including color, height & weight, AKC registration, age and breeder information.
- Information on if the dog has been spayed or neutered and had a gastropexy done.
- Spay or neuter requirements
- No breeding allowed.
- Information on where the dog must go if the new owner cannot keep it (will you take it back? Do you want them to surrender to a rescue?
- An outline of communication expectations. Do you want updates and photos? How often?
For the new owners, make sure that you also include:
- Previous veterinarian information & records (including vaccines).
- Microchip # and transfer information.
- Food, so that the dog can transition better instead of switching foods straight away.
If you have a pregnant Great Dane that you cannot keep or don’t know how to help, we highly recommend speaking with a Great Dane rescue. Many are willing to work with you to find homes for the puppies and make sure they are well cared for.
A NOTE FROM HELLO DANES
We believe that there is a time and a place to rehome Great Danes.
We encourage people not to judge each other; sometimes rehoming a dog to a more appropriate home and owner is the best thing for it.