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  • 1.  How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-04-2021 05:49 PM
    Hello,

    I'd love to know what strategies and things to be aware of when rehoming (either for adoption or foster) of a dog with a bite record? Especially if it's one time in specific situations with one person. 

    I'm looking for general strategies, but if you need any additional specific details, I'm happy to provide as well for a deeper case study.

    I'm thinking about what tends to be people's perceptions, and what to include in the initial information, and then how to speak with potential adopters about adopting with that behavior history. I'm looking at navigating being transparent and not downplaying the actual history or risk, but while not broadly demonizing the dog or situation.

    Thank you to all in advance for any insight or suggestions.

    #AdoptionsandAdoptionPrograms
    #Behavior,TrainingandEnrichment

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    Cindy Scherban
    Spirit Animal Project
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    #bitehistory
    #Rehoming
    ​​​


  • 2.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-05-2021 10:43 AM
    Hi there. One bite in a particular situation, especially if it's not severe, should not be a barrier to adopting the dog out. You'll just need to disclose the bite at the time of adoption but otherwise this should not be a huge issue. Hope this helps!

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    Kristen Hassen
    American Pets Alive!
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  • 3.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Maddie's Fund Staff
    Posted 08-05-2021 12:02 PM

    Thanks for sharing Kristen!

    I think it is also helpful to explain what the circumstances surrounding the bite were as well and if there are any tips to set the dog up for success in the next home.  

    I'm curious as to when other organizations share this information - is it on the description, before the adopter meets the dog, after the adopter meets the dog, etc?

    When I worked at the San Francisco SPCA, we started by telling the history to the interested clients immediately.  We were then piloted having the clients meet the animals first and then told the history - both medical and behavioral.  This had mixed results - some clients were upset that they had already met the animal and then gotten the full story.  They felt as if they had been "tricked".  Others did not care, appreciated the full information and then still adopted.  We were still piloting this when I left 4 years ago and full disclosure - I haven't volunteered or worked in adoptions since then, so I'm not sure how it worked out or what the current practice is.  I would love to hear what other groups are doing. 

    Does anyone offer behavior/training advice/help with the adoptions of dogs with bite history?

    Sorry for creating more questions than answers, but hopefully this continues the conversation.  Thanks everyone!
    #AdoptionsandAdoptionPrograms
    #Behavior,TrainingandEnrichment



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    Amber Eby
    Maddie's Fund
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  • 4.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-08-2021 06:38 AM
    Thanks, Amber, for your further questions. I'm also wondering the same. When it comes to speaking with potential adopters and fosters, and in the marketing material, when and how are people having the conversation around the history?


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    Cindy Scherban
    Spirit Animal Project
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  • 5.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-05-2021 01:08 PM
    Hi there-
    I think one of the most helpful first steps is to agree as an organization that dogs won't be lumped into categories as "bite dogs" but to view every situation individually and uniquely. It helps to talks about a bite in context of what was happening at the time, we have a training guide "Behavior terminology" that was developed to help our matchmakers at Austin Pets Alive talk about behavior/bites with potential adopters. Hope it helps! https://americanpetsalive.org/resources/behavioral-terminology

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    Clare Callison
    American Pets Alive
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  • 6.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-08-2021 06:36 AM
    These are great comments and discussions. I definitely agree that it's more helpful to look at the individual dog and situation and the dynamic between the families. Thanks so much for providing the resource on terminology. The education and awareness goes a long way! Is this document something that can be shared freely, or amended, with reference back to the source?

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    Cindy Scherban
    Spirit Animal Project
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  • 7.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-10-2021 04:26 PM
    Hi Cindy- yes, you can share freely- thanks!

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    Clare Callison

    American Pets Alive
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  • 8.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-10-2021 09:48 AM

    Hi Cindy,

    This is a great question! My personal bias is to be very transparent and up-front from the get-go. At our shelter we have several different behavioral disclosures that we can attach to an adoption - they are essentially a waiver the adopter signs at the time of adoption stating we disclosed we were aware of that behavior concern. We have several that are general (resource guarding, dog-dog issues, etc.) and we can also customize them. Below their biography on their kennel card and on the website, we list all the behavioral disclosures that animal has. If the animal has a previous bite history, they get a custom disclosure explaining the circumstances of the bite, and we list "previous bite history" on their list of behavioral disclosures.

    We then discuss it during the adoption counsel - what happened, why it happened, how we recommend it be prevented, etc., Then at the time of the adoption they sign the disclosure stating we discussed it with them, and then they also get a copy.

    While we don't lead it with - meaning it's not the first thing we discuss or list on the website, we like to be as upfront and transparent as possible so that if a previous bite history is a deal breaker (could be personal preference, renter or home owner's insurance policies, rental rules, etc.) they don't feel swindled by getting attached and then finding out the deal breaker later.



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    Erin Wyse
    Denver Animal Protection
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  • 9.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-11-2021 09:10 AM
    Hi Cindy, 

    At Home To Home, we recommend sharing factual information in the post. **Just as you would do inside the shelter.** Lead with the positive and share the challenges. Some people will be happy to adopt from the owner because they feel they understand the breed. We want to ensure the owners are transparent. We also recommend organizations that have the capacity to provide supportive services add this information to the pet profile. Such as medical or training support. If you feel the bite is severe enough that the best outcome for the pet or community is to intake the pet, we also encourage orgs. to do this. Keep pets that don't need our intervention out of the shelter and welcome the ones who need our help into the facility. 

    Hope this helps, 
    Mandy

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    Mandy Evans
    Better Together Animal Alliance
    2082657297
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  • 10.  RE: How to rehome a dog with a bite record?

    Posted 08-12-2021 01:11 PM
    Hey Cindy, 

    I have some documents that our organization created that are helpful in disclosing all information we have on a dog's bite history and also provides a section to provide context around the circumstances of the bite if this information is known. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at Aaron.Caldwell@americanpetsalive.org if you are interested in these documents. I would also love to meet with you in the coming week to discuss this matter further. I hope this message finds you well and to hear from you soon.

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    Aaron Caldwell
    American Pets Alive
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