Owner Surrender

Surrendering a dog is a stressful and sad event for everyone involved. Owners feel they must give up their pets for a variety of reasons:



  •    Allergies
  •    New baby
  •    Moving
  •    Behavioural issues
  •    Medical issues (in dog or human)
  •    Loss of income
  •    Lack of time



At Ottawa Dog Rescue, our ultimate goal would be to see the dog remain in their home as cherished family members, but we understand that in many cases, there just isn’t a workable solution.  We do ask that before you surrender your pet, you take some time to consider the alternatives. If, after reading through our suggestions you still feel you must rehome your dog, the owner surrender form can be found at the bottom of the page.

Spay/Neuter/Vet Check

Are you considering surrendering your male dog because he is urinating everywhere, getting picked-up by Bylaw Services for wandering, and/or behaving aggressively to other animals? Is your female not great with other dogs? If this sounds familiar, consider spaying/neutering your pet. Dominant behaviour in males can be caused by testosterone and females can become aggressive when guarding their litter. Sometimes this is enough to fix the problem, but how well this works may depend on whether your dog has already developed a habit of aggression.

Consulting a dog behavior specialist with experience in working with problems related to aggression can show you positive ways to help your dog learn to feel less anxious and curb the aggressive response.

You should also see a veterinarian to check for medical causes, for aggressive behavior such as pain or disorientation.

Dogs also urinate around the house when there is a problem.  Did anything in the environment change? Is there more stress or commotion than usual? Did the behaviour come on suddenly? Training and time can help in these circumstances.

Did the marking behaviour start out of the blue one day? Your dog could be suffering from a urinary infection, or other medical reason for the accidents, and a visit to the vet and some medication sometimes is all that is needed to solve the problem, or is at least a first step in managing it.


Have you taken the time to teach your pet how to behave appropriately in the world? Teaching your dog the top 5 basic commands (sit, stay, come, down, heel) allows you to control your dog’s behaviour in just about all situations. Crate training helps with house-breaking and gives both you and the dog a secure place to go to when you both need a break. If you think you could use more help, contact a professional animal trainer, the investment in your dog will be worth it!

Kids and Dogs

Kids and dogs aren’t automatically going to know how to get along; it’s up to parents to make sure the relationship goes well.

It’s important to teach your children how to handle dogs or puppies, they are, after all, still animals and often can react instinctively. Show your children how to pet gently and make sure they don’t pull the dog’s tail or ears.  Kids (and adults) like to hug dogs, but dogs don’t like to be hugged; they can find it intimidating. Staring into a dog’s eyes is the same, so teach your children not to do it.

Teach your dog how to behave around your kids. Taking an obedience class with your dog will help you learn commands you can use when your dog and kids are together. If your children are old enough to help in the training, that’s even better!

Young kids should let adults be responsible for taking toys away from dogs, and should leave dogs alone when they’re eating or having a chew session.

Help your dog to be calm when kids are around by rewarding them for calm behavior: sitting, lying down, chewing on their own toys or hanging out on their own bed. Adult members of the family should avoid rough play with the dog, because the dog may be tempted to play in the same rough manner with children.

Make sure your dog has a safe place to go to get away from all the commotion (a comfortable bed in another room, a crate, or an exercise pen). Teach the kids that they are to leave the dog alone when the dog is in its safe place.

If your dog is growling or snapping at your child, you will need the help of an experienced behaviourist, someone who understand the cues and triggers for your dog’s behaviour and can help you work on the issues.

If you have a lack of time for your dog because of a new baby, hiring a dog walker or finding a safe doggie day care are great alternatives to help burn off your dog’s excess energy and keep everyone happy.  Kids do become more independent as they get older, and it may just be a matter of finding a new routine that works for everyone!

Destructive Behaviour

Dogs are social animals and do not like to be left alone or to be isolated from their pack. Behaviours like jumping, barking, digging or chewing can be related to loneliness, boredom, lack of exercise or stress. When not properly stimulated or exercised, their anxiety can manifest itself in ways you don’t like.

If you’re gone for long periods of time, try crate training, or confining your dog to a dog-proof area with fresh water and “safe” toys so that the dog cannot make a mistake.  Set your dog up with plenty of appropriate things to chew and safe interactive toys while you’re gone. Hollow sterilized bones and strong rubber toys, such as Kongs, can be stuffed with food to make them enticing and keep them busy.

Tire your dog out before you leave them alone. If your dog’s needs for exercise and mental stimulation aren’t being met, destructive behavior is likely to be the result.

Make sure the things that your dog might find interesting are safely out of reach – put your shoes, clothing, remote controls, kids’ toys where your dog can’t get to them.

If your dog has severe separation anxiety that leads to destructive habits, your vet and/or a trainer can try to help you work out a plan for addressing the issue with behaviour modification training and/or medication.

Finding Another Home

Do you have friends or family that may be willing to take on your dog? Do they know of someone looking for a new pet?  If you go this route, be sure to do a home visit so you know exactly where your dog will be living and in what conditions.  Asking to speak with the potential new owner’s veterinarian can also give you great insight into the type of dog owner they are and whether this will be the best place for your dog.  Doing your due diligence will help ensure that your dog does not suffer in the long run.

Surrendering Your Pet

If you have tried all the other options (vet, trainer, spay/neuter) and still want to surrender your pet, it is best to make sure it is up-to-date on all shots to make them more adoptable. Spaying/neutering your dog also ensures they will not fall into the hands of unscrupulous breeders or puppy mill owners.

Please be aware that in every animal shelter, there is too little space and too many animals and your pet could be euthanized for something as simple as catching a cold (Kennel Cough).

Due to the fact that we are a foster based rescue, Ottawa Dog Rescue cannot accept aggressive dogs, or those with bite histories. We must worry about the safety of our foster families and pets, as they are the ones who allow us to keep saving lives.

We will not judge you for surrendering your dog, as we know that there are times in life when circumstances are beyond your control, and we will make every effort to help.

To surrender your dog, please complete and submit the Owner Surrender Form. This form allows us to better evaluate your dog’s needs and determine if we have a foster home capable of taking him/her in.

Owner Surrender Application