Some people cannot imagine ever getting rid of a family dog, but unfortunately it happens for one reason or another. When (or if) the time ever comes when it is absolutely necessary (at least in your mind) to get rid of your dog, please follow a few of these do's and don'ts. Even if he or she is unwanted in your home, the dog still deserves a good home, right?
Things You Should Do
Explore options to keep him. If you have had the dog for a while, there is surely some attachment to him and him to your family. Be sure you have inspected every avenue there is to figure out a solution to be able to keep him before you make a hasty decision.
If you adopted the dog from a rescue or shelter, contact them first. Chances are they will take the dog back and find him another home. Some rescues even have a clause in their adoption paperwork that the dog must be returned to them if you have to get rid of him.
No matter what your reason is for getting rid of the dog, there are surely people who can, and will, give him a good home. If you are giving him up for behavior problems, perhaps someone else will have more patience to work with him. Try to ask around and find him a good home.
Ask for a rehoming fee. If you decide to advertise the dog to get rid of him, asking for a rehoming fee will usually deter those who are just looking for dogs to make money off of. Also ask for veterinarian or character references. This shows people that you are serious about the dog getting a loving home.
Explain why you are getting rid of the dog and be truthful with any potential adopters. If the dog has chewing issues or refuses to be potty trained, they need to know that. If you just no longer want the dog, be truthful about that too. Also advise them of any health issues or allergies the dog has.
If your reason for getting rid of the dog is that he is old or sick, there are rescue groups and shelters designed just for this situation. Some rescue groups only take in senior dogs so that they can live out the rest of their life with love and caring. Other rescue groups take in sick and injured dogs. Look for shelters or groups that will accommodate any issues the dog may have.
What You Should Not Do
If you are moving and can't take the dog, don't just abandon him at your empty property. The dog will be confused and scared. Chances are he will starve because he is waiting for you to come back and feed him. Some states will even charge you with animal neglect or cruelty. Don't take a drive and dump the dog either, even if you think "someone" will take him in
Don't just hand him over to anyone. Just because you want the dog gone quickly, doesn't mean you should hand him over to the first person that answers your ad, especially if your ad says "free dog." Some people scour ads looking for free dogs just so they can make money by selling them again. These people will sell the dog to labs for testing or to people who run dog fighting rings as bait dogs. That's why it is a good idea to ask for a rehoming fee and for references.
Don't drop the dog at a shelter after hours. If the shelter is going to help find your dog a home, they need to know as much about him as possible. If your only option is to take the dog to a shelter, do it during business hours and talk to the volunteers. Explain why you are getting rid of the dog so they can work on any issues, or can find a home that will suit his needs.