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While you are trying to decide which dog is the best fit for you and your family, the people in shelters and rescue organizations are trying to find forever homes for their dogs.
And while everyone involved has the dog’s best interest at heart, you somehow ended up with an email that states, sorry, but your dog adoption application has been denied!
It’s really baffling how tough and long a dog adoption process can be when there are millions of dogs just waiting for someone to take them home.
While it is true that not all people will be amazing dog parents, it’s safe to assume that a dog will be better off with an average person than spending their life in an overpopulated shelter.
If you were turned down by a shelter or a rescue group for the first time, don’t despair.
Believe it or not, some people have been denied more than once for reasons such as being too old or too young or not working from home!
The truth is, a rescue can turn your application down for many reasons – some make sense, others not so much.
In this article, I’ll list all the most common reasons for not being approved for dog adoption. Hopefully, this will give you an idea of things you can fix in order to get approved the first or next time you apply.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- 9 Reasons For Not Being Approved For Pet Adoption
- FAQs About Pet Adoption Application Denied
- Final Thoughts
- Top Picks For Our Dogs
9 Reasons For Not Being Approved For Pet Adoption
There are millions of dogs in shelters and rescue organizations all across the United States, waiting for their forever homes.
Unfortunately, many of these dogs don’t get adopted and end up euthanized to make room for more dogs that are abandoned every day.
When you consider these facts, you would naturally assume that shelters and rescues are struggling to find people who are willing to adopt rather than buying a dog from a breeder or pet shop. However, that is not always the case!
While it is true that not everyone is a suitable candidate to adopt a dog, many people believe that shelters and rescues have unrealistically high standards.
According to some rescue organizations, ideal adoption candidates should work from home. There are also examples of people being rejected because they are too old, have young children, or already have other pets in the household.
Most rescue organizations believe that these high standards and lengthy adoption processes are in the dogs’ best interest and ensure that the animals will end up in the best possible homes.
However, many major animal protection and welfare groups are challenging these rigorous standards and are encouraging rescues and shelters to allow open adoptions.
If you recently filled out a dog adoption application that was denied without any explanation, you’re not alone!
And while being rejected is going to sting for quite some time, you shouldn’t get discouraged or give up on the idea of adopting a dog someday.
To increase your chances of adopting a dog of your dreams on the second or third try, you should learn why your dog adoption application was denied now and try to fix issues that can be fixed.
And if by any chance you can’t resolve all potential issues, try adopting a dog from a non-profit shelter with an open adoption policy.
But for now, here are the most common reasons for not being approved for pet adoption by a shelter or rescue organization:
1. You Don’t Have A Fenced Yard
Having a fenced yard is high on the list of priorities for most rescue organizations and shelters, and for a good reason.
Dogs are energetic and active animals who need daily exercise to burn off excess energy and stay in good shape.
Highly energetic breeds such as Labradors need a lot of exercise and more than 60 minutes of activity every day.
Having a fenced yard can go a long way in keeping your dog properly exercised and healthy.
Additionally, having a fenced yard can be a great alternative for those days when you have to stay longer at work and don’t have time to walk your dog as long as you would usually.
As far as shelters and rescues are concerned, having a fenced backyard means that you are able to provide a safe environment for your dog to play and run around.
Without a fence, there is always a chance that a dog can run off, get hit by a car, or get injured in another way.
You can always try to talk to the shelter’s staff after your pet adoption application was denied and explain that you are willing to fence the yard or come up with another solution.
And while this might seem like a long shot, your efforts may pay off if there are no other issues with your application.
2. Long Working Hours
Having long working hours is one of the top reasons for not being approved for pet adoption. Generally speaking, most dogs can be left at home alone for as many as four or six hours.
However, this can vary from one dog to the next and depends on age, level of training, and general health.
Most rescues and shelters will reject your dog adoption application if you state that you have long working hours or travel a lot for work.
Furthermore, hiring a pet sitter or committing to doggy daycare won’t make any difference in the shelter’s eyes.
Bear in mind, if you have decided to adopt a dog with separation anxiety, the rescue will most likely reject your application if you aren’t working from home.
Separation anxiety is a serious problem that can result in self-injury and destruction of your property. In this case, working from home isn’t such an unreasonable request and is really in the dog’s best interest.
3. Your Age
It might seem like discrimination, but if you are under 21 or older than 60, there is a big chance that your adoption application will be declined because of your age.
While legally you have to be over 18 to adopt a dog, most organizations will turn down young people who are legally old enough.
Shelters argue that young people often go to college or are too busy chasing job opportunities to provide a stable home for a rescue dog.
On the other hand, being elderly also lowers your chances of adopting a dog through a rescue group.
The goal of rescues and shelters is to place dogs in forever homes, and some organizations feel that elderly people should only adopt older or senior dogs.
Hearing that you can’t adopt a dog just because of your age is upsetting, to say the least, especially if you are looking for the companionship a canine can offer.
If by any chance the rescue deemed you too old to adopt a dog from them, you should fill out an adoption application for a local non-profit shelter or try to adopt a senior dog.
4. The Size Of Your Home
Shelters and rescue groups don’t have any specific requirements regarding the size of home the adopted dog is going to live in.
However, your adoption application will most likely get rejected if you are living in a studio apartment and want to adopt a large dog such as a Labradoodle or a giant breed such as a Great Dane.
If you live in an apartment or smaller home, your best bet for getting approved for adoption is to consider medium-sized or smaller dogs.
Keep in mind, dogs need space to move freely, play games, and lounge to stay happy and content.
And if your home is too small to allow a dog these basic things, your adoption application will get denied.
5. Number Of Pets You Currently Have
Another common reason why pet adoption applications are denied is the number of pets you currently own.
Being a pet parent and understanding a dog’s unique needs is definitely a plus in the eyes of rescues and shelters.
However, there is a significant chance that your application will be rejected if you already have two dogs and a cat.
In this case, rescues may decide that you are unable to properly take care of all of your pets and meet their unique needs.
Furthermore, there is also a possibility that your current pets won’t get along with the new dog, or might become aggressive due to jealousy.
Furthermore, many cities legally limit the number of dogs per household to only two or three, so you might not have a legal right to adopt another dog.
If you are already a pet parent, research your local zoning laws and legal regulations before filling out a dog adoption form. This way, you will get all the information about your rights before you fall in love with a shelter dog.
6. There Are Young Children In The House
Having young kids running around the house doesn’t mean that you have to wait until they grow up to apply for dog adoption.
However, you should know that certain dog breeds don’t go hand-in-hand with young children, and are better suited for adult-only homes.
For example, your adoption application will most likely be rejected if you have two toddlers and are looking to adopt a Chihuahua.
While they are tiny, Chihuahuas are territorial and attention-seeking dogs that aren’t recommended for homes with younger children.
The same might be the case if you want to adopt a high-energy breed or a working dog such as a border collie or Corgi.
While they are friendly and protective of their families, working breeds have a tendency to herd and nip smaller children, which can lead to injury and cause your child to become afraid of dogs.
7. Your Current Pets Aren’t Up To Date On Their Shots
If you already have pets, the shelter or rescue organization will check to see if they are up to date on all of their shots.
If the check shows that you don’t vaccinate your pets regularly or didn’t do it ever, your adoption application will be denied right away.
Even if you reason that there is no need to vaccinate your 15-year-old cat that hasn’t set foot outside, your application will still be denied and you won’t be able to adopt a dog.
However, if you missed a regular vaccination date by a few days, there is a chance that you will manage to adopt a dog once you get your pets current on all of their shots.
8. None Of Your Pets Are Spayed Or Neutered
Shelters and rescue groups are firm believers that all dogs and cats should be altered when they are old enough, usually around six months of age.
Spaying and neutering is the only way to stop more unwanted pets from being born and to deal with the huge overpopulation problem.
So, if you for whatever reason you didn’t have your current pets spayed or neutered, your adoption application will be rejected.
And no matter how many times you fill out adoption papers with different shelters, you won’t be able to adopt a dog unless you alter the pets you have.
Besides lowering the number of dogs that will be born on streets and in shelters, spaying and neutering also have health benefits.
Altering your dog can reduce the risk of pyometra and reduce the risk of reproductive cancers. Furthermore, studies have shown that altered dogs live longer than dogs who weren’t spayed or neutered.
9. You Don’t Want To Crate Train A Dog
Crate training is still a subject of much controversy. Many dog trainers use crate training and believe it’s a completely safe and effective training method when used properly.
However, some people aren’t comfortable locking their puppies and dogs inside a crate during the night or during working hours.
Whether you believe in crate training or not is completely up to you, but you should know that most rescue organizations will expect you to crate train your new dog.
However, certain organizations will reject your application automatically if you state that you intend to crate train a dog.
When it comes to this question, it’s best that you remain honest regarding your intentions about crate training.
If you aren’t comfortable locking your dog in a crate, say so in your application and add that you are more than willing to try all other house training techniques.
FAQs About Pet Adoption Application Denied
Why Is So Hard To Adopt A Dog From A Rescue?
Most rescue dogs have had hard lives and have lived in bad conditions that created health and/or behavioral problems.
Consequently, many of these dogs require specific care and particular living conditions to lead normal, happy lives.
Unfortunately, most potential owners don’t have the means to fulfill the special needs of a rescue dog, which makes the adoption process extremely hard.
If your pet adoption application is denied, don’t despair! You can always fill out another adoption form and try to rescue one of the millions of dogs who are waiting for a forever home.
How Do I Get Approved For A Rescue Dog?
There are several things you can do to increase your chances of getting approved for a rescue dog.
First of all, fence your yard and make sure that it is completely safe for a dog to spend time and play in it.
Furthermore, you should show some effort and research the breed you are interested in adopting, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Rescues like when potential owners show some initiative, as this means they are genuinely interested in that particular dog and are willing to do everything they can to provide a forever home.
Should You Lie On A Pet Adoption Application?
Adopting a pet can be a tough and frustrating process, especially when you do everything right and still end up rejected.
While lying on your dog adoption form might seem like a good idea, you should stick with the truth, no matter what.
And no matter how frustrated or disappointed you are, keep in mind that you got rejected for a specific reason.
So instead of resorting to lies, you should figure out what things you can improve in order to get approved for adoption.
What Do Dog Adoption Agencies Look For In A Home Visit?
Most adoption agencies are looking to see if a potential new home is safe for a dog. They will check to see if you have a fenced yard and, if so look for weak spots and any potential escape routes.
Furthermore, they will make sure there are no toxic plants or other harmful substances around the house and check for potential choking hazards you may not be aware of.
It’s completely natural to be angry, frustrated, and disappointed if your dog adoption application was denied!
Unfortunately, potential owners get rejected all the time due to all sorts of reasons, some of which are unfair, to say the least.
The most common reasons why shelters reject pet adoption applications are:
- You don’t have a fenced yard
- You already own several pets
- The dog will spend a lot of time alone due to your long working hours
Adopting a dog from a rescue is much harder than it may seem.
But once you know why your adoption application was turned down, you can try to solve those issues and apply for adoption again.
Top Picks For Our Dogs
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Calmeroos Puppy Toy w/ Heartbeat and Heat Packs - Perfect for new puppies. Helps ease anxiety in their new home.
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Bones & Chews Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Crazy Dog Train Me Treats - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
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We Like: The Farmer's Dog - A couple months ago we started feeding Raven fresh dog food and she loves it! Get 50% off your first order of The Farmer's Dog.
For a list of all the supplies we get for our new service dog puppies check out our New Puppy Checklist on the PuppyInTraining.com blog.