Where to Surrender an Aggressive Dog UK: A Compassionate Guide

Dec 24, 2023 | Dog Behaviour

A dog being surrendered at a rescue centre in a rural UK setting

If you’re struggling with where to surrender an aggressive dog UK, this practical guide outlines available avenues for rehoming and the steps you should take to ensure your dog’s well-being and compliance with UK laws. From assessing behaviour to consulting with professional organisations, we’ll help you make informed decisions during this tough time.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the root causes of aggressive dog behaviour and employing proper management can improve the wellbeing of the dog and ensure the safety of household members.
  • Rehoming an aggressive dog in the UK requires careful consideration of options, including rescue organisations and breed-specific rescues, with full transparency about the dog’s behaviour to find a suitable home.
  • Legal responsibilities dictate full disclosure of a dog’s aggressive history when rehoming, and failing to do so can lead to criminal charges, while considering behavioural euthanasia is a last resort after all other options have been exhausted.

Understanding Aggressive Behaviour in Dogs

The first step in addressing the issue is to comprehend aggressive behaviour in dogs. Living with a dog with aggressive behaviour often results in tense home environments, where family members, particularly those worried about potential bites, may feel scared. However, bear in mind that aggression often results from various factors, including past negative experiences or fear of certain individuals.

Ensuring dogs are adequately socialised plays a key role in preventing aggressive responses. Remember, every dog deserves a safe and loving home. And with the right approach, even an aggressive dog can lead a happy and peaceful life.

It is also worth stating that any dog is capable of being aggressive so the term “aggressive dog” is a label. Bear in mind a dog may decide to use aggressive strategies if they are in pain or threatened in some way. Self defence is the most normal and appropriate use of aggression so aggression is not always inappropriate or unjustified.

Understanding and Managing Dogs with Bite Histories

The challenge of rehoming dogs with a bite history is multifaceted, directly impacting their prospects for adoption. Prospective adopters often have reservations about bringing a dog with a history of aggression into their homes, concerned about safety and the potential for recurring issues. Some rescues may decline to rehome a dog with bite history to the risks involved.

This hesitancy is compounded by the dog’s need for a structured environment and an owner equipped with the knowledge and commitment to manage and modify such behaviours. The stigma attached to these dogs further narrows their opportunities for finding a suitable home.

Where to Surrender an Aggressive Dog UK

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Aggressive dog showing teeth during training

Evaluating Your Options

When considering rehoming an aggressive dog, it’s essential to thoughtfully assess all possible options. Key considerations include prioritising the dog’s best interests and finding a joyful home. In the UK, re home options include contacting local rescue organizations, considering no-kill shelters, and reaching out to the shelter or breeder from which the dog was adopted. Being open about the dog’s aggression is essential during this process to secure a suitable long-term home for the dog.

If placed on a waiting list or if a rescue centre isn’t local, we recommend contacting them regularly and providing full details about your situation. Don’t be afraid to seek assistance from friends and family for transporting your dog. Remember, doing the right thing for your pet may require patience and perseverance, but it’s always worth the effort to find their forever home.

XL Bully Rescue UK

In the United Kingdom, the recent change in legislation relating to the XL Bully breed brings a unique set of challenges and responsibilities, particularly in rescue and rehabilitation. This guide is an essential resource for understanding the XL Bully, offering invaluable insights for those considering rescuing or fostering these majestic dogs.

Rescue efforts for XL Bullies in the UK must be underpinned by a deep understanding of their behavioural traits, needs, and the legal landscape surrounding them. Consider the legal considerations and future implications for current and prospective XL Bully owners in the UK, ensuring that your rescue efforts are well-informed and compliant with UK laws.

Furthermore, navigating the complexities of XL Bully ownership extends to their welfare and safety. Insurance is a critical aspect to consider. This piece offers practical advice on finding the right insurance coverage, which is crucial for rescuing these dogs and safeguarding their future.

Additionally, the misconceptions and stereotypes surrounding XL Bullies can often lead to misinformation and unfounded fears. Our article, “XL Bully Petition”, sheds light on the efforts to protect this breed from unfair treatment and misconceptions. For those concerned about regulations such as muzzling, our exploration of this topic in “Do XL Bullies Have to be Muzzled?” provides clarity and guidance for responsible ownership and rescue operations within the UK.

UK Shelters and Rescue Centres for Aggressive Dogs

Dogs waiting in a rescue shelter

Before relinquishing an aggressive dog to a rescue centre, you should confirm that the environment you’re placing your pet in is safe and appropriate. The subsequent subsections will cover the specific services and resources Dogs Trust and RSPCA offer, including pet insurance options.

Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust provides valuable assistance for managing your dog’s aggressive behaviour. Their Post Adoption Behaviour Support Line team offers free expert advice on training or behaviour problems, including aggression. They also provide a range of resources, including guidance on handling resource guarding, understanding and managing aggressive behaviour, and addressing aggression in veterinary settings.

Additionally, Dogs Trust offers a Dog School program. This program provides training and behaviour support to help dogs overcome fear, anxiety, and associated aggression. For more details, you can visit their website and explore the Dog School section.


The RSPCA, or SSPCA in Scotland, also offers a range of services for aggressive dogs. They use standardised behaviour assessments to evaluate dogs for aggression before rehoming, ensuring that each dog receives the appropriate care and attention.

With branches situated across the UK, the RSPCA is a resourceful option for owners of aggressive dogs. A comprehensive list of their branches can be found on their website, making it easier for owners to connect with them.

Breed-Specific Rescues

Landscape scene showcasing a rescue dog sanctuary

For owners of pedigree dogs with aggression issues, breed-specific rescues can be a valuable resource. These organisations provide:

  • Specialised knowledge and tailored understanding of specific breeds
  • Improved chances of successful rehabilitation and rehoming
  • Implementation of a safety plan for managing aggressive dogs
  • Addressing root causes of aggression
  • Offering suitable training and behaviour modification

If you’re seeking to rehome a pedigree dog with aggression issues, it’s advisable to reach out to breed-specific rescues. They often accept the dog and possess the knowledge to address the issue. A comprehensive list of pedigree rescues can be found at The Kennel Club website for specialized support for specific breeds.

Consulting with Veterinary Professionals

Veterinary professionals can offer essential insights into the causes of dog aggression. They consider factors such as disease, hormone balance, and diet that could be contributing to the aggressive behaviour. They can recommend treatment options, including anti-anxiety medications, behaviour modification and training strategies, and a safety and management plan.

A specialized field within veterinary medicine, known as veterinary behaviour medicine, concentrates on dog behaviour. Veterinary behaviourists employ a blend of medical and behavioural expertise to tackle and manage problematic behaviours in dogs. When seeking advice from a vet, make sure to inquire about:

  • any underlying medical issues
  • potential treatment options
  • behaviour modification techniques
  • safety measures.

Relinquishing an aggressive dog also entails certain legal responsibilities. Providing a full disclosure of the dog’s aggressive and dangerous behaviours is essential to ensure others’ safety. Doing the responsible thing by being transparent enables potential adopters to make well-informed decisions regarding the dog’s behaviour and any associated risks.

Failing to disclose a dog’s aggression history can lead to serious consequences in the UK. Owners could face criminal charges, financial penalties, or even imprisonment if their dog inflicts harm on others. Therefore, always provide full disclosure of the dog’s history and any veterinary behaviourist reports when rehoming an aggressive dog.

Preparing Your Dog for Rehoming

Preparing a dog for rehoming at a kennel

Certain preparations are necessary before rehoming an aggressive dog. Vaccination is essential to minimize the risk of introducing or contracting diseases in a rescue environment. It ensures the health of the individual dog and other animals in the facility. The vaccination process involves several initial injections followed by regular boosters throughout the dog’s life.

Neutering a dog can also help decrease behaviours like roaming, marking, and aggression by reducing the levels of reproductive hormones. It may result in a calmer and more manageable temperament. However, it’s crucial to discuss with a vet the potential impact of neutering on your dog’s behaviour.

Emotional Impact and Support

Giving up an aggressive dog can have a significant emotional impact on the owner. The decision to rehome a dog, such as Kopa, can be one of the most difficult decisions one has to make. However, there are ways to cope with this emotional upheaval. Some strategies include:

  • Practising self-compassion and understanding that you made the decision in the best interest of everyone involved
  • Seeking professional support from a therapist or counsellor who can help you navigate through the emotions and provide guidance

Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself during this stressful and challenging time.

Owners can also find emotional support through online support groups, forums, and social media communities focused on dog behaviour and training. Local animal shelters or rescue organizations may offer resources and guidance for finding support groups or counselling services.

Preventative Measures and Education

Preventative measures and education are vital in preventing future aggression issues. Understanding the factors that contribute to aggressive behaviour in dogs can help prevent such behaviour from developing. Factors like:

  • illness
  • fear
  • possessiveness
  • frustration

Certain factors can trigger dog aggressive behaviour in dogs, especially when encountering other dogs during pet giving situations.

Early socialization and appropriate training can be effective preventative measures. By exposing dogs to a variety of people, animals, and environments during their developmental period, dogs can learn appropriate social skills and reduce fear and anxiety. Training techniques that can help prevent aggressive behaviour include:

  • Identifying triggers
  • Avoiding punishment
  • Providing lots of positive reinforcement
  • Managing the environment

By implementing these techniques, you can help ensure that your dog develops into a well-behaved and non-aggressive companion.

When to Consider Behavioural Euthanasia

Behavioural euthanasia, a difficult and sensitive topic, is the process of euthanising a dog due to severe behavioural problems like aggression, which are unmanageable. This option may be considered when the aggressive behaviour significantly impacts the dog’s quality of life, or if the dog has inflicted severe harm or caused the death of a person or another animal.

Before contemplating behavioural euthanasia, it’s essential to explore all other alternatives. This includes conducting extensive medical tests to rule out any underlying pain or illness that may be causing the aggression. Knowing the indications that an aggressive dog may not show improvement is also important in this context.

Family happily adopting a previously aggressive dog


Navigating the journey of rehoming an aggressive dog is undoubtedly challenging. Yet, with the right information, resources, and support, it’s possible to find a suitable and loving home for your pet.

Whether it’s understanding the causes of aggression, exploring rehoming options, or seeking emotional support, taking responsible and informed steps can make this journey more manageable.

Remember, every dog deserves a chance at a happy and peaceful life, and sometimes, the most compassionate decision is to let them find that chance in a new home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do with an aggressive dog you can’t keep?

If you have an aggressive dog that you can’t keep, consider seeking professional help from a trainer or behaviourist to work on the problem, re-homing the dog if it can be done safely, or in extreme cases, making the difficult decision to euthanize the dog. It’s important to carefully consider the safety and well-being of both the dog and those around them.

Where can I take an aggressive dog UK?

You can take an aggressive dog to an animal sanctuary who may be more willing to work with those issues.

Do dogs trust take aggressive dogs for free?

Yes, giving up your dog to Dogs Trust is free.

Should I rehome an aggressive dog?

If a dog shows aggressive behaviour, it’s important to work with a trainer or behaviourist to address the issue. Rehoming should be considered the best option if the problem can’t be managed, but euthanasia is an option if the aggression poses a danger.

How can I manage my dog’s aggressive behaviour?

Understanding your dog’s triggers and establishing dominance can help manage its aggression. Consider reaching out to Dogs Trust for free expert advice and resources on managing aggressive behaviour.

Learn more on this topic

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