Dont know what im doing

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“I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” is a catchphrase often used in image macro captions featuring photos of animals, typically canines, posed as if they are performing tasks associated with humans, in a similar vein to “Yes, This is Dog” and the Dog Fort comic series.


The earliest known appearance of the photo of a Golden Retriever posing with a camera appeared on the Hong Kong WordPress site Photoblog on November 20th, 2010. On February 27th, 2011, a photoshopped version was posted by Ben Grelle (a.k.a The Frogman) to his Tumblr blog with the caption “I have no idea what I’m doing.” The post received over 5,000 notes in less than a year.


On March 3rd, 2011, Frogman’s image was submitted to Reddit and reached the front page accumulating 3,609 up votes prior to being archived. In the thread, Frogman responded with a complaint that his watermark had been cropped out of the image, and provided a link to his original post.

The earliest known instance of the chemistry dog with the “I have no idea what I’m doing” caption was posted to the Lolabego Tumblr on June 17th, 2011.

Bailey the Golden Retriever

On December 2th, 2011, an image of a dog sitting at a laptop accompanied by the catchphrase was submitted to the /r/funny subreddit and reached the front page accumulating over 4,500 up votes within 6 weeks.

On October 15th, 2014, Redditor Golden_Bailey submitted a photo gallery of the dog titled “Remember the ‘I have no idea what I’m doing dog’? I am her owner and here is a small album of more(better) pictures of her” to /r/aww. On January 8th, 2018, Redditor Golden_Bailey submitted another set of photographs identifying the dog as Bailey to /r/pics, where the original desk picture was included (shown below). In the gallery, Bailey’s owner revealed she had died due to complications from bone cancer in early 2016. Within 24 hours, the post garnered upwards of 124,000 points (88% upvoted) and 2,300 comments.

Notable Examples

Non-Canine Images

Between 2012 and 2013, the phrase continued to grow in popularity as the scope of its usage began to expand beyond photographs of clueless-looking dogs.

Search Interest

Search queries for “have no idea what I’m doing” picked up in March of 2011, the same month the original Frogman instance was posted.

Know Your Meme Store

External References – The Frogman – Comedy, photoshop, kittens, & corgis

Reddit – I have no idea what I’m doing…

Reddit – thefrogman

Tumblr – Lolabego

Reddit – How I feel being told I’m an approved submitter

Photoblog – photoblog

Cheezburger – Tagged results for ‘I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Uproxx – Meme Watch: ‘I Have No Idea What I’m Doing’ Sums Up The Internal Monologue Of Dogs

TVTropes – I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

Reddit – How I feel being told I’m an approved submitter

Reddit – Reddit you made our dog semi-famous years ago

Reddit – Remember the I have no idea what I’m doing dog? I am her owner and here is a small album of more(better) pictures of her

The “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing (LOL)” meme is a collection of animals and people put into normal, everyday situations while looking extremely unnatural doing them. With the dogs and cats, it’s usually the case that they’re anthropomorphized in some way. Dogs doing construction work, cats doing science, dog photographers, and even cats using computers – this meme is a great combination of adorable pet pictures and a great point: the animals all have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. As far as they’re concerned, they may as well be in a pool, some mud, or on a couch.

Animals have no idea what we’re doing most of the time and when we prop them up, dress them up, or take pictures of them, they have no idea what’s going on. And that, conceptually, is hilarious. Imagine a picture of a dog. “I have no idea what I’m doing” comes next. Hilarity follows because not only does the dog’s face confirm that fact, but it’s something you never really think about when you see an animal pose for a photo. They have no idea what the hell is happening.

Originating with a picture of a dog taking a photograph of a wedding party with “I have no idea what I’m doing” written on it, this “I don’t know what I’m doing” meme took off on Reddit due to everyone’s love of not only dog/cat photos, but the insane amount of ridiculous pictures of them doing human things that people leave all over the Internet. After that, the popular caption started being attributed to just about any picture of an animal facing a camera, looking like they’re doing something human. It then became an Image Macro. The Image Macro now has a life of its own, making it a meme. Beware imposters like “I have no idea what I am doing” and a whole bunch of counterfeit dog on a computer memes. Or jsut enjoy them as variations on the “I have no idea what I’m doing” meme. Either way, stick with this list.

What are the best examples of the I Have No Idea What I’m Doing Dog? Enjoy the very best of the “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” meme, in all its glory.

Be sure to check out Ranker’s other lists like the Greatest Internet Memes of 2010.

16 Pictures Of The I Have No Idea What I’m Doing Dog Who Still Has No Idea What He’s Doing


Remember i have no idea what im doing dog? For those who don’t know it’s a popular meme where you see a dog, usually a lab or golden retriever doing human things and the caption ” I have no idea what i’m doing “. It’s funny because it looks like the dog has a handle of things but it clearly have no idea what he’s doing. the first no idea what i’m doing dog meme appeared on Reddit with a picture of a golden retriever sitting next to a laptop looking like he’s working with the famous catchphrase above him. The meme became so popular that everyone who browse the internet regularly knows it in some version or another. Well here is a full gallery of the i have no idea what i’m doing dog , this is just pure gold:

1: The dog never used a computer before, so he’s clearly have no idea what he’s doing.


2: The only thing that is really on the dogs mind right now is ” am i allowed to eat this popcorn or what? “

3: ” You’re about two seconds away from never seeing this book again – because i have no idea what i’m doing “

4: ” I have no idea what i’m doing in these clothes but i like it “

5: The dog has got no clue why he is on this car holding a sponge, but he likes the water


6: ” I had a rough day of not knowing what im doing, i’m relaxing now “

7: ” Why am i wearing these ridiculous clothes?” *The i have no idea what i’m doing dog probably

8: He has no clue why he is in water sport gear

9: Again on the computer, maybe this time he knows what he’s doi – no, still no clue


10: He clearly doesn’t have any idea how he got dressed and what’s he doing with an axe

11: The dog can barely see with the cap on see he has got no clue whats going on

12: He has no idea what he’s doing, but seems to like it

13: The ski thing again. the dog has no clue. leave him be


14: Dog be like ” what’s going on mommy? “

15: This is actually pretty dangerous, dog who has no idea what he’s doing with an chain saw

16: O.K

If you love the i have no idea what i’m doing dog like we do. Please share with your friends.

Source: Imgur

As a furry pup lover, there is no doubt in my mind that having a dog brings many upsides to my life. I mean, how can I NOT live happily waking up to a smiley face and wagging tail? For those of you who do not yet have a furry friend, or who are planning on adding one to your family, you’ll be glad to hear that there are scientifically proven benefits that dogs bring to each of our lives! So if you’re looking for reasons to get a dog, here’s 17!

Table of Contents

1. Dogs increase your mood dramatically!

Spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. So the next time you’re feeling down, grab the newest toy from your BarkBox and spend some time with your pup! That wagging tail will be sure to put a smile on your face.

2. Having a dog may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Studies show that talking to and petting your pooches are often accompanied by lower blood pressure, and that means a lowered risk for a myriad of different illnesses.

3. Step aside, kitties! Dogs protect children from skin conditions and allergies.

Children who grow up with dogs have a lower risk of developing eczema than those who have cats or no dogs at all. Yes, it’s true! In addition, children also develop fewer pet allergies if they grow up with a dog.

4. Having a dog improves your physical wellbeing and encourages a healthy fitness routine.

Of course! Your dog requires daily exercise, and so do you! Dog owners carry the responsibility of playing with and working their dogs, so it only makes sense that dog people tend to be more active.

5. Humans with dogs recover more quickly from illnesses.

Dog owners have a much higher rate of recovery from being sick than non-dog owners. In fact, humans with pooches who suffered from heart attacks were twice as likely to fully recover than those without!

6. Dogs make excellent service and alert animals.

Canines make excellent service companions when trained properly for people with disabilities. They can be trained to bring medication, alleviate a stressful situation for their human, and even detect an approaching epileptic seizure.

7. Children with dogs in their household miss less school.

Yes, it’s true. We all know that children absolutely adore pups, but research has shown that children from dog-owning families have better school attendance due to better overall health and less sickness from having a pup at home.

8. But wait, there’s more (for your kids)!

Having dogs has actually been shown to improve a child’s self-esteem, and makes issues that cause stress easier to handle.

9. Simply put, they are a human’s best friend.

Because of their heightened sense of smell, sight, and hearing, dogs are extremely intelligent creatures with a loyalty to their humans that is unexpectedly strong. Those with dogs will know–your pups can sense human body language, emotions, and feelings, and this paves the way for an unbreakable bond.

10. They will go to great lengths–2,800 miles to be exact–to find their humans.

Have you guys heard the story of Bobbie the Wonderdog? Well, he traveled a whopping 2,800 miles to return to his family after accidentally being abandoned across the country.

11. They make excellent watchdogs.

From puppyhood, dogs innately learn to watch and be aware of anything rotten coming your way. Potential burglars are put off by a barking or watching dog in the window. Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Scottish Terriers are among the top watchdog breeds, but even my fluffy American Eskimo dog is known to be great at alerting families of anything odd or suspicious!

12. Dogs help increase social interactions.

Yes, not only do dogs need care and playtime with their humans, but they need time to socialize with other pups too! This means that their humans will have a chance to socialize while they oversee the puppy playdates. Those of you with pups know that even going on a walk in the neighborhood can bring many friends and start many conversations!

13. There’s never a dull or boring moment.

Have you ever found yourself sitting at home, wondering what to do today? There are so many things you can do with your dog, whether that be taking a trip to the park, training, playing, running, or just watching them chew a toy. It’s all fun, for both of you.

14. Dogs may save your life.

Our lovely canine friends seem to be able to detect the smell of cancer in human bodies. There have been stories of pups who continued to lick and sniff at moles or lumps on their human’s bodies, who eventually found out that those skin conditions were cancerous. In fact, since humans made this discovery, dogs have even been trained in just 3 hours to detect cancer!

15. Stressed at work? Let me prescribe you one adorable puppy.

Notice the increasing trend in workplaces allowing dogs to come to work with their humans? There’s a reason for that! Studies have shown that people who take their dogs to work have lower stress levels during the workday.

16. Having a dog makes YOU more awesome!

The responsibility, patience, selflessness, and commitment that comes with having a dog makes us stronger, all-around better people.

The dog-human relationship is a two-way street. We’ve heard the phrase, “Who rescued who?” and it’s certainly something to consider. Dogs have proven that they improve our physical and mental health, as well as the health of those around us.

17. Need I say more?

Featured image via @kongkwan.chihuahua

Oxytocin Flood

Those magical, euphoric feelings sweeping over you while bonding with your dog are not just in your imagination. Locking eyes with your furry friend and gazing lovingly into that adorable face triggers the release of oxytocin, the “feel good” drug into your system.

Addicting, yes, but harmful? No! This calm and happy high is 100% natural, and available to you right now at your neighborhood shelter or animal rescue.

For more, check out these articles!

The Science Behind Why Dogs Are Man’s Best Friend

21 Etsy Gifts For People Who Like Dogs More Than Humans

What Dog Breeds Are The Best Watch Dogs?

What’s The Difference Between Emotional Support, Therapy, And Service Dogs?

Why Dogs Make The Best Roomies A Human Could Ask For

14 Ways to Get Your New Dog to Trust, Love, and Respect You

1. Slow your roll

“I’ve had my dog for three whole days, but I don’t love him and he doesn’t love me. What am I doing wrong?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentiment from discouraged new puppy parents.

You’re not doing anything wrong. This is just how it goes.

Much hullabaloo is made over the notions that dogs love unconditionally, rescued dogs are immensely grateful to their adopters, they just LIVE to please their masters, etc. So you can be forgiven for assuming that bringing your new dog home should be an immediate unconditional-love-fest.

It doesn’t actually work that way, at least not every time. You adopted a sentient being. You did not walk into the Unconditional Love store and pick up a box of instant Grateful Rescued Dog (New-and-Improved with Added Respect and Adoration!).

Relationships, with dogs or people, are something you develop over time. Establishing and growing an unbreakable bond is a matter of months and years, not days.

2. Give him his own space

Being adopted, even by a wonderful person such as your lovely self, is one of the most stressful things a dog will ever go through. Before you can do any of the cool stuff you plan on doing with him, he must feel safe.

An easy way to do that is to give him a place of his own. Somewhere he can just relax by himself and process his new reality. Pick an area that’s out of the way, but where he can still see the activity of the house, like in a corner of the living room. Make the area comfortable and dog-proofed. A crate is the best option for most dogs, but you can also use a dog bed or an exercise-pen. Add blankets and chew toys. When he’s in his “room,” respect his space – don’t let your kids or other pets climb all over him.

3. Be your dog’s protector

We usually think of how dogs protect us. We watch Lassie save Timmy from yet another mishap, we adopt that intimidating-looking shepherd mix to make potential burglers think twice, we go to military K9 demonstrations in the park and watch the badass Belgian Malinois take down the “criminal” in the puffy suit.

With all this, we sometimes forget that our dogs need our protection more than we need theirs – unless we want them using their teeth on friends and family members, which, as that Belgian Malinois demonstrated, they are fully capable of.

You are your dog’s only advocate and defender. Stand up for her. As the owner of a shiny new dog, you’ll encounter many people who want to interact with your pooch. If Lola loves people, that’s fine. But if Lola is wary, it’s okay to tell people not to touch.

One of the best things I ever did for my fearful dog Jonas was learning to literally step in between him and whatever was frightening him, especially those oh-so-scary toddlers who wanted to grab his ears. Jonas always visibly relaxed when I did this. That simple gesture sends your dog a message loud and clear: “Don’t worry. I got this.”

4. Yes, you can comfort your dog when he’s afraid

There are a lot of persistent, harmful, messed-up myths about dog behavior. One of the most persistent and messed-up myths is the “rule” that you should never comfort a fearful dog. Like if you pet your dog when she gets startled by a loud noise and cowers beside you, you’re only encouraging her to be afraid of loud noises.

This isn’t true. It’s based on a misunderstanding of how animals learn. You can’t reinforce emotions the same way you reinforce behavior.

If your dog is scared, you don’t have to tell him to suck it up and get over it. You’re allowed to reassure him.

5. Learn what your dog loves, and do more of it

As you get to know your dog, you’ll start to discover the things that make her happy. Use those things as a way for you guys to have fun together.

When I adopted my teenage border collie, Merlin, he was pretty neutral about me. He didn’t dislike me, but we weren’t buddies yet. However, he was passionate about chasing Frisbees. That’s all he wanted to do. So I played Frisbee with him all the time. And I used Frisbees as rewards for training. Soon, Merlin decided that I, the thrower of Frisbees, was pretty cool. We became inseparable pals and lived happily ever after.

Sometimes, the things that make your dog happy won’t make you happy: digging up the yard, harassing the cat, etc. You can still use those things, you just have to be creative.

Make a sandbox for your digger. Play tug, build a flirt pole, or play Frisbee with your cat-chaser. With a little creativity, many annoying behavior problems turn out to be the opposite of a problem.

See also: 9 Ways to Exercise Your Dog Without Walking Him

6. Listen to what your dog is saying

People tend to get all righteous and offended when their dogs tell them no.

But why? I mean, if you ask a human friend to do something, and she says no, do you take it as a personal insult and worry that she’s trying to dominate you? No. You figure out the reason. Maybe she’s not feeling well. Maybe she’s busy. Maybe she doesn’t understand what you’re asking. Maybe it’s something that makes her uncomfortable.

Often times, a dog who is anxious and high strung got that way because no one ever listens to him. If he refuses to do something, his trainer either jerks on the leash or waves cookies in his face until he complies. He has no control over what happens to him.

Next time your dog tells you “no, I can’t do that,” figure out why. Maybe something about the situation is scary. Maybe he isn’t feeling well. Maybe he didn’t even hear you. If a dog gets very distracted, your insistent calls or tugs on the leash may literally go unnoticed.

Or maybe he isn’t saying “no,” he’s just saying “hold on a minute.” He might be sniffing a really fascinating tree or playing with his doggy friends, and he doesn’t want to leave yet. If this is the case, train your dog. But in the meantime, don’t get offended. Instead, note that it is something you need to work on better, and figure out a way to work through the problem with your dog.

7. Let her sleep in your bedroom

At least until she gets settled in. This experience is scary for a dog, especially a puppy. Sleeping with her new family will reassure her and drive home the fact that you are, indeed, a family.

8. Use positive training methods

Modern training methods are based on setting the dog up for success and showing him exactly how to behave, rather than endlessly correcting bad behavior. As a result, training becomes fun, rather than a chore. Your dog learns that you are a trustworthy person who’s worth listening to.

See also: How to Teach Your Dog to do Practically Anything: the Video Series

9. Have fun, and be fun

I understand the tendency to take dog training very seriously, especially if your new dog has some obnoxious behavior problems. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Loosen up a bit. Spend some time with Fido when you aren’t worrying about teaching him something. Play with your dog! Play with toys – keep a tug toy on hand for a quick game as a break between training sessions. And play without toys – challenge Fido to a game of tag or roughhousing. “Play training” builds focus and enthusiasm and is the best way to build a strong relationship between you and your dog. He’ll respect you, and like you, better for it.

10. Be present

Connection is not a one-way street. If you want your dog’s respect and attention, you have to give her yours. When you’re working with your dog, commit 100% of your attention to her. Training sessions are not the time to be worrying about work or figuring out what to eat for dinner. Work on being really, truly present in the moment. Lola will sense if you aren’t really “there” with her, and as a result she won’t be there with you either.

11. Walk together

Instead of just taking him out real quick to do his business or get his 30 minutes of exercise in, take your time. And stay off the phone. Explore WITH your dog. Let him stop and sniff the flowers. Sometimes you lead the way, sometimes he leads the way. Walking is an easy way to spend quality time together and develop warm fuzzy feelings about each other.

12. Work together

Participate in the ancient tradition of the canine-human working partnership. Once you and Lola have gotten to know each other a bit, take up a dog sport or hobby. Take an agility class, learn a freestyle routine, learn some Frisbee dog tricks, train as a therapy dog team.

13. Feed your dog

“Oh wow,” you say. “I had no idea you were supposed to FEED your dog! Thank God I read this article. What would I do without you, 3 Lost Dogs?”

Okay, first of all, I don’t appreciate the sarcasm.

Second of all, I don’t mean making sure your dog has adequate nutrition. I’m suggesting that feeding your dog should be a more interactive activity than just dumping food in a bowl. The way to a dog’s heart is through his stomach, after all. Don’t squander this opportunity.

Don’t free-feed – that is, leave a bowl of food out for your dog to pick at whenever he wants. You want him to learn that food comes from you, not the magically-refilling bowl in the corner.

Use some of his food as training rewards. Let him earn his dinner. What you don’t use for training should be fed in meals, two or three times a day, preferably in a puzzle toy. Pick up any leftovers after fifteen minutes.

Hand-feed your dog sometimes. Not entire meals, but maybe a couple handfuls before setting the bowl/puzzle toy down on the floor. Lola will learn that you are the provider of food, and she’ll be less likely to develop food aggression.

14. Have grand adventures

Lassie and Timmy. Jake and Finn. Old Yeller and… whatever that kid’s name was. Admit it: these are kinds of dog/human relationships you’ve always dreamed of having.

So take your dog hiking. Take him to the dog beach or the lake. Go on a picnic, camping trip or road trip. It doesn’t have to be all nature-y: Hang out at a dog show in the park and make fun of the weird doggy hairstyles. Wander around a pet expo and collect all the free samples you can carry. Go to a fast-food drive-thru and share a box of chicken nuggets. Go be spectators at an agility competition, and tell each other how “pshh, we could TOTALLY do that if we wanted to.”

Do stuff with your dog that’s not about training or fixing behavior problems, but about being together and creating crazy memories.

Bottom line, getting your dog to love, trust, and “respect” you is about being someone who is trustworthy and reliable. Someone Fido can count on to be there when he needs guidance or reassurance. It’s about being fun, having fun, and being someone your dog wants to be with.

See Also: How I Survived the First Three Months with a New Puppy (and You Can, Too!)

I Got a Dog – What Was I Thinking?

When caring for your new dog turns out to be a lot harder than you expected

If you need more help than this, check out our ebook, I Got a Dog – What Was I Thinking? This guide focuses heavily on the most common challenges faced by new dog owners, like house training, puppy biting, and bonding.

But it also deals with the more complicated matter of fighting off the monsters in your head. It’s about what to do when sleep-deprivation and self-doubt makes you want to throw in the towel and put the puppy up for sale on Craigslist.

You’ll learn:

  • How to house train your dog even if she’s had a lot of accidents
  • How to stop your puppy from biting
  • How to teach your dog not to freak out when he’s alone
  • How to survive bedtime with a puppy who whines all night
  • How to stop being stressed and overwhelmed all the time
  • And more

It’ll help you overcome self-doubt and frustration, solve behavior problems, teach your dog good habits, and build that beautiful bond you were dreaming about before you brought your dog home.

By Gabrielle Feldman

Do you think you know everything there is to know about canines? Think again! Check out these 23 interesting facts you may have never heard:

1. Dogs have a sense of time. It’s been proven that they know the difference between a hour and five. If conditioned to, they can predict future events, such as regular walk times.

2. Your dog is as smart as a two-year old! Ever wonder why children around this age seem to have a special bond with the family dog? It could be because they speak the same language, roughly 250 words and gestures in fact.

Credit: Liz Randall

3. A study at UCSD claims that your dog can genuinely get jealous when they see you display affection for another creature.

4. The United States has the highest pet dog population in the world. Approximately 75.8 million in fact.

Credit: @hardknoxlife_gsd

5. Seeing eye dogs are trained to do their “business” on command. This way their owner can clean it up a bit easier. Some of the popular commands are “get busy” and “go time”.

6. Man’s best friend? Petting a dog and gazing into their eyes releases oxytocin (i.e the “love hormone”) not only for you, but for them as well.

7. The Saluki is the world’s oldest dog breed. They appear in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 2100 B.C.

Credit: Renee Johnson

8. Dachshunds were originally bred to fight badgers.

Credit:Nick Savchenko

9. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered live longer than dogs who are intact.

10. More than half of all U.S presidents have owned dogs.


11. Stray dogs in Russia have learned how to ride the complex subway system, and get off at specific stops in search of food.

Credit: Adam Baker

12. Your dog can smell your feelings. In fact, your dog’s sense of smell is approximately 100,000 times better than yours. So it shouldn’t be shocking that they can in fact, smell things such as fear. When a human is fearful, they perspire, and a dog is easily able to pick up on this change.

13. Dogs have wet noses because it helps to absorb scent chemicals.

14. Dogs can be trained to to detect cancer and other diseases in humans. Cancerous cells release different metabolic waste products than healthy cells in the human body. Dogs may even be able to sniff out cancer cells simply through smelling someone’s breath.

15. Do you have a dog that experiences separation anxiety? Try leaving some clothing with him that you’ve worn. It’s been proven that the scent you leave behind on your clothes can help ease your dog’s separation anxiety.

Credit: Alejandro C

16. When your dog is carefully choosing the perfect place to do his business, it is because they prefer to go poop in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field.

Credit: @briangb72

17. Have you ever wondered why your dog curls up in a ball when they sleep? It’s actually an age-old instinct to keep themselves warm and to protect vital organs while they sleep.

18. Your dog can help get you a date! One study showed that a man’s chances of getting a girl’s phone number went from 10% to 33%, just by having a dog with them. In the study, a staggering 66% of men and women would not date someone who didn’t like pets.

19. Labradors have been the most popular breed in the United States for the last 26 years.

Credit: Mark Andrews

20. There are approximately 600 million dogs in the world. It is estimated that nearly 400M of those dogs are strays.

21. Scientists believe that the world’s first known dog lived 31,700 years ago. This prehistoric dog resembled a large Siberian Husky.

22. Former Michael Vick dogs, Sox and Hector, are certified therapy dogs. They now spend their days cheering up people at hospitals, nursing homes, and schools.


23. Spiked collars were originally fashioned in ancient Greece to protect dogs’ throats from wolf attacks.

Credit: Nick Chapman

Suggested articles for you:

  • The Ultimate Guide to Dog Care
  • 5 Reasons Loving Your Pet is Good For Your Health!
  • Top This! 5 Healthy Dog Food Toppers

Have a question about your dog’s health? Contact us here!

Whatever the reason for not wanting your dog anymore, please read through the suggestions in this article before deciding anything. Photo: RandyDMM

It’s been barely a week since you adopted little T-Rex — and this destructive puppy has already chewed through 3 remotes, 2 sofas and 1 big chunk of the front door.

You decide he’ll eat you out of house and home and has to go.

What do you do if you don’t want your dog anymore?


Assessing the Issue

Let’s look at some typical scenarios.

The above example was similar to a story we heard recently about Mike, a Boxer/pit mix.

Mike was returned to the shelter by his adoptive family, who had really wanted a cute puppy like him but ended up having to work 10-hour days. During those long days, a bored 3-month-old Mike had been left home alone with nothing to do.

Sometimes dogs are not a good fit with your lifestyle, so please be realistic before adopting a pet.

You also might have arrived home with your new pet only to be told “no way” by your partner. Perhaps you can’t keep a stray puppy you’ve found because you’re already maxed out on dogs and cats, and one more just wouldn’t be possible.

Some dog behavior problems can be resolved with:

  • Training classes, even if your dog is older
  • Spaying or neutering
  • Enrolling your dog in a daycare center that provides all-day activities

Other problems, such as someone in your house being allergic to the pet, can be difficult to control. Or perhaps your pet needs to be rehomed because of a domestic violence situation.


Whatever the reason for not keeping your dog, please read through the suggestions below before deciding on a course of action.

If you don’t want your dog anymore, please don’t simply abandon them. Sadly, dogs dumped at public places will sometimes wait there, thinking their person will return. Photo: francisgoh

6 Options When You Don’t Want Your Dog Anymore

First, get prepared. If you have paperwork from your purchase or adoption, set that aside.

Write a list of qualities about the dog so someone else can assess them for potential adopters:

  • Does your dog go crazy if they see a cat?
  • Do they hate storms or howl at loud noises?
  • Have they ever bitten anyone?
  • Are they food aggressive?

Making these notes can help the next person know how to handle your dog and find a good match for them. Be sure to add in any health problems or medications, as well as the last known date of vaccinations. Bathe and groom your dog so they look their best.

The less work the veterinary techs or rescue personnel have to do, the faster your dog can get on the list for adoption.

Now let’s discuss 6 possible options when you don’t want your dog anymore:

1. Family or Friends

Ask family members and your friends if they would be interested in taking the dog.

Post high-quality photos and a detailed description of your pet on social media to try to get the word out. “Photos and descriptions really help people make a connection to an animal,” says Best Friends Animal Society.

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Try to write a description “that describes the pet’s personality, habits and some of the little things that make this animal special,” Best Friends adds.

“Do not hold back when it comes to telling about any disabilities, health issues or behavior quirks. Sometimes these are the things that potential adopters particularly respond to.”

And don’t stop at just friends and family, the group says. Try to spread the word far and wide.

“Word of mouth should not be underestimated,” Best Friends says.

“Tell anyone and everyone about the pet that needs a home and ask friends, co-workers and family members to help with spreading the word. It could be that a co-worker’s father’s neighbor’s daughter is looking for a new pet.”

If your dog is a specific breed, try contacting a breed-specific rescue group to get your pet rehomed. Photo: bella67

2. Rescues

Is your dog a specific breed?

Breed-specific rescue groups “work hand-in-hand with and complement the work of animal shelters,” according to Petfinder.


“As purebred rescue groups remove ‘their’ breed from a shelter, they free up a run and buy time for another dog. Additionally, many rescue groups take dogs who might be considered less adoptable by some shelters, such as dogs who are older or have special needs.”

Breed-specific rescues often pull dogs from shelters and animal control offices, so going straight to the rescue may give your dog a better chance of getting a permanent home faster:

  • Check out the American Kennel Club’s Rescue Network list.
  • Or search for the name of your dog’s breed + “rescue” and your state name. If none is listed, search for another state and contact them — sometimes transport can be arranged between shelters and rescues.

3. Animal Sanctuaries

Animal sanctuaries may exist in your area. Search your location + “animal sanctuary” to find one near you.

Some of these places may offer adoption services or allow the animals to live out their lives at the sanctuary forever. Make sure to contact them to find out if they are legitimate and if they accept dogs.

For example, Our Companions, an animal sanctuary situated on 47 acres of rural land in Manchester, Connecticut, says it takes in “dogs and cats with medical and/or behavioral challenges.”

“These animals are given the time and skilled guidance to recover, have a calm and rewarding life, and make progress toward finding their forever homes.”

Your local shelter may not be able to accept your dog, but they may be able to help in another way. Photo: Ella_87

4. Animal Shelters

Taking your dog to an animal shelter is another option.

As former shelter worker Allison Gray explains, “A good shelter’s staff will understand and won’t try to shame you.”

  • Keep in mind that if the shelter is at full capacity, you may be referred to an animal control office (see #6 below).
  • Ask if the shelter is a no-kill facility. Realize, however, that no-kill shelters choose which animals they’ll admit — and yours may not be admitted because of behavior problems, health issues or advanced age.
  • If you’re considering taking your dog to the shelter, keep in mind that some dogs will not cope well in confined areas for long periods of time. If you know your dog has anxiety or confinement issues, you may want to consider another option.

“Although your local shelter may not be able to adopt out the pet, they may be able to offer other assistance,” says Best Friends. “Some have low-cost spay/neuter clinics or offer obedience-training classes. They may have a bulletin board where they post information about animals available for adoption.”

5. Military

Often, military members get orders to go to a location or base and can’t take their pet with them because of pet policies or breed bans.

If you’re getting stationed and don’t know what to do with your dog, check out Dogs on Deployment. This nonprofit organization finds temporary boarders for military pets until their families come home.

We appreciate your service to our country and want you to be able to keep your pet!

6. Animal Control

Municipal animal control facilities (a.k.a. “the pound”) are run by the local government. Most of them will accept any animal — but the trade-off is they sometimes have to euthanize unadopted animals.

So please try to find a no-kill shelter first. If they’re at capacity, though, animal control is where they might send you.

If you have tried all other options, animal control may be the last place you can bring your dog.

Thinking about just dropping your dog off down the road somewhere? Please don’t do it. It’s illegal and wrong. Photo: garisquehago

2 Very Bad Options When You Don’t Want Your Dog Anymore

1. Dumping Your Dog

Dumping a dog somewhere is a terrible option that comes with plenty of hazards.

  • Another animal could attack the dog.
  • Your dog could be hit by a car.
  • The dog could contract a disease and possibly spread it.
  • If your dog isn’t neutered, they could contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.

“By all means, let us try to help you before you just drop and give up on the animal,” an animal control official in Georgia pleaded after a number of animals were abandoned and left to die on a dirt road.

Never assume someone will find your dog and take care of them. The dog could also stay there waiting for you to return or try to run back home.

Bottom line: If you’ve considered dropping your dog off down the road somewhere, please don’t do it.

2. “Free to a Good Home” Listing

Many people use newspapers and online listings to offer their dog to a good home for free.

We don’t like this because of the risks. Mary and Joe Smith may sound like ideal pet parents, but they could also be animal abusers or pose as a front to an animal testing service or clinic.

Bully breeds can be targeted for dogfighting rings, and smaller dogs could be sought after for “baiting” these dogs.

As Allison Gray says in her article “Why ‘Free to a Good Home’ Ads Must Die”:

“We’d all like to assume that we’re great judges of character and can see a monster coming a mile away. But some monsters aren’t that terrifying on the outside. And some are masters of deception.”

Instead of “free,” consider charging a small rehoming fee if you list your dog online. The right family won’t mind paying this fee.

In this emotional video, Lex explains why she’s rehoming her dog and shares what she has learned through her experience so far:

Final Thoughts

Whatever your reasons, if you’ve decided you don’t want your dog anymore, please take the above suggestions into consideration.

As Best Friends says, “Be creative, positive and persistent” when rehoming your dog. “There are many animals needing homes at any one time, so finding a home can take some work. But there are good homes out there, so try to maintain a positive attitude.”

You cared enough about your dog to give them a home — now give them a good chance of finding their next one.

* * *

This article was originally published in 2012 and is regularly updated. It was last reviewed for accuracy and updated Aug. 5, 2019.

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