Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Help your Dog Adjust to a Divorce

Sometimes relationships don’t work. The family dog is often affected by tension, sadness, and chaos that may exist in their home and all of these emotions can be present when a divorce is inevitable. Remember that your dog is used to everyone in the house and may still be extremely bonded to both adults. Both adults may also be tightly bonded to the dog. When ties are disrupted it can stress your dog and while there is no perfect solution to help your dog adjust, there are steps that can be taken to ease the transition.

Here are a few tips to help your dog adjust:
  • When leaving the house, don’t make a big deal out of it. Simply say goodbye and close the front door calmly. This will help your dog remember that separation is not something to be anxious about.
  • Keep your dog on a good schedule that is fairly consistent. Routines ease anxiety in pets and also help you manage your own time better.
  • If you share custody of the dog, keep a schedule that works for both of you, and try to stick with it as best as possible. Once again, when meeting and departing, keep calm so your dog need not become anxious over one of you going the other way.
  • If your pet seems bored, is becoming destructive or could use more exercise than you’re able to accommodate, consider enrolling them in doggie daycare. It will change the routine if your dog has never done this before, but will likely change it for the better. Your dog can spend the day playing and socializing rather than being home alone. If the divorce was tense, this may also help ease that tension because you could drop the dog off in the morning and your ex can pick the dog up in the evening or vice versa. Alternatively, a daily dog walker can come into your home and get your dog out walking each day to help alleviate any boredom they may be experiencing while you are at work. The exercise is great for your dog and you don’t have to panic about getting home if you get caught up a little later at work.
Remember to try and keep your dog’s well-being first and foremost. Break ups are tough and so is sharing a dog. If your relationship with your ex remains amicable then it can work, but if that is not possible, seriously consider who is best able to care for your dog full-time, even if that person is not you, and let the best caregiver retain permanent custody.

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