How to Help Your Dog Deal With Your Divorce

I now know why they say a dog can be your best friend. They are not only rambunctiously lovable but no other animal can be as true blue as your dog.

Having observed my dog Phoenix react to every change of mood in the house, I can’t imagine how stressful it must be for a dog whose mom and dad are fighting, separating or already divorced.

For those of you who have never had a dog, you will probably think the remainder of this article is ridiculous. Only five years ago I would have thought the same thing.

Animal behaviorist Mary Burch Ph.D. who consults for the American Kennel Club confirms that human divorce is difficult for our loyal companions and offers a few tips on easing your dog’s burden through a transitional period. She suggests the following:

1. If you and your ex are sharing custody of your dog it is important to help your dog get used to the time he spends away from you. When dropping your dog off or picking him/her up you must be cool, calm and collected. Now is not the time to re-engage your ex in verbal combat. If you stay calm, so will your dog.

2. Keep your dog’s schedule consistent so that your dog understands when he is leaving you and when he is returning. This too will eliminate anxiety for your pet.

3. If your divorce means a new home or even two new homes for your dog, keep in mind that you are making the move with Fido and be sensitive to his needs as well as your own.

4. Once you start dating and meeting new people, make sure the relationship is one that warrants an introdution to your precious pet. Talking about your dog and his pecadilloes with potential new partners will go a long way in ensuring your partner and your dog’s comfort level.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang


One thought on “How to Help Your Dog Deal With Your Divorce

  1. Good advice, Georgialee:

    The depth of the abyss of misunderstanding between dog lovers and non-dog lovers is, I have found, quite striking.

    I recall commenting to a business associate that my beloved golden retriever had to have an operation for a cancerous toe, overall cost being about $4.5K. He was amazed that I contemplated that kind of expense…his solution, put the dog down and get another one. My response…”I hope your children remain in great health”. Heh.

    How does one convince a non-believer that a dog that accompanies you everywhere, even to work (I own the company) is loyal, protective and loving, is somewhat akin to being a child? A dog that, when I was away on an extended foreign business trip, resulting in my wife walking him in the woods near our home, on one occasion when a naked pervert jumped out of the bushes and my golden retriever changed from a placid canine into an aggressive “pit bull”, defended my wife, and sent the jerk packing, and bleeding.

    Fact is that there are two languages on this issue. Your comments are fully recognized by dog people, and unrecognized by those who consider dogs as chattel.

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