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