Breaking up is hard to do, and when the family pet is involved, things become more complicated. "Dogs form bonds with people, and when ties are disrupted, it can be stressful for them, just like it can be stressful for humans," said certified applied animal behaviorist Mary Burch. "While there is no perfect solution for helping your dog adjust during a breakup or divorce, there are steps you can take to ease the transition." Burch and the American Kennel Club offer tips on how to help your dog adjust:
If you will share custody of your dog, it is important to help your dog get used to the time apart. When you leave him, do so with a minimum of fuss and always greet him calmly. This will teach him that the separation is not something to be anxious about.
Keep a consistent schedule. Dog's can sense stress, which is why you should try your best to keep their schedule as normal as possible.
A change of surroundings is common after a split. Whether you move or redecorate a formerly shared space, plan ahead to create an easier segue for your pooch. When looking for a new home, seek out a pet-friendly realtor or ask your current realtor to keep your pooch in mind while searching for prospective homes. If you plan to redecorate, think about new additions for Fido, too, whether it is the addition of a doggy door or pet-friendly flooring.
When introducing new people to your dog, know your dog's comfort level. Wait to introduce Fido to your new friends or love interests. This will give you time to discuss your pup's temperament, and any behavioral concerns such as the best method for greeting your dog and the fact that he sleeps at the bottom of your bed. These simple discussions will lay the ground work for a positive first meeting and new friendship.
Find additional tips on dog ownership at www.akc.org.