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What to do with your dog if you split with your partner

Happy dog sitting in long grass

Originally published on 22nd March 2019 at 10:49 AM

The end of a relationship brings various life adjustments, many couples have more than just themselves to think about including family, friends, children and pets.

Pet owners love their animals and want them to be happy but there’s not much advice on how to care for them through a break-up. So, here are my tips to keep your pup happy as you transition into a new chapter of your life.

Think what is best for the dog not for you 

What you think is best for you isn’t always what is best for your dog. It’s important to get it right for their sake. Who gets the dog should depend on lifestyle and work schedules. If you can't give the dog what they need then it is better to accept that now, then have to re-home later. Dog sitters and walkers can be expensive and split custody isn’t always the best option either as a weekly upheaval can be too upsetting for your dog.

Keep the routine

Dogs thrive on a routine, they enjoy the predictability of a daily routine. As best as you can, keep their day as normal as possible, this will help your dog adjust to all the changes that are happening around them.

Don’t fight in front of the dog

Treat your dog as you would your child during any messy stages of a breakup. Try not to argue in front of your dog, they are sensitive and will easily pick up on the bad feeling. Anxiety can affect your dog’s mood, behaviour and appetite.

Keep up training and provide enrichment

Many behaviour problems can arise from the stress of a couple separating and stress affects each dog differently. For example, you may notice that your dog begins to chew furniture, bark more or dig up the garden. All of these can be a sign that your dog is not coping. Giving them attention and love will help. Providing delicious stuffed kongs and food puzzles can also help to take their mind off the adjustment period.

Enjoy the stress relief that your canine companion offers

It’s well documented that animals can decrease stress and anxiety. Therefore, getting out into the fresh air for a walk or playing with your pet can help you with what can be a stressful time.

For more help with pets and separation, read our pet custody blog. For more support with your pooch, contact me via Milne and Mutt

Need some more personalised advice?

Jemma Milne
Jemma Milne
Jemma is a London based specialist dog trainer who works with dog owners to make pet ownership fun and stress-free.

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