Sometimes you don’t get the dog you wanted, nor the dog you planned for. So what do you do?
It depends a lot on who you ask. Some people may have the opinion that you just have to ‘stick it out’ because it’s the dog you bought, whereas others, myself included, may think slightly differently.
I use a lot of human analogies in relation to dogs. Why? Because as people we seem to understand them better. So let me use one now:
I am not married to my ex-husband. We got a divorce. Don’t get me wrong, I did not enter into a relationship with him impulsively or with a poor understanding of what a relationship meant, nor did I stand at the alter and say my vows with the intended outcome of separating!
Like with many relationship breakdowns we simply grew apart. He did not fit my ‘needs’ as a husband, nor did I meet his ‘needs’ as a wife! If we had ‘stuck it out’ because it’s just too bad, we made a commitment so we just have to deal with it, we would have spent the remainder of our lives pretty miserable and maybe even ended up really, really disliking each other!
So we re-homed each other!
Not to be taken lightly
So why should a doggy ‘divorce’ be viewed differently? Why should people feel obligated to spend the remained of their dog’s life miserable? There should be no guilt!
Firstly it’s important to understand that a ‘doggy divorce’ is not easy, nor is it something to be taken lightly.
Knowing when the time is right
The main reason I see is when there is a mis-match between dog and owners; their personalities are simply not compatible! This may be because the dog cannot meet the needs of the owner, or the owners are unable to meet the needs of the dog. Some dogs do require much more that others; affection/companionship, physical activity, mental stimulation, etc.
Ultimately if the dogs’ needs are not met then their behaviour will deteriorate; it’s a vicious circle. If owners have tried to meet the dog’s needs and for one reason or another they are unable to, then a ‘doggy divorce’ may be in the best interest of both parties!
When divorce is not an option
Sadly sometimes a dog’s behaviour can mean that it is not suitable to be re-homed and the kindest and most humane option is to put the dog to sleep (euthanise) to prevent further suffering. This can be an extremely difficult decision so the support and guidance of qualified professionals can help during this difficult time.
Yes, occasionally there are people who are able to provide homes for behaviourally challenging dogs however they are few and far between… I know, as I personally have adopted and lived with MANY dogs with moderate to severe behavioural problems.
Every pet deserves a full, healthy and happy life
Ultimately, every owner and every pet deserves to live a full and happy life.
So what can you do to prevent ever needing a ‘doggy divorce’?
- Research, research, research! Dogs like humans have very different personalities! Just because you had a Maltese as a child doesn’t mean that all Maltese are like that one! I’m not anything like my Brother and we have the same parents…
- Meet the parents – both of them! After all they are the ones that have provided your pups genes. Behaviour is inherited just like coat colour!
- Write a list of wants and needs and stick to it. How much time can you dedicate to this dog? Do you want low energy, high affection, etc?
- Do not be impulsive. Puppies are like cars, there will always be another one.
- Understand the terminologies and read between the lines. If a dog is ‘working lines’ or comes from a farm then that means that they NEED a job to do!
- Ask for help from a professional. Most trainers have lists of preferred breeders that they can refer you to.
- Enlist the support and guidance from a professional fear free (positive reinforcement) trainer who will ensure that you start off on the right paw.
If you would like further information or guidance please contact us.