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Dogs can be beneficial when families split up

LAST week I talked about the difficult and stressful position a dog is put through when its owners divorce.

Here I continue on the theme.

Perhaps a member of the family may march out in a huff, slamming doors.
This will cause stress to the pet dog. The dog hears all the shouting and human aggression, and this can be frightening to it.

Some owners will even put their dog outside the room when they argue. Now the dog sees this as a form of punishment.
Of course, the dog in the household can have a positive influence on what is going on.  It is known that divorce can cause behavioural changes in a child, from bursts of angry rebellion to periods of deep brooding silence.
Dogs play a beneficial role, since a child can make the dog his very best friend and confident to be hugged, cried with, and told any secret, knowing his best friend will neither pass judgment nor tell anyone.
When a couple separate or divorce, I always advise that the best solution is to keep the children and dog (or dogs) together.  Divorce is traumatic enough but dogs can, in fact, play a very important role to cope with, and express, his or her feelings.

The other alternative, that of sharing a dog between two households, rarely works, since this causes stress to the couple, the child and the dog. However, as couples have usually provided, trained and loved the dog together, it is their responsibility to decide what is best for it now.

Next week I will discuss some pet therapy to help you and your dog cope.

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