When Dog Owning Couples Split Up – What If Your Ex Still Wants To Take Care Of The Dog On Weekends?

Deborah K. Vick

When our marriage came to an end back in 1999 we owned a house and three dogs. The house was sold and we agreed that the dogs should live with me because I was working from home but my husband had full time job away from home. As you can imagine I was very happy with that solution even so looking after three dogs did put a strain on my finances at the time.

After my ex husband had found himself a new apartment he told me that he wanted to stay in touch with the dogs and take them for walks two or three times a week.

This was not good news because I did not want so see him on an almost daily basis! I mean, when you split up, you do not really want to see your ex partner all that often, do you?

Anyway we had agreed to part as friends and the dogs did still love him so very much. So how could I refuse his request? Finally we agreed that he would come and pick them up on Tuesdays and Fridays for two hours.

The dogs did enjoy their walks and in the end I was quite happy to have two dog free afternoons when I did not have to take them for a long walk.

The agreement ended when it became clear that due to financial reasons I had to give one of the dogs up and he took her.

Since then many people asked me whether it would be good for their dogs if their ex partner still took them out once in a while. I even know of a couple who agreed that their dog should spend one week with him and one week with her.

The question is: Can a dog cope with two primary caretakers who do not live together or is a dog someone who needs to attach himself to one person exclusively?

Does it harm a dog if he gets taken out and about by a person who used to share his life?

I think not. I am sure that a dog benefits when he can keep up his relationship with his “other” significant other. After all, it is not the dog who split up from his mistress or master, it is mistress and master who decided to go separate ways.

If your ex partner wants to see the dog there is nothing wrong with that idea from your dog’s point of view.

Whether you like it or not is a different matter.

Sometimes being generous is a good thing – then again, if you really hate your ex partner it may not be such a good idea after all.

The advice I give my clients is this:

If both you and your ex partner are sure that all he or she wants is to look after the dog on a regular basis it may be worth trying.

If, on the other hand, either one of you is trying to avoid the final breakup or restart the relationship via the dog it may not be such a good idea after all because it means that the dog is just being used as an excuse not to accept your mutual decision.

Which ever way you decide, please remember: Neither kids nor dogs should be turned into weapons against each other when it comes to a divorce or relationship break up.

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