Who Gets the Dog?

Published: 30th May 2012
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Unfortunately, things donít always work out between spouses, and separating is the best choice for both of you. Custody of children is a common topic, along with deciding who gets the home and other objects and property. Up until recently, the state along with most people, have seen dogs and other pets as little more than property. But to a dog owner, our faithful companions arenít just an item on a list; they are much like children and family members.

This topic has become increasingly popular as more people have begun an effort to assign joint custody to their dogs. Separation can be difficult, but separating a dog from someone they love and someone that loves them back can be even worse.

Much like child custody, the well-being of your dog goes down to making decisions based on your pet and what is best for them. It is important to cover these decisions in a lawful form to avoid problems.

Joint ownership

Is joint ownership better for your dog? Dogs become attached to their owners Ė both of them. Separation can make a difference in dog attitude, sometimes resulting in depression or anxiety. At the same time, you need to consider that both of you will be living in different places. Joint custody would likely require that the dog change location regularly, possibly every two weeks. This can confuse a dog, especially an older dog that has difficulty seeing and hearing.

You also add the factor of multiple dogs to the equation. Separating your dogs from each other can also become a problem, so it is in the best interest of the dogs to keep them together wherever they go. This will also help ease the transition of regular relocation for them.

Giving your dog the best home

Sometimes, joint custody isnít the best choice. So you have to ask: who can offer the best home for your dog? Location, environment, and attention all play a part in this decision. While weíve bonded with our best friend, you have to consider who is going to be able to provide the best home for them. That doesnít mean, however, that the other person canít pay an occasional visit to see their companions.

This also means that you should always make housing decisions based on the well-being of the dog. Such instances may regard fencing, environment (safety first), and even feeding (choosing a diet that is healthy).

Because training methods and habits differ between people, it is important that training be a joint effort, especially if joint custody is the situation. Training methods should target the safety of the dog and those around them (such as jumping up on people).

There is also the concern of potty habits. Because a dog may be living in two different places, potty choices can be different. For instance, you may live in a house with a yard where your dog is used to going, while your former spouse may now live in an apartment, and wants to use an indoor potty. It can be beneficial for your dog, and your carpet, to agree on a single potty method.

Animal care

There is also the concern of animal care, such as medical bills, decisions (surgery), and care. These decisions need to be made together for the benefit of the dog. While these decisions are lawfully the choice of the legal owner, this would definitely be something to cover in joint-custody of your dog. This can prevent arguments and problems that can arise when decisions like these are made without the consent of the other owner.

Personal differences

The most important thing to remember is to never allow your personal differences to become a problem for your dog. This is perhaps the most devastating problem in faltering relationships, leading to mistreatment and neglect of the beloved pet. Be sure that you think about your dog first, before your quarrels.

Luckily, the law system has begun to place much needed attention on this subject. A few years ago, such ideas where the cause of confusion, but now there are over forty law schools which offer courses and additions to their syllabuses that specifically apply to animal laws. This is a great movement towards presenting exactly how important our dogs are to us. They arenít just a couch or an item with a price tag. They are special to us, and we should always remember that and consider whatís best for our dog.

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