What is dog co-parenting? It’s a relatively new idea of literally sharing a dog with someone else who doesn’t live with you! The dog has two owners and splits time between their homes.
There are some very appealing benefits to caring for a dog in a co-parenting relationship. Apart from the fact that it makes owning a dog really fun all the time, the cost of keeping the dog can be shared, while annual vaccinations and health checks can also be split between the dog’s owners.
You might even find that one person is earning more money and is prepared to contribute more in terms of finances but is therefore unable to devote as much free time to the dog. This is where co-parenting is useful because the dog then gets the love and care from the other parent who has more time.
The options are vast, which makes co-parenting a worthwhile option to consider.
Want to know more? Here’s some essential reading before you become a canine co-parent.
Who Owns the Dog When We Are Co-Parenting?
One of the most important things to confirm before entering into a co-parenting agreement is to establish who the legal owner of the dog will be.
You have to provide one person as the dog’s rightful owner in certain situations, such as:
Court cases involving the dog
- Completing insurance documents, microchipping records, and license tag records
How Do We Work Out Who Pays for What When We’re Doggy Co-Parenting?
Keeping a pet is a lot like having a child; it’s not cheap, but the reward is amazing! With this in mind, it’s vital for both parties in the co-parenting agreement to be fully on board, agreed, and happy about who will be paying for what.
A common checklist of expenses looks like this:
- License fees
- Annual vet bills, including vaccinations, repeat drug prescriptions, claw clipping, etc.
- Dental check-ups/treatments
- Toys, bedding
- Professional grooming
- Emergency vet bills, if your dog gets sick or injured
It’s common for people to split everything down the middle when it comes to costs, but there are other ways of organizing the money side of things. This is part of the fun of co-parenting, though, as you can always work it out on an individual basis.
How Do We Train Our Co-Parented Dog?
When dogs are living between two homes, getting the training right is paramount. Paying particular attention to the training will define whether your dog acclimatizes to the arrangements well or not.
There are simple things that you need to adhere to when your handling and training, such as ensuring that both owners call the dog the same name and use the same kind of treats for rewards during the training.
Making sure that you both encourage the same behaviors in the home is essential, as this will prevent confusion and frustration for your dog. So, if one owner is allowing the dog on the couch, then this has to be the rule in both homes.
Agree on the same food too. This is especially important if you have a particular breed that necessitates a certain raw dog food, or if the dog has dietary requirements for health reasons. Consistency is key.
Organizing Co-Parenting Exercise
Dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds require exercise. Experts advise that every dog requires between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise a day as a minimum. Decide the exercise arrangements as early as possible so that your dog doesn’t miss out at all. This can also tie in with how often they live at each home.
Many co-parents refer to the simple use of a calendar; this way you can keep track of you’re the weeks and the exercise arrangements. If you have a smartphone, you can add it to the phone’s calendar and share it with the other co-parent so that no mistakes are made.
How Do We Acclimatize Our Co-Parented Dog?
When a dog is first introduced to co-parenting, they will need a generous amount of time to acclimatize to their new routine; it’s going to be very exciting at times!
One of the best ways to achieve reliable acclimatization is to have the dog live for two to three weeks in a single household before coming to the other home for the same period. Doing it this way is much calmer for dogs and causes less confusion.
Unlike cats, dogs don’t get as attached to places, so it’s just a case of making them feel comfortable and at ease, which you can help by transferring their dog bed and toys with them when they switch homes.
Angie Hill is the editor of WoofDog, a website dedicated to doggy care and advice.