Weisenheim am Berg / St. Gallen (dpa/tmn) – We share cars, clothes, tools and apartments. Anyone who uses things together is conserving resources, and thanks to the Internet, they usually find like-minded people quickly. It is similar to dog sharing i.e. when two people “share” a dog i.e. caring for the animal together.
This is how dog sharing works
Similar to an equestrian post, the dog is taken care of by two people. There can be many reasons for this: when life circumstances change, when the partnership breaks up, when business hours change or when a change of location is imminent. And there are reasons, too, from a dog handler’s perspective: Too small an apartment, no budget – but great love for dogs and a longing to be with an animal and take responsibility.
In her daily life as a dog trainer, Julia Lautz encounters many dog owners who share the care of their lover with someone else. “In our experience, the model of dog participation care has increased significantly in recent years,” says owner of the Martin Rotter Dogs dog school in Will/St Gallen, Switzerland.
Freedom for those who want to own a dog
Lutz notes this trend especially among the younger generation under the age of 40. Even working individuals want to keep a dog. You are playing around with flexible hours and are familiar with part-time work. While it used to be said that a person who works shouldn’t keep a dog, today we know that there are certainly ways to provide a proper life for a dog even when it is working – one of which is sharing dogs.
“If all caregivers come together when it comes to dog training and anticipation of care, this could be a good solution,” says Julia Lutz.
“It has always been the case that several people take care of a dog. Large families, friends and neighbors – dog owners usually have a network. Ideally, they should have thought about other people who could take care of the animal before buying it, for example in case of illness or While traveling,” says canine specialist Annette Mokkul of the Professional Association of Canine Educators and Behavioral Counselors (BHV) and owner of dog school icHunddu.
At Dogsharing, you will find like-minded people who care about the joy of caring for dogs in common – financial interests are irrelevant. In contrast to other forms of care: dog day care centers or kennels charge a fee, and dog sitters and dog handlers charge an hourly wage.
A dog’s needs are focus
For Annette Möckel and Giulia Lautz, dog sharing focuses on the needs of the dog, not the needs of humans. After all, it was not the animal that decided on the master or the mistress. “We humans make dog decisions, and it is our duty to treat living things consciously and responsibly. Dogs are not there to make people happy,” Möckel says.
A prerequisite for caring for an animal together is that the dog owner and co-owner be well together. This includes tolerance and mutual freedom. However, clear agreements must be made: Where does the dog spend how much and when? What does the animal eat, and what about table manners?
“I can only recommend that there should be one main owner who is responsible and makes important decisions, for example when it comes to veterinary treatment,” says Annette Möckel. Her advice: “It’s best to sign agreements in writing and sign them as a contract.”
Take your time and use common vocabulary
Both experts agree on dogs: Not every four-legged friend is a good fit for dog sharing. Dogs are social creatures who in most cases can easily get along with many caregivers. But in any case, you must give the animal time to get used to the new situation. The caregiver should be given the opportunity to develop a relationship with the animal.
At first, it is advisable to do something together. Dogs that are very attached to their owner or who are older may fear loss, so patience is required. It is also important to agree on uniform flags and rules, for example, the same callback should be used. The new caregiver must know exactly how the dog interacts with dogs, walkers, cyclists, or children who are playing.
How does the animal live the experience of separation?
Dogs are closely related to humans. They grieve when the person disappears – for example when a child leaves his parents’ home, when spouses divorce or when a family member dies. What should be considered when separated? “Basically, most dogs are resilient and adaptable,” says Annette Mokle. “However, they need time to get used to the new situation.”
Her advice to owners of “divorce dogs”: “Dogs are stressed when people act their disputes through them – so this should be avoided as much as possible. BHV Dog Schools provide professional help and support.
The “Divorce Dog” project rarely succeeds.
For joint sponsorship, it is necessary to emotionally resolve conflicts between former partners. Julia Lautz had an experiment that the master and mistress wished to continue taking care of their dog together after a breakup – but then the project failed. “In theory, it sounds easy,” says Lautz. “If an ex-couple found a partnership with each other, it could work.”
Unfortunately, it looks different in practice. The situation is emotionally difficult for masters and mistresses. The dog, in turn, feels this too and this can put pressure on him. “In the vast majority of cases, the ‘dog divorce’ project sooner or later fails. In the end the dog stays with one partner while the other withdraws completely,” is the experience of the dog trainer.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220811-99-355599 / 2