Your dogs should be fine separated.
The first thing to understand is that, at 2 years old, they are ?grown
ups? in dog terms. They aren?t baby puppies being taken from their
litter. They are full adult animals that are ready to deal with the
world on their own. Yes, a change in their environment will add some
stress to their lives, but so does moving or getting a cat or changing
their meal schedule. The main thing is that you continue to treat them
well and be alert for signs of stress until your new routine is
Secondly, since you and your partner raised them, they look at the two
of you as part of their ?pack? the same way they look at each other.
If one dog is going to come live with you, she (?) will still feel
like she is in the presence of one of her pack mates.
Finally, remember, they are dogs. They have limited emotional and
?psychological? depth. They live day-to-day and as long as their
physical and social needs are met, they do fine. Again, yes they each
might experience some momentary stress, but no more than they would if
a human member of their pack moved away. Eventually they form new
relationships and settle in to a new lifestyle.
Look at the number of dogs who lose their entire ?packs? --- the ones
who get sold, given away, or find themselves at the shelter after
spending years bonding with a family of people and other dogs. These
dogs get adopted and most of them come out to be perfectly
well-adjusted members of their new family.
Some owners do report dogs temporarily acting lethargic after the loss
of another dog in the family. This may have as much to do with the
owner?s emotional state as the dogs, but in either case can be
mitigated. See this article:
Grieving: When Your Dog Mourns the Loss of Another Dog
So, take good care of your dog and this separation will barely
register as a blip in his or her life. If you are moving her out, make
sure she gets to keep her familiar toys, bed, and crate. Also make
sure you start out with a regular routine to help her adjust to her
new environment. But in the end, keep in mind, as long as she?s with
you and well cared for, she?ll be content.
VETERINARY PARTNERS: Adjusting To A New Home
I will add one caveat: If the two dogs currently spend the day
together while you and your partner work, you (and your partner) are
going to have to make provisions for the dogs to have some company
during the day if you separate them. Otherwise, you both might end up
with bored, and possibly destructive, dogs. It?s along day for a 2
year old dog if there?s nobody to play with.
Hope that helps you!
I wrote this based on my own extensive experience with dogs, dog
training, and work in a veterinary hospital. However, if you?d like to
understand more about dog behavior, the following site offers good
concrete information and advice. I frequently use it as a reference.
VETERINARY PARTNERS: CANINE BEHAVIOR SERIES
VETERINARY PARTNERS: CANINE BEHAVIOR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS