Can dog ownership make or break your relationship?
This week, we’re talking all about dog and relationships. Not your relationship with the dog, but the impact that dog ownership, or in some cases non dog ownership has on your relationship with your significant other.
Dating Apps targeted at dog lovers are now a thing. I mean of course they are, it makes sense. You can disagree on Brexit, but when it comes to dogs or animals in general, can a lover and an ambivalent really co habit?
I have couple friends where one is desperate for a dog and the other not so much. Rightly so, its the latter that wins the war as its got to be something you are both 100% invested in. This however, can cause resentment in a relationship.
So couples who both love dogs and therefore get to own one together are living their best lives right?
Well, when you look at the most common reasons couples argue on any list, money, sex life, lack of sleep, parenting and chores all feature. All of these are prevalent when it comes to dog ownership. Lets take these one by one
In our household, we’ve been debating dog number two for a while now. However with the husband starting a new job and me trying to build a small business to become more than just a side hustle, security around finances is a concern.
Don’t get me wrong, I do believe we all live by our means, but, its just double of everything. Insurance, vet bills, groomers (fellow Cockapoo owners will know just how much it can cost to keep those four legged Teddy Bears looking just so), dog walkers and boarding. Holidays too – some holiday cottages have restrictions of one dog only, or charge a supplement for dog number two. it’s all a huge consideration.
Now, I can’t blame this all on Willow obviously, however young dogs especially can’t be left alone for more than 5 minutes. If you want ‘special cuddle’ time, they just think you’re playing a really fun game that they’ve not been invited to. They absolutely WILL voice their disappointment at this. There is nothing that will ruin the moment more than a whining dog.
Lack of sleep
Sleep training a puppy is brutal. Now I don’t expect sympathy here from anyone with actual human children, but still, the struggle is real.
It has always worked for us to go old school with sleep training and let our dogs cry out for the first few nights but I do know it’s not for everyone and some prefer to have their dogs in with them even just at first. There is a quick guide here from Ceaser. Whichever route you decide, you will inevitably have some rough nights sleep wise.
New routines such as holidays throw them too. We now pretty much write off the first night of any holiday as Willow paddles up and down her new surroundings, whining and woofing at any slight sound.
Lastly what’s with the ridiculous time they wake up? I’m sure its different for older dogs but Willow will allow a lie in till about 8am on a weekend and not a minute after.
A lot of my friends think that because I don’t have children, on weekends I roll out of bed mid morning for brunch. The reality is one of us is out walking Willow at the break of dawn come rain or shine. No matter how tired we feel, or how heavy last night was.
There is no ‘just play on your ipad’ equivalent for dogs. The fact that they can’t go to the loo on their own means you are on borrowed time as soon as they wake. All of this contributing to the ‘I’m more tired than you’ conversations.
When we got our first dog, me and the hubby argued about letting her off the lead. I was in the camp of ‘yes’ train her well and let her be a dog. He was however all about risk management and believed it was best to always keep her on the lead. I won in the end after some encouragement and education on training, yet he remains still more cautious than I do about this subject.
The point is, I never saw this coming. It’s not something we had discussed. Whilst you don’t have as many decisions as you would with children, you do need to be aligned on subjects such as how you are going to train your dog. It can become a bone of contention otherwise (pardon the pun).
As much as I love walking Willow. In the working week, where its go, go, go, those routine morning and evening walks can become more chore like for sure, and therefore, they go on the list of chores to divide and bicker over.
The most contentious of all dog related chores in our household being the late night wee in the garden. This has become the subject of much negotiation for us – ‘if you stand outside in the garden freezing in your pyjamas, whilst Willow finds the perfect spot to wee, then i’ll do her morning walks for the next three years, solely pay for all her food and basically do ANYTHING to get out of getting from under my blanket on the couch to stand outside’
There’s other things too. Arranging the dog walker, booking her vet check ups and grooming appointments, all of which I do by the way. I don’t mind, don’t get me wrong. Its for Willow after all, yet it all still falls under the title of ‘life admin’. We all like to spend hours arguing over who does more life admin- me, definitely me.
What if you share a dog and then it all goes wrong?
So what happen if a dog couple split up? – not because of the arguments over that last wee hopefully, but like real life stuff. What happens to their furry child? There’s a whole custody conversation. I know couples who have gone through this and it’s awful.
Some people (non dog owners) find the notion really strange. ‘You share a dog with your ex, what?’ Why is it weird though? a dog is family, and you brought up that dog together.
If anything god forbid happened in my relationship, one of my first thoughts – if not my immediate thought would be Willow. How would we work it, it would be heart breaking.
That said, I couldn’t see Willow in more capable hands than Dan’s. If I’m being 100% honest, I trust him more with Willow than I trust myself – probably stemming from one of my earlier points about how cautious he is with her.
This brings us full circle to finding that special someone for you, who you can share the joys of a dog with, alongside the nigh time wee’s.
Seeing the dating apps advertised makes me feel really lucky with my little set up here at home, but I also realise how I take for granted that I’m in a relationship with someone who shares the same feelings. It’s not like it was a first date question.
How do you feel about dogs and the impact having one has on your relationship, good and bad?
Are you a dog lover looking for a dog lover?
Do you share custody of a dog with an ex?
Are you unable to have a dog because of a partner?
If you’re a couple contemplating a dog for the first time, you should check out our blog on how to tell if you are ready.
I’d love to hear your story.