Saturday, September 26, 2015

How to Convince Your Partner to Get a Dog

So you’ve got a spouse or significant other who doesn't agree that adding a dog to the household is a good idea.  It’s not that they hate dogs or anything, you’d never want to be with someone who hated dogs, right?!  It’s just that they dislike the smell, the shedding, the chewing, the walking, the feeding and all the other chores that go along with having a dog in the home.  My husband was one of those people.  I desperately wanted a dog and he most definitely didn’t!  Well, here we are 6 years later with two fantastic dogs that he loves as much as I do!

How did I convince my reluctant husband to get a dog?  Here's how!

How did I convince my husband to go from vehemently refusing to let me bring a dog into our home, to loving hikes with our two dogs and happily giving belly rubs 50 times a day?  Here’s how….

When I was very young I was a sales rep for a computer company.  In sales they teach you how to overcome every objection the customer comes up with to make the sale.  To be honest, I wasn’t very good at sales.  Now I wanted a dog.  Desperately.  It was time to get tough, time to break out the big guns and sell the idea of getting a dog to my reluctant husband, John. 
 
A reluctant partner may be reluctant to get a pet because they're only thinking of the chores involved, not the FUN stuff!
Not everyone likes the daily chores associated with having a pet.
When someone is vehemently opposed to getting a pet it’s often because they’re thinking only of the chores and responsibility of pet ownership, not the unconditional love or the FUN stuff.  There may also be another underlying reason why they don’t want the pet, like maybe they were bitten by a dog as a child or perhaps their neighbor’s cat was mean & nasty. 

My husband John grew up with 3 brothers, all close in age.  Can you imagine a home with 3 mischievous boys running around and no dog!?  If ever there was a household that needed a dog, there’s was it!  They did have a neighbor with a nice dog, a Collie named Major, which could be a plus in helping me make the “sale”.

During our many conversations, which basically consisted of me begging  (no pun intended!) to get a dog.  I knew that one of the key reasons my husband didn’t want a dog was because he had encountered so many “bad” dogs.  As an insurance rep, he often visited auto body shops in New York.  Many body shops keep guard dogs on the premises to help prevent theft.  Sadly, they train these dogs to be territorial and aggressive toward strangers.  These experiences affected John, his perception of dogs was that most of them were unfriendly. 
 
I was lucky to have grown up with an amazing dog as my best friend.  Although he had cats, my husband had never known the joy of taking your dog for walks and hikes, playing in the yard together, cuddling up on the floor to watch TV together, or the furiously wagging tail and licks on your face as soon as you get home.


Having a dog isn't only about chores and responsibilities.  There are so many fun activities you can do with your dog and places you can take them.
There are so many fun things to do with a dog, hiking is just one of them!
Not only am I an extreme animal lover, but I also volunteered at our county animal shelter in Phoenix, AZ.  Can you imagine volunteering day after day, surrounded by so many amazing dogs but never being able to take one home!?  Let me tell you, it was pure torture.  I just had to convince my husband to get a dog!  I began to formulate a plan.
 
Adorable dogs that were available for adoption at the shelter
Knowing that John's main objection was thinking most dogs were mean, I endeavored to show him how loving and wonderful dogs can be!  I also had to let him know that I would happily handle most of the chores like feeding, training, and walking the dog. 
 
I started off by dragging him to every dog adoption and dog friendly event I could find.  I would point out all the well socialized dogs and how well behaved they were.  I would stop by all the dogs available for adoption and try to get him to interact with them.
 
I also found excuses to bring him to the shelter I volunteer at, where I would point out this or that dog, how sweet and friendly they were and talk about their breed characteristics.  “This breed of dog doesn’t shed at all!” I’d say, or  “That breed of dog would be a great hiking companion!” 
 
Every time we went to the mall I’d even drag him into the puppy store pointing out all the different breeds of dog and talk about their breed traits to see if any particular breed caught his interest.  
 
Getting a pet is a big decision.  All members of the household should be in agreement on deciding if a pet is right for the family
Getting a dog is a big decision, you and your partner should both agree that getting a dog is the right decision
I watched lots of shows on Animal Planet, especially Victoria Stillwell’s It’s Me Or The Dog.  OK, so maybe that was just for me!  At first he couldn’t stand my non-stop Dog TV, but after awhile he would watch some of the shows with me and we’d have discussions about the family and the dog in the show.  It opened up a lot of great conversation for us.  Instead of talking about how much I wanted a dog, we were talking about dogs in general.  He was slowly learning a lot about dogs and dog behavior.  I thought that if he could just be around more “good” dogs and learn more about dog behavior and training he would start to trust dogs and agree to get one. 
 
Months later we had gone to our local PetSmart for cat food and litter.  As with most weekends, they had a dog adoption event in the store.  There was an adorable little Rat Terrier named Malcolm for adoption.  The lady asked if we’d like to take Malcolm for a walk.  I said “Sure!”.  Malcolm was super sweet and friendly, and so cute trotting along beside us walking beautifully on leash.  I asked John if he wanted to hold the leash, fully expecting him to say no, but he said “OK” and began walking Malcolm!  It was the first time I had ever seen my husband walking a dog, it was a wonderful sight.  We both really liked Malcolm a lot but my husband still wasn’t quite ready to adopt a dog.  I felt we had made great progress though, and I was encouraged.

This isn't Malcolm, but this little guy looks a lot like him
Slowly but surely John became more knowledgeable about dogs and more comfortable around them.  He started petting and saying positive things about dogs we encountered and really started to enjoy them!  It took over a year for John to agree to get a dog and when he did I was thrilled - finally! 

Getting a dog is a big decision!  Convincing a partner who doesn't want a dog takes time and patience.  You have to respect and consider the other person!
The time had finally come for us to get our first dog together!  Here she is, our sweet girl Isis, named after the beautiful and loving mythological Goddess, Isis!


The strong bond between my husband and our dog is unmistakable!
This is one of my favorite photos of John and Isis.  The look of love is unmistakable.
It took a lot of time and patience on my part, but being on the same page about getting a dog and bringing home a dog that John and I both wanted was worth the wait!  Our Siberian Husky, Isis is our first dog together.  It was shocking to see that the guy who did NOT want a dog has so much love in his heart for her! I don't think either of us can imagine life without her now. 

Two years after Isis came into our lives, I adopted Phoebe from the shelter I volunteer at and our little family grew by one more!


We adopted our second dog Phoebe about 2 years after adopting Isis and our little family grew by one more
Our darling girl Phoebe posting in our front yard.  She is such a joyful soul!
Have you had to work to convince another member of the household to get a pet?  Leave us a comment and share, we love hearing from you!

10 comments:

  1. Once you get a dog it's pretty much impossible not to fall in love :). We couldn't have dogs for a long time because we lived in apartments and they were not allowed. As soon as we bought our house we adopted Daisy. We both wanted a dog for our son but didn't realize how very much she would mean to our family!! I cannot imagine my world without a dog!!

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  2. My husband was the same way! Also, he had lost his family dog about a year before we got Zoe so he didn't feel like he was ready for another one yet. I took him to the shelter to "just look at the dogs". We found Zoe and it was love at first sight! We brought her home and that was that! Then when it was time to get a second he was much more agreeable!

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  3. My poor husband knew going in that I would always have dogs. When we got married, I had 3 cats! We bought our first puppy together soon after. We have not been without at least one dog in the last 34 years! I cannot imagine my life without one...or two! ☺ The love John has for Phoebe and Isis was very obvious at BlogPaws. ♥

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  4. BOL! My dad didn't want 1 dog, and now we have 2! He loves them to pieces, and wouldn't be without them. They're his little mates!

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  5. I just asked a thousand times everyday and he finally caved. I haven't won on 3, he may have become stuck at 2!

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  6. I was very fortunate that my husband loved dogs so that was never an issue. However, when we first met I had cats, several cats. He admitted he didn't like cats. We were not married yet, just dating. The deal was it's me and my cats or its not happening. Today we have three cats one that he openly admits is his cat, and he calls her to bed every night. It's amazing what happens when they realize just what kind of unconditional love an animal can provide. Now, not only does he love dogs but cats too, and we are all very happy together.
    Suzanne

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  7. i grew up with 5 dogs, hubby had only grown up with 1, so he wasn't a stranger to dogs, but he knew right from the start that i was a dog person. so far, during our married life, we've had 3 dogs, but only one at a time.
    wags, bailey unleashed

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  8. hahahaha! omg, love this post Cathy!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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  9. It is important to choose the right pet parents for our lovable dogs.

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  10. Here's my problem. We have 2 dogs.A Spaniel and a Swiss shepherd I love them to bits but my husband seems mostly annoyed by their presence. The SPCA posted a picture of a puppy that is a Spaniel and Shepherd mix! One of the reasons why I rushed to get my dogs sterilized was because I knew that if they ever were to have puppies, I couldn't part with a single one. Now this beautiful little guy is sitting in a shelter and he would be what their offspring would look like. I'm really struggling with this one.
    I also know that now probably isn't the right time to get a puppy. I'm 26 weeks pregnant with our second baby and already worried about where I'm going to find time for everything once baby arrives.
    But then I see that little face and I just really really feel like I's be sorry if I didn't get this one out of the shelter.

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