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How to Choose a Dog Together As a Married Couple
Adding a dog to your family can be a wonderful and exciting project for a couple to do together. In the best cases, it will not only bring a new member into your family, it will also bring you closer together as a couple. However, choosing a dog can also create conflict in your relationship if you do not make the decision in a supportive and giving way. In order to choose a dog with your spouse, you will need to be able to express your desires, listen to their desires, and discuss and compromise in order to come up with a decision that pleases you both.
Communicating with Your Partner
Discuss your desires.Tell your spouse what you would like to do with a dog. For example, say "I would love a dog that I can take on walks and that will snuggle with me on the couch." Talk about personality aspects you love, looks you find appealing, and what you look forward to doing with your future dog.
- This is a chance for you to make your case about what kind of dog you think the family should get.
- You may want to do some research on dog breeds before you discuss the issue with your partner. Figure out what you should consider and what you like ahead of time.This could include exercise needs, grooming needs, potential health problems, and temperament.
Listen to your spouse.Once you have told your spouse what you want in a dog, give him or her a chance to make the case for what they want. Since they have taken the time to listen to your desires, you should give them the opportunity to express their desires as well.
- Ask your spouse what they want. Say, "I've told you what I want to do with a dog. Now I would love to know what you look forward to doing with a dog."
- While your spouse is talking, pay attention and don't interrupt. You should take note, however, on what points you agree on and what you don't agree on.
Make note of what you agree and disagree on.In some cases, you and your spouse will agree on what type of dog to get. However, it is more likely that you will agree on some things you want in a potential dog and disagree on others. To stay focused and make forward progress on your decision, make a list of what you agree and don't agree on. This will help you to focus on what needs to be discussed further.
- In order to know what you agree and don't agree on, you will need to start by making a list of all of the aspects of a dog that need to be decided on. This means things like size and coat length, as well as personality traits and temperament.
Compromise with your spouse.Since you are making the decision together, you may need to compromise on some of your desires. Tell your spouse what you think is most important to you and what you are willing to compromise on. Ask your spouse if there is an aspect that you disagree with that he or she would be willing to compromise on.
- Compromise goes both ways. Make it clear that you expect your partner to compromise if you are willing to do the same.Say "I have compromised on the size of dog to get. Can you compromise on the breed that you want?"
- Sometimes compromise ends up being a middle ground that neither of you would have picked on your own. For example, if your spouse wants a very large dog and you want a tiny dog, perhaps the compromise is to get a medium sized dog.
Agree on what type of dog you will get.Come to an agreement about what type of dog you will get. Depending on how different your desired dog is from your partner's desired dog, this can be a long process. Just remember, you are adding a new member to your family and that is a big decision, so the ultimate outcome should be exciting and agreeable to both people.
- If you can't come to a decision, then you may need to delay getting a dog. Ending up with a dog that one of you is not invested in could create unnecessary and unhealthy tension in your relationship.
- This agreement will ultimately be a wish list of things you will look for in a dog. When you are out looking at actual dogs, this agreement may need to be adjusted based on the dogs you meet and how high your initial expectations are.
Picking a Specific Dog Together
Choose a place to get a dog.Discuss whether to get a rescue dog or a dog from a breeder. Look online for organizations in your area and read their websites to narrow down your search. Looking at potential dogs online can be a fun and exciting project to do together.
- Not all breeders will have dogs that are immediately available for adoption. Take this into consideration if you want to adopt from a breeder.
- Dogs that are at a rescue organization or a shelter are largely in desperate need of a home, so you would be potentially saving a life by adopting from this type of organization.
Meet potential dogs.Go to see potential dogs together. Spend some time with the dog, assessing its temperament and health, as well as the conditions it was raised in. If the dog is at a shelter or rescue organization, discuss the dog's behavior and history with workers there. Overall, get as much information as you can in addition to assessing the dog for yourself.
- Just because you made a list of desirable parameters together, that doesn't mean that one of you gets to make the final decision alone. Instead, you should work as a team throughout the entire process of adopting a dog.
Discuss the dog with your spouse.After you meet a potential dog, you should take some time to discuss the dog with your spouse. Talk about how the dog does or doesn't fulfill what you decided together and whether any differences are ok.For example, you might say "I loved the looks of that dog and how well behaved it was on a leash. I didn't love how much barking it did and that it jumped up on everyone it met."
- Don't just agree to adopt the dog on the spot without discussing it. Even if you are head-over-heels in love with the dog, making the decision together requires that you take the time to hear your partner's perspective.
- This discussion can potentially be a point of conflict if one partner loves a dog and the other doesn't. However, if both people do not want a specific dog, then it is not the right dog for them as a couple.
- If you want a dog but your spouse doesn't, then you will need to try and convince your spouse that this dog is the right one. This can be most convincing if you can go back to your discussion and decision about dog type and illustrate how well this potential dog fits the parameters you came up with together.
Make a joint decision.Once you have both agreed that you have found the right dog, then you can move forward with the adoption process. Contact the breeder, shelter, or rescue organization that you would like to adopt the dog from. Go together with your spouse to pick up your new dog.
Making a Plan to Care for Your New Dog
Create a budget for dog care.It can be very exciting to get a new dog and, in some cases, this means spoiling it silly. In order to avoid this, make a budget of how much you will spend on the dog and what you will spend your money on.
- Remember to include a budget for unexpected expenses, such as veterinary costs, so that you have the money set aside to care for the dog in case of emergency.
- You can find approximate yearly dog care costs online.It is good to start with one of these and then adjust the budget once you have the actual dog and know the actual costs involved with caring for it.
Discuss who will do what dog care.It is important that, after choosing the dog together, you care for it together as well. Make an agreement about who will do what dog care and when they will do it. This may mean that you rotate jobs on a weekly or monthly basis or that each of you has set jobs that are agreed upon.
- Some jobs that will need to be done include walking, feeding, grooming, and cleaning the house.
- Sometimes set jobs work out well, especially if one person hates a chore that the other person doesn't mind. Remember, however, that these jobs need to be agreed upon and they should be open to discussion later on if one person really wants a change.
Split duties relatively evenly.Even if you are doing different chores associated with the dog, you and your spouse can split them up relatively evenly. However, the only way that you can come to an agreement about what "evenly" looks like, will be to discuss it and compromise with your partner.
- Even if you think duties are divided evenly, that doesn't mean your partner will agree. This is why a discussion is so important.
- If there are children in your family, you can also get them involved in caring for the dog. Give all children in the family age-appropriate chores to do related to the dog.For example, kids that are school aged are usually old enough to be responsible for feeding a dog. You will, however, need to make sure that they actually do it.
QuestionMy dog recently passed away. My husband wants to get me a new one, but I'm not sure if I'm ready. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're not ready to get another dog, talk it through with your husband and tell him you don't think it's time. However, it could be just what you need, so think it over.Thanks!
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