Pet Ownership Disputes Couples Have

July 29, 2019  |  
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If you and your partner have a pet together, then you know all of the little arguments that come with that. You absolutely love your fluff ball, but she does trigger quite a few disputes around the house—perhaps because you feel so loving and protective towards her. Caring for a pet together is kind of like practice for caring for a child. It’s definitely a good idea for a couple to care for some living thing, together, before diving directly into true parenthood. You can see how you manage all of the important decisions that come with tending to the physical and emotional wellbeing of a living, breathing being. You may surprise yourselves, in good ways and bad. Here are pet-ownership fights many couples have.

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Who handles most of the dog walks

Often, one individual’s schedule will naturally lend itself to handling most of the dog walks, but that’s not entirely fair. This is especially true when one person works from home. The person who goes to an office will state he’s too rushed to do the morning walk, and then of course the person working from home gets stuck with the midday walk, too.

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How sleep schedules affect walks and feedings

The first person awake in the morning will always be the one doing the breakfast feeding and the first walk. Even if it was agreed that the other person would do it, the one who is awake can’t just ignore a cute little pooch following him around, asking when breakfast will happen. This can leave the early riser resentful of the late sleeper.

getting a pet with your boyfriend

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The good cop/bad cop

Just like in many marriages where the dad is the one who is just around for the fun playtime with kids and the mom does the hard work, making the former the “good cop,” there can be a good cop/bad cop dynamic amongst dog owners. Any time we go to a party, he wants to take our dog with us. If I say I don’t want to, he says, “But look. She’ll be lonely. And she loves people and other dogs! We should include her!” But you know who gets stuck watching our dog the entire night at the party, making sure she doesn’t eat things off of the ground or run out an open gate? Me.

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Putting the pet first too much

My partner also has a tendency to put our pet’s needs in front of mine. When we ride in the car, for example, he insists she sits on my lap in the passenger seat because it makes her happy. Meanwhile, I’m often trying to eat a snack up there, and having her on my lap makes that impossible to do. But he makes me feel guilty for putting her in the back seat. So, her comfort comes before mine.

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Pet sitter preference

We certainly have strong opinions about who should take care of our dog when we travel. I have my people and he has his. And he has a lot of feedback on how my preferred pet sitters care for our dog, as I have for his. When it comes time to plan a trip, this is always a big debate.

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Keeping the dog quiet during sleep

It’s great that dogs bark to alert you to intruders. It’s not so great that they bark to alert you to nearly very other sound they hear outside. So if I’m napping, and our dog barks incessantly, I blame my partner for not handling that.

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Training: to do or not to do?

For a long time we argued over whether or not to really train our dog. I mean teach her tricks, train her to ask before hopping up on the couch, and other things. I said we should just let her be free—she’s small and well behaved as it is. But my partner was very insistent on hiring a trainer for a while.

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High-end versus generic food

A lot of this comes down to our backgrounds. My partner grew up in a farm town in the mid west where people don’t quite baby their dogs the way we do in the city. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why we don’t just get generic kibble. I know how important nutrition is to longevity for all creatures and I insist we get the high-end, raw food for our fur baby.

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Who will change plans to care for the dog

So, we’ve both been out all day and had planned on moving right into our respective night plans—he’s meeting friends for drinks and I’m going to the movies. But somebody needs to go home to feed and walk our dog. Who will do it? We can battle about this one for a while.

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Whose side of the bed Fido sleeps on

We gave up trying to keep our dog off our bed a long time ago. Now I will admit she has a tendency to migrate to my partner’s side of the bed, and he thinks it’s on me to keep her in the middle. I disagree. When she goes to his side he should relocate her and when she comes to my side I’ll relocate her.

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Feeding table scraps

I know my partner feeds our dog table scraps even though I’ve explicitly asked him not to. I know this because, when it’s just me eating or cooking, she doesn’t beg. But when my partner is in the kitchen, she starts begging right away. Hmmm. I wonder what inspired that.

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Insurance policies

Picking out an insurance policy for anybody is never easy. Insurance is a tricky thing. We argued long and hard about which company to go with, whether or not to add the wellness package, and what our deductible should be. All of these factors influence the monthly bill substantially.

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Doggy play date safety

We’re both protective of our fur baby, and that means we have strong opinions on which other dogs she can hang out with. I personally don’t like taking her to the dog park: it makes her nervous and she hides beneath the bench the entire time. My boyfriend thinks it’s good exposure for her and she’ll get used to it. She hasn’t after five years.

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Can the pet wear clothes?

I can’t help it: I think our dog looks so cute in a sweater. My boyfriend thinks it’s humiliating. He also isn’t wild about her pink harness and leash. But to that I’ll say I’m the only one who takes the time to go to the pet supplies store, and he’s more than welcome to go out and buy her a more masculine harness if he wants.

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Whose pet is this—really?

She’s mine. It’s my name on her insurance policy and adoption papers. We shouldn’t even have the argument because why even go there? We’re happy right now. But sometimes, after a few drinks, we bicker over whose dog she really is. (Again. She’s mine.)

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