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Husband Forbids Me from Having a Dog, Is This Right or Wrong?

I am an animal lover and always will be as I was raised around a farm. My husbands mother is an animal lover like me as well so he was raised around animals aswell but does not care for animals. We have a cat but I am very much so a dog person. So the cat isnt doing it for me. I asked my husband if we could have a dog (I want one and my son wants a dog aswell) and he said NO! He mentioned that if I get a dog he is divorcing me. I personally dont think this is the right way to go about things but I could be wrong.....what do you guys think? **ADDITION:.His problem is the mess,in his eyes all animals ruin a home. I think with proper training, the right kind of dog this is not true. I do not make him clean up anything the cat does, I do it and told him that it would be the same with the dog. He did not mention money or time etc...***

I understand people saying that I need to respect his decision but at the same time what about MY decision? I am definately not being one sided but there must be some compromise. I see both of us as the head of household and I think we should BOTH make desicions together. Not just him and not just me.

**I know exactly what most of you guys are saying and yes I know exactly what it is like to have a dog and the responsibilities. I dont expect anyone else to take care of it...I know I will be that person and I am fine with it. I am just not sure it is right to FORBID someone unless sanitary purposes (hoarding) or we dont have time or money. Neither fall in our category. But for me not having a dog is NOT the main issue is the fact that he would forbid it and threaten divorce which worries me the most**

What can I do next?

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You say he mention, not he told you he would divorce you if you got a dog. That sounds more like I want you to know I don't! want a dog!

Just because someone was raised around pets doesn't mean they enjoyed it. He was a child, he had no choice but to be around animals. He is an adult now and doesn't want to be around dogs.

His wording may have not been the best but it is his house too.

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This decision is one similar to having another kid. The person that votes no is that one that typicaly wins. Sorry.
Anything else is just totally unfair, especially since he feels so strongly about it.

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If he is that adamant I would NOT do it.

A dog needs to feel welcome and loved . . . it's not fair to the dog to bring it into a hostile situation.


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You say he mention, not he told you he would divorce you if you got a dog. That sounds more like I want you to know I don't! want a dog!

Just because someone was raised around pets doesn't mean they enjoyed it. He was a child, he had no choice but to be around animals. He is an adult now and doesn't want to be around dogs.

His wording may have not been the best but it is his house too.

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To me, there is no compromise here. I mean, there will be a dog or there won't. It's not something you can have a few days a week when he's not around and it won't affect him.

I was raised around dogs and frankly, I refuse to have one. My husband had a dog before we married and she was part of the package deal. She was a good dog, don't get me wrong, but she was a dog, none the less. She was exciteable and knocked me down when I was pregnant, she layed in my flower beds, for some unknown reason it was ME she chose to shake off near after swimming or running through the sprinkler. She wasn't an inside dog, but she crapped everywhere in the yard and I flat REFUSED to pick it up. I couldn't take the kids in the yard to the fruit trees without navigating the mine fields. My husband cleaned the yard at least once a week, but on hot days, the smell of baking dog poop made me ill.
On a side note, she was wonderful with the kids. After our divorce and she was old, my ex husband moved and she came to stay with me and the kids. (If you can believe it). The poor thing was in pain with arthritis and didn't get around very well. I even let her sleep in the laundry room in the house and often sat on the floor with her when I knew she was really hurting. I cried my head off when my ex husband had to have her put down because she was suffering so much.
So.......I'm not heartless. I'm really not.

If you get a dog, you invest in them for length of their lives. The food, the poop, the vet bills. You can't just take off and go somewhere without having someone to look after them unless you take them with you. That's not a lot of fun for someone who doesn't love dogs.

I have friends who have dogs and I can't bear to go to their house. They jump on people, there's dog hair everywhere including the kitchen. It doesn't bother them, which is fine, but I feel like I need to shower for two days straight when I get home.

My point is...having a dog isn't something you can push. If your husband tells you he will divorce you over it, he's telling you he really, really really doesn't want a dog. If you force the issue and get one, it's not fair to the dog knowing your husband won't be happy.

My kids asked me many times for a dog knowing full well the answer would be NO. I'm a single mom who worked my head off just to take care of the two of them. A dog would have sent me over the edge. It wasn't realistic. I was at work all day and they had school, activities, etc. I couldn't afford vet bills and dog food. We didn't have room for a dog in the house, not that I would have allowed it, but I didn't have shelter for a dog outside either. If they didn't follow through and take care of the dog, that would have left me and I would have resented it. SO not fair to the dog.

If you and your son need a doggie fix, maybe you can volunteer at a local animal shelter.

Sorry you're going through this, but like I said, a dog isn't something you can really compromise on. Everybody has to be in it for the long haul. It's not like "majority rules and we're having tuna casserole tonight"...it's about a living being that takes a great deal of committment, time, energy, and money. Some people just aren't dog lovers and for a dog's sake, that's just not something you can try to force.

That is just my opinion.

Best wishes.

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This decision is one similar to having another kid. The person that votes no is that one that typicaly wins. Sorry.
Anything else is just totally unfair, especially since he feels so strongly about it.

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If my husband brings home another dog I am OUT. We have had the same conversation as you and your husband. My experience with having a dog has not been been good and I refuse to do it again.
Dog = no wife.
Just thought I would add, after reading some of your responses. I love my husband, I love my children, I love my life....I do not love dogs. My husband can't stand rats. What if one of my kid really wanted a pet rat? (BLECH! But I know kids have them!) Would I say to my husband, "if you really love our son you will let him get a rat?" Of course not. It has nothing to do with how much you love him or he loves you....he doesn't want a dog.

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If he is that adamant I would NOT do it.

A dog needs to feel welcome and loved . . . it's not fair to the dog to bring it into a hostile situation.


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It seems to me that someone who threatens divorce is considering divorce. The pet isn't the issue.

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Next time, make sure you marry a dog lover, is all I can offer.


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When it comes to dogs, I think both people have to agree because they are a huge commitment and dogs are really a lifestyle- from your weekend freedom and activities, to the need for pet sitters, to walking the dog..... and most dog people I know even gear their vacations to be dog friendly. Its kind of like adding another child. So both parties need to agree. It seems like you want one really bad, so for your sake I hope he gives in. As for wear and tear in the house, they absolutely do cause quite a bit, especially the larger ones. I cleaned houses in college and I knew within moments which people had dogs based on clues in the house. Always, two or three of the following existed; clawed up wood floors, piles of pet hair, scratched up doors and sliders, nose smears all over glass doors, grimy carpet with stains, messed up yards, oder, pet paraphernalia (beds, toys, dishes) in conspicuous places. Houses with dogs always had more grime. I think anyone with pets know they make some concessions when it comes to their house, but they find its worth it. But some people are not able to make these concessions. Is your husband type A by chance? I hope you can work it out, but don't fool yourself, a dog is going to have some negative effects on the condition of your house, and will most certainly bring some lifestyle changes as well.

FYI, my mother and me are animal people and the issue of messes, vet bills, and commitment to the animals is a constant source of strain in our marriages. I may not even get another pet after the one I have now because of it. And my father nags my mother to death over her pets, (even though he loves them as much as she does).

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I think you both need to agree.

HOWEVER - if my husband ever tried to FORBID me from doing something, I'd pack his stuff for him and show him the curb. Marriage is not a one way street and no one gets to say yes or no without a discussion.

I have to say the issue here is way deeper than getting a dog. Just my two cents.

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This is one of those deal breaker things that couples should work out before they get married or live together. It's right up there with where you will live, how many kids will you have and whether or not you'll raise them religiously and if so, which religion.

A dog is a family commitment. If you didn't bring this up before, why didn't you? If you did...did he say no in the past? How did you react to that? Was he non-committal or did you ignore his response?

My husband didn't have a dog when we dated but stated very frequently and clearly that he was planning on getting one as soon as we bought a house. I am not a dog person but did agree to that. If I didn't want to live with a dog, I wouldn't have married him. Likewise if I insisted on no dogs, he wouldn't have married me.

I think that what your husband said was a little harsh, but he's letting you know in no uncertain terms that he is not going to live with a dog. Unless he explicitly agreed to this in the past, I think you have to accept that decision.

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I can't believe this never came up while you were dating, didn't you talk about stuff like this?
I'm an animal lover too but pets are like kids, you can't "make" another person want or love them.
I don't see a compromise here...
I guess you have a choice, keep your husband or get a dog.
Since I don't know your husband I can't help you with THAT decision!

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Getting a pet should be a family decision. Its not that he is the boss and should forbid you but rather he has to live with the animal as well. My house is full of animals. I would not want to bring another animal into a situation where one of the adults is against the idea. That's not fair to the dog. Now if he is willing to threaten divorce over an animal the relationship cannot be in that good of a place to begin with.

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He doesn't want a dog. I don't think there's anymore to discuss, but it sounds like you will pester him until you get what you want.

Is that the kind of relationship you want with your husband? I agree that resorting to threats is wrong, but why is his reaction so extreme? Why aren't you listening to what he is really saying? Why does your need for a dog trump his opinion? What is missing from your life that you think owning a dog will fulfill?

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The "forbid" part is silly and destructive. But I also think that your insisting you should have a dog (even though it's apparent how strongly your husband is opposed to the idea) is also somewhat destructive.

Dogs, no matter if you do "all" the work or not can still be inherently messy, noisy, and a lot of work. You can't be spontaneous (e.g., you need to make arrangements for the dog if you want to go somewhere), they smell up the car and house (as do cats and infants), they smell up the backyard (poop) even when cleaned up, etc. They are a lot more work than cats, almost like having another kid. So you really need to think about this before you start forcing the issue on someone who has NO desire to deal with those issues. Even if you are the one walking, feeding, pooper-scooping, vet-taking, kennel-arranging, potty-training, obedience-teaching, etc., it still would be a sacrifice on your hubby's part, and it's a sacrifice he doesn't want to make.

ETA: A "compromise" is not still insisting on getting a dog. "Oh, but it's smaller, cleaner, quieter, less hairy... than other dogs, so you really shouldn't have a problem with it." A compromise MIGHT be thinking of another kind of animal/pet to get (e.g., hamster, fish, chickens, ...).

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Respect your husband. Do not get a dog.

It may be open for discussion later on dog the road, but if you try to get a dog before he's ready, it's just going to be you and that dog honey!

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It may not be the right way to go about it, but it is how he feels. You can say he's being ridiculous, but really, he's not.

I would drop it for now, but you should have a conversation about WHY he feels the way he does - what are his concerns? Money? time? resources? Does he feel like he will be "stuck" doing the lion's share of the work? does he not want to be tied to a schedule of having to get home and take the dog out? Putting in the time to train and disclipline a dog?

All of these things TAKE AWAY from the time, money and resources you already have for your family. Ideally, the enjoyment you get from a dog would balance this out. but not for everyone.

I am not an animal person and I would not want a dog (or a cat, or a bird or.... whatever). To the point that I would not be happy if there was a dog in the house. I would get no enjoyment out of the work it takes to care for a dog. What the dog brings to the party is not enough to me to balance out the workload and money etc. That's just personal preference.
I'm not sure I would make a "i'll get divorced over this" but I dont' know that this would work for me at all.

Be happy that you know where he stands, and that he is clear.

Go volunteer each week at a shelter taking care of and playing with the dogs there. Don't bring one into your house.
ETA: Typically, as with the "do you want kids" discussion a no vote trumps a yes vote. If this was a deal breaker for you, it's something you should have brought to the table.
Yes, ideally you should discuss it together. But if he knows absolutely without a doubt that he will be miserable if you get a dog, then what is the conversation.

If he wanted to have a girlfriend..... would you want to have a "discussion" or would you just say NO, and if you do I will divorce you?
Of course you would just say no. As well you should. it's something that in your mind is not negotiable. I'm not making light of the marriage vows, just using that as an example.
Not everything is a discussion. Sometimes one person won't compromise. If he can compromise on other things, then that is ok.

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No always wins.

It's not fair, but you can't force people (especially those we want to have a happy, close, personal existence with).

That's the rule in our marriage, if it can't be negotiated - the NO always wins.

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I wish my husband would've forbid me from getting a dog LOL For some reason a few months ago I had the bright idea of a getting a puppy, well it was also because my kids wanted one. He told me it wasn't a good idea, we are not dog people, etc. but I didn't listen. Now I'm stuck with this dog because the family is already attached and I would feel too bad giving her away. Darn husbands that don't forbid things!

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I agree that it was a bit out of line to throw out divorce. Maybe he wasn't serious but was using it as a way to express how passionately he doesn't want a dog. I always say getting a dog is like having another child. I also agree with the Mamas that say it has to be a family choice.

I love dogs, but I have to agree it's not all roses and sunshine. There can be hair all over, doggie doo in the yard. What to do w/it when you go out of town? Vet bills!

I think it's something you need to calmly discuss and decide if it's worth it or not and compromise. There are some things people just can't do. I can't stand smoke or birds. If I were married and my spouse decided he was going to smoke in the house or get a bird I'd probably say it goes or I do. I just can't live like that. Sounds extreme, but I can't. It's his house too and if he feels the ways about dogs that I do about smoke/birds then it's unfair to him as well.

Not trying to play devil's advocate just trying to shed some light on the other side of the story. Good luck!!!

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Living with a dog is very hard for someone who doesn't like dogs. They are smelly (even small ones), drooly, always want to go out or have to go out to pee. They are very high maintenance.

I think your husband is very clear about it that he really does not want to live with a dog in the house and you will probably have to accept that. You talk about compromise, but it seems that there already was one made when you got a cat. Or at least that is what I would consider a compromise between someone who is not into animals at all and someone who wants a very high maintenance animal.

You could volunteer at an animal shelter, or you could offer dog walking to your neighbors who have a dog.

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People are saying to respect a man who threatens divorce, because you want something he doesn't? I find that a little surprising, actually!! HE isn't respecting YOU, by throwing out the divorce card. That's incredibly childish.
Here's the reality, though...a dog (like a child) really does need to be something agreed upon by both. Unfortunately, that's where you're at. I would not get a dog right now. What I would do, is hightail it to counseling and both of you work on communication.

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Getting a dog is a decision that MUST be agreed upon by everyone in the family because everyone will have to share the responsibility. You can't always be there to take care of the dog.

Threatening divorce is ridiculous, even if he doesn't really mean it. Telling me THAT would upset me more than him refusing to let the family have a dog. :/

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Speaking from experience, dogs are a lot more trouble than cats. Plus they usually smell like "dog" (no pun intended...just my experience) or you might get one that's hyper or overly happy to see you or totally rambuncious. Cats are self-sufficient, they can take care of themselves. You can leave for a weekend & leave food & water out for the cat, they have a litter box & they're fine. You can't do this with dogs. You have to put it in a kennel or have someone check on the dog/walk the dog or let it out every day more than once a day, while you're gone for it to potty or else take the dog w/you. If you're taking it w/you to visit someone, for example, & the people you go to visit don't like dogs or are allergic, have small kids, etc., is it fair to visit & put upon them a dog they may not expect or even want in their home?? Or if you go on vacation & take the dog w/you, you hafta make sure where you go allows dogs or watch the dog all the time to make sure it's safe or doesn't run off or make sure the dog doesn't potty where its not supposed to then in some locations you hafta pick up after it goes poo poo...gross! We took my sister's dog on vacation several times (she's a dog person, I'm a cat person) and it really was a lot of trouble. You had to stop every so often so the dog could go potty. You had to tie it up & hope no one steals it or unties it or hope the dog doesn't tangle himself or disturb others by barking and/or whining. I'm not necessarily against dogs but having had dogs in my life, I don't want another one. I know how much more trouble they are compared to cats. Cats are not the best thing to take w/you on vacation, compared to dogs, they're better off left at home for short trips or in a kennel for a longer trip unless you have someone to come ck on it & play w/it everyday or every couple of days. Cats definitely would run off more likely than a dog & need more care than a dog in that manner of going on vacation but they can be left at home alone & they're fine, dogs you'd really hafta take w/you or put in a kennel. Cats are also much easier to train than dogs overall. And yes, dogs are totally messy when they eat or they may potty in the house or tear stuff up if they have separation issues, if they potty outside & you don't p/u after it, you hafta watch where you step so you won't "step in it" if you go outside the house. But they can also be good companions as well as cats, if you can get a dog trained well but I can definitely see your husbands point. Good luck!

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When the other spouse says no, that's the end of the discussion. Otherwise, what's the point of being married? You want a dog; he wants a Lamborghini - is that a fair compromise? No. Just be patient and try again later. This happened to my sister with her adamant no-dogs-allowed husband. It took about 7 years, but they are getting a dog for Easter. She didn't beat him to death about it, but accomplished it with cool subtlety. PS - no spouse should forbid anything of the other; that's not a marriage.

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"Forbids" you? Wow. Hope he's not like this with ALL decisions.

If he doesn't want a dog and you don't want a divorce, I don't see how you can "compromise" on a dog.

BUT he should be at least open to hearing your side of the issue.
Do you have friends/family that have dogs without "ruined" houses?

Are you home FT? If so, he will have little responsibility for the day-to-day...is that a selling point?

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My husband and I have a rule: No threatening divorce unless you are ready to walk out the door. I would be more concerned about his threatening a divorce over a dog. That is not rational or a normal response. Seems the mature thing would be for him to tell you why he doesn't want to add a dog respectfully, and hopefully you would decide that his happiness was more important than a hypothetical pet. Forbidding something and threatening with divorce is not a normal response IMO.

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Getting a dog is a big decision and needs discussion. That said, your husband threatening divorce puts up some pretty big red flags in my opinion. Is it his way or the highway with everything like that? Sounds like the dog thing may be an indicator of a much bigger issue. You mention respecting his decision but it should be your decision together. Sit down and discuss your reasons why and his reasons why not. If he isn't even willing to do that then I go back to my initial comment of it being a bigger relationship issue than just the dog.

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We've had the same discussion. He doesn't want the mess, the noise, the vet bills, the hassle when we want to leave town, and the grief when it passes.

I pouted for a minute, realized he was probably right, and let it go. I refused to let that be an issue. We got Hermit Crabs instead.

Your husband "forbidding" is a bit 1950 retro throwback machismo and threatening divorce is very childish. Men. Can't live with em, can't live without em.

But at the end of the day, life is tressful enough and it's just not worth fighting about.

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Wow-your husband sounds like a jerk! I love dogs too, so I understand how you feel. I'd get the dog if it were me, even after his threat of divorce. I'll bet he's is just trying to control you and I wouldn't put up with that. You are your own person and if you love someone you want them to have what makes them happy. Getting a dog is not unreasonable, especially if you're going to do all of it's care. I know this is easier said than done, but this is my opinion.
My ex husband didn't want a dog either. I wanted a little dog and he prefers big dogs. So we agreed to compromise I got my dog, a Golden Retriever and we both loved the dog.
I wish you the very best!

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oh-he's just being mean and controlling

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Well, I definitely don't agree with your husband's comment about divorcing you if you get one. But a dog has to be agreeable to everyone, or it will create a lot of unnecessary stress. You both need to be on the same page about it.

Maybe you could warm him up to the idea by dog-sitting, or have a family member bring theirs to visit once in a while?

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I wanted a dog. My husband said no, flat no. It pissed me off, it really did. I found something that he really really wanted, but that we couldn't really justify having - in his case it was a crossbow. I waited till he was a bit drunk. I said can I have a dog, if you have a crossbow?. He said yes! lol.
You could try that.

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I LOVE dogs. I'm a bit ridiculous about it. So I insisted we get a dog. My husband didn't want the dog. So I do 95% of the dog care. Only time he has to take the dog out is if he goes out for fun at night - then when he gets home, he takes the dog for a walk. Or once in a great while when I'm sick. My daughters and I LOVE the dog. But - I do feel badly now. He just bugs my husband. Sometimes I think if things were reversed, I would be so po'd that I had to live with a dog I didn't want that we didn't have when we met or got married. I think it's a bigger deal to force someone to live with another "being" in their own house when they don't want to than it is for the animal lover to be without. You do have a cat... What might be acceptable though is adopting an older (aka trained), small poodle mix. That way the dog won't shed so that's a huge battle gone and a slightly older dog shouldn't make much mess. We have a big, loud Lab who is reasonably well trained but I definitely think a small, nonshedding quiet dog would bug my husband a lot less. So maybe float that idea. Volunteer at shelters with your son and see if a dog like that comes through. I'd acknowledge to your husband his concerns but say a dog like this really should not impact the house much. But also remember any time you're out, if you need to get home to let the dog out, he's going to be mad. So hopefully you can have a doggie door or something like that. And any little weekend trips mean finding care for the dog so have that planned before so it's not a hassle or it'll be another thing for your husband to point to. Good luck.

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There is a much bigger problem here. Having a dog or not having a dog should be something that should be discussed. It shouldn't be a marriage breaker unless you end up with 50+ dogs in a 2 bedroom apartment. I thought your tag for this post and thought that the word forbid was rather strong but upon reading your actual post, I'm truly concerned for the state of your marriage. It seems to me like your husband doesn't respect you but you love and respect him.

Perhaps a happy medium would be being host parents to a dog being prepared for adoption.

I think an even greater solution would be marriage counseling. Your husband seems way out of line with the threat of divorce over a doggy addition to the family or perhaps there is something I'm just not getting here.

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I think it's time to get curious.

That's an awfully strong reaction of your husband's. Don't you wonder what's in back of it?

I'm an animal person, like you, and we've had pets, but my husband had an "Golly, I have to put up with this," very stand-offish attitude. It took years for me to discover that he had had a bad experience with a family dog when he was a child. I still don't know what happened to the dog when his family moved. He will not talk about it. Maybe I don't want to know the details! It has only been in recent years that he has gotten past whatever it is and become actively involved with our dogs (not the cats yet).

Your husband has to be as ready for a dog as you need to be for a... what? You fill in the blank. Meantime, you and your son can enjoy neighbors' and friends' dogs, and perhaps you could make friends with a kennel owner or a dog breeder so that your son can really learn about the canines.

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I think you and he need to open up some real communication. This is a BIG difference in personality. It is not "unsolvable" but it is an issue. My husband would not talk to me like that but he will put his foot down on issues, for sure. Don't force him into it - try and talk together and come up with a compromise.

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It sounds like you have a bigger problem : communication. He should not be able to say no and threaten divorce if you get a dog anyways? That is completely irrational and you should be able to have an adult conversation about this. The pros/cons why he doesn't want to and why you do and then come to a decision. Best wishes and I hope things work out well. I would start working on your communication and see where it goes. If he doesn't listen to you, maybe try counseling?

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I *used* to be a pet person, but I'm not anymore. My hubby hates cats, I prefer cats over dogs. Now we only have a dog that hubby got for his spec needs dtr when she was younger. When he's gone, we won't get any more pets. We do have a fish tank but its low maintenance which is why I think I don't like pets anymore. Its nice to just leave for the weekend and not worry about the pets, or for a week or longer. I think your husband is being a bit extreme but I also think you knew this about him before you married him. Maybe there can be a compromise and keep the dog outside? Our dog is an outside dog. Otherwise, this is one of those "pick your battles" and it may not be worth the resentment its going to cause if you force the issue. I hope you can figure out something that you both are happy with. Good luck.

I think everything should be open for discussion between a married couple. For one to tell the other No, and if you do I will divorce you.... well, in my book, that's reserved for infidelities and not much else.

So, I think he's being unreasonable in his handling of the situation, but maybe he has issues. I'd bet he probably does and I would look very closely at what animal ownership example his mother may have set. My husband's mother is pretty much a dog hoarder and I could cheerfully strangle her for the irresponsible model of pet ownership she was and the weird ideas my husband now has.... but that is another issue. :-)

Perhaps you can look at some alternative for you and your daughter? Are there riding stables nearby? When I was a kid and we couldn't have pets at our apartment, my Mom and I went to the nearby riding stables and leased horses to get our animal "fix." You could present your husband with the numbers about leasing a horse or buying one and boarding it at a stables and see if the dog idea looks a little better.

I would definitely try to work out the whole "forbidding" issue soon, though. That speaks of more problems to come later if you don't.

Been there, done that! My daughter was 9 when she first started asking for a dog. I grew up with dogs and love them, but my husband does not. When we met and married we were both cat people -- I also love cats, and a cat is a good pet for people who are always on the go because they are more independent and low-maintenance. You can leave a cat by itself for the weekend as long as you put out plenty of food and water and have a litter box, but you certainly can't do that with a dog!

So anyway, when my daughter first starting asking for a dog we said no because of our crazy schedules. For two years she kept asking, and when she was 11 I felt that we were at a better place and could give a good home to a dog. So I started supporting her request and my husband gave the same answers as yours -- no, and if you get one I'm leaving. They are messy and require too much time and attention, he said. Now, I'm a firm believer that both parents have to be on board with such a decision, otherwise it becomes a point of contention if one gets their way over the other. But I began resenting the fact that he was essentially getting his way, so my response started being "we'll miss you when you leave, but at least we'll have the dog for company." At times I even considered just bringing a dog home despite my husband's protests (but knew in the end that would be a bad idea!). Finally, I pointed out to my husband that our daughter is, quite frankly, an OUTSTANDING daughter (excellent grades, athletic, mature, helps out with her little sister all the time, etc.) and this is the one thing she really wants. Well, he couldn't argue with that logic and he finally relented and my daughter was presented with a puppy that Christmas, she was thrilled!

We made it very clear to our daughter that she is responsible for the dog -- feeding, scooping the poop, walking, baths, etc. Of course, she didn't fully comprehend how much work that would really be (sort of like first -time parents!). And it's not always easy because sometimes she's got a lot of homework or is off at practice for her various sports. But my husband, for all the fact that he's still not a dog person, has been willing to help out with walking the dog and playing with her sometimes. He is overall good to our dog. And of course I help out as well, and I'm overall enjoying having a dog again.

But even a well-trained dog can be messy! Our dog is fairly well trained (took training classes, etc.) but she still acts up when she's bored (like any chiild!), with one of her worst offenses being breaking our fence (this one really ticks off my husband because it creates more work for him). She literally breaks through the fence to get out of the back yard, although she doesn't run away, just sits at the front door waiting to be let in (at which point my husband wishes she would run away!). And both my daughter and I have learned to dread rain, which usually means muddy paws. Our dog has managed to wear out the grass in a couple of spots which creates mud bogs when it rains. So we can't let her into the house without first doing a thorough paw cleaning, and sometimes we don't do a good job (even though we thought we did) and then mud gets all over my kitchen floor and rugs, ugh! And after a particularly hard rain, it means we'll be doing this for a week and it gets very tedious and I'm constantly spot-cleaning my rugs. I've learned to appreciate drought conditions, LOL.

And even after 1 1/2 years, our cat is still not a happy camper! The dog and cat do not get along and our dog frequently harasses the cat. Although sometimes I get a kick out of it because when the cat gets fed up she will go after the dog and the dog runs, it's so funny! But this, too, can also get on our nerves and we can't seem to train this bad habit out of our dog.

So, all I can suggest in patience. I'm assuming that, just like my husband, your husband's the threat of leaving is an idle threat and is just his way of expressing just how much he doesn't want a dog. Never once did I believe my husband would actually leave! But you sound worried that your husband would actually leave, which may speak to a bigger problem.

I don't think the husband is the head of the household, particularly. My husband and I are partners. I guess I would look at how stubborn your husband normally is. Is it normal for him to just tell you what to do and expect you to accept it? Does he often bring up divorce? If so, that is an issue you need to work out in your marriage. If it is not normal, I would accept that this is an important issue to him and drop it.

In either case, however, please do not bring an animal into a home where one person resents it. That is unfair. If you consider this a deal-breaker, it may be time for therapy. Good luck.

There are things in life, in relationships that are what are considered "deal breakers." Most people talk about such things as how many children they would like to have, how to spend/save money, religion, etc before marriage. Some people get married knowing how their significant other feels about such things, even when there may be a disagreement, but the marriage goes through because either one believes they can change the mind of the other, or they decide it's not such a critical issue after all only to find that after the marriage, it turns out to be a bigger issue than once believed. With all of this said, I do believe your husband proclaiming to divorce you if you get a dog is bit extreme and over the top. Perhaps he stated that to emphasize very clearly how much he doesn't want a dog. Yes, compromise is crucial for any disagreement, but some issues cannot be resolved as I believe this issue is for you and your husband. I for one am a cat person. My husband has always wanted a dog but I said no way, not ever. I told him IF we ever got a dog (and it will never happen anyway) but IF I said yes, the animal would live outside and I would never take care of it. I am afraid of dogs for one thing and like your husband, yes, dogs are messy. They track in dirt from the outside, they smell, and I just don't like them and I never will have one. My husband may be sad about it but he knows how I feel and he respects that. The fact that I'm afraid of dogs confirms every reason I say no to a dog. Yes, dogs can be properly trained but you cannot deny that they are messy animals. Their poop is messy and if you are a dog owner, I hope you intend to care for the mess they make outside. My neighbor had a couple of dogs and let me tell you this: on a hot summer day in FL, that yard smelled horrible! It was disgusting enough to keep us inside. That's not fair to me and my family, now is it?

And I have to agree that pets ruin a home. We had a cat for 18 years and as our cat aged, he began pooping and vomiting randomly around the house. I'm not talking about hair balls. I"m talking vomit and yes, me and my husband are both "head of the house" like you stated but while my husband was at work and I was home caring for the home and the children, guess who cleaned up most of our cat's mess? Me! When the cat needed to go to the vet, it was me who scheduled it and managed it with 3 kids in tow. When we went on vacation, it was me who had to plan on someone to care for the cat while we were away and not because my husband didn't want the cat, not because he didn't care about the cat but because as women, we tend to be the ones to do such things. I'm sure your husband sees having a dog as something he will have to actively be a part of. When I was a kid, we always had a dog so my husband didn't understand why we couldn't have a dog. My fear of them did not materialize until I was an adult and I have no idea where the fear came from. It just showed up out of nowhere.

If this were an issue where you wanted a baby and he didn't...I'd say there is a real problem then. I understand you want an animal your husband does not want so you may have to respect this and embrace it with love. May not be what you want to hear, but this is the compromise you may have to make. Good luck.

I would be really angry if my DH told me flat-out NO to something that meant a lot to me. Because marriage is about give and take and a flat-out NO is not give and take......

Did he know going into the marriage that you wanted to get a dog some day? Or did you downplay wanting pets with something like "lets just get a cat, they aren't noisy/messy, etc. and it won't bother you"? (No accusations--just asking).

Dogs and cats are messy; we constantly are sweeping up dog hair and it's a semi-regular occurence to find dog hair in places you don't expect to find it.

I think you need to revisit this topic, as unemotionally as possible. Point out to him that this should be a family decision. Pick his favorite hobby and ask him to think about how he would feel if you told him that he needed to stop doing it, now, or you would divorce him. Ask him to think about how it feels to have one's _partner_, whom one is supposed to work with and cooperate with, give hm a unilateral choice (basically no choice at all) and be dictated to about something he really cares about. Then, explain (with no/little emotion) that having a dog really matters to you, a lot.

All this being said, my parents basically went through this--my mom has wanted a dog for years. And my dad is adamantly against it (he has said he won't have a dog in the house). So, my mom said that she'll get a dog after he dies. My dad does not understand the value of pets. He thinks they are waste of space, energy and resources. They just "do not compute" for him. For my mom, acceptance was the better choice, instead of being angry about it.

I think threatening divorce is a bit over the top, but I imagine he was just trying to let you know how strongly he feels about the issue.

If I were you, I would keep talking about it. Not to the point of nagging.

My hubby and GD want a dog. We put our dog down about 2 years ago and I do want another dog, BUT I cleaned up poop for 12 years with no help for the last dog. I did it because I got the dog without discussing with my hubby (who loves dogs so it wasn't a problem) and I figured it was more or less my dog. I've told both of them if they want a dog, they have to be willing to go out and clean up the backyard on a weekly basis at the least. So far, no one has committed to the cleaning up so we don't have a dog yet. As much as I love dogs and would like to have another, I do not have any intention of cleaning up any more poop!

I am with your husband as far as not wanting a dog. They are cute and adorable, but the animal hair, potty training accidents, and and other animal messes are so not worth it to me. (Not to mention my allergies!) You are asking him to put up with all of the negative aspects of owning a pet (it doesn't matter if you clean everything up and take care of it, it all still impacts his daily life) without him getting the benefits of enjoying pet ownership.

HOWEVER, he is so far out of line in threatening divorce if you get a dog. That is not even something to joke about! It is manipulative, insensitive, disrespectful, and just plain wrong. He owes you the respect of a reasonable conversation to discuss both of your points of view. This doesn't mean you should expect him to change his mind though. And maybe at some point down the road, 5 years or 10 years, he will change his mind?

To me, the main issue isn't whether or not you get a dog, but how you two communicate when you disagree about something. I highly recommend not digging in your heels, unless you want to do major damage to your marriage. Give yourselves a little bit of space and time on this issue so emotions aren't quite so volatile. But do call him on playing the divorce card. Tell him how it makes you feel, and that you would like to talk about how you can treat each other more respectfully when you disagree. You are right, neither of you should unilaterally get to make major decisions that affect the family. Ask him to put himself in your shoes and imagine how he would feel if you put the kibosh on something he really wants and also topped it off with a big fat divorce threat. Not cool. I hope you're able to work this out so both of you feel heard.

It sounds like he isn't going to budge...at all. And I'm sorry...that stinks for you and your son. I, too am a HUGE dog lover! Cats, not so much. I have had dogs my whole life, usually 2...I currently have 2 very big yellow labs (both over 90 lbs.) They do NOT smell (very soft and clean), they do not chew anything, they do not pee or poop in the house...overall, good boys.

They DO create poop piles in the yard, they DO shed, and it's not cheap to feed them. BUT, what we get in return far outweighs all that! Constant laughs, unconditional love, snuggles (they don't seem to realize how big they actually are.) and exercise!

Do you have any friends w/ non smelly, non house wrecking dog? Do you have a shelter you can go visit??

I'm really sorry, but have to agree w/ others, that if he isn't willing to budge, you may not be a dog owner anytime soon. :( Keep trying to communicate w/ him, without fighting. Ya never know!

I don't agree at all with "forbidding" or threatening divorce. However, I wonder why he needed to say that if you got a dog, he'd get a divorce. Did he think you'd go against his wishes and just get a dog anyway? Getting a pet is a big decision, and he deserves to have an equal say it in it. Maybe "no" doesn't have to mean that it's forever but that he doesn't want a dog right now.

For 10 1/2years, I had the world's best housetrained dog; then she grew sick and old. She's 11 1/2 now, and thank God for the SpotBot, as my dog barfs, pees and poops on a regular basis. I hate what she's done to my house, but she's still full of life (and lots of bodily fluids). I still love my dog, and will get another dog, as well as and new flooring, after she passes. However, I can see your husband's point about how fast one can destroy a house (even when the dog has been well trained). He's wrong to "forbid" you to bring home a dog and threats of divorce are never acceptable. However, he may feel that you are being entirely dismissive by invalidating his concerns, don't really care what his point of view is, and that he has to make threats to feel that he is being heard by you.

I wouldn't want to bring an animal into a household where the head of the household doesn't want him. And I must say...it is expensive having an animal nowadays...if you do it the right way.

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