26 answers

My Daughter and Dogs

My daughter loves dogs, but my husband does not care for them at all. How do we get past this? Eventually Evangeline will have a dog.

What do you recommend?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the great advice. I will listen to most of you for now and just put it on hold. My daughter is not old enough to fully take care of a dog. for the record, I would never do something that my husband was against.


More Answers

It's your husband's home, too. If he does not want to have a dog right now, you should respect his wishes. I assume he goes out and works hard to provide you with a nice home. For you to disregard his wishes is quite rude and selfish. Your daughter can wait until she moves out on her own or go volunteer at an animal shelter. But I don't think you should try to force this issue on the man you love, the man without whom Evangeline would not exist. You need to read the Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands and maybe call Dr Laura for her advice.

2 moms found this helpful

You haven't said how old your daughter is, but you seem determined to get her what she wants. I think the best thing my parents ever did was to NOT give me everything I wanted. They wouldn't buy me a Nintendo. They said that I could earn the money myself, so I didn't really feel like they were the big, bad parents who forbad the Nintendo. And you know, I got to play more than enough at friends' houses, and eventually I stopped wanting my own.
There will always be something that your daughter wants that she absolutely cannot have, whether it be a mansion, someone else's boyfriend, a spot on the dance team, etc. She needs to learn how to deal with that. It's part of growing up. Kids who don't are usually called spoiled brats. Especially if they MUST have everything they want, without regard to anyone else's feelings (like your husband's).

1 mom found this helpful

My daughters also love dogs. AND my husband is also against it. I must agree with him because at 4 and 2 they have no clue how to take care of a dog. I had 2 at one time and was horrible with them. They stayed in alot and I rarely walked them. They were good watch dogs when I was single but I was not a good caregiver. So, my husband said until they are old enough to have the responsiblity of REALLY taking care of it. No. I tend to agree.

1 mom found this helpful

I recommend waiting until your daughter is old enough to really take care of the dog before getting one, unless you want to bear the full responsibility. It's not fair to your daughter, your husband, you or the dog to get one and then expect your husband to help if he has no desire to. It will only cause your entire family, and the dog, problems.

In the meantime, you could always take her to visit friends with pets or to an animal shelter or Humane Society to play with their pets. (Although that may just increase her desire for a dog.)

1 mom found this helpful

"Eventually Evangeline will have a dog"?!! Wow. But will she have a daddy living in her house?

Think carefully about your priorities. Life is not designed for each of us to be indulged by some God-given right. If a spouse is strongly opposed to something, to go ahead with the idea is tantamount to starting a war -- or a divorce.

We don't do dogs either, and believe me, life is a LOT HAPPIER around here because the parents respect eachother's preferences, plus the kids learn that sometimes we have to wait a long time for things that we want. Nobody walks around whining about it.

Sorry to sound harsh, but your spousal relationsip is more important than the whim of a child.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi Bonnie,
Is your husband not a part of the decision making team? Having a pet is adding another member to your family, one that never gets potty trained. Having your husband ambivalent to the situation from the get go, you should not get a dog. It's not fair to the dog to if everyone in the house does not absolutely love it unconditionally. There is too much commitment to training, clean up, discipline, and affection for YEARS. The dog needs to feel accepted by his entire "pack." What does that teach your daughter about marital respect if you overrule him on such an important decision without compromise? What will she learn from his resentful attitude toward the animal? If you want to teach your child about the value of caring for animals, take her to a shelter and help her volunteer to pet and walk the animals and clean out their cages. I guarantee at least some of the animals are there because not everyone in the household was fully on board with the decision from the beginning. For the sake of the dog, wait until the time is right, or don't do it at all please.

1 mom found this helpful



What you want is important as is what your daughter desires. You don't need to be a doormat! Expressing your opinion matters but hearing your husband's opinion is equally important. How have you handled disagreements in the past? How has that worked for you? Are you already building a wall between you?

I've got to agree with Christa - even though she was tough on you. Respecting your husband is at the core of his needs just as his love for you is at the core of yours. My husband and I have agreed to work things out w/o insisting on our own way. You can do it if your marriage really is important to you. Evangeline's daddy is certainly more important to her than a dog would be.

Please try not to take a hard line on something like this. You probably wouldn't want him to! Other people have dogs and you can visit them w/o the work and strain on your relationship with the man who should be the most important man in your life.

1 mom found this helpful

Yes, in fact, eventually your daughter may have a dog - when either you AND YOUR HUSBAND AGREE TO GET ONE or she grows up and is living on her own. Maybe you didn't mean your post to come across as blatently disrepectful of your husband and his wishes, as he also shares your home, but it did. Dogs are a big responsibility, and one that will most likely fall to you and/or your husband when your child is in school, or when you get one and she sees how much work it can be to take care of one and decides she doesn't want to do it. What then? Do you get rid of the dog because she doesn't want one any more? It is not fair to the animal if it is brought into a home where it is not wanted, even just by one member of the family. My husband would love for us to get a dog - I am the one opposed to the idea at this point in our lives. I know that I will be the one having to deal with the messes, vet visits, etc. 99% of the time and I don't want that right now. That is besides the fact that we can't even agree on the type of dog to get, if we did get one. I love big dogs, but want something smaller because my husband is active duty military and a smaller dog would be easier to move with - but hubby is stuck on getting a large dog, so we are at a stand still. EVENTUALLY we will come to a consensus on this issue, but neither he nor I would EVER go behind the other's back and buy a dog for our child just because she wants one - and that is kind of how the latter part of your post came across. Good luck - I hope you and your family can figure out what is best for ALL of you.

Get over it. If everyone is not sold on getting a dog, it is a bad idea. If your daughter truely has a calling for dogs, she has plenty of ime to get one when she is out of the house.

Whatever you do, include your husband on this decision. Also, would you like to have a dog? You didn't say whether you would like to have a dog or not.

I would suggest getting something small and friendly (not yappy), like a Daschund or a Jack Russell. We have a Jack Russell, and though she does have a lot of energy, she is GREAT with kids, and loyal to the core! I would think a smaller dog would be a good choice, because it is less of a mess to clean up after, and not in the way, so your husband won't be put out. I bet that he will come to love the dog in time. Just reassure him that you and your daughter will take full responsibility for the dog, so his life won't be too adversely affected.

I recommend that you and your husband both have to agree on getting your daughter a dog. Not just you deciding that you will get a dog for daughter. Dogs are a big responsibility and if the dog's temperament is one that clashes with your family, it will be your fault and cause division in the family. If you all decide on getting a dog and work together it will be a better thing. Family's have to work together. Here is a quote "a kingdom divided against itself will not stand." I do not recommend you going against your husband on something that he is not for. I do hope though that you do get a dog. They are a wonderful addition to any family. We have a wonderful Boxer/bulldog mix and he is the best dog I have ever owned in my life. Good luck!

This is a decision that you and your husband need to agree upon. The daughter doesn't get to choose. Sometimes kids don't get everything they want. That's a good lesson to learn. Maybe start out with a simpler pet such as a fish or another pet that you and your husband can agree upon. Maybe eventually he'll come around. If not, tell your daughter being a dog owner is something she can look forward to when she is an adult.

For now, take her to ta Webkinz(stuffed animalsa) dealer and let her pick out her own dog. Then she can adopt it online and take care of it and play games with it online. My kids love them! Not the same as a real dog... but take it from one who knows.... they are a lot of hard work and take a lot of time and patience and if your hubby is not on board it is NOT a good idea!

Do you want a dog? Just like everything else--It's the mom who ends up with the work of taking care of things around the house. :)

I've always had a dog. I love them, my kids wanted one and my husband was indifferent (I think he was afraid that it would be extra work for him)but it didn't take ong for him to warm-up to the last member of our family. I can't tell you the number of days that my kids would come home sad from a hard day at school and then they would be greeted at the door with all sorts of excitement and sloppy kissses from that smelly four legged ball of fur. There is a lot to be said for that kind of unconditional love.

My dog is my little shadow and buddy when the kids are at school. She also alerts me when someone comes to the door and makes me feel a little safer when my husband is out of town.

And if you do get a puppy, get it in the late spring or summer, since you will have to take it outside about every 4 hours to housebreak it.
For the safety if the kids and the dog, kids should be at least 7 or 8 years old before getting a dog.

And again, only get a dog if YOU really want to be the one to take care of it.

What are the reasons your husband doesn't like them? Fear, allergies, mess? Most people have reasons they don't like a specific animal. I would say it is great your daughter loves them, for now take her to visit local shelters to play with and love on the dogs that are sitting there waiting for homes. That way she gets her dog fix and the dogs get some love.
Dogs are a lot of work, who would be doing that work? Is your daughter old enough to do those things, clean up dog poop, feed, water, brush and even vacuum up the dog hair?
Research all sorts of breeds to maybe find one that is easier to manage. Poodles are smart, aren't shedders and great for people with allergies. They are small, easier to care for.
If a big dog is what your daughter wants, what age are you will to get one? Puppies, dig, chew, pee on the floor.
I can say the novelty for most kids wears off after a few months an it is the parents stuck with cleaning up after them.
Does your husband like cats? Maybe get a kitten instead, to teach your daughter how to care for an animal that doesn't require as much care. Kittens/cats are loving, easy to care for and if you keep them indoors live for 15 years!
It is your husbands home too, so if he is really against dogs, then that has to be accepted unfortunately.
It cannot hurt to research dogs, visit shelters and get a feel for what one may fit into your home with all of you!! :)
Good luck, I am a pet owner with dog and three cats!!! :)

Hi Boone,

I do a lot of volunteer work with a puppy rescue and wanted to give you, your husband and your daughter some ideas. Please take them into consideration.

We have found through our adoption events, that if a dog is not a family decision, generally, there is issue and the pups come back to us. This is a difficult situation as our job in to make sure our puppies find their forever homes. This is not always the case, but wanted to let you know as a general rule, thats how it goes. I have never seen a puppy ruin a marriage.

Have you thought of maybe looking into a fosting program? This way, you dont have the full time responsibility of having a dog 24/7. Your family gets use to the idea of having a dog around. You see how the dog interacts with your family dynamics. Fostering has helped my children see they are helping save a live of a beautiful fur-kid, and if one day, you, and your family as a whole, fosters a pup that steals the families hearts, you can adopt that dog and know that you took your time to make the correct choice for your family. Let your husband be involved. Sometimes, its the ones that are dead set on not getting a dog that fall in lovee first and hardest.

If I can help you in anyway, please feel free to contact me anytime.


my boys want a cat; i would like a cat; my husbands hates and doesn't want a cat. have i thought of getting one any way? yes, but i would never do that. the clear message is that what he (in our case, the provider) wants doesn't matter. until he's in agreement, we won't have one.

so, for your daughter...take her to the spca. they LOVE dog walkers, children, etc...anyone who wants to play with the animals. there are also rescue missions (like the ones for michael vick's dogs) where you adopt the animal, but you don't become their 'owner.' you receive a picture and updates and you send very small donations (similar to adopting children in need in impovershed countries...NOT comparing children to dogs...). that idea of having a dog may be more appealing and more compromising than your initial thoughts.

I'm not going to say anything about what you should or shouldn't do. But I do have a couple of ideas on what you could do in the meantime of finding the answer.
- Do you have a neighbor or friend that has dogs? Or perhaps your daughter has a friend w/a dog. She can play/spend time w/their dog until she does/doesn't get one.
- What about starting a dog babysitting program. When my neighbor would go out of town I would watch her house and her dog for her. I could even sleep over at her house if I wanted to. It wasn't like having a full time dog, but it was fun to be responsible for one now and then, and then I didn't have to worry about one tearing up my own home(my dad didn't want me to have a dog anyway). Though I did bring it home sometimes too.
Maybe you could talk to people around the neighborhood, or even older couples, who have pets but are gone a lot during the day, or have a hard time caring for them. she could commit to spending so much time a week caring for their dogs - taking them on walks, bathing, playing, etc.

Just some ideas. Otherwise good luck! :D

How old is Evangeline? If you wait until she is old enough to care for the dog herself, maybe your husband would look more kindly on it. You need to find out what he dislikes about a dog. Is it scooping the poo? does he hate dogs in the house? If you find out what his objection is maybe you can adjust the sitation to mollify him.

Is he just not a dog lover? Or any animal? If it's just dogs, and he's okay with cats or other animals, maybe try another animal. Or if you're dead-set on having a dog, maybe try a small breed that doesn't have shedding problems (like a Maltese or a Shih-Tzu), but also one that doesn't have yapping problems (like a Yorkie or a Schnauzer does). Then the important thing would be training it (get a puppy or an already trained older dog) to do what you want and not do what you don't want it to do. The more well behaved the dog is, the more likely hubby is to warm up to it. But the most important thing is not to do it anyway, even if he completely disagrees just because the daughter wants one. That would be incredibly bad for your marital relationship. The only way it will work is if he's on board one way or another, whether it's you convincing him, or your daughter. Good luck. Sounds like a sensitive subject...


I am in the same boat. My girls LOVE dogs and cats, but my hubby does not want a pet. I would recommend that you be patient and give your husband time to come around. The way I think of it, if I nag my husband, he might eventually give in, but he will probably resent me and the animal. If, however, I let our adorable, angelic (looking!), well-beloved daughters wrap their daddy around their fingers and eventually talk him into a pet, than he is more likely to feel positive about the whole experience. I don't want to trample over my husband, since he is just as valuable part of our family as our children are, KWIM?

Best of luck,

This is a hard situation but I can tell you from experience that maybe your husband's choice should matter. Dogs are a LOT of work. Especially puppy's who pee and poop in the house and can de-value the house- besides ruining the carpet-they can shred door moulding and doors, chewing up furniture, underwear, shoes etc. Yes they are fun but who cleans up the feces and throw up after they get in the trash. Please consider the bad with the good and maybe for the time being a hamster would be a nice pet. Talk it out with your husband maybe their are logical reasons for not having one including it is hard to travel around and leave a dog at home. Everyones opinions should matter. It is nice for a child to have a pet to bond with and take care of as well as teach responsibilites but maybe start small. If you do get a dog also keep in mind how much they shed during th espring and summer.

I recommend that you repect your husband. I don't do dogs either and let my husband talk me into one, now two and they are big dogs to boot. I hate it. I resent them and now my husband because he promised he would take care of them but he is so busy working 2 jobs and going to school that I take care of them. I don't even like them and I especially don't like cleaning up after them, hair, food, water dish slosh, poop, stinky dog smell, etc. If they were gone tomorrow I wouldn't miss them. I keep them around because my kids love them and I don't want them to be sad but some days I think it would be worth disappointing them. Your daughter can always have a dog once she is grown and out on her own. You can be an example of how to give compromise to respect someone you love to her.

I agree with Crista H. I am not a "pet person" but I have friends who are. For me, having two kids is hard enough, but my husband isn't home most of the time. (he's currently halfway through a 6 month deployment for the US Navy.) He asked me if we could get a dog once we got a house with a backyard. I told him that once we are settled and HE can be there to take care of it, that we would talk about it again. I don't want to be the one taking care of a pet that I didn't want in the first place. Who knows if we will ever get one, but all I know is I'm glad my husband has let me have some say in the matter. No relationship will work if there's one person making all the big decisions with no thought for what the other wants. (And getting a dog is a BIG decision.) Good luck! And I hope you don't lose a marriage over something so fickle.

Hi B.,
I have the same problem and have had many unpleasant arguments with my husband about having the dog. We did get a dog when my son was 5 and they are the best of friends. I believe having a pet teaches empathy, responsibility, understanding, unconditional love.... I would find articles that reinforce the positives of having a pet for your husband to read, one study shows people who have pets live an average of 7 years more than those that don't. Have rules you can both can abide by, I want the dog in the house and am fine with him sleeping in my sons room but at my husbands request we don't let the dog on furniture or eat off of household dishes, easy requests.

I am really amazed at how many responses you received saying not to get the dog because it may affect your marriage or your husband will leave, if your relationship is so fragile a dog would end it there are other problems, also amazed that none of the responses said your wishes should be respected by your husband also, work together on this and I'm sure you can have the dog and a great marriage! Also having a pet is not really spoiling your child like giving them every toy they want. There truly is incredible benefits for your daughter and your family having a dog. Although my husband doesn't particularly like having a dog he completely appreciates the relationship our son now has with the dog and my husband doesn't complain about having the dog, albeit my son and I do all the work with the dog, but we aren't complaining, just having fun. We have a wonderful golden retriever, be sure and pick out a good family dog.

This isn't a choice between dad and dog, this is adding more relationships to your daughters life that she will learn from and if your husband understand the benefits I would hope he would see the positives instead of just the negatives.
Lay out the groundwork that works for you and your husband but I would stick to having a pet for your daughter, it is a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
Good luck,

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