My Husband Wants a Dog and I Dont

Updated on May 04, 2010
L.C. asks from Baltimore, MD
24 answers

My husband wants a boxer and I dont. I have a 5 and 7 year old, 4 cats, 4 birds and 4 fish. A high stress job and work full time, do the house work and manage the household. My husband works full time as a police officer. He has frequently looses his temper and states its worse now because I said he can not have this dog. I can not deal with anymore responsibility now and I just can not understand why he is so obsessed about getting this dog (puppy). He states he always wanted one as a child but could not have one. He has had a full grown dog which bit one of our children( we gave it away) , he says that does not count because it did not grow up with us. I feel like we should work on our relationship with each other and the kids as that is on a fine line now. He says the dog will bring happiness, I see burden. Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

I just wanted to say, thankyou to everyone for your imput. This is the first time I have asked a question on line and I am greatful to the people who give their advise. It truly helps gain perspective on issues. Sometime we are so wrapped up in our own lives and ideas that we loose perspecitve. Its good to hear what other people think. Once we do I think we feel better about ourselfs and what we are trying to stand for.
Some additional notes: We did have a calm discussion about the dog and he wants that dog because he feels a special connection with it and it does not have a home. I took care of the prior dog. I think he has some internal demons he has to work out and I dont know if having a dog would make him happier, thought it would make my unhappy. He currently had the dog at a friends house until we take him or he can be placed in another home.

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answers from Toledo on

Sounds like you have 3 kids at your house! A grown man who says it's your fault he loses his temper so much because you won't give him something he wants?? This sounds like a bigger problem than whether to add a dog to the mix. I thought police were given training in settling domestic disputes without resorting to aggression. This is the same as saying, "another baby will heal this rotten, broken marriage". We all know how well that works. I think he needs to show you how he can help bring the stress levels down in everyone's life so you can happily bring a new family member in. A new dog means puppy classes and sharing the care and feeding of another mouth. Is he willing to do that, or does he just want someone to adore him without question?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

OMG. Ok, I had to respond because we used to have boxers. They are sweet dogs, but they are big (so, lots of food = big poops), they drool all the time, and as a breed, they're not the smartest. They also have tons of health issues - ours had heart problems and severe allergies, and both ended up dying of cancer (one at 8 years and one at 10 years). I would estimate that despite having pet health insurance, we still ended up paying an average of $2000/year on their health care. Our male boxer, who was probably the most beautiful boxer you've ever seen (he was a show dog and finished as #2 boxer in the country, so he was supposedly the prime example of what every boxer should be), was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to train. We went faithfully to many, many dog trainers, and Scooter tried really hard to please us (and loved treats), but the most he could ever accomplish was to learn to sit. I mean, he was such a sweetie, but he was dumber than a box of rocks, poor dog.

So... yeah, if I were you I would really not want to add a dog to an already busy household, but if your husband really insists, I think I'd really look into a different breed. Boxers need a LOT of exercise or they become very destructive, they're expensive, messy, and have health problems. Maybe your husband could be happy with a smaller dog, or a big dog that has fewer "issues." Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

Wow.....well, I'm a dog lover, but also a woman, so I know what you mean about taking care of it. And it's a if it is in the house, you have to potty train it.
I think you need to have a talk with him, a nice calm talk. Tell him your concerns, and why you don't want the dog, but also understand, he obviously is feeling this need for some reason. You can tell him that he must take care of the dog, potty training, all of it, the kids around it as well. And then you have to make sure you do what you say!
Come to an agreement on what will happen if he can't take care of the dog...........although, You should NEVER get a dog that you don't intend to keep. They become family and loyal, so being there for them is just like being there for one of the kids in a way.
I'm really mixed here on what to tell you...........If he can take care of the dog, and not put the burden on you, and you know he will, then get the dog.......if he can't or you don't think he can, then tell him why........Obviously with kids, he should be old enough to take care of a dog! And I'm sure as a police officer, especially if any of his friends are in the K-9 area, he's jealous........guess you should be glad he doesn't want a shepherd.......although they are great dogs, and great with kids, they get pretty big.........
Oh, and if he's a cop, that's BS about not getting the dog now making things worse.........I've worked at a Police station, and I know it's stressful, but he must control that..................dogs do provide stress relief, that is true.....they are like a cat to some people.
Good Luck and it might be a fun thing for the kids as well as the hubby as far as all playing together with the puppy...........
Take care. Let us know what happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

As a dog lover, I don't think that now is the right time for you to get a dog. It sounds like you have your hands full as it is. It also sounds like you've likely never really experienced the wonderful relationship that a dog can bring. That said, I don't think that you will have the time necessary to invest into forming that relationship now. Dogs that don't receive the proper amount of attention are neglected, which can often lead to cages and biting. Dogs are very different than cats. Cats sort of take care of themselves. Sure, you have to clean their litter boxes and feed them, but they are not nearly as much work as dogs. Honestly, I really don't think either one of you has the time right now to invest in a dog. When you are ready, please don't buy one. There are plenty of wonderful animals up for adoption at shelters all over the country...many of which will die because they aren't adopted in time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

How OLD is you DH? 3???

What a pathetic excuse, "I'm losing my temper on you because I don't have a dog" ?????? Seriously? Who is he kidding with THAT line?

No really, you deserve it (rolls eyes). Wait wait... lets look up every kind of manipulative blame shifting possible and THEN I'll roll my eyes. Can we squeeze "walked into a door" in there somewhere?

Honey, keep you chin up and your chutzpah wrapped around you like a shield. You're going to need it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

wow, i am all about compromise and win/win, but this really strikes me as problematic. obviously your household is not a great one for a very social, high-energy, high-maintenance dog like a boxer. obviously you will end up impacted by its presence even if he does take on most of its care. but what concerns me the most is that he is blaming his temper on your honest reaction to his demand. that is a HUGE red flag. no dog, however wonderful, can bear the burden of 'bringing happiness' to a situation like this.
i can't even think of the right thing to do. putting your foot down will put his back up. counseling is all i can think of.
good luck.
:( khairete



answers from Pittsburgh on

Please don't get a dog unless the entire family is committed to the idea. Your hubby needs to grow up! (Sorry-just sounds like a 3rd kid to me!)



answers from Houston on

I was the other way - i wanted a dog hubby didnt.

we compromised, we have an outdoor dog - one of hubbies issues was that there would be hair in the house, i have a pyrenees who can live outside so that is no longer an issue, he also thought it would take my time away from him - but i assured him on that also - also i said he could have a new crossbow if i could have a dog - anything you want? lol

i think compromise on this - if your husband wants it so badly let him have it, think about it being the other way aound



answers from Amarillo on

You do have your hands full already. My question is who took care of the other dog? If it was you, then you know where this will lead. It may be time for hubby to grow up and realize that we can't have everything we want when we want it when we have a family. Yes, you are right to consider working on your family without adding any more stress to it. I wish you luck with standing your ground on the not dog right now. The other S.



answers from Honolulu on

OMG.... your Husband sure has a TON of issues in him. No, a dog is not going to cure him.
He probably just feels close to it because it is a metaphor for him as a child or whatever he went through... ie: him not being allowed to have a dog and his feelings getting abandoned about it etc.
Who knows, only a shrink may be able to help him.

Sure a dog can be therapeutic for some... but only if your Husband will be the PRIMARY care taker for it. Which I doubt... but he will probably be real controlling about the dog, how it lives, how it is raised, who helps with it, how it is fed, what it is fed etc. AND who is going to pay for it and all the vet bills etc.? Not you I hope.

Your Husband has issues, the dog will mask his mental issues or Hubby will displace all his issues ONTO the dog... then it will become more of a problem, or he will baby that dog better than he treats anyone in the family etc. It can be an extension of his problems... or just exacerbate it. Or he will put the dog first, before you. PLUS you already have a busy/high stress life.

Probably the best thing, would be marriage counseling... or counseling for himself. He blames you now for his BAD temper... and he will continue... but without the dog... it will be another "newer" resentment toward you and another "newer" reason for his temper. An excuse.

Yes, he also needs to work on things... with you, and the kids. He is an example for the kids. Does he/you want the kids to "learn" his bad temper.... and how to BLAME others for one's own poor attitude? I don't think so.

Your Husband saying the dog will bring him "happiness"... may. A dog, does that for many people. But it still does not solve his problem that he puts onto you or the family. The "dog" is not a magical cure. He has latent feelings about the dog and the connection with it... that is from his childhood. Long history there of him not feeling happy.... since childhood.

all the best,



answers from Washington DC on

I hear you loud and clear! If the dog is so important to your husband explain to him clearly that you absolutely cannot take on any more chores. The dog will need to be his responsibility for ALL its care. AF



answers from Detroit on

Girl, you have too much on your plate right now. We got a chi-min-pin over 1 year ago (small dog, mix chihuahua/min pin) and we gave it away because it bit a neighbor and was too much work for me. I'm a SAHM and have a four year old and at that time I was pregnant. It was tough having to care for a puppy. I'm a dog and cat lover, but honestly, in my opinion, caring for a puppy was much tougher than caring for a baby. Also, keep in mind, puppies chew things, have accidents, need to be trained properly and can destroy just about anything. So, pass on the dog and get your hubby some counseling as another poster suggested to figure out why he needs an extra pet.




answers from Chicago on

We used to have a rescue boxer. While I can absolutely say that they can be WONDERFUL family dogs, loyal, great with kids, etc. - it does NOT sound like your family is in the right place for one.

They are EXTREMELY high maintenance dogs and require a LOT of exercise and a LOT of training to be well socialized. They are VERY strong - far too strong, for example, for a child to walk- and tend to be JUMPERS- on people, furniture, whatever they can bounce onto! They require really committed training and dog school to be well socialized. Boxers are often 'one family' dogs, and while you want a dog to be protective of you, you do not want an OVERLY-protective dog, and that is what this one will be if he is not properly trained.

If your husband often loses his temper, how exactly does he think having a dog, which he will need to feed and walk and train and care for and clean up after, improve his situation? Many people (especially people who could not have dogs as kids) tend to romanticize having a dog. There are so many great things about it, yes- but the animal shelters and rescue groups are FULL of dogs that people like your husband got with the best of intentions and then abandoned because they became too much work, bit someone, etc.

Here is what I suggest:

1)Ask your husband to do some thorough research on the boxer breed and to call your local Boxer Rescue Society (I am sure there is one) and talk to them about whether or not THEY think it is a good time for your family to have a puppy.

2) Talk to your husband and make it clear that you are not trying to be 'mean' or saying you will never get a dog. BUT- if you just wait a year or so until your kids are a little older and can help more, it will make all the difference in the world! Ask him if he really thinks it will be 'fun' for him if he comes home and the dog is going crazy, making messes, etc. and you have been too busy to take care of it. When you have a family, something like a dog has to work for EVERYONE, not just one family member.

Good luck- I hope your husband decides to hold off for a while on his dream dog. If he talks to the Boxer Rescue people, they may open his eyes- most people who ditch their dogs started out just like him! They just couldn't handle it- don't make that mistake!


answers from Washington DC on

The only things I would add to your family are sessions with a good counselor. If he won't go, then you should (Not because there's anything wrong with you, but to help you deal with the dynamics of your situation). Definitely don't add another ball to this already overflowing juggling act.



answers from Tampa on

We have a boxer b/c my husband HAD to have one and the dog is a huge burden. We have a 2 yr old and I am expecting. The dog is big, it drools non stop, it is very needy, it's hyper and has to be caged when people come over b/c it's out of control. It knocks our daughter over and steals her food from her hands. It's 4 years old and not slowing down. AARRGGHH!!!



answers from Boise on

As for the dog, boxers are sweet, and I have never had a problem with the training. I grew up with boxers and absolutely love husband thinks they are ugly. :)

Besides that though, it sounds like there is more going on here than a dog. I think that you guys need to be in a good place before adding more to your plate. I can see adding to the already full house, if you two weren't having issues, and he wasn't acting like a child. But not as is. You need to get the the cause of your issues before adding in a new issue. Good luck.



answers from Las Vegas on

Getting a dog is like getting another child. I completely agree with you that you already have enough on your plate; why add another burden? I'm concerned about your huband's using the dog to retionalize why he loses his temper. Possibly the dog is symbolic of some deeper underlying issue . . .??? Maybe some couples counseling can help you come to a better understanding of each other and help give you the tools to work out some effective compromising or win-win strategies.

Wishing you all the best.



answers from Norfolk on

To say "No" is to take on a role and responsibility you don't want. You want to be a wife to your spouse, not a mother, and you want him to assume ownership over himself and his emotions, not dump them at your feet because you are "ruling the roost." I read that you had a calm discussion with your husband about the situation and you perhaps gained perspective. I think you should have another conversation where you suspend your emotions on the subject and talk pure logistics. Budget: Can you afford this? Will you have to make cuts? What would those cuts be? Could you afford help, like a weekly housekeeper, to help take other burdens off of you? If you approach the subject as if you are in favor, simply focus on the hows of making it happen, I have found it an effective way of dealing with my own husband when he gets.... childish about some of his wants and demands. More often that not, I can reason him back from unreasonable demands by keeping my cool. Not 100%, but it's worth trying. Good luck!


answers from Jacksonville on

What are his reasons for wanting to get the dog? I mean, have him sit down and write a LIST of the reasons he wants to get a dog. Is it a particular dog he wants? Does someone suddenly have a pup available and he has the "fever" because there is one available? Or is this some long standing desire he has had? WHY?
Does he need more companionship? Does he think your home needs a new member? Is he ready to commit to caring for a living creature (that needs love and affection and care and provision and vet appointments and babysitting when you travel) for the next 12 years or so? Does he have any realistic idea of how much time and effort will be required to proper raise and care for a dog?

I agree that getting a dog that is already past the puppy stages is harder to grow into part of your family and mold into the well trained companion you would want to have... but it isn't THAT much harder.... why didn't it work the first go round? Did he not step up and do the necessary work for the dog to understand it's role in the family?
We have a 6 yr old german shepherd that we have had since she was 10 weeks old. She has grown up with our kids, in the house, as a member of our family. We are just getting over a recent health scare with her (I mean.. we spent $800 on her in the past 10 days including a weekend of inpatient treatment at the vet on IV's and 4 dif medications due to sudden swelling, seizures, unable to walk/stand/sit, etc). We STILL don't know what happened, but our entire family was in mourning, because we thought she was about to die. It was horrible. She is back home now and you wouldn't even know she had been ill (except she is still on lots of meds). But it was agony trying to decide what to do during her worst moments. If you take a puppy into your home, that is the kind of love and care that your pet should have available to it (not necessarily the $ part, but realizing that they are living creatures with dignity, honor, loyalty and love for their families). They are not disposable. Does your husband realize all of that? Is he able to make that kind of commitment?

I agree with a previous poster who said it sounds like he is trying to fill a void in his life. Perhaps even in your relationship as husband and wife. If you do end up getting a puppy, maybe you could insist he trade off getting rid of some of the other pets... That is a LOT for a working mom of 2 kids to manage. And we all know, that moms bear the brunt of it... right down to dragging in the bags of chow, and letting them out to use the bathroom, cleaning up when they vomit or have a bout of diarhea, etc... they are just like kids. And Dad's tend to (not always, but usually) "let" those things be mom's domain.
I would definitely explore his stated reasons... not just... "I always wanted one." Gee, I always wanted a horse, but guess what...... I can't afford one. Don't have the space or the time for one. And it just isn't going to ever happen for me.



answers from Seattle on

I was totally prepared to answer differently before I read you post. I am in a similar situation but the other way around, I want a dog and DH doesn't... but I only have one child, plan on quitting my job (before getting a puppy) and being a SAHM/Student.

From you post it sounds like you have other issues than the dog! Not getting his way is not an excuse for loosing his temper! He behaves like a spoiled brat!
I would not give in on this if I was you and demand in order to even have a discussion about a dog, he first must commit to couple's counseling and make some progress on his temper and your relationship.
Then maybe, you can talk about it again... (and you may feel different about it by then, too).


answers from Austin on

What void will the dog fill for your husband? I think that is the real issue that needs to be addressed. If this issue is a trigger for his anger and resentment, then that is the real issue that needs to be explored...

Is it that the dog will be "his", a companion for him? Does he currently feel alienated or lonely, because your too busy holding down FT work, housework, household needs, two kids and a menagerie of animals to be his companion and confidant?

Second idea, police officers have high stress jobs... They see things, horrible things, everyday... Images and situations that most of us don't have to think about. Will letting him get a dog fill some therapeutic need?

Perhaps he needs to win this battle... Find homes for the 4 cats, 4 bird and fish and let dad get a dog. After all, pets should not be the wedge that causes friction and resentment in your marriage.... Pets are just not worth it.



answers from Cleveland on

Sometimes when things are not going well in life, people want to "get something new" thinking it will fix everything. Like when girls get pregnant thinking it will fix their relationship. Maybe your husband just wants something to bring some joy into his life beacuse he isn't feeling much happiness right now. That is not necessarily the right reason to get a dog though. It has to be a joint decision because it will affect BOTH your lives. But on the other hand, he is a grown adult and if he wants a dog, he should be able to get one. This is a hard one. I know that when my husband really wants something I try to accomidate him because he works hard and is a great hubby and father, and I think he deserves a little extra someting every once in awhile. You two just need to sit down and have a calm conversation. Let him tell you the reasons why he wants this dog so bad, and really hear him out. Then give him your reasons why you think its a bad idea right now. Make a pro and con list. Seeif you can come to a comprimise. If that can't work, then there is always marraige counseling! Good luck whatever happens!



answers from Washington DC on

It sounds like you have a lot more home responsibility than he does. If you take the dog in, make sure he realizes that the responsibility for this dog is solely his. The minute it ends up being yours, the dog is gone. I know that sounds harsh, but your plate is very full. Is there any way he can take some of the burden off your shoulders? Marriage should be 50-50.


answers from Lynchburg on

Wow, you certainly do have your hands full! I know I had much less, but I did have health issues that made life harder when my h decided he wanted a dog. Our relationship wasn't that great. I let him get the dog. That dog is still, to me, "his dog." I have two others, one I got in high school, and then we just got a new one, and these are "my dogs." I clean the yard after all of them, I deal with them and the kids, I (usually) feed them, put them outside, train them, etc. Most of it's up to me. I decided when he wanted one though, that I wouldn't let him have it as a reason to complain or be unhappy. At that point I thought, "ugh...another dog?" But we got him. And our relationship did get better. (My hubby had also wanted one when he was younger and didn't have one.) And, from my experience, taking one in from a puppy vs. taking them in around 2 yrs (usually they're still considered puppies until 2-3 yrs), makes a HUGE difference. It would be a lot, but after a month or two, it gets amazingly easy, just another part of life, and you said you wanted to work on your relationship-this could be a great start. Dogs make great companions and studies have shown that they can improve morale in all ages, in fact, many people take them to hospitals to help improve morale there, and soldiers have found they help morale even overseas; if you email me I can get you the actual info on this. The big thing is that you can't get a dog and then complain about it, b/c that will take away the joy the dog brings, and make you look even worse, thus worsening your relationship instead of helping it. If you know you'll complain about it a little, go ahead and say soemthing like, "I understand you want a dog, and honestly there's a chance that I'm going to not always be the happiest about it, so I need you to try to have patience with my attitude, and I'll try to have patience with the dog." If you know you're going to be miserable with a dog, be honest about it and stand your ground, but then you might want to get rid of some of the other pets b/c there's a good chance he's going to say you get all the pets you want, but then you can't handle the ONE he wants. (If he's anything like some other men I know, all the other animals could be his and that won't matter! lol) Also, if he really wants it and you say no, realize this will definately have a negative impact on your relationship. The way this will work is that getting a dog may or may not make it better, but probably wont' make it worse. Not getting the dog will make it worse. This is what happens with any "dream" that one spouse feels another kills. You may be able to say something like, "Take me on 5 dates, and then we'll keep the dog." or "Lets go to two counselling sessions to get communication in our relationship open again, and we can keep the dog." Or, "If you'll promise me one movie night with conversation for about 30 mins every two weeks, we can keep the dog." Little steps like this can help both sides by giving him what he wants, and working towards helping your relationship grow. Good luck, with whatever you decide!

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