Tips for a reluctant dog owner other than ‘don’t do it’?

(420 Posts)
DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 12:09:17

Apologies for long OP. Trying not to drip feed.

So DH really wants a dog. Backstory is that I knew from when we first got together nearly 20 years ago that he wanted one. I agreed we would. We got a cat first (still have the cat who I adore) and now have two DC age 6 and 8.

I am part time, the kids are old enough and theoretically we could get one now. I have said that when DH is off then he needs to be responsible for the dog.

However, I am under no illusions. I know that it will be me doing the vast majority of the work. I don’t like dogs and I know also it will be harder then having another child.

I don’t find parenting or housekeeping (for want of a better word) easy and I know they having a dog will only make both of those things harder.

I’m not going to veto it. I knew when we met and when we married that one day I would have to get a dog. Looking back now I might have made different decisions but that is for another thread. I would never say he couldn’t get one. To me (just my opinion) it would be like one partner changing their mind on whether to have DC or how many to have. I would view that as an absolute dealbreaker and would never go back on such an arrangement. I don’t think changing your mind on that is acceptable (awful life events excepted).

So the point of my OP...

Any survival tips to get through it? How do I keep my marriage intact and my sanity? I feel he is unrealistic about the amount of work involved but at least I am realistic about how incredibly hard it is going to be.

I would want to get to the stage of liking the dog but am realistic that this may never happen. I would care for the dog, do the walks, the training etc. but am worried I would not love it.

DH and kids want a puppy. On the one hand I think that once the initial horror is done then in a couple of years at least you have a dog that has grown up with the kids and cat already there. Or is a rescue dog better but then what about behavioural problems?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 12:57:00

Don't do it. A dog deserves to be wanted and loved by everyone in the household.

That said. If you are determined to go ahead I would...

a) research exactly what a dog needs to be happy and healthy


b) sit your DH down and figure out how he is going to provide the majority of that

Anything else is foolish because if you end up doing all the work then you will grow resentful and that is really unfair on the dog.

For example, most dogs do better on 2 walks a day. Your DH could at least get up an hour earlier every morning and do the first walk. This is not unreasonable and those of us with no partner or who both work manage it.

Most dogs do better with training classes. Your DH could find some decent local ones and attend as they tend to be in evenings/weekends.

and so on...

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:02:25

Thanks, I do agree with you that the dog deserves love but I am hoping that if I try to show it love even though i don’t feel it then that will be enough.

I have said that to him yes about the walks and the classes. He says he will do the walking but I know what will happen. He’ll say ‘oh, you’re off today, you can do it angry’. Good idea to sit him down though, could even write it down so he can’t deny we spoke about it. Planning in a year oh so so not yet but I can feel it looming now.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 13:08:03

He says he will do the walking but I know what will happen. He’ll say ‘oh, you’re off today, you can do it

Absolutely. It's not the nice weather, weekend walks that are difficult to maintain. It's the day-in, day-out, in the cold, dark or rain ones. And these are most of them.

Bunnybigears Sun 21-Apr-19 13:08:42

First I would say dont do it but then if you are going to do it I would say get a rescue dog.

Puppy's are fucking hard work and the puppy blues are a very real thing. Approach a local rescue (try to get recommendations) explain your circumstances and wait for the perfect dog to become available. We waited over 2 years for our dog but he is the perfect dog for our family and we didn't have any of the toilet training, teething, hyper teenage phase etc you get with a puppy.

Ooof Sun 21-Apr-19 13:12:26

You just need to be very clear that you won’t walk the dog-ever. My DH didn’t want a dog but I did. He always said he’d have no part in its care and 8 years later he still maintains that but does now walk him occasionally. He does enjoy walking him as a family with the kids. As long as he completely understands that he has full responsibility for the dog I think you’ll be fine. You may grow to like it after all smile

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:18:10

Thanks all, good advice here. I will have a think and need to be super clear about things.

OP’s posts: |


DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:18:10

Thanks all, good advice here. I will have a think and need to be super clear about things.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 13:19:59

There is also a big difference between saying "Oh, I'll do all the walks" in a really abstract way vs thinking about the specifics of it.

e.g. to walk a dog before work I have to:

- set my alarm for 5.30am. An hour earlier than I would normally.
- get up and dressed in scruffy clothes
- leave the house straight away, with a head torch in winter
- walk for about 45mins
- come home cold and wet (sometimes)
- then have a shower and get redressed for work
- do the above every day, even when sick

If I have a bigger day planned (e.g. sometimes I fly abroad for the day) then my alarm gets set even earlier.

The specifics are what you and your DH need to discuss.

- what happens to the dog when you want a day out with the kids somewhere that the dog cannot go?
- what happens if you want a holiday abroad and/or in a hotel?
- what happens when you or the children are sick; who is going to walk the dog then?
- who picks up the poo?
- who cleans up the sick if the dog is unwell?
- who does the extra hoovering to pick up dog hair and mud?
- what needs replacing to accomodate the dog? e.g. do you need a pet hoover or a bigger car?
- who grooms the dog or takes it to the groomer?
- what the the specific costs? e.g. walker, day care, food, insurance, toys, training, flea and worm treatment etc. Battendog costs me, each month, somewhere around £30 insurance, £80 food, £120 walker, £20 flea/worm treatment, £20-30 toys, £50 agility classes. Obviously you can vary costs quite a bit but expect it to be more than £50pm.

Hawkmoth Sun 21-Apr-19 13:20:35

Ex racing greyhounds are very easy to look after.

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:27:05

Oh that’s interesting Hawkmoth.

My main concern is as you say missbattenberg, what happens on days out? I said to him about this yesterday and said he would need to stay at home with the dog on those types of days.

It’s the neediness of a dog as well. What I found hard about early parenthood was never being left alone and everyone always wanting me. I think a dog would annoy me so much sad. He wants a springer spaniel (what he had growing up) but that breed strikes me as so needy and overly affectionate.

If I could grow to like it be have to do almost no work with it it might be ok. But it would still be in the house with me wanting constant attention surely?

OP’s posts: |
EvaHarknessRose Sun 21-Apr-19 13:29:13

He walks it every day, on your days off you will look after it and any walks are bonus ones (what about your work days?) (What about in five years or sooner when you want to work full-time?)

BiteyShark Sun 21-Apr-19 13:33:07

Honestly I would only get a dog in your circumstances if it was your DH that was around most of the time so you didn't need to get involved with the care.

Puppies are hard work and stressful. I don't think I need to reiterate why as most PP have covered the specifics.

There is mud, hair, slobber and poo even with a nice trained adult dog. You need to factor in vet trips, grooming trips etc on top of the normal walking. Are you happy that most of that will probably fall to you?

And when the worst happens e.g. dog injures himself or even just recovering from neutering are you going to be happy trying to entertain a dog that cannot be walked or exercised for weeks? This happened to me lots of time as well as a few other people I know in RL.

One of the reasons why I don't care about all the downsides of dog ownership is that I bloody love him. If I didn't want him I think it would be awful and I would resent the work and restrictions.

HoustonBess Sun 21-Apr-19 13:34:24

I really don't think he should get to have all the joys of a dog but you get most of the work and don't enjoy it at all. Can't he just do one of those volunteer dog walking things?

I think you might be better putting it off until DC are in teenage years and you have more time on your hands. Or making it clear that it's DH's responsibility. Otherwise it's taking you for granted, you're not a care machine!

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:34:59

We would only have one work day to cover and would have to get a dog walker that day. My concern is after school activities where it would need to be left for 3-4 hours a few days a week. Reading on here it seems that is too much. To make life easier I would need 5 hours which is too much I know.

Plus yes, kind of screws me upping my hours although with where we live and my job that would be tricky anyway but again, whole other thread.

Is it worse than having another child?

OP’s posts: |
DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:37:50

He doesn’t want the volunteer thing, I did ask.

Yes, he will absolutely get all of the fun and I will get all of the shit. But to be honest I think that sums up men’s good deal with most things in family life. They get all the fun bits and women get all the shitwork.

I can hardly turn back the clock 20 years and tell him to marry someone who likes dogs so I am stuck with this.

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Sun 21-Apr-19 13:40:27

Battendog is a springer.

He is needy and overly affectionate. As a puppy he was a 24*7 job for several months. He definately needs 2 x good walks a day (an hour each) and further input (play, training) to prevent him finding his own entertainment. He is not an easy dog. That's fine by me because that's what I wanted. If it wasn't he'd drive me bonkers.

A puppy cannot be left for 3-4 hours for several months so activities would need to change.

BiteyShark Sun 21-Apr-19 13:41:07

* Is it worse than having another child?*

Caveat I don't have children but whereas children grow up and become independent a dog will need care and help all its life and my spaniel has a life expectancy of around 14 years so a big commitment.

You can take children to lots of places unlike a dog.

Children don't tend to get upset and destroy parts of the house if they are left for long periods of time or howl and disturb the neighbours.

They also can clean up after themselves as they grow up rather than needing you to pick their poo up everyday.

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:42:08

I have no bloody idea how we will manage the puppy stage sad. My kids do swimming, dancing etc. If they quit for months they will lose their place in those classes. Of course I am the only person thinking of this sad. The DC say they don’t care hmm.

OP’s posts: |
MeltedEggMum Sun 21-Apr-19 13:44:33

Can't you wait until the DC are teens or preteens and therefore old enough to help with the dog walks and such? 8 & 6 are still very young to learn proper dog etiquette ime and not really able to help out much, either.

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:44:56

Really have no idea what to do for the best sad. I think we would divorce if I disagreed as the marriage would not survive (in his shoes I’d divorce me). So the kids would lose their nice things they do anyway if we moved house, I had to work full time etc. I’ve no idea really how we are managing to stay together with kids, let alone a dog. He is totally unrealistic.

OP’s posts: |
StayingWithAuntySue Sun 21-Apr-19 13:45:24

At least get a non moulting breed to cut out the extra housework involved with that

DisorganisedOrganiser Sun 21-Apr-19 13:45:42

I can’t wait, I need to get it over with. I was the same with kids, had a smallish age gap. The thought of getting even more of my life back and losing it is awful.

OP’s posts: |
dreichuplands Sun 21-Apr-19 13:46:21

I will also say just don't. But I did myself, now DH also wouldn't have another none. But things that might help, carefully selected rescue dog, decent dog walker, kennels and doggy day care.
Be very clear how expensive they are, we had a week away and dog care cost 50% of our accommodation.

MeltedEggMum Sun 21-Apr-19 13:47:00

Sounds like you are looking at a jail sentence, op. sad

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in