Dogs are indisputably part of the family. Maybe your husband didn’t get the memo before he said “I do.”
But it doesn’t have to come down to a choice between your spouse and your dog.
So before you file for irreconcilable differences…
Read on to learn:
- Why your husband hates your dog.
- 7 practical ways he can overcome it.
- How you can improve their relationship.
- And much more…
Table of contents
Why does my husband hate our dog?
Your husband hates your dog for reasons that could possibly stem from as far back as his childhood. And he may have grown displeased with the perceived excess of attention you give your dog or the additional responsibilities and stress that come with being a dog owner.
What should I do when my husband hates our dog? 7 best ways to solve it
It goes without saying that communication is vital in a marriage. There are several ways in which one can communicate with their spouse.
For instance, you can do romantic gestures or something practical and thoughtful. It can be grand or simple. But it will convey so much. Like they say, “actions speak louder than words.”
There’s also specific nonverbal communication. Body language in particular. It, too, can say a lot. Such as when your husband is annoyed or frustrated with something your dog did.
He doesn’t have to curse out loud or even mutter under his breath. You can see all’s not well by his demeanor.
The easier route is to clean up whatever mess your dog made. Then carry on as though everything is right with the world.
But your home life would start to feel like the inside of an active volcano. At some point, it’s going to erupt.
And let’s not forget. This puts your dog under stress as well.
Studies show they can pick up on their fur parents’ emotions. And any negative ones they sense from you or your husband will affect them too.
In this case, verbal communication is of utmost importance.
This is a problem you can’t solve if you don’t know what exactly it is in the first place. It’s not a math problem either where you have to find the missing variables yourself.
Talk things out with your husband. Identify each of the key issues he has with your dog. It’s more effective if you can address them individually.
It’s really not as complicated as solving for X. Just talk.
And one thing you can bring up in the conversation is the benefits of having a dog. Here’s a video with some fun facts to get you started:
So you’ve gotten over the first hurdle and actually had that talk. That’s great! One step at a time.
Now your cards are all on the table. You have a clearer picture of what’s happening. It’s time for compromise.
When dogs come between the pair in a relationship, it’s usually because of disagreements. And some might seem very trivial. But at the end of the day, it’s the little things that could be your undoing.
Family therapist, Dr. Catherine Hastings, has this to say on the matter:
“If it’s your pet, and you say, ‘I see that shedding bothers you, so I’m going to do the cleaning’, that’s respecting the other. If you’re saying, ‘If it bothers you so much, then you clean it,’ I think that’s sending a bigger message.”
You might want your dog in your bedroom and even snuggle with them on the bed. But your spouse is opposed to it.
The smell. The fur. The inconvenience of having them jumping around. Your husband just wants some quiet moments to read a few chapters before sleeping.
You could let your dog inside your room when your husband isn’t there. After all, they can’t bother someone who’s not even around.
And what of the smell and fur? Let your dog in on the day you’re going to be changing the sheets anyway.
You get to snuggle your dog in bed and your husband doesn’t have to be inconvenienced by it.
That’s only one example. Your problems may, of course, be far more complex than that. But the same solution applies to all – compromise.
Meet in the middle. Remember, only a Sith deals in absolutes. You’re not a Sith… are you?
OnePoll conducted a survey on behalf of the pet food website “I and Love and You.” There were 2,000 respondents. And 34% of them indicated that their favorite child was – wait for it – their pet.
It’s great news for dogs. But it’s tragic for their two-legged siblings. Even before this research was carried out, they probably knew. Or at least suspected as much. And that must’ve stung.
There’s bound to be sibling rivalry in any family with more than one kid.
It can wound a child for life when their brother is the quarterback. And meanwhile, they’re watching from the bleachers taking a puff of their inhaler.
Or their sister is on track to be valedictorian. While on the other hand, they can’t make sense of how the alphabet made it into math equations.
That can really dent a person’s self-esteem. It would naturally be worse if the rival for dad’s and mom’s affection is running around on all fours.
And that very well might have been your husband’s childhood.
Now, that’s not to say he was dense or too frail for sports. Those were merely examples. He could have been the quarterback. Or the valedictorian. Or both!
But for reasons unrelated, some parents just prefer their dogs.
And your husband’s resentment for his fur sibling could translate to hate for your dog. This can be more so if he thinks (or knows) that you love your dog more than him.
A study shows that parental favoritism, particularly a mother’s, has long-lasting effects on their children. The likelihood of the unfavored child developing depression later in life is increased.
A husband jealous of their dog may seem totally irrational. But when you take all these childhood factors into consideration, it actually makes sense.
These unresolved issues aren’t something you can tackle on your own. It’s best that you and your husband see a therapist.
And no, you don’t have to bring your dog to those sessions.
#4: Professional help
“Yes, yes. See a therapist. I heard you the first time.”
It was actually a different kind of professional help I had in mind here. I was thinking more along the lines of a dog behaviorist.
As with humans, canines have varied individual personalities. And these could be contributing factors to why your husband and dog just won’t click.
Keep in mind, your dog is sure to sense the negativity your husband harbors towards them. That would only serve to make matters worse.
If the sentiments of rivalry are no longer one-sided, there’s definitely going to be trouble in paradise. No, that’s putting it too lightly. More like hell is going to swallow up paradise.
Your husband can act out in all the ways he can think of. But if your dog retaliates, it could quickly turn into a life-threatening situation.
If your dog shows the slightest signs of aggression, it’s time to bring in a behaviorist.
“Isn’t that a little premature?”
The state of affairs between your husband and dog is a very volatile one. Waiting for things to escalate before seeking help would be a disastrous mistake. It’s wise to get intervention early on.
According to VCA, “The sooner treatment is sought, the best chance for improvement.”
And of course, your dog definitely has to be there for those sessions.
#5: Division of labor
If your husband was not that thrilled about getting a dog in the first place, then he certainly doesn’t enjoy the additional responsibilities.
You’re the one who wanted a puppy. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything. Remember tip #2: Compromise.
It’s not just about the boundaries in the house. But the same goes for the responsibilities.
Now don’t get me wrong. Disliking a dog is simply appalling. And hating one, especially your own, is downright abominable.
But if your husband (who didn’t even want a dog) is the one always scooping poop and mopping pee, then I hate to say this but his feelings are valid.
I’m not implying that you’re to blame here. Getting a dog means a lot of work. And even the very best aren’t 100% prepared for it. They think they are, then they get blindsided.
For the most part, dog parents have to figure things out as they go. And that’s what you’ve been doing.
So now you have to reconsider what really constitutes an “equal” share of responsibility. Quantity is hardly ever the same as quality.
You may do more – walking, feeding, bathing, grooming, brushing, vacuuming, vet appointments, etc. But by and large, those are enjoyable chores. Cleaning poop and pee? Not so much.
You’ll also need to get your hands dirty now and then. I mean that figuratively. Of course, you should use gloves.
There’s got to be a proper division of labor. That means your fair share of scooping and mopping.
And hey, if your husband gets to do more walking and feeding, that would really forge a bond between him and your dog.
#6: More intimate time
“Irrational” and “immature” are among the words used to describe someone jealous of a spouse and their dog. But as we’ve seen so far, there can be some very solid basis for it.
Justification and name-calling are certainly not the ways to go about it. Complaining about how your husband needs to “grow up” won’t get you anywhere.
You also need to take accountability. You’re not only a fur mom. You’re also a wife. It’s not only your pup who needs your attention. Your husband requires a lot of it too.
If you give him more of your time, he won’t hold so much against your dog.
We’re probably both on the same page. Our dogs take up most of the space in our hearts. So we have to be extra considerate of our other loved ones.
If we were in their shoes, I think we would find it very demeaning. Competing against a dog (or anyone else for that matter) for love and attention is something no one should have to do.
So when it comes to this, much of the responsibility falls to you.
“But you said I don’t have to do everything.”
In this case, you do.
The ball is in your court, so to speak. It’s your action or inaction here that determines how things turn out.
If you think your husband is “irrational,” “immature,” and “needs to grow up,” do something about it.
Spend more intimate time with him. Give him more of your attention and affection. And the need for him to feel or act “irrationally” or “immaturely” will dissipate.
He may even get down to give your dog a belly rub now and then.
#7: Family bonding
It’s what you are. A family. You, your husband, and your dog.
Even all-human families have their differences. Parents and children have disagreements and bicker. Why should we expect otherwise from a family with a fur child?
A study showed that a dog can turn out to be the cause of 2,000 family arguments in their lifetime. That statistic can be simplified to 3 arguments per week.
Of course, they don’t intentionally stir things up. And that’s definitely not the kind of attention they’re looking for. But ever so often, they’re at the center of some marital dispute.
Countless times, they’ve unknowingly become the deciding factor. Marriages and relationships have ended because of disagreements about them.
But yours doesn’t have to come down to that. You can save your marriage and your family. And you can start by spending quality time together.
It works miracles for the most dysfunctional families. It could work for yours.
But one afternoon out in the park isn’t a quick fix. Family bonding should be on a regular basis.
And you’re the buffer between your husband and dog. That means you need to put a lot of effort into these outings. You need to make sure both parties are happy at all times.
It’s a tall order, I know. But it’s the surest way of bringing your family together.
Your dog gets on very well with you. As does your husband (aside from the arguments about your dog). With you in the mix, they could both learn to get on with each other too.
Keep at it and one day when you’re stuck at work, your husband and dog will head on out for an afternoon of fun on their own.
In addition, the AKC offers a Family Dog Program that guarantees they can help “dogs become well-socialized and develop a lifelong bond with their owners.”
And it’s exactly what your husband and dog need.