How easy was your adjustment to becoming a couple? It can be difficult to get used to living with someone day in and day out, even when you are in love with that person. It can sometimes be harder to get used to living with the other person’s pet(s). One man actually divorced his wife over cats. Albeit she had 550 cats. He said he couldn’t even lay down in his own bed because it had become overtaken by cats.
While that story is uniquely extreme, it’s more common to have one spouse be slightly jealous over the other’s beloved pet, especially when that pet has been with the owner for a long time and is used to being fussed over. But it’s not always a walk in the park when you both had pets before. Now under one roof, your pets must get along, like a furry Brady Bunch family.
Before kids, raising a pet can stir up issues that are very similar to parenting, such as being too lenient, not setting rules, letting the dog/cat do anything, etc… And that’s why so many couples fight over their pets. It’s key to take baby steps and introduce the dog to the new person or other dog very gradually before taking a big leap. It’s also important to be honest upfront with your partner if he/she does something that bothers you with the dog or cat. And don’t forget to talk to your vet about adding another pet or person to your living situation who can likely give you personalized tips for your specific pet.
Here are some general ideas to keep in mind when blending a furry family:
1. Establish rules from the get-go: Who will do feedings and walks? When and how often? If you set up a schedule with clear expectations, there will be less conflict in the future.
2. Set bedtime rules: This is a biggie. Many fights stem over the dog sleeping in the bed or not (just like kids!). If your partner really doesn’t like the dog in bed with you, keeping a pet bed on the floor next to you can be a great compromise — and you might sleep better, too.
3. Help your partner get to know your dog before you live together. Just like a person, it takes time to get to know all of a pet’s little idiosyncrasies and moods, and the more time your partner spends around your dog or cat, the more likely they will grow to love them.
4. Be responsible for your dog’s behavior. If your pup is chewing on your partner’s shoes, it’s a no-brainer that may cause conflict. You know what your pup’s tendencies are so try to prevent it before it occurs. If your dog is a chewer, supply an abundance of chew toys and keep your partner’s shoes out of reach.
5. Be honest with yourself. If you have done everything to mend the relationship, but your partner really just does not like your dog, you might have to dig deeper into what is going on. Anyone who loves you will make an effort to learn to love your pup. It goes without saying that if your partner is ever abusive with your dog, it’s time to move on and keep your dog safe.
Did you get along with your partner’s dog or cat? Did your dog or cat like your partner? How about their pet? How did you make it one big, happy family?