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My daughter half-wants a dog. My husband has wanted a dog for a long time. We agreed that if the girl saved up for the dog to show she was serious, she could have one. She didn’t save up the money, but now my husband is offering to pay for it. My daughter isn’t that serious about pets. She wanted a kitten a while ago. We got one, she liked it for a week, and now I’m the moron who cleans up after it. I don’t want a dog because we have two cats and a small apartment. Since my daughter really doesn’t care about a dog, how can I persuade my husband that I really don’t want a dog and it will be no good for us?
This is not about your daughter and never has been. You are asking a marital question, not a parenting question. However, your parental history comes into play.
First, you must discuss this with your husband in a rational manner. No yelling, fighting, or sniping. Stay calm, cool, and collected. Remind him that if the girl cared about getting a dog, she’d have taken the steps to get one. Then remind him about what happened with the cat. Your object here is not to talk him out of the dog, but instead to change the direction of the conversation.
If he persists in saying he wants to get the dog for your daughter, counter by offering her another chance to save the money herself. This is a strategy you can repeat multiple times if needed. If instead the man acknowledges that he wants to get a dog for himself, then you can discuss the options sensibly.
Lots of people in apartments own dogs. It’s inconvenient, but it can be done. Of more import is the fact that you don’t want a dog. With most couples, one partner’s desire not to have a pet is enough to keep the home dog- and cat-free. Try to reason with your husband. Tell him why you don’t like dogs, and appeal to his sense of fair play. Remind him of the things you’d like to do – perhaps painting the bedroom pink or displaying your old doll collection over the fireplace – but were too courteous to push on him.
Realizing that you know it’s his dog and not the girl’s, along with the fact that you really don’t want a dog, would be enough to get most men to back off of the idea. If he insists, you really can’t do much to prevent him – any more than he could prevent you from painting the bedroom pink while he is at work.
However, I suggest you forego the paintbrushes. If your husband truly intends to get the dog despite your objections, let him know that you really, truly, will not take care of it. Warning: What comes next is not for the faint of heart. Do not threaten to go this route unless you are prepared to walk the entire path.
Make it abundantly clear that if your husband doesn’t feed the dog, it will go hungry until he returns home from work. Remind him to feed the dog in the morning, then again at night, and don’t lift a finger to help. Also tell the man that if he won’t come home from work during the day to walk the dog, you’ll let it poop on the rug, and he can clean it up every night when he gets home. The problem with this strategy is that you’ll actually have to let the dog make a mess, and you’ll have to deal with his bitterness. Remember, I said it wouldn’t be an easy path.
You took over care of the cat, so you may have trouble getting the man to believe you are serious. To emphasize your stance, let your daughter know that if she won’t take care of the cat, you’ll get rid of it. Then, if she doesn’t start doing the work, get rid of the cat.
The good news is, most men won’t go to that much trouble to keep a dog, and if you can make your husband believe you will truly leave all of the care to him, he probably won’t get the dog. And the rest of the good news is, if he gets the dog and does all the work himself, you haven’t lost anything.
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