How I Used Psychological Warfare To Convince My Spouse To Get A Dog
“Can we get a puppy?”
“Please, please, please, please, please-”
“WE’LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER.”
*Starts texting husband photos of puppies*
There’s something to be said for unleashing a torrent of harassment on your significant other — a wave of such utter pestering that it teters precariously on the brink of spousal abuse. I wouldn’t advocate tormenting your most-loved lightly. Unless it’s something of absolute importance, like getting a dog.
Getting a dog is non-negotiable for me. I made sure to discuss this in great lengths during the first five minutes of meeting my husband, so he could never turn around and say that he didn’t see this coming. From day one, I’ve waxed lyrically about different breeds, mapped out potential walking routes, and hand-stitched a dog bed for our phantom four-legged friend. Yet, when push came to shove, my husband didn’t want to take the leap and adopt right away. The excuses were fair, but lame. Y’know, the usual “the landlord forbids it” and “you accidentally set fire to the houseplants, how will you take care of a dog?”
I could argue that the houseplants set themselves on fire. Or that our landlord was a tyrant drunk on puppy-hatin’ power. But it’s hard to argue with husband-logic, because it sounds so reasonable.
Sure, it sounds like sensible advice. But the heart wants what it wants. And I wanted a dog.
But, two years and several dog-hating landlords later, there was no dog in sight. Something had to be done. It was time to take action.
Step One - Move
One of the biggest obstacles in the path to dog bliss is a house or apartment that forbids pets. When your lease is up, skedaddle outta there. Then tell your spouse that you appreciate how busy they are, and you’ll take care of finding your next place. With a bit of hard looking, you’ll eventually find a pet friendly pad. Never bring it up. Just make sure you have a yard, or a close-by grassy knoll, and move in.
You just obliterated their first excuse, and they don’t even know it yet. Sneaky, like a ninja.
If this is a bit too much, you can try bribing your landlord to reconsider allowing a pet. If you already live in a pet-friendly home, skip this step.
Step Two - Break Them Down
I hope you had the foresight to discuss essentials before getting married. Things like whether or not you want kids, or pets. I made sure to state my puppy preference multiple times before the ring went on.
If your spouse absolutely hates pets, doesn’t want one, isn’t getting one — you don’t really have a leg to stand on.
But I knew that mine did want a pooch,just at the right time and after being convinced he wouldn’t be solely responsible for it. So the following techniques proved pretty helpful:
Take On More Responsibility
I got a bit more on the ball about housework (and watering the plants) to show that I was super responsible. I even started jogging twice a day to show that dog walking came naturally to me. I was already walking the dog! Just without the dog. I stopped short of walking a sandal because there’s a fine line between persuasiveness and mental instability. Just ask this guy:
Clearly his wife wouldn’t allow him to get a pet, and this was his sweet revenge.
Research everything there is to know about looking after the breed of dog you want. Find out how much pet insurance costs. Create a budget flow chart, and potentially a powerpoint presentation. Casually email it to your spouse and drop knowledge bombs at any given opportunity, like “Dog food is pretty cheap if you make it yourself.”
It’s A Trial Run
If your wife or husband is getting a little too broody, slow down that gravy train with the idea of a fur baby. Explain that you can’t be expected to raise a human if you haven’t even raised a dog.
Buy a puppy calendar. Watch YouTube videos like this one when your spouse is around. Whisper into their ear while they’re asleep about how much they love dogs.
Don’t be the partner that throws a total temper tantrum if you don’t get your way. Married folks know the difference between a jokey no and a real no. If your spouse refuses to change their mind, ask why. If they bellow a goliath ‘NOOOOOOOOO’ when you say the p-word, it’s probably time to cool it with the nagging. Give it a few months of no puppy talk, and then gently probe them to find out what the real issue is.
In an ideal world, you’ll know your spouse well enough before you get hitched to find out if they’re a dog person or not. In most cases, a spouse is usually just reluctant because a pet involves a lot more responsibility and puts a damper on spontaneous activities like flying away on an exotic vacation at a moment's notice.
If you’re genuinely fighting over conflicting interests (like getting a puppy), maybe consider couple’s therapy. It could be indicative of a bigger issue. But in most cases, or at least mine, it’s just a case of cold paws before committing. Once you put that sweet paw in their hands, they’re probably going to fall madly in love and forget any concerns they started with!