10 Top Tips to Avoid the “It’s Me or the Dog” Ultimatum

Pets can bring an endless amount of joy to a home. But it’s not all lovely countryside walks and company. Pets can often spark arguments over everything from general discipline to where they sleep at night and how much it costs to keep them. “A pet can change your life and have a huge impact on your relationship,” says relationship expert Ness Cooper. I.

“This often surprises people and can challenge shared beliefs you have established as a couple, causing friction. But it’s often about accepting your new pet as part of your relationship. Here, Cooper shares tips on how to avoid “it’s me or the dog” ultimatums.

I hate the dog that sleeps in our bed

A pet sharing your bed can, at best, interfere with your nighttime routine and, at worst, ruin your sleep habits and sex life. The pet may feel loved and safe, but it takes up space, sponges and leaves hair all over the comforter. To achieve this, you have to make compromises and set boundaries. Which comes first, your relationship or your dog? Talk about it and try a transition period to train the pooch to sleep elsewhere. Keep him away from the bed with toys and treats until he learns the bed is off-limits.

I still have to do all the dirty work

Having a pet can be fun and rewarding. But picking up your dog’s waste in the park or changing the litter box is less so. If one person is always cleaning, patience will diminish and tempers will fray. Navigate agreeing to a pet schedule by equally dividing time spent with your four-legged friend. But don’t just focus on the messy tasks. Make sure you both can enjoy the pet with play routines, cuddles, and activities to do together. Caring for them as a partnership will give you a common goal and strengthen your bond.

I always take the first walks in the rain

No one likes getting up early on a cold, rainy winter morning. But this task must be distributed equally to maintain balance. Just take turns. When it’s your turn, treat it as “me time” in the morning. Choose a nice walking route, stop for a morning coffee, or meet up with another dog walker for some variety. If you really disagree, find a local dog walker or use a free app like Borrow My Doggy to avoid arguments.

More than Way of life

The animal was bought with an ex

Pets often choose their human and form an unbreakable bond. It’s natural to feel jealous if you’re a stranger, but if the bond with the animal isn’t working, try to understand your feelings and talk to your partner. If you’re concerned that the animal represents past relationship dynamics, it could be related to deeper issues in your relationship. It is important to respect your partner’s relationship status with their pet. Pets shouldn’t be seen as competition, even if they predate your relationship.

Having a pet prevents us from being spontaneous

If you feel like your pet has taken the spontaneity out of your relationship, think again. Spontaneity is a state of mind and the focus should not be on when romance and intimacy happens, but rather on whether it is fulfilling when it happens. Planning can always be rewarding and helps build excitement and suspense. Arranging regular daycare days or kennel stays will give you time to be more spontaneous. And if you take your pet on vacation with you, bring objects to distract them when needed.

The responsibility is overwhelming

Caring for a pet can be an overwhelming task and young animals can be particularly difficult. Feeling frustrated is natural. Your life has changed and, just like having a child, you need to accept it and give yourself time to adjust. But once you establish new routines, things will get easier. Don’t hesitate to ask friends or family for help if you need a break, and schedule some pet-free time as a couple to ensure your bond remains strong.

Couple lying in bed with their feet sticking out of the covers and a dog (French bulldog) resting on their legs
A recent study found that four in ten adults admit to giving their dog more affection than their other half.

The cost of the animal increases

If one of you spends too much on dog grooming, cute accessories and toys on top of essential expenses like food, bedding and vet bills, it can cause friction. You’d be surprised how many people don’t look at their finances before getting a pet. Try setting a pet budget with your partner and look at areas you can salvage. Also remember that the dog is not just for likes on Instagram. He is a living being with his own emotions. You don’t need to spend a fortune to make him happy and the rewards he gives you are priceless.

We argue about disciplining our pet

This is where the good cop/bad cop roles often come in. Couples will argue if they’re not on the same page with pet rules and routines. Discipline is important for pets, especially dogs, and you will all benefit from sticking to a consistent, long-term plan. It’s up to you to teach your pet where he can and can’t move and what he can play and chew with. Make a room or area of ​​your home a pet-free zone. Allowing your pet to be comfortable in certain areas will give you more space to relax as a couple.

The animal gets the most attention

A recent study found that four in ten adults admit to giving their dog more affection than their other half. If the dog receives treats and affection and sits in a special spot on the couch at night, express your concerns to your partner in a positive way. Letting your partner know that you love snuggling on the couch and being close to them will renew your connection. If all else fails, accept that the pet is here to stay and buy a bigger couch.

Animals dirty the house

If any of you take pride in your home or need order to feel calm, messy pets who run riot can be a sensitive issue. You both need to compromise by learning your hygiene thresholds at home and respecting them. Sharing the cleaning equally each week or hiring a cleaner can reduce conflicts. Learning healthy ways to handle conflict is essential because animals sense tension and often react accordingly.

The Pet Nup Avoiding a Nasty Custody Battle

When it comes to Hollywood stars, you’ve probably heard of pre-nup. But now, pet couples are all the rage. This is a contractual agreement outlining the arrangements for a pet in the event a couple separates. Detailing items such as who he will live with and who will pay for his upkeep, a pet wedding usually costs between £500 and £1,500, plus VAT, to draw up.

According to the Law Society, one in four divorces now involves a dispute over an animal. Ant McPartlin endured a custody battle over his pet during his £31million divorce from ex-wife Lisa Armstrong. And Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s bitter divorce involved a battle over who would keep their two Yorkshire terriers Pistol and Boo (Heard won).

Pet charity Blue Cross has now teamed up with specialist divorce lawyers Lloyd Platt & Company in a bid to prevent the number of pets being involved in marital disputes across the country. The free Pet Nup document defines property rights in the event of divorce or relationship breakdown and can be downloaded from bluecross.org.uk.


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