My fiancé (F27) and I (M30) keep getting into arguments about getting a dog and I don’t know what to do

Can you make an actual plan to get a dog? So that she knows it is actually something you’ve both committed to as an “eventually when it is practical” and not just a “someday” thing?

For example, can you open up a savings account specifically for pet care and agree that a certain well-researched amount needs to be in there before you are ready to get a dog? I have two dogs and with each of them I saved a year of their care in advance before their arrival, including things like emergency funds and pet insurance.

Can you start doing some reading, listen to podcasts together, etc. on dog training particularly for those with small children? Can you research trainers in your area and know where you’ll be taking a dog for training when the time comes (factoring those fees into your savings, of course)?

Can you start to discuss breeds, rescue orgs, breeders, etc. as well as your lifestyle so that you know where you’ll be looking when it is time? Can you then research how easy or hard it will be to actually find the type of dog you want? I searched rescue organizations for over six months in my area before finding one of my dogs and still traveled to a rescue two hours away (it’s hard to find certain things in my area). My other dog was from a highly reputable breeder (for a number of reasons) and between the breeder’s application process and waiting for the right litter and puppy it took a year and a half for him to actually be 10 weeks old. If you figure out, by talking to others, doing some research, etc. what the actual timeline will likely be. Then you also have a sense of when to start looking.

Can you start building in things that will need to happen when the dog comes as part of your schedule now (walks, family hikes, etc.)? Can you “budget” as though you have the dog and move those amounts to savings to see how tight things will actually be when you have the added expense? Example: if you’re traveling, put the cost of a sitter in savings. If you go on an 8 hour day trip put the cost of a dog walker in savings.

Can you find friends with well-behaved dogs and start to introduce your child to appropriate behaviors when around dogs?

Can you really talk about where you see yourself over an 8-15 year period and, with that, how involved you want your son to be in dog care? Perhaps through this conversation you might even agree to an age he would be at where dog ownership makes sense as a part of teaching him proper pet care. Honestly 1.5 is a little young, but as someone who grew up with dogs by age 5 I could have some input in a breed, be responsible for keeping the dog’s water bowl full, etc. and as I reached middle and high school I was responsible for walking, running with the dog, etc. Part of this conversation should also include at what age your son should be as his first dog ages. If you, for example, foresee having an active teenager and an elderly dog with health needs who can’t easily backpack with the family or be left alone for travel as a concern, then that’s something to take into account when figuring out timing. Dogs and human children are both get more expensive as they get older (college, doggie dental surgeries) and so it makes sense to consider a dog life cycle along your child’s own process of aging. This becomes even more complicated if you plan to have more kids. Really talk about your other relationship and child-rearing goals (travel, moving to a bigger home, living elsewhere, being empty nesters with or without a dog when your son becomes an adult, etc.). Figure out what time frame works, not just with your budget, but also with where you see your life as a family headed.

In other words, show her through these behaviors that you do hear the request, you do want a dog eventually, and that you’re committed to fitting the dog into other future planning and goal setting. But do so in a way that is realistic.

So that you both can eventually say something like “if we move when son turns 2, and then save $x in the next 6 months after moving, we can start to look. It’ll probably take an additional 6 months to find the right dog, which means we will have been in the new house for a year and our son will be three. The type of dog we want lives an average of 12-15 years so we expect we may have the dog when son starts college, but probably not much longer than that.”

/r/relationships Thread