This article appears on the Andrew Christian website. Click here to be taken to the full-length version.
Lots of things can test a relationship’s strength: becoming exclusive, moving in together, negotiating finances. But nothing quite compares to the trials of raising a dog together.
I take this stuff, perhaps, too seriously. (Tack up to the fact I research relationships all day.) My boyfriend, on the other hand, not so much. He always wanted a dog; from day one he talked about getting a little fur ball, “I’m thirty now, it’s time,” he would say.
I was apprehensive: What if he loved the puppy more than me? Could I change my free-floating lifestyle to one of routine? Would we crack under the stress of training breaking, medical bills, and obedience training? And if we broke up, who takes the dog?
It took me three years of dog induced anxiety to feel comfortable—no, excited about getting a puppy together, and soon thereafter we welcomed our dog, MJ, into our home. I would love to say MJ fit right in, that suddenly our relationship just felt complete. Instead, I must be honest: MJ almost derailed us…permanently.
Don’t get me wrong, MJ was and is an incredible addition to our family, but she was also a long fuse, setting off a chain of explosions in our relationship as we whittled away at each other’s patience. To make matters worse, all the self-help articles online were all for single people who were trying to date while raising a new dog, not for couples trying to housebreak a dog without breaking themselves.
So, being a relationship researcher and going through the process myself, I figured I would give my two cents on what it’s like to raise a dog with a partner for any couples out there thinking about adopting a pup of their own.