How to turn your husband into an animal lover
Okay, so the title is misleading. The truth is, I’ve been married for over 22 years now and when we first got married my husband was a farm boy. He was strictly “no animals in the house” and I was raised that way too. Our dogs lived outside, but had a barn and dog houses to stay in. We didn’t tie them up, they were able to roam, but that has its consequences too. One of our dogs was hit by a car. I look back at those days and think how stupid we were.
Now we have 3 dogs, 2 cats and a rabbit living inside the house. Acting as throw rugs to walk over, and they are our constant companions. So what snapped in him? What made him go from farm boy, no critters in the house to this? Well, honestly, it wasn’t him that changed, it was me.
Most men like to put on the tough guy image, they like animals, but they don’t normally show how much they like them. Or maybe that’s the farm boy mentality. Once a dog or cat is in your house, you can’t ignore them. They are there, looking at you. It’s only natural to reach out and pet them as you are relaxing, watching TV. Most animals will not allow you to ignore them. I know mine won’t. You will get a little nudge to your hand, or Dolly will lay her head on your lap and look at you with a pitiful expression. That look will melt anyone.
The trick is you start out slow, gently allowing your mate to get used to having a furry friend in the house. Always be sure to bring in the pet cleaned up and smelling good. While some dogs can be very rambunctious at first in the house, they quickly realize that this is a calm place to be and love it! All kenneled or tied up animals will be a little hyperactive at first; after all it’s their first taste of freedom! Who could blame them?
Normally I advise doing this while your spouse is at work, so the newness of the dog being inside wears off by the time “Daddy” gets home. Of course, seeing your spouse will get Fido acting a little hyper and happy, and he may be a little too eager to greet dear old Dad.
Be sure to “puppy proof” the house beforehand and get down on your hands and knees and be on the look out for anything dangerous to your pet! You’d be surprised at what they can get into to get hurt, or destroy things you never thought they would. My rule is if you want to keep it, you better put it away. If the dog eats it, it’s not the dog’s fault; it’s yours for not putting it up.
Pay attention to your pet! If you see him circling or sniffing around, chances are he needs to go out. Take him out on a leash, let him do his business and then praise him! Make sure you stay out long enough for #1 and #2. Don’t make the mistake of giving him a treat for going potty after he goes, because that treat will trigger the urge for #2 again!
Now the next part is the tough part. However, if you are over 30 years old, you may not find it hard at all. You IGNORE all negative words that come out of your spouse’s mouth. You simply think to yourself, this is my house too and I’m keeping the dog inside! Eventually the turbulence will subside, and you will catch your mate petting the dog when he thinks you aren’t looking. Soon, he’ll be sharing tidbits with him, and you may even find him talking to the dog when he thinks you aren’t around.
It’s a pretty interesting metamorphosis when you change your husband from a farm boy who thinks all furry things are livestock, into a caring human being who actually enjoys the company of your dog!
A little guilt never hurts either. Once when I rescued a collie (we already had one) he asked me, “Who does the dog belong to?” I said, “What dog?” hoping he would mistake him for our dog Brittany. Okay, so trying to trick him into double vision didn’t work so well, but when he yelled at me to get the dog out of bathroom when he went to shower, I scolded him and told him that the dog had been abused by a man and did NOT need to hear him yelling! It was a little white lie, but it worked. He quieted down, and petted the dog on the head.
It also never hurts to remind them of the truth. After that little run in, I reminded him that you’d think after 17 years of me bringing critters home, and knowing that they will live with us, that he’d learn that I always get my way, and to just pipe down and deal with it. I haven’t heard a peep out of him since.
So you see, it wasn’t really him that changed, but it was me who went from a meek and mild, obedient wife, to an independent woman who knew what she wanted and how to get it. Now I get to see him enjoy holding the dogs’ leashes and walking them when we go to shows, and happily telling people all about them at rest areas and gas stations. He doesn’t fool me. I know he loves the attention they bring him too.