Marital Lessons from Loki

All the experts recommend that a couple (or family) agree about how they are going to raise their dog and be consistent. Easy advice for them to dole out!

Yun and I have vastly different training & discipline philosophies when it comes to Loki. We try to agree, but when we can't, the best we do is just agree to disagree. I stick with my philosophy and am internally consistent. He sticks with his and is internally consistent. Loki just eventually learns that we are different. And yes, Loki behaves differently.

I know that all the experts say that the entire family has to be consistent and have the same philosophies about raising dogs, but realistically, I don't think it's going to happen. So we do our best to make it work for us.

For example, Loki will beg for food from Yun, who loves to give him table scraps. Loki never looks at me when we're at the dinner table; he knows he doesn't get anything from me.

Yun’s philosophy is that the act of eating human scraps is natural and instinctual to dogs. Dogs are scavengers; being cute and friendly to humans allowed them more access to our scraps and ensured their survival. I, on the other hand, subscribe to the idea that a dog’s nutritional needs are best met with appropriately selected commercial food, and that you should never feed a dog human food. We simply disagree.

My advice is: pick your battles wisely & be willing to compromise. I do my best to emphasize that all table scraps must be healthy for the dog. If it's a piece of meat with no seasoning, then I'm fine. If it's cheese, then only a very small piece is allowed. If there's any garlic or onion in the seasoning, then I veto. So we compromise. Yun gives table scraps as long as they are healthy for the dog.

This post was inspired by someone seeking advice on the Dogster boards. I realized that I’m not alone in having spousal conflicts about raising a dog, and it might be useful to blog about the topic.


Bonnie Ann said...

Luckily, my husband and I agree on most dog-related issues. We are both firmly with you on the people food issue. This is mainly because shibas have such sensitive systems.

We have visited relatives who don't believe me on this issue. But anytime Boogie gets inappropriate treats from someone trying to "make friends" she ends up puking on their rug. It's gross, but a great I told you so moment.

Serahs said...

I agree with both of you guys. I'm no dog expert but as Loki's God-mother, I feel I can add my two cents. ;) When I had a Chow dog, I would give him both people food and dog food. Over time, he grew to love the people food more but I think he appreciated the diversity. The way I see it is if I had to eat the same food over and over again, I'd be miserable so I think that as long as you and Yun can find a balance between healthy dog food and commercial food, Loki will love you both equally. :)

The Shiba said...

I get table scraps, but only after dinner is finished and while the dishes are being washed.

But agreements were reached between That Guy and The Woman regarding the rules of expected Shiba behavior.

However, between you and me, when one of the two is not present, they both break the rules and just tell me not to tell the other one.

Colleen said...

Just wait until you have a kid - then you will really have to be consistent!

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