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.