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Dogs can be discerning creatures when they want to be. Sure, they may be rolling in a foul smelling ditch one minute and then turning up their nose at your perfume the next. But they have opinions, especially when it comes to people. They may love the mail carrier and hate the Fed Ex driver. It often defies human logic.
When your dog and your romantic partner do not get along, what can you do? You certainly don't want to get rid of your significant other, but giving up your dog is simply not an option. The two most important beings in your life can learn to get along, but they may have to work at it. And you can help them along by encouraging the following steps.
Explain your dog to your partner.
First, you need to make it clear how important your dog is to you. Then, you should tell your partner about your dog's personality, quirks and all. If your dog sleeps with you every night or goes wherever you go, you need to share these facts. When your pet is your Ride or Die, you need to say so up front. If you are dating a non-dog person, they simply won't understand your relationship unless you explain it.
Spend enough time alone with your pet.
If your dog is used to having you to themselves, the introduction of another person into your home can seriously stress them out. You know your pet is unhappy when they start to act out by chewing your expensive shoes or relieving themselves on your bed, perhaps with your partner in it. To reassure your pet, spend alone time with them and be especially affectionate. This simple act should prove to your dog (and your partner) that you are a loyal person.
Coach your partner.
You know your dog better than anyone, so you can gently guide your partner into behaviors that won't threaten your pet. For instance, suggest your partner let your dog come to them. Some dogs don't like hearty hellos and vigorous head patting. Have your partner keep a friendly demeanor but from a distance. Also, remind them to be patient. Some dogs just need time to warm up to someone new.
Bribery may work.
In fact, bribery tends to work on children and pets, although psychologists may frown on the practice. If your dog loves a certain type of bone from the butchers or has an obsession with chew toys, have your partner bring them around as gifts. Fortunately, dogs don't like expensive electronics, so you won't have to break the bank on their presents.
Don't allow aggression.
Don't excuse your dog's aggressive behavior toward your partner. Growling, barking, and definitely biting have to be managed. You may need to consult a vet or other specialist for suggestions. There are behavioral techniques to help solve this problem, so don't despair. This rule goes the other way as well. If your romantic partner is behaving aggressively toward your dog, you need to put a stop to it immediately. In that instance, consider which party needs additional training.
Time without you.
If you trust your dog and your partner, consider leaving them alone together for increasing periods of time. Without you there, both parties may relax and stop trying to establish dominance. And even the most determined dog can usually be won over by spending the afternoon on the coach being fed a few dog treats or being taken to the dog park for an adventure. Non-stressful interludes will do a lot toward making your dog feel safe.
Don't force a relationship.
If nothing works to warm up the relationship, and your dog and partner simply dislike each other, it's okay to accept that fact. As long as no one is being hurt or ignored, you can choose to be Switzerland and remain neutral. If you have a large human family, you've already played this role with feuding siblings or vindictive third cousins.
Refuse human ultimatums.
Dogs can save you from a bad relationship or three. Sometimes animals truly do have a sixth sense about people. So if your romantic partner ever says, "It's your dog or me," you should take that as a sign that someone needs to go. Don't let your dog gloat as you slam the door behind your former partner.
Many people can have the best of both worlds, a strong human and pet connection. While you should expect good behavior from your dog, there will always be an adjustment period when someone new enters the picture. As a dog person, you really should only get involved with someone who appreciates animals. Otherwise, the relationship probably won't work out, because really, what are the chances you'd ever give up your dog to please another person?
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