With people postponing marriage longer than ever and dog ownership on the rise, it is no surprise that there conflicts arise when single dog owners bring a partner into the equation. It is quite common for a single woman to bring her new boyfriend home to find that her pooch pal detests her new beau. In some cases the conflict is so fierce that the dog owner fells she has to choose between the two. This is unfortunate because these situations can be worked through causing a balanced relationship for all. In many cases people’s best efforts to help the situation actually make it worse in the long run.
To fix these situations people should understand how they came about in the first place. While men engage in these behaviors as well, single women tend to make their dogs their babies and lavish unlimited attention with no behavior consequences for their dogs. This will result in an unbalanced dog with no boundaries who thinks that he is the master of his owner and not the other way around. Women, and sometimes men, allow their dogs to eat from their plates, sleep in their beds and generally permit the dog to behave however he wants. Considering that dogs are pack animals, this situation ends in the dog being the pack leader and acting accordingly. These dogs end up resentful and aggressive towards anyone who comes near their human because they feel that human is an extension of their territory.
With this in mind there are some steps that you can take in effort to make peace between your dog and your boyfriend:
1. Try to ignore your dog as much as possible on date night. When your boyfriend arrives to pick you up administer love and attention and praise to your dog. If you try this suggestion your dog will associate positive things with your new partner. Do not do the opposite and give your dog plenty of attention because you are going out that night and then stop when your date arrives because your dog will associate your new partner with less attention for him.
2. Have your new beau bring your dog’s absolute favorite treat with him when he visits. Think of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets when he plies the neighbor’s dog Verdell with bacon. By having your date give your dog his favorite treat every time he comes over the dog will begin to look forward to greeting him rather than wanting to attack him!
3. Set boundaries even when your man is not around. If you sleep with your dog in the bed every night until your boyfriend stays over your dog will be confused and take it out on your boyfriend. Try getting a super comfy bed for your dog and making sure he sleeps in it every night. This will help when sleepover nights arrive because your dog will be used to it. This may take patience and several attempts if your dog has been a consistent bed partner.
4. Have your man take your best friend for a quick stroll before date night. Make sure they go it alone so your boyfriend has the opportunity to show that he is a human that is in charge, but a human your dog can trust. Walking with a dog is a huge part of his overall health and well-being and your dog will learn to trust your man, just as he trusts you. Once the two of them get the hand of it you can all walk together in peace and harmony.
Following these steps will help to set boundaries in the home, but do not mean that you have to change how much you love your dog. Loving a dog requires more than love and undivided attention.
Dogs need discipline and consistency to be well-balanced pack members. If you follow these steps and make no progress, consider getting a professional to make a home visit. A professional trainer can tell you where you are going wrong and what you can do to fix it. Most importantly, do not give up! Almost all of these cases can be resolved to allow all involved to live happily ever after.