Ah, the first flush of love. You think about each all the time. You finish each other’s sentences. You’ve just heard a love song on Spotify, and you’re certain it was written about the two of you. You’re madly enamoured with your new partner, and you want this feeling to last forever.
There’s only one problem: your dog can’t stand them.
For many Pet Owners, this scenario is a nightmare come true. It’s on par with – perhaps even worse than – your social circle hating your partner. Don’t worry, though: with a few proactive measures, you won’t need to leave something so important up to chance.
Many of the tactics you’d use when introducing your dog to strangers will also work for your partner. Having said that, you’ll need to step up your efforts. After all, you’re introducing your pooch to someone who will be sharing your bed, your home, and your waking moments. By taking the following steps, you can put your pup and your paramour on the road to friendship!
Borrow an item of your partner’s clothes (in a non-creepy manner)
Dogs use their nose as a means to shake hands, explore new places, and judge character. This means you can lay the groundwork for your boyfriend or girlfriend before they ever set foot in your home. You can begin by taking one of their used, unwashed shirts or blouses. Allow your dog to sniff the item of clothing, then give them a treat once they’re done. In your doggo’s mind, they’ll come to connote your partner’s smell with a delicious treat. If you say your significant other’s name in a pleasant voice while they eat, they’ll also learn to love the sound of their name.
You should repeat this process at least four or five times before you let your lover meet your dog. However, you don’t need to place a cap on the number of times you attempt it. You can let your pooch keep whiffing and treating until they can whiff and treat no more!
Introduce them on neutral ground
If you’ve ever introduced your pup to another pet or person, you’ll likely be familiar with this tip. The first time your best friend and your love-friend meet, they shouldn’t do so in your home. Instead, let them get to know each other in a park. Allow your dog to approach your partner; this will show your pooch that this new human respects their boundaries.
Once your furry friend has made the first move, your partner should offer them treats from the palm of their hand. If your dog is reluctant to draw so close, your boyfriend or girlfriend can leave the treats near their feet. As your dog eats, your lover should keep saying their name in a soothing tone. This will once again leverage the awesome power of positive association.
Tell your partner to make first contact slowly
Over the course of their first meeting, be sure to read your dog’s body language for signs of stress. If your pup seems relaxed, and they’ve already made the first move, invite your lover to give them a scratch behind the ears. At this stage you can let the two of them cuddle, play fetch, and bond on their own. A little bit of alone time will go a long way for both of them!
Don’t be discouraged if your pooch doesn’t take a shine to your new favourite human on the first meeting. They may be wary of this person who is suddenly claiming all of your attention. Allow them several meetings, your dog will warm to them when they’re ready.
The first time you take your partner to your home, do so with your pup in tow. This will send them a bold message: “The three of us are in this together.”
Bring your dog on your dates
By this stage, your furry friend will be more comfortable with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Now comes the most crucial part: proving to your dog that your partner won’t steal you away. The simplest way to do this is to involve them in your social life. Fill your date schedule with picnics; seaside walks; trips to dog-friendly bars and cafes; and other activities than can involve your pup. Before you know it, your dog will feel as if they’ve gained a second Owner!