While doing some online research, I came across many forum posts titled something along the lines of “My Boyfriend Hates My Dog, What Do I Do” or “What To Do If Your Partner Dislikes Your Dog.” As a dog parent myself, I wondered how anyone could knowingly enter a relationship with someone who dislikes their pet, let alone ask for advice on how to fix the situation once the issues arose. Every voice in my head screamed, “don’t date someone who doesn’t love your dog!” I was completely baffled by the amount of support for continuing these relationships, and by the number of people who would consider their unhealthy relationship with their partner more important than their pre-existing relationship with their dog.
As a dog parent, I am adamant that the individuals in my life not only tolerate my dogs, but genuinely enjoy their company. You can read examples in my previous articles, such as “Letter To My Clueless Dogless Friend.” My dogs are, and will always be, children to me. Therefore, I expect others to respect our relationship, and to understand that I will always hold my dogs’ health and happiness above all else, relationships included.
I am fortunate to have been able to adopt both of my dogs while in a healthy, committed, long term relationship. My partner views the dogs as his own children as well, and would put his relationship with them before any relationship, including our own. This is what I would expect from any partner.
So, why do people allow others to diminish their relationship with their dog, and what should be done to resolve this?
One of the forum posts I read described, in my opinion, an incredibly unhealthy relationship. The person continued to explain how her boyfriend not only disliked her dog, but the relationship she had with her dog, and would take it upon himself to “train”, abuse and neglect, her dog to his liking. I wondered how anyone could allow their partner to treat their pet this way, especially after she explained the extreme closeness she shared with her dog. Then, something clicked. This was an abusive relationship.
After reading more comments, and her responses to others begging her to leave her boyfriend, I became more concerned for her and the dog’s health and happiness. With every comment, she would attempt to negate a previous statement she had made. Her story became convoluted, and it seemed as though she was covering something up. This is often what people do when they are stuck in an abusive relationship.
The best course of action this person could take would be to leave her boyfriend, and find happiness elsewhere. Though she seemingly would rather make her boyfriend happy than care for her dog, this will cause more damage in the long run.
For example, dogs are practise babies, and a key indicator for a person’s moral compass. If her partner is displaying aggressive, abusive, or neglectful behavior towards her dog, there is a very high chance that he will act this way towards children as well. Ultimately, continuing this relationship can and will lead to an abusive relationship, where adults, children, and animals are at risk. Unhealthy behavior towards animals is a red flag, and should never be taken lightly!
How To Avoid These Relationships
Unfortunately, the relationship this person found themselves in is quite common. There are many abusive, aggressive, and neglectful relationships that not only affect animals, but adults and children as well. Though these relationships may seem like “black holes,” they are preventable, avoidable, and escapable.
If you have a dog, and you are meeting a potential suitor or are in the early stages of a relationship, you should introduce the two to each other. Their first few interactions will teach you a lot about your potential partner. Pay close attention to both your dog’s and the person’s body language. If your partner seems uncomfortable, or expresses that they are not interested in getting to know your dog, this is where the relationship should end.
Do not conform to this individual’s desires. Your relationship with your dog is the most important, and was established before this person came into your life. Attempting to force a friendship between the two may cause more harm than good, and could result in your dog having trust issues with humans you introduce into his life. As well, adjusting your relationship with your dog to suit your partner will cause your partner to believe that he or she is capable of doing this again in future situations.
Why You Should Date Someone Who Loves Your Dog
First and foremost, you should date someone who loves your dog because you love your dog! Dating someone, who shares the same morals, values, and interests, is of the utmost importance. If you love your dog, you should make that a requirement for potential partners. Relationships with dogs can take time to establish, but choosing a partner that dislikes your dog from the beginning is nothing but a bad idea.
Dating someone who loves your dog is also important because this will allow their true colors to shine through. If the individual displays honest intentions and a willingness to get to know your dog, they will most likely do the same with your family and friends. As well, like I mentioned previously, dating someone who dislikes your dog says a lot about their character and parent potential. You want to be with someone who loves you, dog and all!
Another reason why you should date someone who loves your dog has more to do with comfort that anything. If you are with someone who loves your dog, they will be more likely to become involved in your dog’s life. They will eventually feel as though the dog is their family as well, and will be more dedicated to training, exercising, and caring for your dog. This relationship between your dog and your partner will help strengthen your relationship with both of them as well. As long as everyone is happy, open, and honest, this could be the start to your little family.
How To Find Someone Who Loves Your Dog
For all the singles out there, finding someone to date in general may seem impossible, let alone finding someone to date who also loves your dog. However, this is an easier task than you would think.
Online Dating: If you are using online dating, or dating apps, be sure to include that you either love dogs, or have a dog of your own in the profile. If you wish, you can use a photo of yourself with your dog, or simply a photo of your dog as one of your feature pictures. This way, anyone who sees your profile will be made aware that you have a dog, and your relationship with them is important. This will scare off any of the dog haters!
In Public: Finding a date in public may seem difficult, but you just have to look in the right places! Frequent dog parks, or high traffic dog areas. This way, you will be able to spark conversations with people about your dog, or you may be approached by individuals wanting to know more about your dog. If they are single, this is the perfect opportunity to invite them for a walk with your dog sometime! Easy peasy!
Other Methods: Reaching out on social media or through friends is also a good way to meet people. If your friends are able to set you up with someone, chances are that they’ve explained to the person that you have a dog or are a dog person. Joining dog lover or dog walking groups on social media will help you connect with other dog people in your area.
It may seem a bit extreme to bring up your dog on every first date, but this is necessary. Whether you are on a blind date, meeting a potential partner through friends, or interacting with someone you’ve just met, you should always find a way to bring up your dog. Watch their facial expressions closely, and determine whether or not they are interested. If they show no signs of excitement, this is most likely not the person for you. If they are immediately disgusted, or mention that they don’t like dogs, walk away. If you are lucky, and they ask to see pictures, you know you’ve found a good match!
Dating someone who loves your dog will help forge a strong relationship between you, your partner, and your pup. If you are ever concerned that your potential date isn’t interested in a relationship with your dog, be open and honest. Discuss the situation, and decide what outcome is best for you and your pooch.
After all, he is your baby!