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What to Do if Your Partner Doesn’t Like Dogs

It’s me or the dog…

Oh, no! It’s one of the worst couples’ dilemmas you can have. You love dogs, your partner, not so much.

It could be the case that you already have a dog, and your new amour suddenly reveals a hitherto unknown dislike. Or, maybe you’ve always hankered over a puppy pet, but your spouse has so far said ‘no’ every time to your pitiful pleas.

Whatever you do, don’t present it as a fait accompli—your partner comes home one day to be greeted by your new dog. That’s not fair on either human or animal. Let’s look at some ways around this thorny problem…

Some people’s dislike of dogs can stem from fear 

Perhaps your partner was bitten or attacked as a child. Introduction to very friendly, calm dogs can help with this. If your dog is lively and likes to jump up on people, you might want to look at training as dogs that don’t jump up are far less scary.

Talk about your values as a pet owner 

If you already have a dog, or would like to get one, it’s useful to discuss how the ‘rules’ work. Dogs are somewhat like children in this way. Different people have different ideas of child-rearing/dog ownership. Take the sleeping in a bed thing. Non-dog lovers probably hate the idea, so a good compromise is to agree that a dog will not sleep on your bed.

While it can be tempting to offer to do everything for the dog yourself as a dog lover, why not try to get your partner involved?

Solo walks and feeding might help him or her to bond with the dog. For some people, not liking dogs can relate to inexperience with them. Time alone with your pet can change that.

Another idea is to tackle specific problems 

Your partner might object to your dog because he or she thinks it’s aggressive or badly behaved. Can you work on training your pet to get rid of the aggression or behaviours such as begging for food and chewing things?

You might need to consult an expert 

If your dog seems to really dislike your partner because the animal is excessively attached to you, an expert can help. It is worth consulting with a trained person who can work out why your pet is behaving this way and make recommendations for how to change it.

Is your partner a cat person?

Combining a cat and dog household is tricky (though sometimes not as tricky as combining two separate cat households). Cat charities and organisations give useful advice about how to do it. The primary recommendation is that you take the introduction slowly, and expect hiccups along the way.

If you want a dog as a pet and your partner is adamant that he or she doesn’t, remember there are other ways to get your doggie fix. Why not volunteer at your local shelter, for example, or join the Cinnamon Trust which pairs up dog lovers with older people who have dogs and who can no longer walk them.

A further compromise could be to foster a dog, the long-term result hopefully being that your partner takes to your four-legged friend…

At the end of the day, we are all different. As dog lovers, it can be tough to imagine what it’s like NOT to adore them. But there we are. Some people just don’t. As long as your partner isn’t abusive towards your dog, you might need to accept that he or she is never going to spend as much time cooing over him as you are!