You’ve been dating for a while and have finally decided to take things to the next level. You bring your significant other home to meet your dog, but are surprised to find that your dog wants nothing to do with them. You’ve never seen your dog act this way before. They start growling, barking, and even trying to position themselves in between the two of you to maintain distance. You really want things to go well with your partner, but you realize you’ve got to get a handle on your dog.
- Try introductions in different surroundings – instead of allowing your new partner and dog to meet at your house (which your dog has become very territorial over), try meeting someplace neutral like a park. As they learn to bond in this environment, you can then try having your significant other over to your place.
- Give your dog control – your dog is nervous and unsure of your new mate. Help ease their anxieties by allowing them to have more control. Let your dog come over to your partner when they are ready. Advise your loved one to put their hand out and let the dog sniff before they try to rub them.
- Positive Associations – If there’s one thing your dog loves it’s food (and treats). You can try to bridge the gap between your canine and your new love by allowing your partner to feed them during meal times or hand out treats while engaging in play. This can help put your dog’s guard down.
- Familiar Scent – Another way to help your dog warm up to your partner is to make your partner smell familiar. Have them use similar smelling lotions and soaps when coming over to engage your dog.
- Never Ignore Them – The worst thing you could do is ignore your jealous or anxious dog while your significant other is over your house. This will only heighten the fears and anxieties causing more friction between them. Try to engage your dog while your partner is around and even participate in activities together to help your dog remain calm and boost their confidence.
- Don’t Give In – Though you shouldn’t ignore your dog if they are jealous or fearful, you also shouldn’t give in to their negative ways. For example, you shouldn’t rub your dog if they are biting or growling at your partner, but should instead ignore those behaviors and firmly stand your ground. Giving in only reinforces their negative behavior causing them to act out even more.
Your dog has been with you for a while now, but your significant other is essentially a stranger. There is something about your new partner that sparks fear, jealousy, or anxiety in your pup and you can’t force it to go away. With time and patience, things should get better. This doesn’t mean your pup and lover will become best friends, but over time they should at least be cordial.